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Wednesday, March 3, 2010

The Pens Poni-up

I am not sure if I would call Ray Shero a evil genius just yet but his is sure making his case.  After trading to get a rental deal for Hossa back in 2007, the Pens immediately were in cup contention.  Last year, pulling Chris Kunitz from the Ducks and Bill Guerin from the Islanders pushed the Pens over that hump and won them a cup.  Now, after wheeling and dealing with the Leafs, Alexei Ponikarovsky is a Penguin.

For anyone that doesn't know, Poni is just one goal short of tallying his 4th consecutive 20 goal season and is positioned to be a big time scoring winger for the Pens playoff run (my prediction is at least 17 points).  Poni is a solid winger at 6'4" 220lbs.  The only downfall here is with an upgrade on the wing position, we are probably going to see less of Max Talbot and Pascal Dupuis.  I love Max as a player and all around nice guy but I can now see both of them potentially becoming expendable after this season.  But nonetheless, I am happy with this move.  In fact, I am a little bit giddy.  Don't worry though.  I will control myself.

So what did they give up in return. I have mixed feelings on this one.  Martin Skoula was the back half of the deal which had to include a defenseman since the Pens brought on Florida's Jordan Leopold (who by the way, was paired with GoGo last night against Buffalo).  Frankly, Leafs can have Skoula.  He hasn't played much and didn't really fit in with the Pens defensive scheme.  The front half of the deal leaves me a bit skeptical.  Luca Caputi, the highly regarded draft pick, is sent packing along with his 80+ predicted point scoring potential.  I can't say that I ever saw him becoming that big of a scorer in the Pens organization but I did see big potential for a supporting cast roll. 

In the Leafs lineup, he has THAT scoring potential.  Maybe not 80 points but definitely in the 65-70 range.  I think the upside for him will be in the short term there on one of their top lines but long term could be an issue.  I am betting he will make the Leafs roster and probably play out the rest of the season with them.  But as well all know, prospect predicting is just like gambling.

While the trade with Florida for Leopold was more of a B- trade, this one is definitely (at least in the short term on paper) a B+/A-.  There has to be at least one more in the works, I just don't know yet.

***In an unrelated story, at the Pens/Sabres game last night, Ryan Miller got more cheers from the crowd than Sidney Crosby.  Go figure.  An opposing team goaltender that didn't even play gets applauded more than your superstar/team captain/gold medal winning/Stanley Cup champion/all around nice guy leading center.  Maybe people really do care about hockey?


  1. Toronto flipped Skoula to New Jersey for a 5.

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  3. Like I said, he is a non factor. A 5th rounder may be an over payment. At least he is back with Jacques Lemaire.

  4. Shero did a good job of addressing his teams needs without giving up too much. I'm glad the bolts were so active....Halpern for the enigmatic Teddy Purcell. At least he's young and had the dreaded P word...potential

  5. I like Purcell. I thought he was a good addition.

  6. he looked good on Vinny's line tonight. Hopefully the change of scenery works out for him. Florida palm trees are better than L.A. palm trees!

  7. I prefer Vegas palm trees but frankly any palm trees would be a good substitute for all the snow and cold. At least the sun was out most of today.


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