HARTFORD, Conn. -- The Hartford Whalers today traded center Rick MacLeish to the Pittsburgh Penguins for defenseman Russ Anderson and future considerations.
MacLeish, 31, was acquired from the Philadelphia Flyers only last summer by Hartford, which is in last place of the NHL's Adams Division with a 9-17-9 record.
Larry Pleau, Whaler head coach and director of hockey operations, said the trade for Anderson, 26, was made to give the Whalers more 'physical toughness on defense.'
Anderson, a six-year veteran who was the Penguin's second round choice in 1975, wasexpected to join the Whalers for tonight's game against St. Louis.
MacLeish, who turns 31 this weekend, spent 11 years with the Philadelphia Flyers before being traded to Hartford. In 34 games this year he had six goals, 16 assists and 22 points. MacLeish will be in Pittsburgh in time for Wednesday night's game against Washington.
Anderson this year had one assist and 98 penalty minutes in 31 games.
Pleau said he was hopeful the 6-foot-3, 210 pound Anderson would give the Whalers the defensive power sorely lacking in the team's performance so far this season.
'Although Mac(Leish) tried very hard here, it just didn't work out,' said Pleau. 'In Philadelphia, he had the wings that were getting him the puck and I'm sure that he will be better off in Pittsburgh.'
MacLeish, a Cannington, Ontario, native, was originally Boston's first round draft pick in 1970 but he never played for the Bruins, being traded to Philadelphia in the middle of his rookie season.
MacLeish played on two Stanley Cup winners with the Flyers in his second and third years, leading all playoff scorers each year with 22 points in 1974 and 20 points in 1975.