Oilers move Smyth, and Bertuzzi, Guerin, Roberts and Laracque also on move

The Canadian Press
By: The Canadian Press
Feb 27, 2007

Edmonton GM Kevin Lowe supplied the last-minute shocker when he traded Ryan Smyth to the New York Islanders at the NHL trading deadline. (CPimages/Jimmy Jeong) Author: The Hockey News


Oilers move Smyth, and Bertuzzi, Guerin, Roberts and Laracque also on move

The Canadian Press
By: The Canadian Press
Feb 27, 2007

Guerin seemed more surprised by Edmonton dealing Smyth than with his own trade. "It's shocking," said Guerin. "He's a guy I thought would be there forever. "He gave everything he had to the Oilers but sometimes it just doesn't work out."

Bertuzzi was traded to Detroit by Florida for a conditional draft pick - as high as a first-rounder if he helps the Red Wings go deep into the playoffs and re-signs with them - and centre Shawn Matthias of the OHL's Belleville Bulls.

Bertuzzi is trying to work himself into playing condition after recovering from back surgery.

"I've been doing some work off the ice and I've been skating the past two weeks," Bertuzzi said.

An all-star four years ago, the 32-year-old right-winger's stock has plummeted since his suspension when he was with Vancouver for his attack on Colorado's Steve Moore.

"Bertuzzi is a huge, talented man that adds the dimensions of size and skill that we need on one of our top two lines," said Detroit coach Mike Babcock.

Lowe made the daring Smyth deal just hours before the Oilers honoured former captain Mark Messier by retiring his No. 11 sweater. The 31-year-old winger was leading the Oilers with 31 goals this season.

Most Edmonton fans considered Smyth to be the Oilers' heart and soul but Lowe, watching playoff chances fade and unable to re-sign Smyth, pulled the trigger.

The Oilers got centre Robert Nilsson, who has spent most of the season with the Islanders' AHL farm team and who is the son of former NHL star Kent Nilsson, Ryan O'Marra, a centre with the OHL's Saginaw Spirit who helped Canada win world junior gold the last two years, and a first-round 2007 draft pick.

"While on the one hand some Oilers fans might be distressed that this trade was made today, I want those same fans to be assured that the Oilers will use these excellent young players and our own deep pool of young talent in a new plan for this team," said Oilers president Patrick LaForge. "We can afford to spend the money necessary to have the kind of elite players expected.

"This was about the Oilers staying true to a plan. I know our hockey strategy is sound."

The Oilers now have three first-round picks for the 2007 entry draft. Smyth can become an unrestricted free agent on July 1 and he could sign with any team, including Edmonton, afterwards.

Sharks GM Doug Wilson got Guerin from St. Louis for a conditional 2007 entry draft pick, little-used forward Ville Nieminen and University of Minnesota leading scorer Jay Barriball. Guerin and Joe Thornton clicked as teammates in Boston five years ago, when Guerin enjoyed a 41-goal season, and now they'll skate together in San Jose.

"You never know where you're going to wind up," said Guerin. "It was a nerve-wracking time."

The Sharks could form a line with Thornton, Jonathan Cheechoo and Guerin, who had 28 goals for the Blues this season. The 36-year-old American winger joins his sixth NHL team.

"Wherever (coach) Ron Wilson puts me, that'll be great," said Guerin. "We'll make it work."

Guerin will be an unrestricted free agent July 1.

"Billy has been a true professional on and off the ice this season and we felt it was in the best interest for him and the Blues to trade him to a playoff contender," said Blues president John Davidson.

Anaheim GM Brian Burke didn't make a big splash to counter San Jose's acquisition of Guerin or Nashville's trade last week for Peter Forsberg. He barely caused a ripple in the trade waters by adding journeyman forward Brad May from Colorado for minor-league goalie Michael Wall.

Pittsburgh GM Ray Shero, in getting Roberts from Florida, inserts a gritty crease-crasher up front who'll be a valuable playoff performer. Roberts, 40, another veteran headed for unrestricted free agency, has scored 13 goals in this his 19th NHL season.

"Ray really did a great job to get him here," said Penguins forward Mark Recchi.

For Roberts, the Panthers got six-foot-four American defenceman Noah Welch, a second-year pro out of Harvard who has split his season between the NHL and AHL.

Shero got Laraque for second-year pro Daniel Carcillo, who is playing in the AHL, and a 2008 third-round draft pick. Opponents who have taken physical liberties with young stars Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and Jordan Staal will have Laraque, a six-foot-three native of Montreal, to answer to now.

"I'm up for that challenge," says Laraque, who comes full circle with coach Michel Therrien. The two won the Memorial Cup in 1996 with the Granby Predateurs.

Shero wasn't done. He picked up defenceman Joel Kwiatkowski from Florida for a low-round draft pick and he traded Dominic Moore to the Minnesota Wild for a third-round draft pick.

In other moves:

-Ottawa acquired left-winger Oleg Saprykin and a seventh-round 2007 draft pick from Phoenix for a second-round 2008 pick. Saprykin has scored 13 goals this season.

-Toronto reacquired Yanic Perreault, who they let walk away in 2001, from Phoenix for defenceman Brendan Bell. Perreault has 19 goals this season.

-Calgary got defenceman David Hale from Calgary for a draft pick.

"Our defence has the dimensions that you want in terms of guys who can play both sides, guys who can give you the physical side," said GM Darryl Sutter.

-Montreal claimed goaltender Michael Leighton off waivers from the Flyers.

-Buffalo GM Darcy Regier landed right-winger Dainius Zubrus and minor-league defenceman Timo Helbling from Washington to shore up an injury-depleted roster, sending injured forward Jiri Novotny and a first-round draft pick to the Capitals. Regier also acquired defenceman Mikko Lehtonen from Nashville for his team's fourth-round 2006 draft pick, and he traded goaltender Martin Biron to Philadelphia for a second-round 2007 draft pick. To take Biron's place behind Ryan Miller, the Sabres acquired Ty Conklin from Columbus for a fifth-round 2007 pick.

-Dallas acquired defenceman Mattias Norstrom, right-winger Konstantin Pushkarev and two draft picks from Los Angeles for defenceman Jaroslav Mody and three draft choices.

Norstrom was longtime captain of the Kings.

"We look for him to make an immediate impact on this hockey club as we push towards the playoffs," said Stars GM Doug Armstrong.

-Boston traded forward Brad Boyes to St. Louis for defenceman Dennis Wideman and traded Paul Mara to the Rangers for Aaron Ward in a swap of defencemen. That move happened just days after a rift between Ward and Rangers captain Jaromir Jagr became public.

-Columbus claimed goaltender Brian Boucher off waivers from Chicago to take Conklin's spot.

-The Rangers sent Pascal Dupuis to Atlanta for a right-wing prospect Alex Bourrett.

-The Sharks traded Scott Parker to Colorado to clear a lineup spot for Guerin.

- Washington traded defenceman Jamie Heward to the Kings for a fifth-round 2008 pick.

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Oilers move Smyth, and Bertuzzi, Guerin, Roberts and Laracque also on move