Blues trade defensemen Salvador, Backman

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

ST. LOUIS -- The St. Louis Blues made two trade-deadline deals Tuesday aimed at improving a franchise that is getting younger.

The Blues parted with a pair of defensemen, sending Bryce Salvador to the Devils for physical forward Cam Janssen, and shipping Christian Backman to the Rangers for a fourth-round pick in this summer's Entry Draft. Neither deal is likely to help the Blues, in 12th place in the Western Conference and six points out of a playoff berth, make a run at the postseason.

Salvador, 31, can be an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season. The Blues signed another defenseman, Barret Jackman, 26, to a four-year, $14.4-million contract Monday night, opting to stick with the younger player.

"The defining factor was that one is quite a number of years older than the other," Blues team president John Davidson said. "We're going to have young defensemen eventually join our team. We also want to balance out defensive defensemen with offensive defensemen.

"It was a hard decision, but we decided to move forward."

Salvador was in his eighth season with the Blues.

"It was a shock today at the rink," Salvador said. "I didn't know if we were going to be signing a deal, or I was going to be traded. I kind of heard some things that were creeping up and was prepared."

Janssen, 23, played for the St. Louis Sting of the National American Hockey League in 2000-01 and was the Devils' fourth-round choice in the 2002 NHL Entry draft. He has not played this season because of a separated right shoulder, but was on a minor league rehab assignment at the time of the trade.

Janssen, from suburban Eureka, Mo., has one goal in 95 career games spanning three seasons. Davidson said Janssen, who is making $550,000 this season, would play an enforcer role on Thursday at home against Phoenix.

"You've got to protect your scorers. You have to protect your people," Davidson said.

Backman, 27, has one year at $3.4 million remaining on a three-year contract, but his salary cap hit for 2008-09 will be $2.3 million.

-- AP

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