General manager Ray Shero made a second significant deadline move in two seasons, picking up forward Bill Guerin from the New York Islanders on Wednesday for a conditional draft pick. Guerin, 38, once was one of the NHL's top power forwards and was the Islanders' second-leading scorer with 16 goals and 20 assists in 61 games.
"I think it's worth a chance with a Billy Guerin, that playing with good players he will be able to score goals. I'm hoping he can re-energize his career here in Pittsburgh," Shero said. "I think it's a good move for both of us."
Shero can only hope this deal has an impact close to that of his last-second deal for forward Marian Hossa last year. That trade gave the Penguins the piece they needed to make a Stanley Cup run, and Hossa was a major contributor as they took the Detroit Red Wings to six games before losing in the finals.
Hossa later turned down a long, lucrative contract offer from Pittsburgh to sign a one-year deal with Detroit, and the Penguins have been searching since then for a replacement talented enough to play alongside Crosby, who is third in the NHL in scoring.
Guerin, like Hossa last season, is in the final year of his contract -- he is making $4.5 million -- and is likely to remain with Pittsburgh only until the season ends. The Islanders get a fifth-round pick if the Penguins don't make the playoffs, a fourth-rounder if they do, and a third-rounder if they reach the second round and Guerin plays in half the first-round games.
Pittsburgh is the eighth NHL team for Guerin, who has played in 105 postseason games. He had eight goals in 16 games for San Jose after the Sharks acquired him from St. Louis at the deadline two years ago.
"I'm excited about playing in Pittsburgh, with a young team that's playing great," Guerin told Canada's TSN cable network.
The Penguins also added some missing toughness, claiming right wing Craig Adams off waivers from the Chicago Blackhawks. Adams and Guerin are expected to be in uniform when the Penguins play the Florida Panthers on Thursday night.
Adams has two goals, four assists and 22 penalty minutes in 36 games with Chicago this season. He has 37 goals in 498 career NHL games with the Blackhawks and Carolina Hurricanes.
Forward Miroslav Satan, a disappointment this season, was demoted to Wilkes-Barre so that the remainder of his $3.5 million salary will not count against their salary cap.
By acquiring Guerin, who is 17 years older than captain Crosby, the Penguins picked up a second top six forward in less than a week. Chris Kunitz, acquired from Anaheim in a deal involving puck-moving defenseman Ryan Whitney on Thursday, has three goals in three games with Pittsburgh -- two in a 3-1 victory over Tampa Bay on Tuesday night.
Even without Crosby, who has a groin injury, the Penguins have won their last four to move into the top eight in the Eastern Conference playoff race after being ninth or lower for weeks. Crosby could return later this week.
Pittsburgh lost some of its front-line toughness last summer when forwards Ryan Malone, Gary Roberts and Jarkko Ruutu signed with other teams following the Stanley Cup finals, and Guerin and Adams may help them get it back.
The 31-year-old Adams is in the final season of a $6 million, three-year contract and also can become a free agent after the season ends.
The Penguins also swapped minor league defensemen with St. Louis, sending Danny Richmond to the Blues for Andy Wozniewski, who was assigned to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton (AHL). They also reassigned forwards Bill Thomas, a Pittsburgh native, and Tim Wallace to Wilkes-Barre.
Satan has three goals in eight games since the Penguins brought in Dan Bylsma as coach, but has only 17 goals and 19 assists in 65 games.
"It was for cap flexibility, basically," Shero said. "He's basically in a holding pattern right now and we'll see where we are the next couple of days."
The Penguins are 6-1-1 since Bylsma replaced Michel Therrien, a surge that may have saved their season.