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Guerin switches to San Jose Sharks

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TORONTO, Canada -- The San Jose Sharks made the biggest splash on trade deadline day with the capture of forward Bill Guerin, while Edmonton lost 'Captain Canada' Ryan Smyth in a shock move to the New York Islanders.

Among a flurry of deals in the 24 hours ahead of the 1500 EST deadline, the Penguins added grit and experience by obtaining veteran forward Gary Roberts from the Florida Panthers and tough guy Georges Laraque from the Phoenix Coyotes.

Teams completed a record 24 deals on Tuesday, with 42 players and 28 draft picks changing hands.

The Sharks underlined their Stanley Cup credentials by landing the top player left on the market in All-Star forward Guerin from St Louis, sending left wings Ville Nieminen and Jay Barriball and a conditional first-round draft pick the other way.

Considered serious Cup contenders before the trade deadline, the Sharks improved an already formidable lineup that includes reigning MVP Joe Thornton and the NHL's top goal scorer from last season, Jonathan Cheechoo.

A three-time member of the U.S. Olympic team, Guerin brings a mean streak, booming shot and playoff experience to the Sharks having helped the New Jersey Devils to the 1995 Stanley Cup.

The 36-year-old forward was the Blues' leading scorer this season with 28 goals and 47 points in 61 games.

"When you get moved you pray it's to a place you want to go and San Jose was one of the places I wanted to go, I'm excited," Guerin told reporters.

"Just to be given the opportunity to go and play in the playoffs and try and win a Stanley Cup -- that's all you want."

The Islanders also improved significantly with the acquisition of forward Smyth, sending first-round picks Robert Nilsson and Ryan O'Marra and a first-round selection in the 2007 draft to the Oilers in return.

The Oilers tried desperately to re-sign their captain and face of the franchise, who becomes an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season, but could not reach a deal to keep Smyth, who had spent his entire 12-year career in Edmonton.

Top young talent

The Penguins possess some of the game's top young talent in Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Jordan Staal and Marc-Andre Fleury, but the capture of 40-year-old Roberts from Florida for defacement Noah Welch gives them some balance.

A hardnosed power forward, Roberts has appeared in 114 playoff contests in 19 seasons helping the Calgary Flames to a Stanley Cup in 1989.

A three-times All Star, Roberts brings a mix of toughness and skill to Pittsburgh, his 424 goals ranking him 66th on the NHL all-time list. He also sits on the League's all-time penalty minutes list with 2,467.

In 50 games this season Roberts has 13 goals, 16 assists and 71 penalty minutes.

Laraque, regarded by many as the NHL's top heavyweight, arrives from the Coyotes for forward Danny Carcillo.

While he is also an effective offensive player with five goals and 17 assists this season, Laraque knows his role with the Penguins will be to protect Crosby, Staal and Malkin. "Obviously going there I am going to have a lot of responsibility and they have a lot of young talent and there is more than one guy to target," said Laraque.

"I won't be the bodyguard for one guy, I'm going to have to look after pretty much the entire team.

"You look at how much talent they have, you want guys to be able to flourish their talent to have open ice and not worry about guys running them and taking liberties."

In another deadline day deal, the injury-hit Buffalo Sabres shipped netminder Martin Biron to the Philadelphia Flyers for an undisclosed draft pick.

Guerin helped the New York Jersey Devils to the 1995 Stanley Cup.

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