Finally some intrigue on deadline day as Columbus deals lifetime and last original Blue Jacket defenseman Rostislav Klesla to Phoenix for forward Scottie Upshall and defenseman Sami Lepisto. (Source)
Columbus gets a pair of guys that will plug in instantly and give them depth at forward in Upshall and more offensive skill along the blue line in Lepisto. Columbus also gets roster flexibility after the season as Upshall will be an unrestricted free agent after the season and Lepisto will be a restricted free agent.
For Phoenix, they add a defensively tough blue liner in Klesla. Klesla’s bugaboo over his career has been his health as injuries have always nagged at him. Klesla is locked up for three more years at nearly $3 million a year. At three goals and seven assists, Klesla isn’t a point getter but he’ll make the Coyotes defense stronger.
The odd twist in this deal is that Scottie Upshall just last night took to Twitter to say how much he loved playing hockey in Phoenix and about how much the area deserves the team and that prospective owner Matthew Hulsizer is the right guy for the team. Now he’s on his way out of town. Did Upshall have the sense he was going to be dealt or is this just some brutal timing on everyone’s part? Either way, it looks and feels awkward all around. Now Upshall will look to do what he can to help the Jackets get in the playoffs.