Chicago trades Kris Versteeg to Toronto for Viktor Stalberg, prospects


krisversteeg.jpgThe quiet before the free agency storm was broken tonight when the Chicago Blackhawks traded forward Kris Versteeg to the Toronto Maple Leafs. The trade breaks down like this:

Toronto obtains: Kris Versteeg (RW), Rights to Bill Sweatt (LW)

Chicago obtains: Viktor Stalberg (LW), Chris DiDomenico (C), Philippe Paradis (C)

The main piece here is, of course, Versteeg. Versteeg emerged the last two seasons in Chicago after once being a prospect of the Boston Bruins. The Bruins dealt Versteeg to Chicago infamously for journeyman forward Brandon Bochenski. The last two seasons with Chicago, Versteeg scored 22 goals in 08-09 and 20 goals last year finishing with 53 points in 08-09 and 44 points in 09-10. He’s a big time player and got caught up in the depth the Blackhawks had the last two seasons. He’ll get a chance to be a top six forward for the Maple Leafs and give Leafs opponents someone other than Phil Kessel to have to worry about.

Prospect Bill Sweatt just completed his final year at Colorado College last season where his four-year career line was 46 goals, 63 assists and 109 points. He was a 2007 second round pick by the Blackhawks.

The main piece going to Chicago in this package of youth is Viktor Stalberg. Stalberg in his first season out of the University of Vermont where he was a Hobey Baker Award finalist as a senior, was a training camp hero for the Leafs stunning everyone with his speed and offensive creativity. A lack of goal scoring finish doomed him early in the season and he was sent back to the AHL to work things out. Overall, he played in 40 games for the Leafs and had a scoring line of 9 goals, five assists and 14 points.

Chris DiDomenico and Philippe Paradis were two Leafs prospects who have yet to make their mark in the professional ranks. DiDomenico played last season for Drummondville in the QMJHL. Paradis, meanwhile, was originally a Hurricanes first round pick in 2007 who was then traded to Toronto as part of the Jiri Tlusty trade. Paradis spent most of last year in the QMJHL with Shawinigan before playing a small handful of games with the AHL’s Toronto Marlies.

The major implication on this deal for Chicago is the effect on their salary cap and according to the newly updated, the Blackhawks are sitting in shockingly good shape now $8 million under the salary cap. The Hawks will still have some holes to fill on defense, but burying Cristobal Huet and his bloated salary in the AHL may not be totally necessary now. As for the Leafs and their cap situation, they’re sitting at $53 million with only forward help to absolutely worry about.

Oilers get Kronwall’d – in more ways than one

Niklas Kronwall
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When someone gets clobbered by Niklas Kronwall, they get Kronwall’d.

(His detractors may insist that the definition require the words “dirty” or “illegal,” but that’s a debate for another day.)

It’s easy to get lost in those thunderous hits and forget that the  Swedish defenseman also brings some skill to the table.

He made a big impact – literally and figuratively – in Detroit’s 4-3 overtime win against the Edmonton Oilers on Friday.

First, the Kronwalling:

Next, Kronwall’s overtime-winner:

It hasn’t always been pretty, but the Red Wings are leaning on guys like Kronwall and Dylan Larkin to stick with it.

Tonight’s win extends their point streak to six games (4-0-2), with five of those contests going to overtime.

Dubinsky – Crosby’s nemesis – gets the last laugh on Friday

Sidney Crosby, Brandon Dubinsky

Brandon Dubinsky isn’t a household name like Sidney Crosby is, yet for all the hype that Crosby vs. Alex Ovechkin gets, Dubinsky is the sort of guy who truly rankles No. 87.

It’s been getting that spotlight since the Columbus Blue Jackets faced off against the Pittsburgh Penguins in a brisk playoff series, though it wouldn’t be surprising if the bad blood stemmed to Dubinsky’s days with New York.

To some, Dubinsky’s cross-check on Crosby will resonate far more than the end result of this game:

The bottom line is that he’ll get the last laugh, at least for now. (In-game, that moment merely drew a minor penalty.)

That’s because Dubinsky set up the overtime game-winner, and the cherry on the top of that spite sundae came with Crosby being on the ice when it happened:

They’re not just rubbing the Penguins the wrong way.

Even Dubinsky kind of sort of admits that he may have been in the wrong.


More and more, the Blue Jackets are looking like a nuisance … possibly one that will grind their way to an unlikely playoff berth. They improved to 8-4-0 in November after a disastrous 2-10-0 October.

In other words, there’s at least a chance that we may see these increasingly bitter rivals butt heads in another playoff series.

Eichel’s sweet snipe helps Sabres snap six-game skid

Jack Eichel
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The Buffalo Sabres probably deserved better during at least some chunks of their six-game skid, yet Jack Eichel swooped in on Friday to remind fans that there’s a light shining at the end of the tunnel.

You can watch his goal from tonight’s eventual 4-1 win against the Carolina Hurricanes in the video above.

That’s not necessarily the absolute height of his on-ice magic, yet it clearly gave his team a lift:

Call this a healthy reminder that Eichel has the ability to change games, something Buffalo fans hope to get used to.

Report: Likely no suspension for Matt Beleskey’s hit on Derek Stepan


Alain Vigneault went there in comparing Matt Beleskey‘s hit on Derek Stepan to the notorious check Aaron Rome delivered on Nathan Horton many moons ago, but the league seems to disagree.

While Rome sat through that memorable Stanley Cup Final between Boston and Vancouver, it sounds like Beleskey won’t face any further discipline, according to ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun.

In the unlikely event that anything changes, PHT will make note.

The next game between the Rangers and Bruins takes place at Madison Square Garden on Jan. 11. Will these bad feelings linger?