<
>

Predators send Vasicek back to Carolina

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The Nashville Predators swapped centers
Friday with the Carolina Hurricanes, sending back Josef Vasicek for
Eric Belanger.

In July, the Predators traded Scott Walker to Carolina to get
Vasicek, adding size at center behind Jason Arnott. But the
26-year-old Vasicek had only 13 points in 38 games and was having
trouble working his way onto the ice.

Belanger, 29, has 20 points in 56 games this season, with eight
goals and 12 assists. He also ranks second on the Hurricanes in
winning face-offs with a 53.4 percent rate, which is something the
Predators wanted to improve.

The 6-foot, 195-pound center, sent to Carolina in trade during
training camp, spent his first five NHL seasons with Los Angeles
and had career highs in goals (17), assists (20) and points (37)
last season.