Recchi waives no-trade clause, traded to Hurricanes
Recchi gives the NHL's top team a replacement for injured forward Erik Cole, who will miss the rest of the regular season after fracturing a vertebra in his neck less than a week ago against the Penguins. Cole already had a career-high 60 points in 60 games before the injury.
"I didn't feel pressure to do it, it wasn't an absolute necessity," Carolina general manager Jim Rutherford said. "It's not like we were out looking at several players. While the loss of Erik hurts our team, if we weren't able to get Mark Recchi, we weren't going to get anyone else."
The Hurricanes sent defenseman Niklas Nordgren, minor-league forward Krys Kolanos and a second-round pick in 2007 to Pittsburgh. It was the second surprising trade in about a month for one of the league's small-market teams -- Doug Weight had a no-trade clause before arriving from St. Louis on Jan. 30.
To make the move, Recchi also waived his no-trade, a change in his stance from earlier this season. He has a team option for $2.28 million for next season and a player option for $760,000 -- if neither is picked up, he will become a free agent.
"I'm not going in there to be the savior," Recchi said. "I want to be a piece of a great hockey club. If I can be a little piece that can get it over the top, that's what I'm looking for."
With the move, Recchi leaves the league's worst club with 40 points to join the NHL's top club with 91 points.
"It's going to be a breath of fresh air for me," Recchi said. "I just can't wait to get there, lace them up and get in the lineup with these guys."
Recchi has 24 goals and 33 assists in 63 games for Pittsburgh, which loses a proven scorer and doesn't get much in return. His rating of minus-28 is the second-worst among the NHL's 835 skaters, trailing only Bryan Berard of the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Rutherford expects Recchi to join the Hurricanes in time for Saturday's game at the Florida Panthers.
"This group of players have played extremely well," Rutherford said. "They certainly have shown that we have as good a chance as anyone else in the playoffs. Any time you get to that point, and you can add elite players such as Weight and Recchi, you need to get that kind of depth to do well."
Penguins general manager Craig Patrick said the team weighed not trading Recchi. Because of his no-trade clause, Recchi ruled out deals to some teams.
"There was a lot of interest in Recchi," Patrick said. "There were a lot of teams -- the list was extensive. We considered not trading him right up to the last second. ... It was great to have him here and we wish him well. Now I know who I am rooting for to win the Stanley Cup."
One reason the Penguins are headed for a fourth consecutive last-place finish is their inability to get quality players in return in deals for players such as Jaromir Jagr, Martin Straka and Alexei Kovalev.
"Obviously, the nucleus of our team is a lot younger," Patrick said.
Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press
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