Saturday, January 17, 2009

Pens swap Sabs for Garon

It's not unexpected that the Penguins would make a trade, given how things have been going lately. But the first move Ray Shero has made for a Penguinomic Stimulus package was not a scoring winger, it was a bailout. Well, a backup goalie, Mathieu Garon from Edmonton. See ya later Dany Sabs!

The Edmonton Oilers traded goaltender Mathieu Garon to the Pittsburgh Penguins on Saturday for goaltender Dany Sabourin, centre Ryan Stone, and a fourth-round pick in 2011.

The next question: what kind of season is Garon having so far?

In 15 games this year, he went 6-8-0 with a 3.17 GAA and a save percentage of .895.

Oh Jesus.

Well, we'll see. Sabourin couldn't bail the Penguins this season when Marc-Andre Fleury went down, just like it was Sabourin who couldn't carry the mail last season, yielding to Ty Conklin. Hindsight is 20/20 but clearly the Penguins should have waived/traded Sabourin before the season started and offered Conklin a contract. Conks genuinely enjoyed his time in Pittsburgh and was happy they gave him the chance to breath live into his dead NHL career, he probably would have been receptive to stay. And his contract with Detroit was reasonable, one year at $750,000. Garon's cap hit is $1.1 million.

Excuse the tangent. Sabourin lost his last six starts and the Pens really did just need to move on. Garon obviously hasn't been Patrick Roy this season himself, but he's a new face and sometimes goalies can get on a hot steak in a new setting. Last season Garon did win 26 games and posted a save percentage of .913 on a fairly weak Oiler team, so he's got the potential.

Speaking of a new setting, Ryan Stone needed that. By going to Edmonton at least he is joining a team with a lot of familiar faces--as Edmonton and Pittsburgh stocked the Wilkes-Barre AHL team with both their prospects a couple seasons ago. Stone played with Kyle Brodziak, Marc-Antoine Pouliot, Tom Gilbert and Robert Nilsson.

Stone just never chipped his way into the Penguins lineup. While he had good playmaking abilities and could throw big hits, it never seemed decided if he would slot to be in a scoring role or a checking role in the NHL. Also his skating ability just seemed a notch below adequate and seemed to limit him too. Perhaps he'll be able to make it in a new organization. We certainly wish him well but feel that he is another victim of the Greg Malone curse.

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