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Devils trade for Lukowich, send Brown to Canucks

NEW YORK -- The New York Islanders dismantled their team further Thursday by sending defenseman Brad Lukowich to the New Jersey Devils for a third-round pick in this year's draft.

New York, the 11th-place team in the Eastern Conference, shed
more salary and veteran leadership hours before the NHL trading
deadline.

After acquiring Lukowich, the Devils then sent defenseman Sean Brown to the Vancouver Canucks for a draft pick.

On Wednesday night, the Islanders shipped forward Mark Parrish
and defenseman Brent Sopel to the Los Angeles Kings for defenseman
Denis Grebeshkov and left wing Jeff Tambellini, both former
first-round picks, and a conditional third-round pick in this
year's draft.

The Islanders are a long shot to make their fourth straight
postseason appearance as they entered Thursday seven points out of
a playoff spot with three teams ahead of them in the race for the
final position.

General manager Mike Milbury, who will give up the position once
a replacement is found, said Wednesday's deal was made with an eye
to the future but contended the club had not yet given up on this
season. The latest trade suggests otherwise.

By trading Lukowich and Sopel, the Islanders have shed two of the players brought in before this season to replace
departed defensemen Kenny Jonsson, Adrian Aucoin and Roman Hamrlik. That trio provided significant leadership on and off the ice that
hasn't been recouped.

Lukowich, a two-time Stanley Cup winner with Dallas and Tampa
Bay, signed a two-year deal with the Islanders last summer worth $2
million. He is the second defenseman acquired by New Jersey in two
days, joining Ken Klee, dealt by Toronto on Wednesday.

"Brad Lukowich provides additional depth and experience to our
defense,'' Devils coach and GM Lou Lamoriello said.

The Devils dealt Brown to the Canucks for a fourth-round
selection in this year's draft.

Vancouver is missing top-three defensemen Ed Jovanovski (abdominal surgery), Mattias Ohlund (ribs) and Sami Salo
(shoulder). Ohlund is about ready to return, but Jovanovski and
Salo likely are at least two weeks away from playing.

New Jersey, which has been close to the $39 million salary cap
all season, took the remainder of Brown's $450,000 salary off its
books. The 29-year-old veteran of nine NHL seasons can become an
unrestricted free agent after this season.

Brown, acquired as a free agent in July 2003, has 14 goals and
43 assists in 424 games with New Jersey, Boston and Edmonton. He
had one goal and 11 assists in 35 games this season.

In 57 games with the Islanders, Lukowich had one goal and 12
assists. He has 16 goals and 60 assists in 430 NHL games.