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Thrashers Acquire Zhitnik From Philadelphia for Coburn

Saturday, Feb. 24th, 2007

The Atlanta Thrashers have acquired defenseman Alexei Zhitnik from the Philadelphia Flyers in exchange for defenseman Braydon Coburn, according to Executive Vice President and General Manager Don Waddell.

Zhitnik, who played in the NHL All-Star Game in 1999 and 2002, has notched 23 points (five goals, 18 assists) in 60 games with Philadelphia and the New York Islanders this season. The 5-11, 215-pound defenseman notched 11 points (two goals, nine assists) in 30 games with the Islanders before being acquired by the Flyers for Freddy Meyer and a conditional draft pick on Dec. 16, 2006. He has notched 12 points (three goals, nine assists) in 30 games since joining the Flyers.

The native of Kiev, Ukraine, has earned 448 points (91 goals, 357 assists) and 1,194 penalty minutes in 1,001 NHL games with Los Angeles, Buffalo, the Islanders and Philadelphia. Zhitnik became the eighth non-North American defenseman to reach 1,000 NHL games at Buffalo on Feb. 20. He notched 29 points (five goals, 24 assists) in 59 games with the Islanders last season, missing the final 18 games due to a fractured ankle suffered against New Jersey on March 14.

Zhitnik, 34, is seven points away from reaching at least 30 points for the ninth time in 13 NHL seasons. He registered a career-high 40 assists and 52 points with the Kings in 1993-94, and a career-best 15 goals with Buffalo in 1997-98. He has played in at least 70 games in a season 10 times in his career. Zhitnik has notched 39 points (nine goals, 30 assists) in 94 career Stanley Cup Playoff games, making two trips to the Stanley Cup Finals with the Kings in 1993 and the Sabres in 1998.

Zhitnik has represented Russia in International competition on five occasions, including the 1992 and 1998 Olympics, and the 1996 World Cup of Hockey. He helped the Russians capture the silver medal at the 1998 Olympics in Nagano, Japan.

Originally selected by Los Angeles in the fourth round, 81st overall, in the 1991 NHL Entry Draft, Zhitnik was acquired by Buffalo along with Robb Stauber, Charlie Huddy and a fifth-round selection in the 1995 NHL Draft (Marian Menhart) for Grant Fuhr, Philippe Boucher and Denis Tsygurov on Feb. 14, 1995. He signed with the Islanders as a free agent on Aug. 2, 2005.

Coburn recorded four assists and 30 penalty minutes in 29 games with Atlanta this season prior to being assigned to Chicago (AHL) on Feb. 7. He has earned 11 points (one goal, 10 assists) in 15 games with Wolves this season. The native of Calgary, Alberta, has registered five assists and 34 penalty minutes in 38 NHL games with Atlanta. Coburn was originally the club’s first-round draft pick, eighth overall, in the 2003 NHL Entry Draft.

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