Pens Make 2 Minor trades

Claus Andersen

In two seperate trades the Pens send out two minor leaguers and bring in one minor leaguer and a draft pick. They now have an open contract, and rumors they might sign former Penguin defenseman Mark Eaton to an NHL contract.

From the team, the Penguins have made two separate trades involving minor leaguers:

The Pittsburgh Penguins have acquired forward Chad Kolarik from the New York Rangers in exchange for Benn Ferriero, it was announced today by executive vice president and general manager Ray Shero.

Kolarik, 26, will report to Pittsburgh’s minor-league affiliate, the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins of the American Hockey League (AHL). This season, Kolarik has been one of the top players in the AHL while playing for the Connecticut Whale, earning a berth in Monday night’s AHL All-Star Classic in Providence, R.I.

The 5-foot-11, 185-pound Kolarik has ranked among the top scorers in the AHL all season. He currently places 13th (tied) in the scoring race with 35 points (16G-19A) in 41 games. Kolarik’s 16 goals and seven power-play tallies both lead the Whale.

And the second:

The Pittsburgh Penguins have acquired a conditional draft pick from the Dallas Stars in exchange for defenseman Carl Sneep, it was announced by executive vice president and general manager Ray Shero.

Ferriero wasn't putting the puck in the net much in Wlkes-Barre, and though he has some recent NHL experience with San Jose, wasn't an option that management seemed inclined to go with as this NHL season has started. So good move to flip him for what's been a guy who IS scoring at the AHL level, especially considering that the WB/S Pens could use the scoring punch.

The more interesting trade may be Sneep. With Brian Strait, Simon Despres and Robert Bortuzzo all in the AHL for the lockout, and with top prospects Joe Morrow and Brian Dumoulin going to get some AHL minutes, Sneep has been mainly in the ECHL all season, through no fault of his own.

So it's good for him to get a fresh start on a new team, where although he's assigned to the AHL, at least he'll have a fair shot at making his mark and he'll have an easier time of getting a chance to make it then he probably would have in Pittsburgh.

It's also interesting for the Pens because they traded a NHL league contract for a draft pick, which means they have an extra contract to give out. With Mark Eaton on a professional tryout in WB/S, the rumors have already started with Pittsburgh looking to bring him back to the NHL.

Given the struggles that Despres has had so far this season, some more AHL time for him might be a good idea. Eaton, 35, could be a boost to that bottom pairing and is a guy who could kill some penalties too and possibly take a little of that burden off of Kris Letang, Paul Martin and Brooks Orpik, all of whom are being pressed into service heavily so far this season.

Stay tuned..

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