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Serious move

Hurricanes play keep-away by making Weight trade

Posted: Monday January 30, 2006 5:19PM; Updated: Monday January 30, 2006 5:19PM
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The Hurricanes hope Doug Weight will provide offense without disrupting the team's winning chemistry.
The Hurricanes hope Doug Weight will provide offense without disrupting the team's winning chemistry.
Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images
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Guess we can say the Hurricanes are serious now, eh?

In Doug Weight, Carolina acquires a valuable performer capable of making a significant contribution in the race for the Cup (Stanley, not Nextel for you late-arriving Tobacco Roaders) without giving up any pieces critical to this year's mission.

Weight is a proven quantity in the playoffs (20 goals and 55 points in 69 games). He's an elite set-up man, averaging more than 50 assists per season in the last five campaigns. And perhaps most important, he allows the Canes to spread the offensive load -- no small consideration considering that top center Eric Staal has no NHL playoff experience and other key performers such as Erik Cole, Justin Williams and Cory Stillman have had limited success in the postseason.

Now that Weight's on board, the interesting question becomes: How does he fit in? He led the Blues in scoring, despite lining up alongside the stone-handed Mark Rycroft, Jeff Hoggan, Eric Boguniecki, etc, so he's clearly capable of impacting the offense without having to steal Staal's wingers.

Although it's possible Weight could center the third line (with Ray Whitney and Matt Cullen after the Olympic break), it makes more sense to bump Rod Brind'Amour to that unit. Although Brind'Amour has played a key role in the offense this season (his 47 points are fourth-best on the team), he's better suited for the defensive responsibilities of the third line than is Weight.

As nice an addition as Weight is, this move feels like it was as much about Carolina keeping him away from Ottawa, Philadelphia and maybe Atlanta as it was about shoring up the 'Canes' depth. Considering that Weight was the premier trade deadline target of those teams, and how tight the East could be down the stretch, that makes this deal a two-fer for Carolina.

For its part, St. Louis did pretty well in the deal. The three bodies the Blues acquired -- Mike Zigomanis, Jesse Boulerice and Magnus Kahnberg -- won't make anyone forget Weight (or replace one-third of his offense combined), but they'll help fill out the roster as the team makes other moves in the next few weeks.

The key for the Blues? The draft picks. Although the first rounder is sure to be a late one, it's still a valuable asset. It can either bring St. Louis a player further down the road, could be dealt to improve its own draft position (especially if the Blues lose the lottery), or bring in another body before the March 9 trade deadline.

The pair of fourth-rounders is less enthralling, but quality players have been plucked there in the past (consider Shawn Horcoff in 1998 and Lubomir Visnovsky in 2000). The ultimate value of these acquisitions can't be judged for several years.

With Mike Sillinger having been dealt on Sunday, don't be surprised to see the Blues complete the trifecta by dishing Dallas Drake in the next 48 hours.

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