March 1, 2011

AHL Journal: Trade day vibrations filter down

by Dan Hickling

Springfield welcomes veteran Greg Moore (photo: Dan Hickling)

The annual feeding frenzy that is the NHL’s trade deadline day has a shaking effect throughout the league as sellers sell and buyers buy.

But, like some version of hockey's alternate universe, almost every action felt in the NHL causes a corresponding reaction in the AHL. Sellers dish off useful parts to playoff contenders (or pretenders), often plucking blue-chip prospects in return.

And, even though the trading activity on Feb. 28 was a little quieter than in previous years, the deals made then, and in the days preceding, still managed to create a small seismic shudder throughout the AHL and, in particular, the seven Atlantic Division squads.

What follows is a first blush look how each of the league’s New England-based clubs was affected.

BRIDGEPORT SOUND TIGERS (New York Islanders)

The Deals: The Isles refrained from all the fun, and even a much rumored moving of C Zenon Konopka to Anaheim never materialized. The only activity was the waiver loss of winger Rob Schremp to Atlanta.

Coming In: Nobody.

Going Out: LW Justin DiBenedetto, called up to the Islandto replace Schremp.

CONNECTICUT WHALE (New York Rangers)

The Deals: C John Mitchell from Torontofor a seventh-round pick. D Bryan McCabe from Florida for C Tim Kennedy and a third-round pick.

Coming in: Mitchell, who will fill the spot (but not necessarily the production) of Kennedy. D Michael Del Zotto, whose spot in New York was taken by McCabe.

Going out: Kennedy, a prime point-getter whose absence will hamper the Whale's efforts to secure a playoff spot.

MANCHESTER MONARCHS (Los Angeles Kings)

The Deals: LW Dustin Penner for D Colten Teubert and draft picks. RW Marco Sturm lost on waivers to Washington.

Coming In: Nobody. Penner will take the spot in L.A.vacated by Sturm.

Going Out: Teubert, a rookie former first-rounder. With three blue-chip Manchester defense prospects (Slava Voynov and Thomas Hickey are the others) to choose from, the Oilers opted for the most physical of them in Teubert.

PORTLAND PIRATES (Buffalo Sabres)

The Deals: RW Brad Boyes from St. Louis for a second-round pick.

Coming In: Nobody.

Going Out: Nobody, to the great relief of Pirates coach Kevin Dineen.

PROVIDENCE BRUINS (Boston Bruins)

The Deals: C Chris Kelly from Ottawafor a second-round pick. D Tomas Kaberle from Torontofor C Joe Colborne and picks. C Rich Peverley and D Boris Valabik from Atlantafor LW Blake Wheeler and D Mark Stuart. RW David Laliberte and C Stefan Chaput from Syracuse (Anaheim Ducks) for D Sean Zimmerman and RW Brian McGrattan. G Anton Khudobin from Houston (Minnesota Wild) for D Jeff Penner and the rights to LW Mikko Lehtonen. D Shane Hnidy signed as a free agent. (Whew!)

Coming In: Valabik (6-foot-7, 225 pounds) who adds size, but not speed to the P-Bruins’ back line. Laliberte, Chaput and Khudobin. Khudobin, like incumbent veteran Nolan Schaefer, is a former AHL All-Star with Houston. With rookie Michael Hutchinson also on hand, there seems to be a logjam developing in the Providence crease.

Going Out: Colborne, who put up three goals and an assist in his first four games with the Toronto Marlies. Penner, Zimmerman, and McGrattan, none of whom had a future as a Bruin. Neither did Lehtonen, a former Bruin third-rounder and AHL All-Star who headed back to Europethis year.

SPRINGFIELD FALCONS (Columbus Blue Jackets)

The Deals: Claimed D Craig Rivet on waivers from Buffalo. RW Scottie Upshall and Sami Lepisto from Phoenix for D Rusty Klesla and LW Dane Byers. C Greg Moore and the rights to C Michael Chaput (Lewiston QMJHL) from Philadelphia for LW Tom Sestito. D Mike Commodore passed through NHL re-entry waivers.

Coming In: Moore, a former UMaine captain and a very solid AHL veteran. With Lepisto and Rivet both added to the Columbus blue line, a defenseman might have been expected to have come down to Springfield. But at the end of the day, none was added. Commodore, who was nursing a gimpy ankle, is expected to stay with the Falcons, while Chaput, a former Flyers third-rounder, won't show up until next year.

Going Out: Sestito to Adirondack and Byers to San Antonio. Both represent a significant loss of size, toughness and character, although there is plenty of the latter left in the Falcons’ dressing room.

WORCESTER SHARKS (San Jose Sharks)

The Deals: D Ian White from Carolinafor D Derek Joslin, with a pick and considerations also involved. C Michael Swift and RW Patrick Davis from Albany (New Jersey Devils) for D Jay Leach and C Steven Zalewski.

Coming In: Swift and Davis, who will give Worcester a little extra forward depth.

Going Out: Leach, who was Worcester's captain and the consummate character guy, and Zalewski, who was unable to crack the San Jose lineup. The same can be said of Joslin, who lately was San Jose's seventh defenseman. Both may benefit from a change of scenery.

Around the AHL

One move that was made Monday that had nothing to do with Deadline Day was the summoning of Connecticut goalie Cam Talbot to fill in for veteran backup Martin Biron. Biron suffered a broken collarbone during the Rangers’ practice Monday. … It took him nearly six full pro seasons to get there, but former Dartmouth standout Hugh Jessiman finally made his NHL debut, when he was called up by the Florida Panthers over the weekend. Jessiman, drafted 12th overall by the Rangers in 2003, is the final member of that year's first-round class to have taken an NHL shift. … Trades were not the only thing that made Feb. 28 significant. It was also the final day that NHL teams could assign players to the AHL in order to make them eligible for their farm team's Clear Day Roster. Names such as Nathan Lawson and Ty Wishart (Bridgeport), Kris Newbury, Mats Zuccarello and Ryan McDonagh (Connecticut), Steven Kampfer (Providence) and Justin Braun (Worcester) were all involved in such paper transactions. Each would now be eligible to play in the AHL after Mar. 7 if included on their club's Clear Day list.

Dan Hickling can be reached at feedback@hockeyjournal.com.