Sabres Finally Find Way to Trade Holdout Peca

From Associated Press

Michael Peca is no longer in hockey limbo after the Buffalo Sabres traded their holdout captain to the New York Islanders on Sunday.

Peca, who sat out all of last season after failing to negotiate a deal with the Sabres, was dealt for young forwards Taylor Pyatt and Tim Connolly.

Peca, reached at his suburban Buffalo, N.Y., home, said he first heard the news from a friend, who heard it on Canadian TV. A few minutes later, Sabre General Manager Darcy Regier called Peca to confirm the deal.

“I’m really happy right now,” said Peca, a hard-hitting center who is considered one of the NHL’s top checking forwards.


The trade came a day after Peca and his agent, Don Meehan, expressed their frustration over the Sabres’ failure to make a deal.

Peca, who resigned his captaincy last winter, described Saturday as one of the worst days of his holdout, saying he was on the verge of tears.

"[Saturday] was a pretty tough day. But we did know that there was still a possibility that something could happen, mainly because we knew what was still being offered,” Peca said.

“I think all in all it’s still a shame that it went this far. I think this is a deal that could’ve been consummated a long time ago. But for whatever reason it didn’t, I’m just happy now that I can move on and my family can look forward to moving on as well.”


Connolly, the fifth pick overall in 1999, scored 10 goals and added 31 assists this past season. He had 14 goals and 20 assists a year earlier.

In Connolly, the Sabres get a young center they think has the potential to be a 100-point player for years to come.

Pyatt, the eighth overall pick in 1999, scored four goals and had 14 assists with the Islanders.

The San Jose Sharks got the veteran left wing they needed, acquiring Adam Graves from the New York Rangers for two young players.

New York received right wing Mikael Samuelsson and defenseman Christian Gosselin, who both played for the Sharks’ American Hockey League affiliate in Kentucky last season. The Rangers also will pay a large portion of Graves’ $4 million salary next season.

Shark GM Dean Lombardi has coveted Graves, who scored 303 goals in 14 NHL seasons, for nearly four years. On the second day of the NHL draft, Lombardi finally got a wing he feels is capable of playing opposite San Jose’s cornerstone right wings, Owen Nolan and Teemu Selanne.

“To say I’m excited would be an understatement,” Graves said. “Last year was an off-year by my personal standards. I’ve dedicated myself this summer, and I’ll be ready to play come training camp.”

Chris Dingman, who averaged 2 1/2 minutes of penalties in the games in which he played last season for the Colorado Avalanche, was traded to the Carolina Hurricanes for a fifth-round draft pick. . . . The Boston Bruins traded right wing Cameron Mann to the Dallas Stars for defenseman Richard Jackman.