In a move that should at least help with some of the defensive congestion in Springfield, GM Scott Howson has sent journeyman D-man Nate Guenin to the Anaheim Ducks in exchange for center Trevor Smith.
So far this year, Smith has 12 goals and 15 assists in 35 games with Syracuse, and had been leading the club in goals and assists this season. 27 points is good enough to give him the lead in Springfield as well, though Matt Calvert still leads the club in goal scoring, and he'll be tied with Trevor Frischmon for helpers.
Here's the quick scouting report on Smith:
Assets: Works extremely hard every time he's on the ice. Can line up either at center or wing and displays a scoring touch at lower levels.
Flaws: Still needs to fill out his 6-1 frame and get physically stronger to better compete with NHL talent. Lacks an extra skating gear.
Career Potential: Depth Forward
All things considered, I like this move. Guenin had some OK moves with the big club, but didn't do enough to stick, and 5 assists and 21 PIMs in 31 games isn't really enough to stand out from the bunch on the blue line for the Falcons, either. With a team like the Ducks who are relatively strapped defensively, I wouldn't be shocked at all if he ends up back in the NHL there, while he'd probably have been behind guys like Nick Holden, John Moore, and David Savard on our depth chart.
Meanwhile, Columbus gets a guy who is used to working his ass off - he's got 84 goals, 92 assists, and 147 PIMs in 249 career games in the AHL, split between Syracuse and Bridgeport, and he had to work his way into the pros from being an undrafted free agent coming out of the University of New Hampshire. He's a hustler with a strong scoring touch - could be just what the Falcons need to push them a little harder, providing a veteran voice and a strong worth ethic in the locker room who can back it up by putting pucks into the net. It also doesn't hurt that this shores up our depth down the middle with a guy who has a good scoring touch - something that could be very important if (God Forbid) Brass or Vermette were to go down for any length of time to an injury. He's also on a one year deal - something that ought to push him to perform if he's looking for a chance to stay in Columbus' system.
The team is currently saying this is just to balance out Springfield's roster, and I believe them (for now), but if nothing else it is a clear indication that Howson is banging on doors looking for opportunities - and his willingness to make a minor league deal now could easily lead to making a bigger trade down the road.