Darius Kasparaitis, the gritty, oft-penalized defenseman rumored to be heading to Detroit at the NHL trade deadline, has been traded to the Colorado Avalanche in return for forward Ville Nieminen and defenseman Rick Berry.
This is the third time in as many seasons that the Avalanche have made a deadline deal for a defenseman. Last year they aquired Rob Blake from the Los Angeles Kings. In 2000, Ray Bourque was sent to Colorado after spending over twenty years with the Boston Bruins.
Kasparaitis, twenty-nine, has two goals and twelve assists in sixty-nine games this season for the Pittsburgh Penguins. He’s racked up 123 penalty minutes and has a minus-one plus/minus rating.
Nieminen, twenty-four, has twelve goals and sixteen assists in his sophomore season with the Avalanche. He was drafted seventy-eighth overall by Colorado in the 1997 NHL Entry Draft.
Berry, twenty-three and also in his sophomore NHL season, has no points and is a plus-one in fifty-seven game with the Avalanche. He was Colorado’s third choice, fifty-fifth overall, in the 1997 NHL Entry Draft.
Detroit’s offer to the Penguins is rumored to have been speedy defenseman / right wing Mathieu Dandenault and an another unnamed young player.