I apologize. I have been working a lot of overtime at work and I had no chance to post a report for last week. There have been 6 games played since my last report, so I'll just summarize them as best I can. They went 3-2-1 over this stretch, but Hershey and Norfolk hasn't been doing as well so they actually gained ground in the division race. They are now 7 pts behind Norfolk with 4 games in hand. Instead of focusing on game performances, I'm going to attempt to break down the moves of the trade deadline and how they affect the Baby Pens.
Clear Day additions - Christensen, Pouliot, Jacques, and Gilbert were all sent down and recalled on clear day, meaning they will be available for the playoffs. All 4 have had dominant periods in the AHL, with Christensen and Pouliot being far above AHL level in play.
LW Daniel Carcillo - I have been hard on him at times, as has most of the fan base and coaching staff here. The fact is though that he has a lot of goal-scoring ability to go along with his penalties that he takes. He will be missed (most of the time) and I think this move was good for everyone involved. Carcillo gets his chance with one of the few teams in the NHL that would take the chance now on playing someone with 0 NHL experience. Pittsburgh dumps someone who may have worn out his welcome. Phoenix receives a player with a lot of passion for this game and a better-than-average potential.
I would like to tell one Carcillo story before I stop mentioning him:
I enjoy taking people to WBS games who have never been there. One friend of mine who I took went and loved seeing Carcillo play. In that game, he came out of the box after taking a 5-minute highstick penalty, grabbed the puck in his own zone, and scored an unassisted goal. The next game I took him to, he tried to get Carcillo's attention during warmups to get a puck. Carcillo ignored him, much to my friend's dismay. We had seats against the glass that game, next to the visitor's bench. My friend puts his beer on the ledge of the boards (never a good idea) while he reaches down to check something on the lineup card. Just then, Carcillo checks someone into the boards in front of us, spilling the beer all over my friend. I told him it was Carcillo and he yells "I hate that Carcillo guy!" The backup goalie on the other side of the glass from him was even laughing at my friend. A great memory!
W Robert Nilsson - A former first-round pick who was sent to Edmonton for Ryan Smyth was sent to WBS today. This should be an outstanding pickup. He has more points than anyone on the WBS roster at the moment and has played 8 fewer games than Filewich (the 2nd leading scorer).
D Noah Welch - If not for his inconsistency issues, this would have been a terrible move for this team. When he's on, he's an NHL-caliber defenseman. When he isn't, he looks lost at the AHL level. Fortunately, he has many more good games than bad, but the bad games are very frustrating.
G Nolan Schaefer - I know a lot of people in Wilkes-Barre love this addition, who came for a pick, from San Jose. His save percentage is .897 and his record is 5-8. But, because he has 6 games of NHL experience this year, he will probably push Penner down to Wheeling, even though Penner is 17-7 with a nearly identical .890 save percentage. Penner doesn't deserve the demotion and I hope this doesn't affect Penner's chances of returning next year.
Loss of D - Welch was a decent playoff performer on D and, after seeing how down Lannon was at a signing on Monday, I have to wonder if this will affect Lannon's play. Gilbert will be back for the playoffs, but losing Welch and possibly distracting Lannon could hurt the Pens' playoff hopes when they don't have a goalie with a .900 save percentage. Even worse, this move may force Brookbank to play D if any D-man gets hurt.