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Kings Trade Gilhen for Millen in Center Swap : Hockey: Two-time Olympian had only one goal in 11 games for Rangers and was playing in a minor league.

TIMES STAFF WRITER

Those waiting for the Kings to pull off a blockbuster, season-turning trade will have to continue waiting.

With the team slipping toward the bottom of the Smythe Division, General Manager Rogie Vachon had threatened to shake it up with a trade, hoping to obtain a second-line center.

Monday, he sent center Randy Gilhen to the New York Rangers for center Corey Millen.

But whether that will do more than shake up the Gilhen and Millen households remains to be seen.

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As does Millen’s ability to step in at center.

He hadn’t done that for the Rangers. When the trade was made, Millen, 27, was playing for the Binghamton Rangers, New York’s minor league affiliate.

In 11 games with New York this season, Millen had one goal and four assists. Over a two-year span, the veteran of two Olympic teams had appeared in 19 games, getting four goals and five assists.

“He has tremendous speed,” Vachon said. “He’s a Mike Donnelly-type player. He’s pretty clever with the puck, a playmaker. We hope he can come in and give us a boost.”

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The Kings, in a 1-7-2 slump, certainly need one.

With Bob Kudelski struggling as the center of the second line, the Kings were exploring obtaining a top player in a trade. But that would have cost them Tomas Sandstrom or Tony Granato.

Still, Vachon won’t rule out more moves.

“This doesn’t necessarily mean we are done,” Vachon said. “But it’s a start.”

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For at least their next game, Thursday against the San Jose Sharks, the Kings might leave Kudelski, who has 12 goals and 25 points in 33 games, as their second-line center and team Millen with Donnelly on the third line, making that a speed unit.

The Kings made several other roster moves Monday.

They sent center Sylvain Couturier and wing Sean Whyte to their Phoenix Roadrunner farm club and brought up defenseman Tim Watters and goalie David Goverde.

As for Gilhen, 28, who has three goals and nine points in 33 games, the season has been a moving experience. He went from the Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins to their opponent in the finals, the Minnesota North Stars, in the expansion draft, to the Kings in a trade and now to the Rangers.

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“It’s a tough thing to trade somebody two days before Christmas,” Vachon said.

“It’s a rotten job, but what can you do?”


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