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Brian Burke trades former first-rounder for tough-guy Westgarth

By Marcus Hondro     Dec 31, 2013 in Sports
The Calgary Flames' acting general manger and team president Brian Burke has a reputation for talking tough. He also has a reputation for liking tougher players and on Monday he went out and acquired one for his team.
Burke traded a former first-round draft pick (2008, 25th overall), Greg Nemisz, to the Carolina Hurricanes for hockey pugilist Kevin Westgarth. Westgarth, 29, played just 12 games for the Hurricanes this season, no points and 4 penalty minutes. His career numbers are 133 games, 3 goals, 6 assists, 9 points and 202 penalty minutes.
The undrafted Westgarth, expected to be in the line-up Tuesday when Calgary hosts the Philadelphia Flyers, began his NHL career with the Los Angeles Kings, where he played parts of 3 seasons. He was in the midst of his second season with Carolina.
When the Flames drafted Nemisz they were high expectations but the trade is a signal that the team feels he did not meet them. He's only played 15 games in a Calgary uniform, registering an assist. Burke said he tried to talk Carolina into other options but Nemisz is the player they wanted and he wanted a tough-guy enough to pull the trigger.
"It’s time for this team to get bigger, and I think this will help our smaller players," he told media. "Everybody, including our defence corps. We’ve got some smaller defencemen. It takes a lot of heat off the defence, and the forwards sure take less of a pounding this way.
"I think fear and toughness are both contagious.”
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