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BOSTON (AP) - The Bruins acquired Paul Mara from the Phoenix Coyotes for Nick Boynton on Monday in a trade of defensemen.

Boston also received a third-round draft choice which it can take next year or in 2008. The Bruins sent a fourth-round pick to Phoenix.

Mara, who agreed to terms on a two-year contract with the Bruins, is more of an offensive player than Boynton. He can excel in the new NHL because his game features speed and fine skating.

"He plays a lot of minutes in all situations and his style of play fits today's game," Bruins interim general manager Jeff Gorton said.

Mara, 26, has played seven NHL seasons after starting his career with Tampa Bay at the end of the 1998-99 campaign. He was traded to Phoenix in March 2001, posting career highs of 15 goals and 47 points in 78 games last season. Mara has 52 goals and 178 points in 424 career games.

Boynton, 27, had five goals and 12 points in 54 games last season with the Bruins.

"You need only look at the physical components of the elite teams in the Western Conference to know that the addition of a young, hard-nosed, two-way defenseman is a plus for our hockey club," Coyotes GM Michael Barnett said.

The Bruins also made qualifying offers to top two scorers, Patrice Bergeron and Brad Boyes, and seven other players on Monday.That gives the team the right to match any offers the restricted free agents receive.

Defensemen Andrew Alberts, Milan Jurcina and David Tanabe, forwards Nathan Robinson and Martin Samuelsson, and goalie Jordan Sigalet were all given qualifying offers.

Boynton also received one before the deal, while goalie Andrew Raycroft was sent one before he was traded to Toronto during Saturday's NHL draft.
 
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