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Guerin's off the Island

by John Kreiser
Yes, Bill Guerin is officially off the Island.

The New York Islanders traded the 38-year-old right wing to the Pittsburgh Penguins on Wednesday for a conditional draft pick, ranging from a fifth-rounder if the Penguins miss the playoffs to a third-rounder if they get past the first round and Guerin plays in half of the Pens' playoff games.

The trade ends four days of speculation that the Isles' captain would be dealt.

The rumors began swirling Saturday night, when Guerin was pulled from the lineup just before the Isles' game with Buffalo after he took part in the pregame skate. Two days earlier, Guerin told the team he would be willing to waive his no-movement clause for the right deal.

No trade took place over the weekend, and Guerin was a healthy scratch for New York's 4-2 victory over the Colorado Avalanche on Monday.

"It was a pretty painful process," Guerin told TSN. "We thought we had a deal done with another team a couple days ago. Then, it just kind of made things a little awkward, so, I sat here in limbo for four days or so just kind of waiting for something to happen. I've been through trade deadlines before, and a lot of things wait until the last second to get things done."

Guerin, who signed a two-year deal with the Islanders in the summer of 2007 and was named captain days later, had 23 goals and 21 assists for 44 points last season and led the team in 2008-09 with 16 goals and added 20 assists for 36 points.

The Wilbraham, Mass., native will be joining his eighth NHL team. He was dealt from the St. Louis Blues to the San Jose Sharks at the 2007 trade deadline, then signed with the Isles that summer.

Guerin won a Stanley Cup ring with New Jersey in 1995. He scored his 400th NHL goal on Dec. 26 and has scored 20 or more for six NHL teams.

His offensive totals should improve with the Penguins, where he figures to get the chance to play with either Sidney Crosby or Evgeni Malkin, two of the NHL's top centers. Though he's 38, he still has the wheels to play a top-six role on a team that wants to play an uptempo game.

The Penguins, last season's Eastern Conference champions, are 6-1-1 under new coach Dan Bylsma and have climbed into eighth place in the Eastern Conference. The hope adding Guerin will help them cement a playoff spot.

"I'm excited about going to Pittsburgh," he told TSN. "It's a great opportunity for me to go to a talented team like that with their experience in the Finals last year. They're in a dogfight right now for the playoffs, but they're playing great and I'm really looking forward to it."

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