ST. PAUL, Minn. – In need of centres, the Minnesota Wild traded defenceman Shawn Belle to Montreal for centre Corey Locke and signed minor-leaguer Krys Kolanos to a two-way contract on Friday.
Both young players have spent the majority of their careers in the American Hockey League. The 24-year-old Locke had 85 goals and 144 assists in four seasons with the Hamilton Bulldogs. He was Montreal’s fourth-round pick in 2003 and was a two-time MVP of the Ontario Hockey League.
Kolanos had 30 goals and 33 assists in 63 games for the Quad City Flames in the AHL last season. The 26-year-old has played in 115 career NHL games with Phoenix and Edmonton and scored the game-winning goal in overtime that lifted Boston College to the national title against North Dakota in 2001.
The Wild need centres after losing Pavol Demitra, who signed a two-year deal with Vancouver on Thursday. As it stands, Mikko Koivu, Eric Belanger and second-year player James Sheppard are the top three centres, with youngster Benoit Pouliot the favourite for the fourth spot.
The 23-year-old Belle had a goal and two assists in 63 games for the Houston Aeros last season.