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Griffins, Crunch complete trade of forwards

The Grand Rapids Griffins on Monday acquired veteran center Ben Simon in a trade with the AHL’s Syracuse Crunch for right wing Ryan Keller.

Simon, 28, has appeared in 81 NHL games with Atlanta and Columbus over the last six seasons, including 52 with the Thrashers just three seasons ago. The former Notre Dame star and Chicago Blackhawks draft pick won championships during each of his first two professional campaigns, capturing the IHL’s final Turner Cup with Orlando in 2001 and a Calder Cup with Chicago in 2002, and he helped the Wolves return to the Calder Cup Finals in 2005.

After tallying 21 points (9g, 12a) in 56 games with Syracuse this season, Simon shows 149 points (60g, 89a) and 363 penalty minutes in 336 career AHL contests.

He is expected to make his Grand Rapids debut on Wednesday, when the Griffins pay a 7:05 p.m. visit to the Rochester Americans.

Keller, 23, joined the Griffins late last season, and logged 17 points (9g, 8a) and 26 PIM in 38 games with Grand Rapids this season.

A second-year pro, Keller played four junior seasons with Saskatoon of the Western Hockey League, leading the Blades with 40 goals and 73 points in 2004-05.