Leafs send Beauchemin to Ducks
Veteran defenseman Francois Beauchemin is returning to the Anaheim Ducks.
The Toronto Maple Leafs shipped him to his former team Wednesday for right winger Joffrey Lupul, prospect Jake Gardiner and a conditional fourth-round draft pick in 2013.
''There's a human element in all of this,'' Maple Leafs general manager Brian Burke said. ''You bet on people every time you make a trade. If this were just buying cars or buying livestock it would be a lot easier. But we're betting on human beings.
''I bet on Joffrey Lupul because of his character and his skill level and I believe he thinks he has something to prove.''
The deal has Toronto assuming some salary because Lupul will earn $4.25 million over the next two years while Beauchemin has one year remaining on his deal at $3.8 million.
''He may be overpaid for what he does now,'' Burke said of Lupul. ''That's OK, that's not the player's fault. When the player's overpaid one of us (GMs) made a mistake.''
Burke said he expects to make more moves, but noted ''nothing is imminent.''
Beauchemin won the Stanley Cup with the Ducks in 2007 and has played in 55 playoff games with the team. He had 12 points in 54 games for Toronto this season.
''I was kind of expecting something to happen with all the rumors that were out there lately,'' Beauchemin said. ''I loved it here. Great city to play, great group of guys, but last year was a tough year, and this year we're still out of a playoff spot.''
The Leafs are eight points behind Carolina, which has the eighth spot in the Eastern Conference, with 28 games remaining.
Anaheim coach Randy Carlyle hopes Beauchemin regains his form now that he is back in familiar surroundings.
''We feel comfortable that he can play to a very high level for us,'' Carlyle said on Wednesday from Vancouver, before the Ducks played the Canucks. ''He's chewed big minutes in our situation before.
''We talked this morning and he said things just didn't work out the way he had planned and the way Toronto had planned. He's looking forward to coming back. We can provide an environment to show the hockey world what kind of a defenseman he truly is.''
Lupul, a three-time 20-goal scorer, has 13 points in 26 games this season. He missed part of the season after sitting out for nearly a year with a back injury and subsequent blood infection.
''I think definitely I have a lot to prove to a lot of people now,'' Lupul said. ''The Anaheim Ducks kind of just let me go after 20 games. I don't know if it's injury-related or what it is. But I have a lot to prove to myself and to the team that just let me go and, first and foremost, to the new organization and my new teammates.
''I want to step in and help make an impact.''
Gardiner has 30 points in 30 games for the University of Wisconsin this season.
The Ducks not only got Beauchemin back, but top center Ryan Getzlaf rejoined the lineup Wednesday after he missed six weeks because of nasal sinus fractures. Getzlaf had 37 points in 40 games before getting hit in the face with a puck on Dec. 28.
''I feel as good as I can with a big scar on my face,'' said Getzlaf, who still has a jagged line running up from between his eyes. ''The last couple of days have been great. I've talked to the doctors lots and everything is fine and ready to go. It feels great. I'm excited to be back.''
Anaheim is also looking forward to the return of No. 1 goalie Jonas Hiller, who has been sidelined a few days by lightheadedness and fatigue. Hiller was placed on the injured list Wednesday, retroactive to Thursday, when he began complaining of symptoms similar to a concussion.
Hiller, who was hit in the mask by a shot during the NHL All Star game on Jan. 30, has undergone blood tests and an MRI and doesn't think he sustained a concussion. He practiced for a second straight day on Wednesday and said he feels better after visiting a chiropractor in Vancouver who specializes in sports head injuries.
''What exactly it came from, I don't know,'' Hiller said of the injury. ''I had a stiff neck, and they were thinking that was pushing on my nerves and I didn't get proper feedback from my nerves coming up to my brain. That's why I felt off. I m not 100 percent yet, but it's good to feel progress.''
Curtis McElhinney got the start in goal Wednesday night against the Canucks, with Timo Pielmeier serving as the backup.