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Saturday, March 03, 2007

Trades and Clear Day roster; Stronger Wolves

Trade deadline passed, meaning the American Hockey League teams posted their Clear Day Roster. AHL trades are mainly handled by the NHL affiliate, in the case of the Chicago Wolves, the Atlanta Thrashers. Gone is Stephen Baby. Baby is a big guy, 6’ 6” and 235 points, but he never used his size effectively in Chicago. His normal position in Chicago was scratched. The international hockey database lists Baby as playing in just eight contests this year.

Gone with Baby is Kyle Wanvig. Wanvig had 21 points in 26 games. But Wanvig wasn’t happy in Chicago. He was a quality AAA player but expressed his unhappiness in Chicago and with Atlanta. The winger has played a few games in Tampa Bay since being traded.

Theses two trades occurred February 1 with Tampa Bay, who also dealt with the Chicago Blackhawks to obtain former Wolf Karl Stewart. The Wolves obtained Andy Delmore and Andre Deveaux. Delmore’s addition to the blue line was evident in the first game in Manitoba. The final judgment is good luck to Wanvig and Baby, but Delmore was a great addition to the blue line here.

The next big trade this season involved round one draft pick Braydon Coburn. Coburn continues to receive a lot of attention from Versus announcers and other pundits who have not had the opportunity to see this man up close. They think he’s the future of defense. If that is true, the future of NHL defense looks very bleak.

Atlanta called Coburn up this season, instead of true prospects such as Boris Valabik. They learned why Chicago Wolves fans really don’t like him and now he is gone. Good-bye. Wolves fans will see him again as this player is not proving his worth to the NHL. And the Phantoms come to Chicago once a season. Coburn had been playing in Chicago since February 7 following a benching in Atlanta. In return for a non-performing minor leaguer, Atlanta received Alexei Zhitnik, who has been played two games in Atlanta since the trade. Overall, a great trade.

Late in February Alex Bourret was traded by Atlanta for the New York Islanders’ Pascal Dupuis and a third-round selection in the 2007 National Hockey League Entry Draft. This was a net subtraction from the Wolves as Dupuis has been assigned to the Thrashers since the trade. Atlanta has lots of snipers and Bourret, who seems to be a pretty good player, was being eclipsed by players like Darren Haydar, Brett Sterling and Cory Larose. The trade was good for Bourret. The net effect on the Thrashers organization will be determined by that future draft pick. It seems like a good trade for Atlanta.

The final day of the trade season saw Tim Wedderburn, Jared Ross and Troy Milam traded. Wedderburn, a veteran who was loaned to the Rockford IceHogs for most of the season, and Milam were traded to the Washington Capitals for Trevor Byrne. Wedderburn only produced ten points in 40 outings with the IceHogs. Milam was a prospect who has produced 21 points in 31 outings with the Wolves. He was on the Kelly Cup finalist Gwinnett Gladiators last season, producing about a point a game in the regular season and 15 points in 17 post-season games.

In return Atlanta received the loan of Byrne. Byrne’s stats don’t look that good, especially compared to the prospect of Troy Milam. Overall, a poor trade, a veteran and a hot prospect for a cold prospect.

Jared Ross was dealt to Philadelphia for Niko Dimitrakos. Ross scored 15 points in 41 outings. In return the Wolves received a winger who has scored 28 points in 45 outings with the lackluster Phantoms. He’s also played 145 NHL games, principally with the San Jose Sharks. He was with the Sharks during their 2004 post-season run. This looks like a great trade for Chicago.

In addition to these additions and deletions, Jason Krog has returned to the Wolves off of waivers. He was part of the high scoring line of Haydar and Sterling early this season. He was seized off of waivers in December when Atlanta released him to Chicago, but he was picked up by the New York Rangers instead.

Brad Schell, among the top scorers of the ECHL, was returned to Gwinnett. If there is an injury, Chicago may see him here again. He is likely to be called up to either Chicago or Atlanta next season.

The Clear Day Roster, which is the roster the team must use through the end of the season, was released this week. Now the Clear Day Roster might seem easy enough to understand, the team can’t trade further, and it can’t move players up and down between Gwinnett and Atlanta, BARRING INJURIES. The team can also offer Professional Tryouts and bring up junior league players after those players finish their league play. So, the roster seems set in stone. It is, in fact soft. But it is an indication of what’s ahead.

Here is a list of the Clear Day Roster and their playoff experience:

 Fred Brathwaite (G)= Russian Super League post season w/ Kazan Ak-Bars
 Michael Garnett(G)= Calder Cup finals w/ Chicago Wolves
 Trevor Byrne (D)
 Joey Crabb (RW)
 Andy Delmore (D)= Stanley Cup finals w/ Philadelphia Flyers
 Guillaume Desbiens (D)= Kelly Cup finals w/ Gwinnett Gladiators
 Andre Deveaux (C)
 Niko Dimitrakos (RW)= Stanley Cup semi final w/ Sharks
 Kevin Doell (C)
 Brian Fahey (D)
 Darren Haydar (RW)= 2 Calder Cup rings plus a finals w/ Milwaukee Admirals
 Jason Krog (C)= Stanley Cup finals w/ Mighty Ducks, Swedish Elite Finals
 Cory Larose (C)= 1 Calder Cup finals w/ Chicago Wolves
 Jordan LaVallee (LW)= Memorial Cup w/ Quebec Remparts
 Derek MacKenzie (C)= 1 Calder Cup ring plus 1 finals w/ Chicago Wolves
 Nathan Oystrick (D)
 Mark Popovic (D)= 2 Calder Cup post seasons w/ Cincinnati Mighty Ducks
 Jimmy Sharrow (D)
 Brian Sipotz (D)= 1 Calder Cup finals w/ Chicago Wolves
 Brett Sterling (LW)
 Colin Stuart (LW)
 Boris Valabik (D)
 Steve Martins (Black Ace) (C)= 1 Turner Cup, 1 IHL final w/ Chicago Wolves, 1 Calder Cup post season w/ Springfield Falcons

Lot’s of great experience. The weakness of the Wolves remains in the nets. The return of Jason Krog should give the team heart.

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