Can't say I was really surprised by Pittsburgh's lack of moves leading up to today's deadline, but I don't think they really had anymore moves worth making. Ray Shero took care of business in two consecutive days, adding Jordan Leopold on Monday and Alex Ponikarovsky after last night's game against the Sabres. Did he really have anything more to do?
Compared to last season I think this year's deadline was a bit of a downer. TSN says it was the busiest ever, as over 53 players were involved in some move in one way or another, but it really didn't feel like it. Let's also consider the olympics though and the impact that may have had on some moves. If not for those two weeks in Vancouver, there's a good chance today's big story would've been focused around Ilya Kovalchuk in what no doubt would've been a sweepstakes along the likes of what we saw before the break.
Even still, there are a few moves worth mentioning that may or may not really impact the Penguins indirectly. In other words, let's see how the other teams made out today.
FORMER PENGUINS ON THE MOVE
I guess this is as good a way to start off the transactions portion of this post. While the Pens weren't the most active we did see a few former Penguins hit the road. This morning, less than 12 hours after he was sent off to Toronto, the Maple Leafs traded Martin Skoula to the Devils in exchange for a fifth-round pick. Part of me thinks he had to have known ahead of time that he wouldn't be spending much time in Toronto, but then the cynic in me envisions Skoula showing up to the Air Canada Centre this morning with his bags packed, a big smile on his face and a Maple Leafs cap tilted to the side like a kid fresh off the draft stage. Only when he approaches the doors to the building does he realize Brian Burke standing there, shaking his head, not saying a word and pointing behind Skoula to get lost. Burke then retreats back into the building, reminding everyone to "pay no attention to the man behind the man behind the curtain."
There's a chance Skoula may receive some playing time in NJ, especially since it's a system that will likely be a good fit for his, uh, lack of speed.
Ryan Whitney, traded last December in a move that brought Chris Kunitz and Eric Tangradi to Pittsburgh, is now an Edmonton Oiler. As discussed during the open thread, Whitney's cap hit easily goes down as one of Ray Shero's better moves over the years. Can you imagine the Pens being stuck with that hit right now from a guy that isn't producing up to his projected standards? It'd be like having an offensive defenseman who wants $4 million a year but can't hit the net with a shot. Seriously.
Outside of the aforementioned Poni and Leo moves, the Pens did make a trade today. They acquired a 6th round pick from the Leafs in exchange for prospect defenseman Chris Poluso. We're all still trying to figure out who that is (he was drafted in the 7th round of the 2004 draft - the same year as Evgeni Malkin, Tyler Kennedy and Chris "Son of Ray" Bourque).
AROUND THE ATLANTIC DIVISION
I was chatting it up a bit with Travis from Broad Street Hockey this morning with regards to what the team may consider doing for the deadline. Scotty Hartnell was a name we both agreed would likely be in another sweater by the end of the day and, somehow, a new goalie would be in the works in Philly. That didn't happen. In fact, one day after discovering they'd be without Ray Emery for the remainder of the season (and most likely his time in Philly) they didn't do a thing. As Travis mentions, this is likely due to a lack of assets. I say it's because practically everyone on the team, or at least anyone worth trading, has a no-trade clause.
Another team with eternal goaltending issues discovered yesterday that Rick DiPietro is once again having issues. This time (again?) it's his knee. Any hopes of moving Dwayne Roloson or maybe even Marty Biron at the deadline were likely squashed due to this not-so-surprising revelation. All in all, Lighthouse Hockey says the Islanders remained quiet as well.
Nothing much to really brag about here. When you're team is weighed down by a contract like Wade Redden's, it takes some serious skill and effort (not to mention interest from similarly bewildered if not blinded teams) to want to pick him up. The Rangers were initially rumored to be in on the Raffi Torres talks but in the end settled for only two minor deals - one which sent minor league Miika Wiikman and a 7th round pick to Phoenix for veteran defenseman Anders Erikkson and the other which sent forward Jordan Owens to Detroit for Kris Newbury. Following the theme shared with the previous Atlantic teams, BlueShirt Banter says it was a slow, slow day.
What more can a team like the Devils do at this point? They already made a move for Ilya Kovalchuk before the deadline, so they'd be hard pressed to try and top the biggest move of the year. So outside of adding Martin Skoula (chuckle chuckle) they remained just as quiet as the others. In Lou We Trust has more (be kind and fill them in on the Skoula deal).
THE LEAGUE'S BIGGEST PLAYA
The Capitals didn't add any "big" names but they certainly did their part to inject a little grit and elbow grease into the lineup. Well, maybe not with Joe Corvo, acquired from Carolina in exchange for Brian Pothier, Oskar Osala and a second-round pick, but more so with Eric Belanger (acquired from Minny for a second-round pick) and Scott Walker (acquired from Carolina for a 7th rounder). Milan Jurcina also returns to DC, a move Columbus agreed to in exchange for a sixth-round pick.
Also found Buffalo's acquisition of Raffi Torres a decent fit. For the expense of defenseman Nathan Paetsch and a second round pick, the Sabres received a guy who's good for 40 - 50 points.
Obviously there are other moves to consider in the west, but as far as I'm concerned they don't impact the Penguins much. I was a bit surprised (and somewhat envous) to see Phoenix send Peter Mueller and Kevin Porter to Colorado in exchange for Wojtek Wolski. Mueller is a guy I've always kept an eye on since the '06 Draft and frankly one I hoped would sooner, rather than later, wear a Pens sweater. Can't rule that out entirely of course, but he's obviously out of the question in 2010.
Anything else that I didn't get to that stands out after today's festivities? You know the deal. Hit it up in the comments.
Also want to say thanks to everyone who chose to hang out in the open thread a bit today to talk hockey. It made part of my work day more entertaining and hopefully it did the same for some of you.