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Maple Leafs pick up veteran centre Travis Green off NHL waivers

"To the say the least, I'm excited," Green told The Canadian Press as he packed his bags in Anaheim. The injury-riddled Maple Leafs plucked the veteran forward off NHL waivers Wednesday from the Anaheim Ducks. He's earning US$500,000 this season and will be an unrestricted free agent July 1.

"You look around the league, I don't think there's a team I would feel more comfortable coming to than Toronto," said Green. "I loved my time there and I really look forward to it, hopefully getting a chance to help out in any way I can."

Green had 58 points (23-35) in 157 games with the Leafs in the 2000-01 and 2001-02 seasons.

The 36-year-old was hoping to catch a late flight to Buffalo and meet up with his new teammates Wednesday night. The Leafs play at Buffalo on Thursday.

A healthy veteran is a welcome sight for Toronto, currently deprived of forwards Mike Peca (broken leg), Darcy Tucker (foot), Kyle Wellwood (groin), Alexei Ponikarovsky (shoulder) and Nike Antropov (sprained ankle).

"We think Travis can come in and provide some stability and experience," said Leafs GM John Ferguson, also pointing out Green's faceoff skills. "He's played over 900 games and can solidify the forward group a little bit as we weather the storm here."

Green, a native of Castlegar, B.C., had one goal and one assist in seven games for the Ducks this season, struggling to make it into their potent lineup.

"I wish I had the answer, I really never got the chance," Green said of his frustrating but brief stay in Anaheim. "I only played four exhibition games and didn't play for the first 20 games of the season. I was a healthy scratch."

Green has 455 career points (193-262) in 946 regular-season games with Anaheim, Boston, Toronto, Phoenix and the New York Islanders, where he started his career.

To make room for Green, forward Erik Westrum was returned to the AHL's Toronto Marlies.

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