Penguins acquire veteran LW Roberts from Panthers

Feb 27, 2007 - 6:12 PM SUNRISE, Florida (Ticker) -- Gary Roberts has given his seal of approval.

The Pittsburgh Penguins acquired the veteran power forward from the Florida Panthers for defenseman Noah Welch just four hours before Tuesday's trade deadline.

A deal had been worked out between the teams on Monday, but the 40-year-old Roberts has a no-trade clause in his contract and needed to waive it in order for the deal to go through.

It was believed that Roberts would be willing to waive the clause only for a trade to either Toronto or Ottawa.

The left wing joins a team which ranks fifth in the conference with 75 points and features centers Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and Jordan Staal.

Roberts signed a two-year deal worth $4.5 million with the Panthers in the summer of 2005. Slowed by groin problems, he was limited to 58 games in his first season with Carolina and recorded 14 goals and 26 assists.

This season, Roberts had 13 goals and 16 assists in 50 games.

The 12th overall pick by Calgary in 1984, Roberts has 424 goals and 451 assists in 1,137 career games with the Flames, Carolina Hurricanes, Toronto Maple Leafs and Panthers.

Welch, 24, has played in 22 games with the Penguins this season, recording one goal and one assist with 22 penalty minutes. He had five goals and 16 assists in 27 games for Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, the Penguins' American Hockey League affiliate.

"Noah is a young, physical, mobile, high-character defenseman who fits the mold of the player that our organization strives to acquire," Panthers general manager Jacques Martin said. "He further solidifies our needs along the blue line, as he will be able to log significant minutes along with Jay Bouwmeester, Bryan Allen, Ruslan Salei and Mike Van Ryn.

"His strong leadership skills, keen ability to read the ice and sensational work ethic makes him the ideal player who will be a vital part of our organization's success."

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