The Atlanta Thrashers have acquired defenseman Anssi Salmela (AN-see sahl-MEHL-ah) from the New Jersey Devils in exchange for defenseman Niclas Havelid and forward Myles Stoesz, according to Executive Vice President and General Manager Don Waddell.
Salmela, 24, has recorded three assists in 17 games with the Devils this season, while adding 24 points (eight goals, 16 assists) in 38 games with Lowell of the American Hockey League. The 5-11, 190-pound defenseman, who is in his first professional season in North America, made his NHL debut with New Jersey on Oct. 10 against the N.Y. Islanders and earned his first career NHL point with an assist on Nov. 12 vs. the N.Y. Rangers.
The Nokia, Finland native posted an assist in his first AHL game on Oct. 17 vs. Manchester and scored his first goal on Dec. 3 vs. Springfield. He earned a season-high five-game point streak from Nov. 1 to Dec. 7, recording six points (three goals, three assists). Salmela earned six points (two goals, four assists) over a three game stretch from Feb. 14-25, including a season-high three points (one goal, two assists) on Feb. 15 vs. Portland.
Prior to his North American career, Salmela recorded 77 points (36 goals, 41 assists) in 218 SM-Liiga (Finland) games with Tappara Tampere and Lahti Pelicans. He set Finnish career-highs for points (32), goals (16) and assists (16) in 56 games with Tappara during the 2007-08 season.
Salmela, who represented Finland at the 2004 World Junior Championships and 2008 World Championships, was signed as a free agent by New Jersey on May 30, 2008.
Havelid, 35, has appeared in 63 games with the Thrashers this season, posting 15 points (two goals, 13 assists). The Stockholm, Sweden, native has appeared in 303 games with Atlanta since being acquired from Anaheim for Kurtis Foster on June 26, 2004, posting 82 points (10 goals, 72 assists).
The 6-0, 200-pound defenseman has recorded 167 points (34 goals, 133 assists) in 613 career NHL games with Anaheim and Atlanta.
Stoesz, 22, has recorded seven points (four goals, three assists) and 158 penalty minutes in 43 games this season with the Gwinnett Gladiators of the ECHL. The Steinbach, Manitoba, native has appeared in 107 career games with the Gladiators, recording 13 points (eight goals, five assists) and 449 penalty minutes.
Prior to his professional career, Stoesz recorded 24 points (nine goals, 15 assists) and 855 penalty minutes in 235 junior hockey games with Spokane, Chilliwack and Regina of the Western Hockey League from 2003 to 2007. He was originally selected by the Thrashers in the seventh round, 207th overall, of the 2005 NHL Entry Draft.