by Tony on 11/16/08 at 11:26 AM ET
As my colleague Paul has mentioned, RDS is reporting that the Penguins and Stars have swapped veteran defensemen, with the Pens sending Darryl Sydor back to Dallas and the Stars sending Philippe Boucher to the ‘Burgh.
Sydor was not getting much playing time this season, and with Ryan Whitney perhaps a month away from returning, he wasn’t going to be getting much more.
It must be stressed, however, that Sydor was the consummate professional throughout his time in the press box. He did request a trade to GM Ray Shero, but that didn’t affect his attitude towards his younger teammates.
On the surface, this looks like a pretty even swap, with a few subtle differences, some would say benefit the Penguins. I’ll say this, hockey fans on the message boards definitely feel the Pens made out on this trade, for what it’s worth.
I’ll be honest, I know Boucher in that I recognized his name over the years, but that’s about it.
Both are about the same age, with Sydor being 36 and Boucher at 35. However, Boucher is a right-handed shot, which until the arrival of Kris Letang was a luxury that the Penguins simply didn’t have. In addition, Boucher, when healthy, has more of an offensive upside. Boucher had 19 goals in the ‘06-‘07 season, but that fell to only 2 goals last season as he battled injuries. This year he was limited to only three assists in 16 games. It must also be mentioned that Boucher is 12th in the NHL with 39 blocked shots (a big part of the Penguins defense now) and has 31 hits, which frankly the Penguins defensive corps needs to improve upon (outside of Brooks Orpik).
Both are in the final years of their respective contracts, which pay both about 2.5 million. With Whitney due back in December and Gonchar due back around March, Shero may very well turn right around and trade Boucher at the deadline. But if Boucher improves his recent play with the high-flying Penguins, plus the returns of Whitney and Gonchar, it creates a surplus of quality defensemen, which may help Shero swing a deal at the deadline for another scoring winger.
Sooooo, as it looks right now, it favors the Penguins. But, games aren’t played on paper, so we’ll just have to wait and see how it plays out on the ice.
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