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Maple Leafs Trade Beauchemin, Acquire Lupul, Prospect and Draft Pick

The first trade leading up to this year's NHL trade deadline appears to have been made as the Toronto Maple leafs have shipped defenceman Francois Beauchemin back to the Anaheim Ducks in exchange for forward Joffrey Lupul, defensive prospect Jake Gardiner and a conditional 2013 fourth-round draft pick.

"I'm excited to get back in a playoff race. I never really wanted to leave Anaheim," Beauchemin told TSN on Wednesday. "It's been a frustrating season. We just couldn't get any consistency."

Beauchemin, 30, signed with the Maple Leafs as a free agent in the summer of 2009 after helping lead the Ducks to the Stanley Cup in 2007. He has one more year remaining on his contract at $3.8 million.

He has struggled with the Maple Leafs season, scoring two goals and 10 assists in 54 games.

Lupul, 27, missed the first 24 games of the season after undergoing back surgery during the off-season. In 26 games this season, the Fort Saskatchewan, Alberta native has five goals and eight assists, putting him on pace for 10 goals and 16 assists.

In 421 career regular season games, Lupul has 117 goals and 121 assists for 238 points. Maple Leafs general manager Brian Burke expects him to be a top-six forward. He also looks forward to other traits Lupul will bring to the team.

"He brought character and integrity to our organization," Burke said during a press conference on Wednesday afternoon.

As for Gardiner, Burke also expects him to make a positive impact, but not for a while yet.

"He's a real good skater. We project him as a top four defenceman," said Burke. "He's not ready yet. We'll see what happens as far as his future at Wisconsin, we'll deal with that at the end of the season."

Gardiner, 20, was drafted 17th overall by the Ducks when Burke was Anahiem's GM in 2008. He has seven goals and 23 assists in 30 games for the University of Wisconsin this season.

As far as an immediate replacement on the back end goes, Burke plans on re-calling defenceman Kieth Aulie from the Toronto Marlies.

"As soon as we get a roster spot we're calling up Keith Aulie, and we expect him to be here for a while," said Burke. "That's part of the youth movement I think will become clear."

The AHL All-Star has three goals and six assists in 36 games with the Marlies this season. He has also appeared in 12 games for the Leafs this season, collecting no points while going minus-5.

Burke also expects to make a few more moves before the deadline.

"You can expect more moves. We're not done. We have a number of things on the go, nothing is imminent at this point, that of course can change with phone calls."

Don't miss a single blog post by following me on Twitter @LukasHardonk for more Maple Leafs coverage, including news, rumours and game updates.


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