Flyers acquire Prospal from Lightning Staff

2/25/2008 11:33:40 PM

Vaclav Prospal will be returning to the team that drafted him.

The Lightning have shipped Prospal to the Philadelphia Flyers for defensemen Alexandre Picard and a second or third round draft pick in 2009.

If Philadelphia qualifies for the 2008 Eastern Conference Finals Tampa Bay will receive Philadelphia's second-round pick in 2009, and if they do not the Lightning will receive Calgary's third-round pick in 2009.

The 33-year old Prospal has 29 goals and 57 points in 62 games for the Lightning this year.

"With the loss of forwards due to recent injuries, we felt that we needed to add some help to that position," Flyers GM Paul Holmgren said in a statement. "We believe that Vinny (Prospal) will bring experience with the ability to produce offence."

The trade certainly didn't comes as a surprise to Prospal, who has had his share of run-ins with Lightning coach John Tortorella.

"It is something that I kind of expected - not to go to Philadelphia - but being traded," Prospal said in a release. "My name has been mentioned all around the paper and there has been a lot of rumours.  They had a decision to make and they basically dealt me away.

"I am glad that I am going to an organization that I already have been involved with. Philadelphia is a great place to play because they have awesome fans and I was drafted by Philadelphia, so I am basically coming back to where I started."

In an interview following his two-goal game against the Canadiens, Prospal all but called out his coach. Prompting Tortorella to reply,

"I'm not here to be the happy man and make everybody happy. I'm here to make calls as far as the game is concerned."

Prospal will be an unrestriced free agent at the end of this season.

Picard, a native of Gatineau, Quebec, has played in 53 games with the Philadelphia Phantoms of the AHL, where he is second in scoring.

"Alexander Picard is a young prospect with good size and excellent hockey sense who has played in the NHL," said Lightning GM Jay Feaster. "We believe he has a significant amount of upside in his future. In moving Vaclav Prospal we wanted to add to our organizational depth, and by acquiring both a young defenseman and a future draft pick we were able to achieve that goal."

The 22-year-old was drafted by Philadelphia in the third-round, 85th overall, at the 2003 NHL Entry Draft.