Two More Dee-ls Completed Before Season Begins
(1991 - Vol. IX)
The Quebec Nordiques completed two more deals before the 1991 season begins. The team, in need of more depth on the blue line, added veteran defensemen Charlie Huddy, and Dave Pichette in separate trades on the eve of the season.
In the first deal of the day, the Nordiques worked out a deal with the Edmonton Oilers, acquiring Huddy in exchange for their second round pick in next year's draft. Huddy, a veteran of over 500 NFHL, brings the experience needed to be a defenseman that can play in all situations, and move into the top four when injuries or suspensions occur. GM Andy Leblond had been scouring the market to shore up the blue line for his newly acquired starting goalie Grant Fuhr.
'I've stated previously that we lost a lot on the blue line last season, and we knew that it was an area of concern after our goalie situation. Once we acquired Fuhr, we got more aggressive in our search to add to our top six. We have a quality starter, and with the amount of injuries a team sustains over the course of a season, and the way suspensions are handed out by the league, we knew we needed to make sure we were ready for any and all situations.'
In his last deal before the start of the season, Leblond sent his third round pick in next year's draft to the Anaheim Ducks for defenseman Dave Pichette. While the deal was just completed, it had been marinating for quite some time.
'This deal has just been out there for some time. GM Smith approached me about Pichette prior to Free Agency. We had our eyes on quite a few players, so I told him I'd touch base after that period, and if we were in need, the deal would be done. He reached back out to me, and my priority had shifted to solving our goalie issue first. I realized it was an easy deal to make, and sent it to him, and waited. I was involved in discussions with a few teams about defenseman, made the Huddy deal, when Smith finally got back to me. I had almost made another deal when he agreed, and then it was done. It was the longest, easiest deal to make. Ever. (laughs). Pichette's contract was very attractive, and he's another veteran guy that can slide into the six-eight spot with Howe, and Maxwell. Unfortunately someone is going to have to sit each game; but it should create some healthy competition with the guys. Reinhart will go down to Fredericton, and be a mentor to our younger guys, and see time if/when injuries and suspensions happen. We're now ready for the season to begin, and I'm liking our team a lot better than I did when the off-season began.'
When asked if he was now finally done tinkering with his team, Leblond didn't hesitate.
'No. Maybe. We'll see. I'm not sure how I feel about our depth up front, so I could be in the market for another forward. I'm prepared to head into the season as is, and see how this group performs before I add anyone else. We are getting close to that max roster limit, so we could package a couple of our lower end prospects for a pick, or cash. We also are potentially looking to move Larry Lozinski. When we signed him, we had told him if we had added enough goalies to bump him to 4th on our depth charts, we'd try to move him to a team that could use him. There definitely a lot of teams in need of goaltending, and he's a good veteran goalie at an extremely affordable price. We'll see what's out there.'