Sabres, Kings get third-rounders; Garon to L.A.

Updated: June 27, 2004, 12:00 AM ET
Associated Press

RALEIGH, N.C. -- The Montreal Canadiens swung a three-team trade Saturday to acquire Ottawa Senators forward Radek Bonk and Los Angeles Kings goaltender Cristobal Huet.

The Senators initially traded Bonk to the Kings for a third-round pick, but Los Angeles quickly dealt him and Huet to Montreal for goalie Mathieu Garon and the Canadiens' third-round choice, No. 95 in Saturday's draft.

Bonk, chosen by Ottawa with the third overall pick in 1997, had 12 goals and 32 assists in 66 games with the Senators last season. He had two assists in the Senators' seven-game loss in the first round to the Toronto Maple Leafs.

He is due to become a restricted free agent July 1, and the Senators would have had to make a $3.5 million qualifying offer to Bonk to retain his rights.

The deal comes at an unsettled time for the Canadiens, who will have to factor any contract with Bonk into a collective bargaining agreement that has yet to be negotiated. The deal between the NHL and its players expires Sept. 15, and a lockout is feared.

"Because of the work of our team [management] this year and the work of previous management groups, we feel like we're in a position to take on the responsibility of that contract [with Bonk] and turn our attention more toward the competitive results that we hope to get from it," Montreal general manager Bob Gainey said.

Garon was drafted by the Canadiens in 1996, and he played in 19 regular-season games last season as a backup to Jose Theodore. He went 8-6-2 with a 2.27 goals-against average and a .907 save percentage. He is due to make $1.1 million next season.

"Without his performance last year, we don't get to the playoffs. But on the other 60 nights, we've got a good player sitting on the bench," Gainey said. "We've given away good assets to get one we know we can use and we have a space for him."

Dave Taylor, senior vice president and general manager of the Kings, said Los Angeles has been keeping an eye on Garon's development.

"We have been watching him since he came into the league and as far back as juniors. ... " Taylor said in a statement. "We believe that he has developed a pretty good mental edge and playing in Montreal is a good experience."

Huet, who is from France, had a 10-16-10 record for the Kings with a 2.43 goals-against average and a .907 save percentage.

Ottawa used the pick it acquired from Los Angeles to select left wing Shawn Weller, who plans to attend Clarkson University in the fall. He had 17 goals and 24 assists last season for the Capital District Selects, a high school-level team in New York.

With the acquired pick from Montreal, Los Angeles took Paul Baier -- a defenseman from Deerfield Academy in Massachusetts. Baier had six goals and four assists in 23 games last season.


Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press