Hurricanes hope deal bolsters offense

RALEIGH, N.C. -- Desperate to fix a struggling offense, the
Carolina Hurricanes acquired right wing Justin Williams from the
Philadelphia Flyers for defenseman Danny Markov on Tuesday.

The Hurricanes rank last in the NHL with 86 goals and hope
Williams will help. He has six goals and 20 assists this season.

"Obviously there's not the right mix right now," Carolina
president and general manager Jim Rutherford said. "And we have to
do something to change that."

The Flyers were forced into the trade by a rash of injuries to
defenseman. Philadelphia was already in the market for a top-four
defenseman before losing three backliners in less than a week.

"It's our opinion that a top-four defenseman is more valuable
on our team than a third-line winger," Flyers general manager Bob
Clarke said.

Markov was in Philadelphia's starting lineup Tuesday for its
game with Montreal. He was on the ice for two goals against the
Flyers and when Simon Gagne scored Philadelphia's only goal in the
4-1 loss to the Canadiens.

"I was a little bit shocked, but I know it's part of the business," Markov said. "Nothing surprises me anymore in the NHL. I try not to think about it. I try just to concentrate on my game and play."

Williams, along with 23-year-old Simon Gagne, was supposed to
form the future foundation of the Flyers' offense.

"We certainly didn't want to give up Justin, but we didn't have
any choice," Clarke said.

Williams suited up for his new team Tuesday night, getting one
shot on goal in the Hurricanes' 3-1 loss to Ottawa. Williams, the
Flyers' first-round pick in 2000, played in all 47 games for
Philadelphia this season.

"The positive thing is I'm coming to a team that really wants
me here and I'm going to play here," Williams said after the game.
"I'm excited to turn a new page in my career."

The move brought an abrupt end to Markov's short tenure with
Carolina, which went to great lengths to acquire the 6-foot-1,
190-pound defenseman.

The Hurricanes traded former first-round picks David Tanabe and
Igor Knyazev to Phoenix on draft day. But it took a long time to
sign Markov, who threatened to play in Russia before coming on
board in August.

Markov had four goals and 10 assists in 44 games for Carolina,
which is next to last in the Southeast Division two years after
reaching the Stanley Cup finals.

"He's certainly a player that I would've preferred not to
trade," Rutherford said. "But in order to start to make changes,
it's not always the players that you want to trade that you're able
to trade."

Last year, Clarke said he would not trade Williams or Gagne for
older players, even for short-term help in the playoffs. But
Philadelphia had to make a move after losing three defensemen in
the last week.

"We thought our defense was one player short anyway, and we were
thinking somewhere down the line we'd have to get one for a playoff
run," Clarke said.

On Thursday, Dennis Seidenberg broke his left leg during at
practice and will be out at least three months.

Two days later, top defenseman Eric Desjardins was also injured
in a collision with teammate Jeremy Roenick, who missed while
attempting to check a Toronto player. Desjardins broke his right
forearm and will be out about two months.

"Had we had no injuries or one injury at this stage, we weren't
looking for a defenseman," Clarke said.

Philadelphia announced Monday that Marcus Ragnarsson will miss
up to two weeks with a sprained left rotator cuff. The Flyers
recalled John Slaney to take Ragnarsson's place.