Sabres also deal with Thrashers

The Columbus Blue Jackets dealt forward Raffi Torres to the Buffalo Sabres for defenseman Nathan Paetsch and a second-round draft pick.

"It's just about expiring contracts and not having rights to
the players," Columbus general manager Scott Howson said. "When
you're in that situation, you have to make a decision. Are you
going to hang onto them?"

Torres, 28, who can become an unrestricted free agent July 1, scored 19 goals and added 12 assists for the Blue Jackets in 60 games this season. He will provide much-needed grit and offense to the Sabres' attack.

Torres joined the Blue Jackets from Edmonton in exchange for forward Gilbert Brule on July 1, 2008.

He, his wife and 3-month-old daughter will be moving to Buffalo, not far from his parents' home in suburban Toronto.

"They're a pretty good team, a team with a lot of skill," he said of the Sabres. "I'll do what I do best -- try to be physical and try to score some goals along the way."

The 26-year-old Paetsch has seven goals and 35 assists in 157 career NHL games.

Buffalo, fifth in the Eastern Conference standings, is only four points behind second-place New Jersey.

Also, the Sabres got 2010 third- and fourth-round draft picks from the Atlanta Thrashers in exchange for forward Clarke MacArthur.

Used mostly on the third line, MacArthur has 13 goals and 13 assists in 60 games this season. He is coming off a career-best season, when he had 17 goals and 14 assists in 71 games.

The Blue Jackets made a couple other moves, sending defenseman Mathieu Roy to Florida for University of
Michigan center Matt Rust.

Alexandre Picard, taken eighth overall in the 2004 draft, was dealt to Phoenix for another ex-Michigan player, winger Chad Kolarik.

And veteran forward Fredrik Modin, who waived a no-trade clause, was traded to Los Angeles for a conditional seventh-round pick. Modin, 35, has seen only limited action this season because of a series of injuries. The left winger has 222 goals and 225 assists in 838 career NHL games, but had just two goals and four assists in 24 games this season. Modin won a Stanley Cup with Tampa Bay in 2004.

Information from ESPN.com's Scott Burnside and The Associated Press was used in this report.