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Friday, March 15
Leafs give up draft pick for Barrasso

Associated Press

RALEIGH, N.C. -- The Carolina Hurricanes, who added young goaltender Kevin Weekes to their roster 10 days ago, traded veteran Tom Barrasso to the Toronto Maple Leafs on Friday for a fourth-round draft pick.

Tom Barrasso

The move, made four days before the trade deadline, restores Arturs Irbe's position as the team's No. 1 goaltender, a spot he shared with Barrasso through most of this season.

"This cleans up our goaltending situation and structures it better, with Kevin being in his mid-20s," general manager Jim Rutherford said. Irbe has "basically been there the last little while. He's played the majority of games."

He said the fourth-round draft pick could become a third-round pick under certain circumstances.

Irbe and Barrasso played in the Olympics -- Irbe as the starter for Latvia and Barrasso in one game for the United States.

Since the Olympic break, Barrasso started only once -- a 2-2 tie with the Chicago Blackhawks on March 5, the same day the Hurricanes acquired Weekes, 26, from Tampa Bay. Weekes has not played at all since the trade.

The trade "gives us the opportunity over the next few days to see if there are any other changes necessary," Rutherford said. "Certainly, Archie's been our guy, but both guys will get an opportunity to play."

The Hurricanes' next game is Saturday night in Montreal.

Since No. 1 Curtis Joseph broke a finger Feb. 26, the Maple Leafs have been looking for a veteran goaltender to share the load with backup Corey Schwab.

"We had two young goalies that we didn't want to have to rush into the gap. We've had outstanding goaltending from Corey," said Bill Watters, the assistant to the president for the Leafs. "If Corey gets hurt, we're in big trouble, so we had to insure ourselves against a number of possibilities: A. Corey getting hurt; B. Curtis not being ready by the end of the season."

Barrasso, who turns 37 on March 31, signed a one-year contract with the Hurricanes last July as the team sought relief for Irbe, who had played in 77 of 82 regular season games in the 2000-01 season.

He was 13-12-5 this season with a 2.61 goals-against average and a .906 save percentage.

"Tom was a true professional with us, and we really appreciate what he's done," Rutherford said.

The Leafs and Hurricanes started talking about this deal early in the month at the GM meetings in Naples, Fla.

"Our preference would have been to get a player in return but based on the market right now and the depth of teams it was obvious that we weren't going to in a deal like this," Rutherford said.

Hurricanes head coach Paul Maurice told Barrasso the news at Friday morning's practice.

The 17-year NHL veteran can be an unrestricted free agent at the end of this season.

Barrasso started his career with Buffalo, winning the Calder Trophy as rookie of the year and the Vezina Trophy as top goaltender in 1984. He was traded to Pittsburgh in 1988, where he and Carolina captain Ron Francis were teammates in the Penguins' 1990-91 and 1991-92 Stanley Cup-winning seasons.

Barrasso was traded from Pittsburgh to Ottawa in March 2000, but performed below expectations and sat out the 2000-01 season without a contract.

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