Rats' Dave Gove traded to Pittsburgh
River Rats alternate captain David Gove has been traded tonight by the Carolina Hurricanes in a swap of minor-league forwards.
Carolina sent Gove to the Pittsburgh Penguins for left wing Joe Jensen, who has two goals, two assists, 23 penalty minutes and is minus-7 in 27 games for Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. He will join the Rats for Friday's home game vs. Syracuse.
Gove, 29, was on a two-game scoring streak (0-3-3) and had nine points in 11 January games, after scoring 14 in his first 36 games. Listed at 5-9 and 190 pounds, he was 8-15-23 and minus-1 in 45 games overall with three game-winning goals, including the season opener in Binghamton.
Jensen, who turns 25 Feb. 6, is listed at 5-11, 180. This is his second pro season after four years at St. Cloud State, where he was teammates with Albany defensemen Tim Conboy and Casey Borer. Jensen was Pittsburgh's 8th round pick, 232nd overall, in 2003.
Rats coach Tom Rowe said at practice this morning that the team was looking to add size and skill. He is also younger and comes cheaper than Gove, who is in the final year of his contract with Carolina.
"The kid isn't overly big but he's younger and he's got real good offensive skills. He's somebody that caught our eye when we played them," Rowe said. "We figured we weren't going to sign Dave next year, and it gave us an opportunity to get a younger prospect and give Dave the chance to go to another organization and showcase his skills for next season, as well. Hopefully, it's a trade that helps us and helps Dave at the same time."
Wilkes-Barre hosts Bridgeport on Friday and Norfolk on Saturday. The Rats and Pens, who have had some spirited battles this season, meet four more times: March 15 and April 11 in Albany (the Rats regular-season home finale) and March 21 and April 2 in Wilkes-Barre.
If things continue as they are now, with the teams tied for second in the East Division, it will provide another interesting element to what promises to be already excellent hockey games.
Gove has been part of Albany's top checking line for the past two seasons, and was a veteran presence in the locker room. He is one of the few AHL players with a Stanley Cup ring, earned (with Aucoin) for his time as a playoff spare during Carolina's 2006 title run.
"He's been a good solider and was with us the Stanley Cup season, and he was an important piece as far as the depth goes in the organization," Rowe said. "At the same time, it is a business and we felt we needed to make the move, especially getting a younger guy who put up some pretty good numbers at the college level. We're banking on him being able to come in and give us some good offense."
Jensen had 100 points (45-55) in 153 college games for St. Cloud. Rowe had a chance to speak with both Gove and Jensen tonight.
"(Gove) seemed a little more surprised. He wanted to know how it came about," Rowe said. "We told him Pittsburgh had asked about him. Whenever you get traded, it's always a surprise, especially when it's a guy like Dave that's been with us and been an assistant captain and is well-liked by everybody in the locker room. I'm sure the guys are going to miss him because he fit in. Unfortunately in this business, you have to look to the future.
"(Jensen) seemed very excited. He was playing in Wilkes-Barre, but I'm not sure how much. When I spoke with him a little while ago, he seemed very excited about getting here."
From a personal standpoint, Gove was what we call a "go-to" guy, always willing to stand up and be counted, win or lose. He will be missed.