First, for the home team:
- Clearly, Penguins GM Ray Shero isn't as enamored of Noah Welch as Craig Patrick was. Welch seemed to stall in his development this year, mostly because of his lack of speed. He was the rumored prospect sent to Florida for winger Gary Roberts. This developed yesterday, so the only mystery today was Welch's identity.
- Now for the trades we didn't see coming, and we start with two words: Georges #@&% Laraque, acquired from Phoenix for AHL heavy Daniel Carcillo and a 3rd round pick in 2008. Since I'm a) American and b) gainfully employed, I couldn't watch TSN TradeCentre. I had to settle for Jay Onrait's liveblog. I agree with Pierre McGuire: I wouldn't want to be Colton Orr on Thursday. (Well, I wouldn't want to be Colton Orr ever, but especially on Thursday.) Really, we didn't see this coming because we wrote off the rumor weeks ago. This has been in the works for a while, but Phoenix wanted too much before.
- Meanwhile, the Penguins' improved penalty killing this season made PK-specialist Dominic Moore mostly redundant. He was traded to the Minnesota Wild for a 3rd round pick in 2007. He'll fit in well with the Wild's NyQuil-on-ice defensive system.
- After the official deadline, we picked up another Panther: defenseman Joel Kwiatkowski for a 4th round pick in 2007.
- We shored up the Baby Pens' goaltending by trading a 2007 7th round pick to San Jose for Nolan Schaefer.
As for the rest…
- John Davidson looks like a genius right now. He traded Keith Tkachuk to Atlanta over the weekend, for Glen Metropolit and 3 draft picks. If Atlanta re-signs Tkachuk, St. Louis gets another 1st round pick. Today, he traded Bill Guerin to San Jose for Ville "Mouth Of Sauron" Nieminen, the rights to college prospect Jay Barriball, and a 1st round pick in 2007. In both trades, there's a very good chance that Davidson can sign back Tkachuk and Guerin, making this the rent-a-player deal of the century.
- Edmonton, on the other hand, will not win another Stanley Cup for 87 years, for they have Cursed themselves. In the "astonishingly evil trade" sense of the word, not the "Ryan Smyth is as good as Babe Ruth" sense. Smyth was the heart and soul of the Oilers, and he was just traded to the Islanders for Robert Nilson, Ryan O'Marra, and a 1st round pick in 2007. Yeah, I said "Who?" too. ESPN's Barry Melrose is comparing this trade to the Yankees trading Derek Jeter.
- The Sabres made a rather interesting move. Goalie Martin Biron was in his walk-away year, so it's not a surprise that he was traded. He landed in Philly, where he'll displace either Robert Esche or Antero Niittymaki. What has western New York reaching for the Maalox is the new backup: Ty Conklin, who was one of a mess of bad goalies behind Fredrik Norrena in Columbus. No pressure, Ryan Miller.
- Rumor has it that Aaron Ward was traded to Boston because he almost got in a locker room fight with Jaromir Jagr.
- Does anyone think Todd Bertuzzi's back will allow him to make a difference for the Red Wings?
- Phoenix and Washington made the most obvious retooling trades.
- The up-and-down career of Mattias Norstrom is down again, as he was traded from LA to Dallas.
- Whoever builds the first hockey-name-compliant spell checker will make a fortune.