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Blackhawks Trade Coffey for Emerson

December 30, 1998

CHICAGO (AP) _ The Chicago Blackhawks traded disappointing defenseman Paul Coffey on Tuesday to the Carolina Hurricanes for right wing Nelson Emerson.

Coffey, acquired from Philadelphia for a draft pick in the offseason, has been limited by a sore back and has no goals and four assists in 10 games this season.

``He’s still a very valuable player, ″ Hurricanes’ general manager Jim Rutherford said in a telephone interview from his home in West Palm Beach, Fla. ``With the number of teams now, it makes it easier for guys to play until they’re 40, and he has a long way to go before that.″

During his 19-year NHL career, Coffey, 37, has scored 383 goals and 1,094 assists. He needs just 18 points to pass Mario Lemieux for sixth place on the league’s career scoring list.

Coffey won the Norris Trophy as the league’s best defenseman in 1985, 1986 and 1995. He helped Edmonton and Pittsburgh win Stanley Cup championships, and led defensemen in scoring for eight seasons. He also played for Los Angeles, Detroit and Hartford.

``He is a skilled defenseman who can handle the puck and skate and he’ll really help our power play,″ Rutherford said. ``I don’t know where I would rank him (all-time on the power play), but I can tell you this _ he would be No. 1 on our team. He has upgraded our power play just by the fact that he’s on it.″

The Blackhawks hope Emerson, 31, can add some much-needed scoring punch. He has eight goals and 13 assists this season. His best season came in 1993-94, when he scored 74 points for the Winnipeg Jets. He also has played for St. Louis and Hartford.

During his nine-year career, Emerson has 159 goals and 249 assists.

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