Barriball involved in trade for NHL superstar Guerin

The St. Louis Blues also own the rights to freshman defenseman Erik Johnson.

Mark Remme

With the NHL trading deadline passing this week, a Minnesota men’s hockey player found himself in the midst of teams trying to gear up for a Stanley Cup run.

The San Jose Sharks traded the rights to freshman forward Jay Barriball to the St. Louis Blues on Tuesday. The Sharks shipped Barriball, Ville Nieminen and a 2007 first-round pick to St. Louis for veteran Bill Guerin, the Blues’ leading goal scorer.

The move took Barriball a bit by surprise, especially being traded for a high-profile player like Guerin.

“(Guerin’s) been an NHL all-star for a while now,” Barriball said. “I’ve had posters up of him in my bedroom – it’s pretty weird.”

The move means Barriball is teamed up with longtime friend and current Gophers teammate Erik Johnson in the Blues organization, meaning a potential professional reunion might be in line for the two freshmen down the road.

“Johnson called me about five minutes later and said, ‘What’s going on, teammate?’ ” Barriball said. “It was kinda cool.”

Players of the week

A pair of dominant goaltending performances highlighted this week’s Western Collegiate Hockey Association players of the week.

Michigan Tech sophomore goalie Michael-Lee Teslak and St. Cloud State senior netminder Bobby Goepfert earned Co-Defensive Player of the Week honors for backstopping their teams to conference sweeps.

Teslak allowed just two goals all weekend to Wisconsin, including a 2-0 shutout Friday night.

“He’s very confident right now,” Michigan Tech coach Jamie Russell said of Teslak. “Fortunately for us he’s playing very well (down the stretch).”

Goepfert was equally brilliant, posting two wins in a pivotal home-and-home series with conference-leading Minnesota and keeping the MacNaughton Cup race alive in the process.

Meanwhile, Minnesota Duluth sophomore forward Mason Raymond was named Offensive Player of the Week.

His five-point weekend (one goal and four assists) against Alaska Anchorage helped his team to a sweep. In the process, Raymond quietly moved into second place in WCHA scoring with 43 points.

Not to be outdone, Minnesota State forward Zach Harrison and St. Cloud State forward Ryan Lasch both earned a share of Rookie of the Week honors.

Harrison had a goal and two assists in the Mavericks’ first sweep of Colorado College since 1998-99.

Lasch netted a four-point weekend against the struggling Gophers in the Huskies’ sweep.

WCHA musical chairs

With the WCHA competition tighter than it’s been in years, home-ice advantage is at a premium heading into the best-of-three first round playoffs March 9-11.

And as the final weekend of regular-season play is just days away, home ice for the current fourth and fifth seeds is anything but locked up.

As it stands, North Dakota and Colorado College hold those two sports with 28

and 26 conference points, respectively. Things could look different once the weekend is over.

Michigan Tech and Minnesota State both have 25 points and sit tied for sixth place. If the Huskies or Mavericks pull off a sweep while North Dakota and Colorado College falter, things could look much different heading into postseason play.

Gophers coach Don Lucia said he knows how pivotal this weekend is for Michigan Tech’s playoffs hopes.

“They’re a bubble team as far as the NCAA tournament goes and also for home ice,” Lucia said. “They’ve got a lot to play for.”