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Ryan Dingle

Ryan Dingle

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The Ducks stole the headlines at Friday's NHL entry draft, trading defenseman Chris Pronger to Philadelphia in a blockbuster deal after getting assurance from Scott Niedermayer that he intends to play for the Ducks again next season.

The top five picks went as expected, despite rumors of possible surprises on the draft floor in Montreal.

The first round was conducted today and rounds two through seven will be conducted Saturday.� Scott Niedermayer tells Ducks he will be...

The New York Islanders took Ontario Hockey League scoring sensation John Tavares, the Tampa Bay Lightning took Swedish defenseman Victor Hedman, the Colorado Avalanche chose Matt Duchene of Brampton of the Ontario Hockey League, Atlanta chose power forward Evander Kane and the Kings, drafting fifth, chose center Brayden Schenn of Brandon of the Western Hockey League.

Schenn, whose brother, Luke, was chosen fifth by Toronto last season, scored 32 goals and 56 points in 70 games last season.

Whatever happens to Schenn, a 6-foot, 198-pounder who's said to be gritty and have good puck skills, the Kings can know they disappointed Maple Leafs General Manager Brian Burke.

He had hoped to unite the Schenns in Toronto and wore a look of disgust when the Kings grabbed Brayden Schenn.

But it was the Ducks' big move that caused a huge stir, a deal that helps them in several areas.

It was made possible when Niedermayer informed them he wants to play for them next season, though he must still agree on a new contract.

Knowing they will have Niedermayer to stabilize their defense and Ryan Whitney to serve as a secondary puck-moving defenseman, they were able to trade Pronger.

They also sent prospect Ryan Dingle to the Flyers and in return got right wing Joffrey Lupul -- whom the Ducks had traded to Edmonton in 2006 to get Pronger -- defenseman Luca Sbisa, who was chosen by the Flyers 19th overall in last year's draft, the Flyers' first-round picks this season and next and a conditional draft pick in 2010 or 2011.

Ducks GM Bob Murray was to address reporters after the first round ended.

Kings GM Dean Lombardi said the Ducks "got back what they paid for him and more" in the Pronger trade.

"As a franchise, it's a heck of a use of an asset," he said.

"That's an impressive deal." The Ducks got younger -- Lupul is 25, to Pronger's 34 -- they got much-needed second-line scoring and they get salary cap help.

Lupul's salary cap hit is $4.25 million per year through the 2012-13 season, and Pronger would have caused a hit of $6.25 million next season.

He also likely would have wanted an extension beyond that, and he may have started working that out with the Flyers.

Lupul doesn't have to worry about house hunting: he never sold the home he bought in Newport Beach while he played for the Ducks, and he reportedly got the news of his return while in Orange County.

The Ducks now have salary cap space to re-sign restricted free agent defenseman James Wisniewski, who was a positive force for them after they acquired him at mid-season.

They can also fortify their depth with their own draft pick (15th), the pick they got from the Flyers (21st) and the first-round pick they'll also get from the Flyers in 2010.

Sbisa, who was born in Italy, had no goals and seven assists with the Flyers in 39 games last season but also played for Lethbridge of the Western Hockey League and for the Flyers' American Hockey League affiliate.

He's 6-foot-2 and 190 pounds and played in the Swiss National A League before coming to North America.

Lombardi joked that making Burke angry "was the main reason" he took Schenn.

In a more serious vein, he said Schenn's top attribute is competitiveness.

"He's a playoff-type player .



that's certainly what we liked about him," Lombardi said.

Lombardi also said it was fair to say any chance of the Kings making a deal with Ottawa for Dany Heatley was dead.

"We know at some point we're going to want to make a fairly significant move," he said, "but I believe at certain dollars you not only have to be a heck of a player but let's say there can't be certain questions." That last remark referred to Heatley requesting to be traded by his first team, Atlanta, and then again by Ottawa.helene.ellio[email protected],1,1812170.column
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