Varada Traded to Sens for Prospect Reports:

The Ottawa Senators toughened up for the playoffs Tuesday by acquiring hard-nosed right-winger Vaclav Varada and a fifth-round pick in the 2003 draft from the Buffalo Sabres in exchange for Jakub Klepis.

Varada, 26, who has spent parts of eight seasons in the Buffalo organization, gives the highly-skilled Senators lineup an agitator. Ottawa’s lack of post-season success in recent years has been blamed on a lack of toughness.

“We would like to become a more aggressive team and Varada was available,” said Ottawa general manager John Muckler.

“He makes us stronger. He’s exactly what we need.”

The deal was made two days after Varada fought Tampa Bay goalie John Grahame on Sunday during Buffalo’s victory over the Lightning.

“ÉHe’s someone who will go to battle, go to war,” Muckler said. “He can be awfully mean in his own way.”

The Sabres were paying Varada $1.3 million US this season and he will earn $1.5 million next season.

Varada has seven goals and four assists in 44 games with the Sabres this season. He missed 17 games from Jan. 10 to Feb. 17 after spraining his right knee at Philadelphia.

“I’m excited, Ottawa’s the best team in the league,” said Varada. “I’ll try to play my way, do my thing, and try to help the team win.”

Muckler said he’s still looking to make additional deals before the March 11 trade deadline, but doesn’t know if he can get any done.

Klepis, 18, was Ottawa’s first-round pick, 16th overall, in the 2002 draft. He has spent the 2002-03 season in the Czech Elite League.

“Jakub is a young forward who has size, strength and excellent playmaking ability,” said Sabres general manager Darcy Regier.

In 376 career games, Varada has 46 goals and 98 assists. The native of Vsetin, Czech Republic, was originally San Jose’s fourth-round pick (89th overall) in the 1994 draft.

“Vaclav was a very important member of the Buffalo Sabres organization,” general manager Darcy Regier said. “We appreciate all he has done for the team both on and off the ice and we wish him well in the future.”