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Blue Line Specials Going Fast

The big names are starting to move, as Tuesday night the Blues traded Chris Pronger to the Edmonton Oilers for a package headlined by defenseman Eric Brewer. With Tony Amonte and Darren McCarty signing up with the Calgary Flames, could we see a rejuvenation of the Battle of Alberta? One big name that didn't move is Markus Naslund, who signed a new 3-year deal to stay in Vancouver. It seems like the western Canada teams are loading up so far, with Toronto, Montreal, and Ottawa yet to announce major acquisitions.

Another top defenseman with a new address will be Sergei Gonchar, who landed a 5-year deal to join the Mario & Sidney show in Pittsburgh. This is one of those daring deals that could backfire on the Pens, if Gonchar's $5 million salary causes cap issues down the road. Most of the contracts signed in recent days have been for two, perhaps three years, but in this case the Pens may have needed to offer a longer deal just to attract top-notch talent. Gonchar's a great pickup for Pittsburgh, though, as they need puck-moving defensemen to get the offense rolling and foster Crosby's development.

The Islanders also filled Adrian Aucoin's spot by signing Alexei Zhitnik to a four-year sentence, err, contract, to play on Long Island.

While the main focus during these days is on the famous names moving back and forth, stay tuned for a series of division-by-division reviews next week.