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Thrashers acquire Robitaille; Ferraro back with Bruins
 
By BUD BARKER
Journal Sports Writer

BOSTON -- The Boston Bruins lost forward Peter Ferraro to the Atlanta Thrashers in the 1999 Expansion Draft yesterday at the FleetCenter, then traded Randy Robitaille to Atlanta and got him back.

The Thrashers originally were interested in Boston backup goaltender Robbie Tallas, but the Bruins persuaded them pass up the Bruins goalie and opt for the Ferraro/Robitaille exchange.

Atlanta took goaltenders Trevor Kidd from Carolina, Detroit's Norm Maracle and Corey Schwab from Tampa Bay.

Ferraro, 26, just completed his sixth professional season, and his first with the Bruins. Drafted in 1992 by the New York Rangers, Ferraro played his college hockey at the University of Maine, and played for the U.S. National and Olympic teams before turning pro in 1994.

``Peter proved a versatile player for us this season, and he was an excellent player for Providence during their Calder Cup run,'' said Bruins president Harry Sinden. ``We realize that we are giving up a solid prospect in Randy Robitaille, but Ferraro is at a stage of his career where he is better able to step in when needed, and we feel that he is a better fit with our club at this time.''

Robitaille was not offered in the draft because first- and second-year pros are exempt from expansion drafts.

Keeping Tallas was the Bruins' main concern.

``We didn't want to lose a goalie,'' general manager Mike O'Connell said.  ``We didn't want to go out and look for another goaltender.

``We like Robbie, and we look for him to play as many games as he did last year, or more,'' he said.

Tallas played in 17 games for the Bruins last season.

Robitaille, 23, was the leading scorer for the Providence Bruins this season. He played in 74 games, scoring 28 goals with 74 assists for 102 points. He had six goals and 14 assists in the P-Bruins' playoff run to the Calder Cup title.

He played in four games with Boston, managing two assists.

``You never want to lose a player that you think is going to help you,''  O'Connell said. But Tallas was more important than Robitaille. O'Connell figures Robitaille will be a center on a top line someday, but the Bruins
already have Joe Thornton and Jason Allison at the position. ``They are pretty young, and we have some young players coming up, as well,'' he said.

O'Connell said Boston has talented forwards in Providence (Cameron Mann, Andre Savage, Antti Laaksonen and Eric Nickulas). Because of that, O'Connell said the Bruins could make a move that would allow them to keep Tallas.

``It looks like some of these kids have bright futures, and Robitaille is one of them,'' O'Connell said, ``but we figured we had to keep a goaltender we knew could play in the National Hockey League.''

With Tallas backing up Byron Dafoe and John Grahame in Providence, O'Connell feels the Bruins' goaltending is in good hands.

Providence Bruins coach Peter Laviolette had plenty of praise for Ferraro.

``Peter was great for (Boston) and a good player for Providence,'' he said.  ``He did a great job for us in the playoffs. He came down (from Boston) with a great attitude.''

Boston is ready for today's entry draft, in which it has the 21st pick in the first round.

O'Connell said the Bruins have had talks with several other teams about moving up or down in the draft, which begins at noon.

``This is the first draft in a while where there is no clear cut 1, 2 or 3 pick. But when it gets to the 10th pick, we will have an idea if we want to move either way,'' he said.

``We have tried to cover all the bases. If a player we really like is gone, we have Plan B. A couple of teams have expressed interest in our pick, and we have expressed interest in some other teams' picks,'' O'Connell said.

The success of the Providence Bruins has been a plus for Boston. ``It's a huge bonus for us, because we have some good, young players coming up, and it definitely makes a difference in who we are picking and what we are looking for,'' O'Connell added.

Atlanta chose a player from each of the 26 NHL teams (Nashville, last year's expansion team, did not lose a player), picking 10 defensemen, 3 goaltenders and 13 forwards.

Copyright 1999 The Providence Journal Company

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