Rangers Clean House

Mar 4, 2004

NHL teams

The underachieving New York Rangers are well on their way to missing the playoffs for the seventh straight year with the league's highest payroll. So the team finally decided to hold a fire sale.

The Rangers traded Brian Leetch to Toronto, Petr Nedved to Edmonton and Alexei Kovalev to Montreal with more trades to follow.

"There's a lot of tough deals you have to make," said Rangers general manager Glen Sather about Leetch, who spent 17 seasons with the team. "This certainly ranks right up there with the toughest."

The Rangers acquired defenseman Maxim Kondratiev, forward Jarkko Immonen, a first-round pick in this year's draft and a second-round choice in the 2005 second-round selection for Leetch. The Maple Leafs also received a conditional pick.

"Brian is not only one of the best players to ever play for the New York Ranger, he's also a classy individual," Sather said. "We feel we did very well with the players we got and the draft choices we got. We felt that going as far as we did go with Toronto was as maximum as we could get."

In exchange for Nedved and goaltender Jussi Markkanen, the Rangers received Dwight Helminen, goaltender Stephen Valiquette and a second-round pick in the upcoming draft.

Kovalev joined the Montreal Canadiens after the Rangers traded him for prospect Josef Balej and a second-round pick in the entry draft.

"Embarrassment? I hope so. We should be embarrassed to be in the situation we are," Rangers' Matthew Barnaby said.

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