Hurricanes gain Weight

LANCE HORNBY -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 8:48 AM ET

Doug Weight's arrival in Carolina will impact the Eastern Conference playoff race from top to bottom, with particular interest to the Ottawa Senators and Maple Leafs.

Maneuvering for a possible showdown with the Sens in the Eastern final, the National Hockey League-leading Hurricanes out-bid a number of clubs, including Ottawa, to acquire Weight yesterday.

The 35-year-old centre was traded from the turgid St. Louis Blues, along with left winger Erkki Rajamaki, for Carolina's first-round draft choice this year, two fourth-rounders, right winger Jesse Boulerice, centre Mike Zigomanis and the rights to unsigned draft pick Magnus Kahnberg.

One of the fourth-rounders was a pick the 'Canes acquired from Toronto in last summer's Jeff O'Neill trade.

Weight's salary of $5.7 million US this season had shrunk to around $2 million, sufficient for a number of Stanley Cup-contending clubs to pursue him.

But the Sens claimed the Blues were asking too much from them, a package believed to be based around defenceman Anton Volchenkov, forward Antoine Vermette and Ottawa's first-rounder.

"We were not going to make that kind of deal," Senators general manager John Muckler told The Ottawa Sun.

"We feel good about our team and we don't want to take anybody off our roster. We're in the driver's seat here. We lead the league in goals for, goals against and we're at the top of the standings. If we can add a player to make us better we will, but we may do nothing at all."

The NHL's trade deadline is March 9.

"When we watch the players who were traded just at the deadline, sometimes they have a tough time adjusting to their team," Carolina GM Jim Rutherford said.

"If we were going to do this, we wanted to do it where we had at least 30 games left. It gives him and his teammates time to fit together."

A source told The Canadian Press that Weight waived his no-trade clause to join Carolina. He is expected to play tonight against the Montreal Canadiens.

The Habs, Leafs and Atlanta Thrashers entered play last night tied for the eighth and last playoff spot in the East.

If Toronto gets in -- it would take at least 20 wins in its remaining 32 games -- they would almost certainly face the Hurricanes or Senators.

Weight led the Blues with 11 goals and 33 assists in 47 games. St. Louis is last in the West and is entering re-vamp mode as they dealt 22-goal forward Mike Sillinger to Nashville on Sunday.

"(Weight) brings a little bit of everything, but what he really gives us when it gets down to crunch time is more options at the forward position," Rutherford said.


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