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Edmonton Oilers trade Chris Pronger to Anaheim
By Canadian Press
Jul 3, 2006 - 3:57:00 PM

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EDMONTON (CP) - The Edmonton Oilers granted Chris Pronger his wish Monday, dealing the star defenceman to the Anaheim Ducks for a package featuring young sniper Joffrey Lupul.

Also headed to the Oilers are defenceman Ladislav Smid, the ninth overall selection in the 2004 draft, plus Anaheim's first-round draft choice in 2007, a conditional first-round pick and a second-round draft choice in 2008.

"You're not going to get a Chris Pronger back when you trade him," Kevin Prendergast, the Oilers vice-president, hockey operation, said at a news conference. "He's one of the top-three defencemen in the world. It's a trade we feel is going to help this hockey club."

Pronger helped lead the Oilers to the Stanley Cup final this season, where they lost in seven games to the Carolina Hurricanes. He then stunned the team by asking for a trade after the final for personal reasons.

Pronger signed a $31.25-million US, five-year contract with the Oilers last summer. He'll joins Ducks captain Scott Niedermayer on a potentially dominant blue-line corps.

"We believe having Chris Pronger join Scott Niedermayer on our blue-line gives us two of the top defencemen in the NHL today," Ducks GM Brian Burke said in a release. "Players of this calibre don't become available very often, especially when they are still in the prime of their career."

Lupul, an Edmonton native, scored 28 goals with 25 assists for the Mighty Ducks last year.

The 25-year-old also played a big role in Anaheim's run to the Western Conference final, scoring four goals in Game 3 against Colorado in the second round. That made him the first NHL player to score four goals in a playoff game, including the overtime winner.

Smid, 20, played his first season in North America with the AHL's Portland Pirates, collecting three goals and 25 assists in 71 games. He spent the past three years playing in his native Czech Republic.

"We certainly feel Lupul is going to make us a lot better on the power play," said Prendergast. "Smid ... all our scouts are very, very high on him. And we get a first-round draft pick in what we consider a very good draft coming up next year. We think they're both going to come in and help us."

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