Pierre Dorion has now made two trades in the last three days, today acquiring defenceman Ville Pokka from the Chicago Blackhawks in exchange for forward Chris DiDomenico.
The story of DiDomenico is an intriguing one, as he didn’t play his first NHL game until last season until he was 27 years old. His good play in Switzerland plus his familiarity with Guy Boucher earned him a cheap two-year contract that expires after this season.
Despite finding success at the NHL level this season (he has six goals and ten points in 24 games), DiDomenico has been placed on waivers three times this season. The first time he was claimed by the Tampa Bay Lightning, although a week later he was reclaimed by Ottawa. The third time was just yesterday, and it was announced at noon today that he cleared and would be assigned to the AHL.
Returning for Ottawa is a younger player, 23-year-old defenceman Ville Pokka. Originally drafted 34th overall in 2012, he’s spent the last four seasons improving his craft with the Rockford IceHogs of the AHL. In 2015-16, he finished second in AHL scoring amongst U24 defencemen, with 45 points in 76 games. So far this season, he’s scored four goals and 22 points in 46 games, on a Rockford team that’s second last in their division.
Pokka will be added to the right side of Belleville’s depth chart, which currently includes Christian Jaros (injured), Erik Burgdoerfer and Macoy Erkamps. The team has been weaker on the right side than the left, often having to play players on their off-side.
Like DiDomenico, Pokka’s contract expires after this season, although he’ll instead be a restricted free agent.