The Buffalo Sabres today traded winger Jason Dawe to the New York Islanders for left winger Paul Kruse and defenseman Jason Holland.
Kruse is 6-feet, 202 pounds and turns 28 years old Wednesday. He has 34 goals, 66 points and 863 penalty minutes in 356 career games. In 62 games this season, he has six goals, one assist and 138 penalty minutes.
Holland is a 21-year-old who spent last year with Kentucky of the American Hockey League, scoring 14 goals. He is 6-2, 193 pounds.
Holland, the 38th overall pick in the 1994 draft, has played in only eight games this year without registering a point. He is a right-handed shot, something the Sabres are lacking on defense.
Dawe was third on the Sabres in scoring with 19 goals and 36 points.
"I had sort of an idea that something might happen, but when it does, it's still a big shock," Dawe said after the Sabres called him off the ice during practice at the Saddledome today, hours before the 3 p.m. league trading deadline.
"It's the weirdest thing that ever happened to me. Before practice, everyone was talking about trades and then it happened. I had to say goodbye to my teammates, which is tough, but I guess it's time to move on."
Dawe was to fly to Vancouver and expects to dress for tonight's game against the Canucks.
The trade apparently sets up a deal for winger Matthew Barnaby, who was still a Sabre as of 2 p.m. The Sabres, having already dealt Brad May, needed to add toughness before dispatching the pugnacious Barnaby.
They got that in Kruse, who broke his hand in a fight with Sabres winger Rob Ray in Buffalo on March 7.
The disgruntled Barnaby packed his bags and accompanied the team Monday. He has no idea when he'll be back, or who his employer will be when he returns to Western New York.
"I've got a goalie-bag full of stuff for the trip," said Barnaby. "Most of my stuff has been ready for three or four days, sitting by the door, but I've been packing pretty heavily for this one."
Sources said the latest team to express interest in Barnaby is the Edmonton Oilers. One of the players they are reportedly offering is 5-11, 205-pound right wing/defenseman Dennis Bonvie. This year he is scoreless in four games with the Oilers. He played with Hamilton of the AHL last season and totaled 522 penalty minutes in 73 regular-season games.
Barnaby and the rest of the Sabres left Monday afternoon for Calgary, where they will start a four-game road trip against the Flames tonight (9:05, Empire, Radio 104.1 FM & 710).
General manager Darcy Regier spent much of his Monday on the phone in Buffalo and did not accompany the team to Calgary.
Coach Lindy Ruff said he plans to be in touch with Regier via phone right up until the deadline.
"It will be a constant conversation back and forth," Ruff said. "He'll be getting the opinions of the coaches and scouts."
Barnaby, who went public with a request for a trade last week, will spend today waiting for Regier to dial his number. The winger has been scratched from the Sabres' last two games.
"I expect something is going to be done," Barnaby said. "I can't see them holding on (to me) after everything that's happened between both sides. I fully expect something to happen. I've been sitting and waiting for about a week, so another day won't hurt."
What Barnaby doesn't know at this point is where he'll be unpacking. One published report said Barnaby was set to go to the Chicago Blackhawks for center Jeff Shantz, only to see the deal called off when Shantz hurt his knee last week.
Customarily, about a dozen deals are made in the hours leading up to the deadline.
"For most players, it makes you a little nervous but you really can't control it," Ruff said. "A certain number of players worry about it but the majority have nothing to worry about."
To guard against being caught shorthanded, the Sabres have brought winger Vaclav Varada and defenseman Rumun Ndur on the road trip. The two Rochester Americans could be used if any newly acquired players can't report in time for tonight.
"It's a little bit unsettling, but it's also exciting because you're hoping to improve your hockey team, whether it's one player or two players," Ruff said.