NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The Nashville Predators eased
their logjam on defense Tuesday by trading Tomas Kloucek and
center Ben Simon to the Atlanta Thrashers for center Simon Gamache and defenseman Kirill Safranov.
Kloucek became the odd man out after Nashville signed
much-traveled defenseman Stan Neckar last week. He has one
assist in five games, missing 13 games due to shoulder and knee
Once considered a top prospect for the New York Rangers, the
23-year-old Czech has two goals, eight assists and 223 penalty
minutes in 103 games with New York and Nashville.
Atlanta needs help on defense after Yannick Tremblay was placed
on injured reserve, retroactive to Nov. 16, due to an ailing
foot that already has sidelined him for eight games.
Simon returns to the Thrashers' organization, for whom he played
four games over two seasons from 2002-03. The 25-year-old Ohio
native has a goal and three assists in 18 games this season
with Milwaukee of the American Hockey League. Both 22, Gamache
and Safronov were assigned to Milwaukee.
Gamache was fifth in the AHL in scoring last season.
He has played in four NHL games with Atlanta in the
last two seasons, and has one assist. And totaled five
goals and six assists in 16 games with Chicago of the AHL.
Safronov joins his third organization in as many years. A
former first-round draft pick of the Phoenix Coyotes, he had a
goal and four assists in 21 games with the AHL's Chicago Wolves.
He has appeared in 35 NHL games over three seasons
with Atlanta and Phoenix, scoring two goals and two assists.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.