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Islanders Trade Parrish, Sopel to Kings

March 9, 2006

NEW YORK (AP) _ The New York Islanders traded second-leading goal scorer Mark Parrish and defenseman Brent Sopel to the Los Angeles Kings on Wednesday night for two prospects.

Parrish, a U.S. Olympian, scored his 24th of the season on Tuesday in New York’s shootout victory over New Jersey. Sopel was scratched because the team said he had a bruised knee.

The Islanders are only seven points out of a playoff spot but they trail four teams in the Eastern Conference race.

So with 21 games remaining and the postseason a long shot, outgoing general manager Mike Milbury made a move to make the team younger and cheaper by acquiring defenseman Denis Grebeshkov and left winger Jeff Tambellini, both former first-round picks.

``This is a trade made undoubtedly with an eye on the future of our organization, but we’re also very comfortable putting Denis and Jeff right into our lineup and still making a run at the playoffs this season,″ said Milbury, who will give up his title once a replacement is found.

Tambellini is the son of former Islanders Stanley Cup winner Steve Tambellini, the Vancouver Canucks assistant GM who is a potential candidate to replace Milbury.

Grebeshkov, 22, was the Kings’ first-round pick in 2002, taken 18th overall. The 21-year-old Tambellini was chosen the following year with the 27th pick.

``Grebeshkov is an extremely talented two-way defenseman who will have a long career on the blue line for us,″ Milbury said. ``Tambellini is a fantastic skater and an exciting player with a lot of skill.″

Grebeshkov has spent most of the season with Manchester of the AHL, where he had two goals and 25 assists in 48 games. He had two assists in eight games with Los Angeles.

Tambellini was Manchester’s leading scorer this season with 25 goals and 56 points in 56 games. He had no points in four games with the Kings.

Both players are expected to join the Islanders for practice on Thursday.

``I’ve always followed the Islanders because of my dad’s link to their tradition. I’m so excited about the opportunity to be an Islander,″ Tambellini said in a statement.

New York also received a conditional third-round pick in this year’s draft.

The trade will help the Kings up front and on defense as they work to solidify their playoff position. Los Angeles is sixth in the Western Conference with 75 points but only four behind fourth-place Nashville.

Parrish only signed a one-year deal in the offseason and can become an unrestricted free agent in the offseason. In five seasons with the Islanders, he had 118 goals and 96 assists in 345 games.

A false report out of Canada on Monday had him traded away three days too soon. But when he scored Tuesday night, he seemed resigned to the fact that it might be his last one with the Islanders.

``My name’s been in rumors for a long time, so I’m kind of used to it, but it is in the back of my mind,″ he said.

Sopel was acquired last summer from Vancouver and then signed a two-year deal with the Islanders to avoid arbitration and keep from becoming a free agent after this season.

But he was shipped out after a disappointing 57-game stint in which he had two goals and 25 assists.

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