Rostislav Klesla had been with the Columbus Blue Jackets since their inception. Taken fourth overall back in the 2000 NHL Entry Draft, the Czech defenseman played in 515 games over parts of 10 seasons.
Like most roster-player-for-roster-player trades, Klesla moves from the Blue Jackets mainly because he is due for a change in scenery.
After entering the NHL at only 18-years-old this now-28-year-old averaged only 52 games per season and never developed his offensive side. At no point has he hit 10 goals or more or even managed more than 22 points, classifying him as a defensive-minded player.
Luckily for Rusty, he will now play for a defensive-minded organization as the Blue Jackets send their longest tenured player as well as minor-leaguer Dane Byers in exchange for Scottie Upshall and Sami Lepisto.
In Upshall, the Blue Jackets receive a versatile forward who is capable of playing a scoring role on the team. After scoring 18 goals in 49 games last season, the 27-year-old potted 16 goals in through 61 games. With injuries to Derick Brassard and Kristian Huselius, the Blue Jackets could use another player to fit in that role.
The move, like most made by GM Scott Howson, brings two young, developing players who are under 30 to Columbus — which clearly fits his MO.
Clearly, Klesla was not helping his cause by missing the majority of last season and missing every game since January 22nd. Upshall and to a lesser degree Lepisto will help Columbus while Phoenix further tries to replace Ed Jovanovski.
In summary… (line changes)
Coyotes: Lepisto found himself on mostly the second and third pairings in Phoenix. He will be replaced by Klesla in the top four.
Blue Jackets: Klesla was not currently in the lineup so he will not need his spot replaced. Lepisto and newly-claimed Craig Rivet both are on the outside looking on on the blue line. Expect Upshall to push Derek MacKenzie off of the second line and possibly push him to the fourth line. One of Andrew Murray or MacKenzie will sit.
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