ROCHESTER, N.Y. -- Welcome back, Skinner.
With the American Hockey League clear day roster deadline tomorrow, the Manitoba Moose made their first move by adding defenceman Brett Skinner to their blue-line yesterday.
That's funny, wasn't there an impromptu good-bye between current Moose and the former Moose at a Hamilton hotel on Thursday, just mere hours after the NHL trade deadline passed?
Who'd have thought they'd lead him right back here where they need him?
Welcome back, welcome back, wel-come back.
"Since the NHL trade deadline we needed to re-acquire a couple more D and there was a visa issue with Skinner getting into the U.S.," Moose general manager Craig Heisinger said via phone yesterday. "This is a loan situation. Anaheim loans Brett Skinner to Manitoba."
Skinner, a Brandon product who was the third choice of the Vancouver Canucks in the 2002 NHL entry draft, was dealt to the Mighty Ducks for defenceman Keith Carney and a Finnish prospect.
Even though the Canucks received Carney, Eric Weinrich, and Sean Brown to bolster their back end, Vancouver did ship out Tomas Mojzis (to St. Louis) and Steve McCarthy (to Atlanta) and still has two major blue-line cogs (Sami Salo and Ed Jovanovski) out with injuries.
So while veteran defenceman Sven Butenschon has returned to Manitoba (the Oakbank product was officially sent down yesterday and suited up for the Moose as they took on the Rochester Americans last night), the expected return of Kevin Bieksa will have to wait until at least later this month.
Which is why Heisinger, who has burning up the phone lines in search of some extra defensive depth, agreed to bring Skinner back to Winnipeg for the rest of the season.
Barring another move, the 22-year-old will be a part of Manitoba's 22-man roster tomorrow.
"It seemed to make some sense," Heisinger said. "He's got continuity with our group, our coaches are comfortable with him and it was a good fit. It worked for Vancouver, Anaheim and ourselves."
Besides the visa issues, the Portland Pirates (Anaheim's AHL affiliate) also had an abundance of defencemen on their roster, making the Moose, Canucks and Ducks an easy marriage.
As for what the loan agreement does for the Moose and their clear day intentions, well that's anyone's guess.
Right now the team is at six defenceman -- with Skinner, Butenschon, Maxime Fortunus, Prestin Ryan, Nathan McIver and James DeMone having all done a fine job carrying the mail for the Moose this season.
Bieksa would make seven. Recovering from injury, veteran Jason Doig would be eight. It's hard to imagine the Moose bringing in a new face to unseat one of those guys and potentially damage the chemistry the unit has.
Skinner was not in Rochester last night. He waited for the team back in Hamilton and could be in the line-up when the Moose take on the Toronto Marlies today (4 p.m.).