Flyers, Blackhawks make swap

The Philadelphia Flyers have acquired right wing Matt Ellison and a third-round pick in the 2006 NHL Entry Draft from the Chicago Blackhawks in exchange for forward Patrick Sharp and right wing Eric Meloche.

Ellison, 22, has recorded three goals and nine assists for 12 points in 26 games for the Blackhawks this season. In 36 career NHL regular-season games, Ellison has registered three goals and 10 assists for 13 points.

During the 2004-05 season, Ellison registered 14 goals and 37 assists for 51 points in 71 games for Chicago’s American Hockey League affiliate, the Norfolk Admirals. He led the Admirals in assists and was second on the team in points.

“We felt that with all the injuries we have had that Matt (Ellison) would bring more versatility to our lineup,” said Flyers GM Bob Clarke in making the announcement. “He can play center and wing. We always felt that Patrick (Sharp) was a better center. We have lots of centers, even though we have some injuries right now. We just felt that Matt was a better fit for our team, although we realize that we gave up a good young player.”

“We addressed a need we had for speed and skill in getting Patrick Sharp,” said Blackhawks GM Dale Tallon. “Sharp is a good skater and a solid two-way player who fits into our plans for the future. We hated to give up Matt Ellison, but Patrick Sharp gives us that dimension of speed and skill that we need.”

Sharp, 23, recorded five goals and three assists for eight points in 22 games for the Flyers this season. In 66 career NHL games, he registered 10 goals and five assists.

Sharp was the second-leading scorer in the AHL during the 2005 postseason, recording 21 points and helping the Philadelphia Phantoms to the Calder Cup championship.

Meloche, 29, is the son of former Blackhawks goaltender Gilles Meloche. He has posted three points and 16 penalty minutes in 10 games for the Phantoms this season. In 332 career AHL games, Meloche has recorded 68 goals and 90 assists for 158 points, and he was a member of the Phantoms’ championship team in 2004-05.