February 28, 2011
Only one player has been with the Columbus Blue Jackets since Day One and that man is now a Phoenix Coyote.
Nick Kypreos broke the news that Columbus dealt defenseman Rostislav Klesla(notes) and minor-leaguer Dane Byers(notes) to the Coyotes for Scottie Upshall(notes) and Sami Lepisto(notes). Klesla was Columbus' first ever draft choice back in 2000.
Phoenix wanted to upgrade their defense and if Klesla can remain healthy after battling the injury bug the last three seasons, he's a guy that can eat 20 minutes a night. Upshall (upcoming UFA) has rebounded nicely after tearing an ACL last January with 16 goals through 48 games this season.
We'll give this one Two Milburys. When healthy, Klesla can provide a veteran presence on the blueline for the Coyotes, but he's played more than 70 games in a season just twice since the 2003-04 season and is currently bothered by a bruised knee. He's also signed for three more seasons so Phoenix gets some financial flexibility in the deal. Lepisto will add to the Blue Jackets' depth, but Upshall's energy and production will benefit them immediately and in the future if GM Scott Howson re-signs him.