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KELLEY: Trade helps both Avs and Flames

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Jim Kelley

 
   
 
We told you earlier in the summer that the Calgary were looking to move defenseman . They did it Tuesday, partly because they had a surplus at the position, but also because they needed to unload at least some of his salary AND improve their forward lines. In this trade, they've done all of that. In return for the 24-year-old Morris and forwards and , the get the talented and powerful and a checking forward in the form of . Both teams gave up a lot in this deal, but both address serious needs. The get a top-four defenseman, likely to be a top-two D-man some day soon and a player with enough talent to someday contend for the Norris Trophy as the league's best defenseman. He is a solid, puck-handling defenseman with good skating skills, great vision and an ability to handle the tough going. In the Colorado scheme of things he should be a standout performer along the lines of a youngish or a player of that ilk. The improving play of forward made it possible to give up Drury. Meanwhile the get an anchor for their second line, a much-needed player who should take pressure off . Drury has some speed, great skills and a penchant for scoring timely goals. He has talent for handling the physical side of the game in that he can both take and deliver the big hits. Drury made his name playing on a line with and when Forsberg missed last season because of injuries, Drury's point totals slipped. Still, he should rebound nicely with solid ice time in Calgary. He is regarded throughout the NHL as a clutch performer. The other players are a mix of throw-ins and salary considerations that pretty much balance the deal, though the can surely use the checking ability of Yelle — especially on penalty kills. The Avs can expect decent offensive production from McAmmond if they play him on either of their top two lines. There's no guarantee this deal puts the in the playoffs for the first time in six seasons, but they've got a much better chance now then they did 48 hours ago. Colorado, a good team, gets even better and may well be the best team in the West. Jim Kelley can be reached at his e-mail address: jkelley@foxsports.com.
Tagged: Flames, Red Wings, Avalanche, Derek Morris, Chris Chelios, Chris Drury, Stephane Yelle, Jarome Iginla

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