Busy Blue Jackets add Gaborik at NHL trade deadline

| Wednesday, April 3, 2013, 9:45 p.m.

Marian Gaborik landed in Columbus, providing the trade-happy Blue Jackets' playoff push a nudge.

The purge in Buffalo continued, with the Sabres dealing captain Jason Pominville to Minnesota on Wednesday.

And even NHL Rookie of the Year candidate Cory Conacher wasn't an untouchable after Tampa Bay traded him to Ottawa in exchange for goalie Ben Bishop.

What began as a slow day in leading up to the NHL's mid-afternoon trading deadline, ended with a flourish as teams continued to jockey for playoff positioning with a little over three weeks to go in a lockout-shortened season.

When the dust settled, 23 teams completed 17 deals involving 30 players.

The Blue Jackets led the way with four trades in a bid to continue a late-season push.

Their most notable deal involved the Rangers, in which Columbus acquired Gaborik and defensemen Blake Parlett and Steven Delisle. In return, the Rangers received forwards Derek Dorsett and Derick Brassard, defenseman John Moore and a sixth-round pick in the 2014 draft.

Gaborik, who waived his no-trade clause, was the key for the Blue Jackets, who opened the day 11th in a tightly packed race for the Western Conference's eighth and final playoff spot.

Columbus swapped goalies with Philadelphia, sending Steve Mason to the Flyers in exchange for Michael Leighton and a third-round pick in the 2015 draft. The Blue Jackets also added forward Blake Comeau from Calgary in exchange for a fifth-round pick this year.

While the Blue Jackets continued their push for the playoffs, the Sabres are instead looking beyond this season. Buffalo, which has already fired its longtime coach Lindy Ruff, sits 12th in the East.

“Well, it's no fun being where we are,” general manager Darcy Regier said. “Maybe we could've stayed in the race. But the reality is that the preference was to build for a Stanley Cup versus a playoff run.”

In trading Pominville, their third core player in five days, the Sabres acquired two rookies — forward Johan Larsson and goalie Matt Hackett — a first-round pick in this year's draft and a second-rounder next year.

Pominville provides an immediate boost to the Wild, who opened the day tied with Vancouver for the Northwest Division lead.

The injury-depleted Senators got help by adding Conacher, whose 24 points (nine goals) put him second in the NHL rookie scoring race and immediately makes him Ottawa's leading scorer.

In other notable trades: Boston acquired veteran defenseman Wade Redden from St. Louis; and Nashville traded forwards Martin Erat and Michael Latta for promising Capitals forward Filip Forsberg.

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