- Pierre LeBrun, NHL
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The Anaheim Ducks and Toronto Maple Leafs got a jump start on the Feb. 28 NHL trade deadline Wednesday, as the Ducks acquired veteran defenseman Francois Beauchemin and winger Joffrey Lupul was sent to Toronto.
The Leafs also got the rights to Jake Gardiner, a blue-line prospect playing college hockey at Wisconsin, as well as a conditional fourth-round draft pick in 2013.
The trade addresses key needs for both teams.
Anaheim has been seeking help on defense all season long. They got it by re-acquiring Beauchemin, a former member of their 2007 Stanley Cup champion team.
The Leafs, meanwhile, have been looking for help up front and hope Lupul can help spark their attack.
"We are thrilled to be able to reacquire Francois," Ducks general manager Bob Murray said in a statement. "He is a physical, puck-moving defenseman with tremendous character.
"We would also like to wish Joffrey Lupul well in Toronto. He's worked very hard to return from a serious ailment and we hope he can get his career back on track," Murray said.
Beauchemin, 30, has one more year left on his deal paying him $3.65 million next season, with a salary cap hit of $3.8 million. He played with the Ducks from 2005-09. He has 12 points (two goals, 10 assists) and 16 penalty minutes in 54 games.
Lupul, 27, has two more years on his deal paying him $4.25 million a season, so the Ducks save money in the trade. But Toronto simply hopes Lupul, who has twice scored 25 or more goals in a season, can find his old scoring ways.
This season Lupul has five goals and eight assists in 26 games with the Ducks, having missed nearly a full calendar year with a back injury and subsequent blood infection.
Gardiner, 20, has 30 points (seven goals, 23 assists) in 30 games at Wisconsin this season. He was Anaheim's first-round pick, 17th overall, in the 2008 NHL draft.
It's the second time Leafs general manager Brian Burke has dealt with his former team in Anaheim in just over a year. Last January, the two teams made another sizeable trade that saw goalie Jean-Sebastien Giguere moved to Toronto and forward Jason Blake sent to Anaheim.
As for the conditional draft pick: If Lupul is on the Maple Leafs' roster for 40 or more games in 2012-13, Toronto gets a fourth-round pick in 2013. If he's not on Leafs roster for 40 or more games, Toronto gets a sixth-rounder from Anaheim.
Pierre LeBrun covers the NHL for ESPN.com.
7hDanny Knobler, Special to ESPN.com