Jackets trade Klesla, Byers to Coyotes for Upshall, Lepisto Staff

2/28/2011 2:22:44 PM

The Columbus Blue Jackets have traded defencemen Rostislav Klesla and minor-leaguer Dane Byers to the Phoenix Coyotes for Scottie Upshall and Sami Lepisto.

Klesla, 28, is a 10-year NHL veteran who's spent his entire career with the Blue Jackets. He has recorded three goals and seven assists with 26 penalty minutes in 45 games this season, and was fourth among Columbus defencemen in goals with three.

"It's a great opportunity," Klesla said on TSN. "I've heard good things about the team there. They're pretty tough to play against when I played them. It's pretty exciting. I'll try to do as much as I can to get them into the playoffs."

In 515 career games, the Novy Jicin, Czech Republic native has recorded 41 goals and 92 assists with 508 penalty minutes. Additionally, Klesla has appeared in four playoff games with the Blue Jackets, collecting an assist.

Klesla was drafted by Columbus in the first-round (4th overall) in the 2000 Entry Draft.

Byers, 25, has recorded 12 goals and 22 assists and 120 penalty minutes in 64 games this season with the Hartford Wolf Pack/Connecticut Whale and the Springfield Falcons. Byers has played in six career NHL games with the Rangers, posting one goal and 31 penalty minutes. He was originally drafted by the Rangers in the second round (48th overall) of the 2004 Entry Draft.

Upshall, 27, was drafted by the Nashville Predators in the first round (6th overall) of the 2002 NHL Entry Draft and spent three and a half seasons there before being packed out to the Flyers, along with Ryan Parent and two draft picks, for Peter Forsberg in Feb. 2007.

This season, the Fort McMurray, Alta., native has 16 goals and 11 assists over 61 games.

Lepisto is a 26-year-old blueliner with 131 NHL games under his belt. Drafted by the Washington Capitals in the third round (66th overall) in 2004, the Capitals traded him to the Coyotes for a fifth round selection in 2009. The Espoo, Finland, native has four goals and seven assists through 51 games this season.