Sneep has also been assigned to the Texas Stars, as he was traded for primarily to help provide more depth and stability on the blue line in the AHL. With Brenden Dillon and Jordie Benn in the NHL for, presumably, the rest of the season the Texas Stars were in need of a player with legitimate experience who can play some big minutes on defense in Austin and also provide some NHL depth if the injury issues create an emergency situation.
That seems to be the role Sneep will fill.
Sneep has played much of this season in the ECHL after being pushed down the depth chart due to the lockout and the logjam at defense the Penguins seem to perpetually have to deal with. He had a great reputation at Boston College and scouting reports are generally positive; Sneep appears to be a good two-way defenseman with good size who does everything pretty well but nothing spectacular. Sneep made his NHL debut last season, having one assist in one game.
I turned to Hooks Orpik of Pensburgh to give us the low down on the newest Dallas Star:
Carl Sneep was GM Ray Shero's second ever draft pick in 2006 (the first being Jordan Staal), Sneep was a very high 2nd round draft pick so a lot of fans had high hopes. He obviously didn't develop exactly as hoped, spent all four years at Boston College before turning pro in the fall of 2010.
From there he's been a minor leaguer, earning just one NHL game in Pittsburgh when almost the entire depth chart was injured last season. Sneep has good size, is a decent skater, has decent puck moving ability. Not great offensive instincts but enough to be effective, certainly at the AHL level.
For whatever reason, Sneep fell out of favor this year with the Pens. Due to the lockout Pittsburgh had Brian Strait, Simon Despres and Robert Bortuzzo in the AHL (all are in the NHL now, albeit Strait got claimed by NYI on waivers) and Pittsburgh has top prospects like 2011 1st round pick Joe Morrow and Brian Dumoulin that they want to give AHL minutes to so Sneep ended up in the ECHL, mainly as a numbers casualty.
The writing's probably been on the wall and a fresh organization could do him well. Sneep is 25 now, and I'm not sure he's good/consistent/physical enough to be a full-fledged NHL player, but he is definitely a good AHL player at the very least and probably a spot call-up to NHL given that he never really got a chance in the Pittsburgh organization and got lost in the shuffle.
For the Pens, rumor is they might sign Mark Eaton (signed yesterday to a minor league tryout contract) to a full NHL deal, so dealing a contract guy like Sneep is necessity if they wanted to go that route, which explains the reason to deal him now. That and to give the guy a chance to make his mark somewhere else.
Here's the press release:
FRISCO, Texas - The Dallas Stars announced today that they have acquired defenseman Carl Sneep from the Pittsburgh Penguins in exchange for a conditional seventh-round draft pick in the 2013 NHL Entry Draft. He has been assigned to the Texas Stars, Dallas' primary affiliate in the American Hockey League (AHL).
Sneep, 25, has skated in 29 games this season for the Wheeling Nailers, Pittsburgh's ECHL affiliate. In those 29 games, he has earned a plus-12 rating and 15 points (3G-12A) ranking third among all Nailers defensemen in scoring. The St. Louis Park, Minn. native also skated in one AHL game for the Hershey Bears and was Pittsburgh's second-round selection (32nd overall) in 2006.
The Dallas Stars faceoff against the Chicago Blackhawks tonight at 7:30 pm (TV: FOX Sports Southwest; Radio: 1310 The Ticket).