NASHVILLE TN - FEBRUARY 19: Scottie Upshall #8 of the Phoenix Coyotes skates against David Legwand #11 of the Nashville Predators on February 19 2011 at the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville Tennessee. (Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images)

Phoenix Coyotes Trade Scottie Upshall, Sami Lepisto To Columbus Blue Jackets For Rostislav Klesla

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Phoenix Coyotes Trade Scottie Upshall, Sami Lepisto To Columbus Blue Jackets For Rostislav Klesla

The Phoenix Coyotes have made a major move at the 2011 NHL trade deadline with a team that's competing with them in the tight Western Conference playoff race.

The Coyotes shipped off defenseman Sami Lepisto and scoring forward Scottie Upshall for long-time Jacket Rostislav Klesla. Minor leaguer Dane Byers is also moving to the Phoenix system.

Klesla was the last of the original Jackets, having played a few games with the club during their inaugural season in 2000. He's never known any other NHL organization. 

There'd been rumors that Klesla was on the block, and in a trade season filled with defensive transactions, Klesla was certainly a hot property despite never really fulfilling his potential. He's a steady and effective blueliner with some offensive upside. For Columbus, he's been eclipsed in ice time by guys like Anton Stralman and Fedor Tyutin, and he's at an age where "this is the year" potential is history.

Upshall is a key piece in an exchange between goal-starved teams. On pace for about 20 goals this season, he's an energy player who provides plenty of grit. He's versatile, too. Upshall can play up and down the lineup depending on what the team currently needs. Lepisto should be able to take up Klesla's minutes on the blueline, though he doesn't have the same potential that Klesla theoretically does.

For more on the trade, check out our Coyotes blog, Five For Howling and our Jackets blog, The Cannon.

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