Flyers trade picks, prospect to Coyotes for Gauthier

VOORHEES, N.J. -- The Philadelphia Flyers bolstered their defense on Thursday, acquiring veteran Denis Gauthier from the Phoenix Coyotes hours before the trade deadline.

The Flyers sent a pair of second-round picks in this year's NHL draft and minor leaguer Josh Gratton to Phoenix for the 29-year-old
Gauthier. The hard-checking Gauthier adds depth along
Philadelphia's blue line, which has been depleted by injuries.

Defensemen Kim Johnsson (concussion) and Chris Therien (head)
remain sidelined and captain Derian Hatcher went out with a bruised
knee during a shootout victory Wednesday over Carolina.

Gauthier had 12 points and a minus-4 rating in 45 games with
Phoenix. He missed 17 games with finger and shoulder injuries this
year. Gauthier will be an unrestricted free agent at the end of the
season, and is making $1.33 million this year.

Gratton is an enforcer who has racked up 265 penalty minutes in
53 games with the AHL Philadelphia Phantoms this season. The
forward also has 19 points. He had no points and 14 penalty minutes
in three games with the Flyers.

Gauthier was a first-round pick (20th overall) by Calgary in
1995. He played seven seasons with the Flames before joining the
Coyotes this season. He has 70 points (15 goals, 55 assists) and
has a plus-11 rating in 429 career games.

Philadelphia, which was atop the NHL standings in mid-January,
has dropped to fifth place in the Eastern Conference, but trails
the Atlantic Division-leading New York Rangers by only one point.