Islanders send Guerin to Pens

March 4, 2009 1:44:22 PM PST
The Islanders traded captain Bill Guerin to the Pittsburgh Penguins shortly before Wednesday's NHL dealing deadline, the latest move in a sell-off by the team with the NHL's worst record. New York received a conditional fifth-round draft pick for Guerin, the 38-year-old forward, who is in the final few weeks of a two-year deal worth $9 million. As part of the contract, Guerin had a full no-trade clause that he waived in order to move to the Penguins - an Eastern Conference playoff contender.

The fifth-round pick, which originally belonged to the Tampa Bay Lightning, will improve to a fourth-round selection if the Penguins reach the playoffs. Pittsburgh is tied in points with the New York Rangers for seventh-place in the East, one point above the postseason cutoff.

If the Penguins advance beyond the first round of the playoffs, and Guerin plays in more than half the postseason games, the Islanders (20-36-7) would then receive a third-round pick.

Guerin, due to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1, follows forward Mike Comrie and defenseman Chris Campoli, who were dealt by New York to the Ottawa Senators last month.

Speculation that Guerin would be on the move started Saturday night when he took part in warmups before New York played Buffalo at home, but then was missing from the bench and didn't see action in the Islanders' 2-0 victory.

The team said Guerin wasn't injured and that a statement would be issued either after the game or Sunday morning. Nothing was said by the Islanders until the deal was finally announced Wednesday.

New York also beat Colorado on Monday as Guerin sat out and waited to be traded.

It is not the first time Guerin has been dealt at deadline time.

Two years ago, Guerin was shipped from the also-ran St. Louis Blues to the Stanley Cup-contending San Jose Sharks. He scored eight goals in the final 16 games with San Jose, but had only two assists in nine games during a disappointing playoff run before he signed with the Islanders in the offseason.

Guerin, the only Islanders player to see action in New York's first 61 games before Saturday, had a club-leading 16 goals and was second on the team with 36 points this season - the first under rookie NHL coach Scott Gordon.

He netted his 400th NHL goal on Dec. 26, becoming the eighth American-born player and 79th overall to reach the milestone.

Guerin's next point will be No. 800.

The Islanders have been stockpiling draft picks as they try to rebuild. Gordon, last season's coach of the year in the AHL, was brought on to instill a new aggressive system and develop young prospects.

As the Islanders fell out of contention, Gordon shifted his focus toward the youngsters. He gave them more ice time and put them in more critical situations, at the expense of veterans such as Guerin, admitting that team growth was more important at this stage than wins and losses.


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