NHL Trade Deadline: Movement Begins As Leopold Heads To Pittsburgh

The NHL's Olympic trade freeze ended Sunday night at midnight, and while some who stayed up in anticipation of a middle-of-the-night deal were left with disappointment, we didn't have to wait long into Monday to get the first player movement of the 2010 deadline.

Jordan Leopold has been traded to the Pittsburgh Penguins in exchange for a second round pick in this years' draft, according to TSN. The 29-year-old defenseman will be an unrestricted free agent when his contract expires in July. He has a limited no trade clause, according to capgeek.com, so he may have had to accept the trade to Pittsburgh.

Leopold has a cap hit of 1.75 million dollars.

SBN's Florida Panthers site, Litter Box Cats, is happy with the deal:

I'm calling this a steal for the Cats; another soon-to-be UFA has been converted into a decent spot at this year's draft. Solid.

In Pittsburgh, SBN writers at Pensburgh wonder about the salary cap implications of such a move:

Leopold is an impending UFA with a salary of $1.75 million.  That number will be prorated for the rest of the season but even then the Penguins must be very near the cap.  If they are going to make another move, a roster player will have to be made or someone will get demoted to the AHL.

Speaking of possible demotions, Leopold gives the Penguins eight defensemen.  Is Martin Skoula soon to be on waivers?  Will "the next shoe" soon drop on another deal?

Buckle up, everybody, it might be about to get a little bumpy.

Buckle up is right. The 2010 NHL trade deadline is officially underway, folks.

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