The Olympians are headed home and the NHL trade deadline is looming. Thus the Ducks begin their moves.
In order to make room on the roster for those players returning from Vancouver (only Jonas Hiller is back with the team), the Ducks re-assigned Brendan Mikkelson to Toronto. They also sent Dan Sexton and Timo Pielmeier to Bakersfield. Sexton had been in Manitoba, so it is interesting to see what happens over the next couple of days. Was Sexton moved to the closer affiliate so that he could be recalled more easily?
The Ducks have already made one move to eliminate a forward-laden roster. Evgeny Artyukhin was traded to the Atlanta Thrashers in exchange for defenseman Nathan Oystrick. Oystrick has spent the entire season with the Chicago Wolves, the AHL affiliate of the Thrashers, but played 53 games in Atlanta last season.
Artyukhin was acquired from Tampa Bay last summer in exchange for Drew Miller and a draft pick. Artyukhin seemed to make more errors than stellar moves and spent a good portion of his time as a healthy scratch for the Ducks. Big body, amazing speed, but some really doofus penalties.
With other forwards stepping up and making a difference, including Sexton when he was here, GM Bob Murray was likely to get rid of some of his extras. It is unknown what other moves he may make, but if Murray trades away other spare parts, there could be space on the roster to call up Sexton, who more than deserves a spot in the line-up.
The trade deadline is noon Pacific on Wednesday, so more activity is expected prior to that. In the case of the Ducks, they won't be aggressive buyers for help in the playoffs, nor will they be aggressive sellers, as they still have playoff hopes. It is more likely that there will be a tweak here and a tweak there rather than any major moves. One thing is certain, based on Murray's history, he isn't done yet.