PHILADELPHIA -- The Philadelphia Flyers traded versatile forward R.J. Umberger to the Columbus Blue Jackets during the first round of the 2008 NHL Entry Draft.
The Flyers received the Blue Jackets first round pick (19th overall) and third round pick (67th overall). The Blue Jackets also received the Flyers' fourth round pick (119th overall) in the deal.
Umberger, a graduate of Plum High School, was a restricted free agent that the Flyers were having difficulty re-signing because of the salary cap. The Blue Jackets will now have exclusive negotiating rights with Umberger until July 1, when other teams can make a contract offer that the Blue Jackets would have to match or risk losing him.
Umberger, 25, had his best season as a professional in 2007-08 with Philadelphia, amassing 50 points (13G, 37A) in 74 games played. In the playoffs, Umberger led the Flyers in goals with 10 and was second on the team in points with 15 in 17 games.
Umberger will be in familiar surroundings in Columbus, having attended the Ohio State University. He will also be re-united with Ken Hitchcock, who coached him for parts of two seasons with the Flyers.
Originally drafted in the first round of the 2002 NHL draft by the Vancouver Canucks, Umberger never signed with the Canucks, sitting out an entire season due to a contract dispute. When Vancouver couldn't sign him, they traded him to the New York Rangers, who never attempted to sign him. He was signed as a free agent by the Flyers in 2004.
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