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  • Wednesday, June 7, 2000

    Avalanche trade backup goalie to Columbus

     DENVER (AP) -- Colorado Avalanche goalie Marc Denis, a former first-round draft pick who served as the backup to Patrick Roy, was traded to the expansion Columbus Blue Jackets on Wednesday for the 32nd pick in this month's NHL draft.

     Denis, 22, went 9-8-3 with three shutouts in 1999-00, his first full season with the Avalanche. He played sparingly late in the year as Roy pursued Terry Sawchuk's career victory mark of 447. Roy has won 444 regular season games.

     "The past years have proven to us that a draft pick could be very valuable for the future of this hockey club," Colorado general manager Pierre Lacroix said. "(With) the depth of our goaltending and with the expansion draft coming very soon, we had to do something regarding our goaltending situation."

     The Avalanche risked losing Denis in the upcoming expansion draft, which will require all NHL teams to make players available to the Blue Jackets and Minnesota Wild, who will begin play this fall.

     Roy, 34, has one season remaining on a two-year, $15 million contract, and the Avalanche have two young goaltenders playing for the Hershey Bears, their minor league affiliate.

     David Aebischer, Colorado's seventh-round draft pick in 1997, was 29-23-2 with a 3.31 goals-against average for Hershey last season. The 22-year-old from Switzerland shared time with 24-year-old Frederic Cassivi, who was 14-9-3 with a 3.01 GAA.

     Also Wednesday, the Blue Jackets signed free agent right wings David Vyborny and Martin Spanhel, members of the Czech Republic team that won the gold medal at the recent world championships.

     Vyborny was the third-leading scorer in the world championships at St. Petersburg, Russia, with 10 points in nine games, while Spanhel had two points during the tournament.

     During the regular season in the Czech Extra League, Vyborny led Sparta Praha to the championship with 63 points in 50 games, ranking him second in the league in scoring. Spanhel finished with 48 points in 52 games for Keramika Pizen in the same league.

     Vyborny was drafted by the Edmonton Oilers in 1993 and Spanhel by the Philadelphia Flyers in 1995. Both played one season in North America, then returned to Europe.

    COLORADO AVALANCHE



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