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McKenzie: Pens follow pattern by adding pieces at deadline

Bob McKenzie
3/3/2010 12:04:40 AM
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When you really think about it, Alexei Ponikarovsky is likely to be one of the bigger fish that moves between now and the trade deadline.

The Pittsburgh Penguins are a centre-centric team with Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin. With 19 goals and 41 points on the season, Ponikarovksy is not an insignificant player that the Penguins have acquired.

So going to Pittsburgh is Ponikarovsky, the big winger who will be an unrestricted free agent at the end of this season. Coming back to Toronto is Luca Caputi, a prospect who played for the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins, a former 50-goal scorer in the OHL for the Niagara Ice Dogs, and a Toronto kid. The Leafs also get defenceman MArtin Skoula, who is coming back to Toronto only to facilitate salary cap considerations for the Penguins that allowed them to make this deal.

The Penguins couldn't add Ponikarovsky to their roster unless they got rid of Skoula. The Maple Leafs will now attempt to flip Skoula before the deadline. If they can't, they will just let him play out the season, pay him what little money is left on his contract, and call it a day.

This is what GM Ray Shero likes to do as he leads up to the deadline. It's similar to what he has done on deadline days in the past or the 24 to 48 hours before that.

In 2007, he picked up Gary Roberts and Georges Laraque, those guys had an impact on his hockey team. In 2008, Marian Hossa and Pascal Dupuis, had a big impact, and last year, say no more about the year that Bill Guerin had along side Crosby in the playoffs.

Now Ponikarovsky get that same opportunity that some of those other big names received.

Bob McKenzie

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