Seeking to upgrade their offense for a late push for a playoff spot, the Columbus Blue Jackets acquired three-time 40-goal scorer Marian Gaborik from the New York Rangers just prior to Wednesday's trade deadline.
The Blue Jackets will send three players -- center Derick Brassard, defenseman John Moore and injured wing Derek Dorsett -- to New York in exchange for Gaborik, who ranked third in the NHL with 41 goals last season but has managed just nine in 35 games thus far this year.
Gaborik has recorded 30 or more goals in seven of his 12 NHL seasons, however, and will be joining a Columbus team that's currently just one point out of a playoff spot but ranks 28th in the league with 83 goals.
The Rangers, ironically, are last in the NHL with 79 goals, but will receive some needed salary cap flexibility with the move. Gaborik is due $7.5 million in 2013-14, the final season of a five-year, $37.5 million contract he signed with New York prior to the 2009-10 campaign.
Brassard will have a $3.2 million cap hit in 2013-14, with Dorsett to count 1.63 million over the next two years. Moore is on an entry-level contract.
While Gaborik produced a pair of outstanding seasons with the Rangers -- he netted 42 goals and a career-high 86 points during his first one with the club in 2009-10 -- the streaky veteran has scored just twice in his last 22 contests and was benched by head coach John Tortorella on several ocassions for defensive lapses. The 31-year-old agreed to waive his no-trade clause to facilitate the deal.
Gaborik figures to see top minutes on a surging Columbus squad that's gone 10-2-3 since March 3 to vault back into playoff contention.
The Blue Jackets also added forward Blake Comeau in a separate trade with Calgary, with Columbus shipping a fifth-round pick in the 2013 draft to the Flames.
Comeau, 27, had four goals and three assists along with a minus-nine rating in 33 games this season.
Brassard, the sixth overall pick in the 2006 draft, ranked third among Blue Jackets with seven goals and 18 points at the time of the trade. The 25-year- old Quebec native had compiled 58 goals and 169 points over 309 games during his six seasons in Columbus.
Moore is also a former first-round choice, taken 21st overall by the Blue Jackets in the 2009 draft. The 22-year-old tallied a pair of goals and five assists over 67 games in 2011-12, his first full season in the NHL, but has been limited to just 17 contests due to a shoulder injury this year and mustered only one assist.
Dorsett is out for the remainder of the season after fracturing his clavicle in early March. The rugged wing led the NHL with 235 penalty minutes while contributing a career-high 12 goals in 2001-12.