Sabres send C Novotny to Capitals for C Zubrus

BUFFALO, NEW YORK (TICKER) —After failing to pick up offensive help earlier Tuesday, the Buffalo Sabres addressed the need hours later.

The Sabres, who sent goaltender Martin Biron to Philadelphia for only a draft pick, acquired center Dainius Zubrus in a trade with the Washington Capitals.

Buffalo, which entered the day with five key offensive players sidelined due to injuries, reduced that number to four by sending center Jiri Novotny to Washington. The 23-year-old Czech missed the Sabres’ last four games with an ankle injury.

The Capitals also sent defenseman Timo Helbling to the Sabres, receiving a 2007 first-round pick.

Drafted 15th overall by Philadelphia in 1996, Zubrus registered 20 goals and 32 assists in 60 games for Washington this season. The 28-year-old Lithuanian, who was unable to come to an agreement on a new contract with the Capitals, scored a career-high 23 tallies with the team last campaign.

“Dainius and his agent were first class throughout the negotiations,” Washington general manager George McPhee said. “But unfortunately, we had to make a trade.”

In 670 career games with the Flyers, Montreal Canadiens and Capitals, Zubrus has recorded 134 goals and 218 assists.

Novotny, 23, was drafted 22nd overall by Buffalo in 2001. The Czech has six tallies and 13 points in 50 games this season after registering two goals and an assist in 14 contests last campaign, his first in the NHL.

“Jiri Novotny is a young center who should help our club,” McPhee said. “And the first-round pick is a valuable asset moving forward.”

The 25-year-old Helbling appeared in two games with the Capitals this season, picking up two penalty minutes. The Swiss blue-liner, who was a sixth-round pick of Nashville in 1999, recorded an assist in nine games in his NHL debut with Tampa Bay in 2005-06.


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Updated Tuesday, Feb 27, 2007