Report: Dustin Byfuglien shipped to Atlanta in blockbuster trade

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Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Buff.jpgNote: This isn’t quite confirmed yet. Keep your eye on PHT for the official word … or the possibility that the trade fell through.

While the salary cap went up higher than many expected – reportedly all the way up to $59.4 million – the Chicago Blackhawks still were forced to move a huge piece (literally and figuratively) in playoff hero Dustin Byfuglien. I first heard of it from a Tweet by Kevin Allen of USA Today, but TSN spells it out in terms of the actual picks and players exchanged in the gigantic deal.

Byfuglien, along with Brent Sopel, Ben Eager and Akim Aliu, will be headed to Atlanta in exchange for the 24th overall pick at the 2010 NHL Entry Draft, the 54th pick, Marty Reasoner and Jeremy Morin.

Wow. Let’s all take a second to soak that one in. OK, now let’s look at it in terms of salary cap terms since that’s obviously what caused this to happen. Keep in mind the Blackhawks also received those draft picks.

Atlanta receives:

Byfuglien ($3 million cap hit through 2010-11 season)

Sopel ($2.33 through 10-11)

Ben Eager (RFA)

Akim Aliu (845K if he’s at the NHL-level)

Chicago receives

Reasoner ($1.15 million through 10-11)

Morin (About $975K through 12-13 if he’s at the NHL-level)

So, the Thrashers get an inconsistent but impact forward in Byfuglien plus a steady, veteran defenseman in Sopel. The Blackhawks save about $4 million on the cap (although they’ll save more if they get rid of Reasoner and less if they keep Reasoner and Morin on the club).

It’s an interesting deal for both teams. The Blackhawks receive draft picks that were originally the New Jersey Devils’ and (perhaps most importantly) valuable cap space in what could be a trying summer. The Thrashers get a huge (though, again, not necessarily dependable) power forward and depth players to boot.

Blackhawks fans might be sad to see “Buffy the Hamburger Slayer” go, but they had to know that someone would be left out in the salary cap mess. For the Thrashers, the Ilya Kovalchuk trade more or less netted them Dustin Byfuglien, Johnny Oduya, Niclas Bergfors, Brent Sopel, Ben Eager and Akim Aliu.

I’m sure that Brandon and Joe will have more on this and/or the other trades as they go down in one has already been a crazy week. Expect things to continue as draft day approaches on Friday.

The Buzzer: Kempe, Schwartz record hat tricks; Leafs honor Gord Downie

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Players of the night: Jaden Schwartz, St. Louis Blues / Adrian Kempe, Los Angeles Kings

The Blues forward tallied his third career hat trick during a 5-2 victory over the Chicago Blackhawks. Schwartz scored the game’s first two goals before completing his hat trick with a late empty-net goal to stave off a Chicago comeback.

Wednesday’s feat for Schwartz came three years to the day of his first career three-goal game.

Kempe, meanwhile, tallied his first NHL hat trick and finished with four points during LA’s 5-1 rout of the Montreal Canadiens. Two of his three goals were assisted by Mike Cammalleri, who also finished the night with four points.

Highlight of the night:

Eddie Olczyk returned to the NBC broadcast booth as he continues his battle against colon cancer. Olczyk, along with Doc Emrick, called the Blues-Blackhawks game from Scottrade Center Wednesday night.

MISC:

Auston Matthews recorded the 20th multi-point game of his career. He now has six goals and 10 points on the season.

Patrick Marleau became the 18th NHL player to reach the 1,500-game mark.

Jake Allen kept his shutout bid alive with this great stick save on Patrick Kane late:

-The Kings are off their best start in franchise history at 5-0-1. They’ve allowed only 10 goals against through six games.

Jeff Carter left the game in the first period and did not return after tangling with Jeff Petry. Afterward, Kings head coach John Stevens said the forward will miss some time.

-Finally, The Tragically Hip frontman Gord Downie passed away from cancer at age 53 on Wednesday. The Maple Leafs paid tribute before their game against the Red Wings.

Factoid of the night:

Scores:

Maple Leafs 6, Red Wings 3

Blues 5, Blackhawks 2

Kings 5, Canadiens 1

Cammalleri, Kempe power Kings over Canadiens

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Adrian Kempe recorded his first career NHL hat trick and Mike Cammalleri added two goals as the Los Angeles Kings beat the Montreal Canadiens 5-1.

After Paul Byron opened the scoring for Montreal midway through the first period, the Kings responded with five unanswered goals to hand the Habs their sixth straight defeat.

Cammalleri, who inked a one-year deal over the summer to return to the Kings, had a hand in four of LA’s five goals. He started the scoring for the Kings in the first period by celebrating the Dodgers’ playoff run with his own special kind of baseball swing.

Kempe, who finished with four points as well, scored his three goals over a span of 10:50 in the third period to help the Kings to their best start in franchise history (5-0-1).

LA remains the only NHL team yet to lose in regulation this season.

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Sean Leahy is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy.

Jaden Schwartz’s hat trick leads Blues over Blackhawks

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Jaden Schwartz‘s third career hat trick helped power the St. Louis Blues over the Chicago Blackhawks 5-2 in a Central Division clash Wednesday night at Scottrade Center.

Schwartz’s eventful evening began with a goal 4:46 into the first period. It was nearly ended minutes later after a scary crash into the end boards following a scoring chance.

After missing some time, Schwartz returned in the second period and doubled the Blues’ lead with his fourth of a season, thanks to a great outlet pass from Allen.

As the Blues built up a 4-0 lead, the Blackhawks spoiled Allen’s shutout bid with a pair of late power play goals 80 seconds apart. The furious rally was stopped, however, and Schwartz capped off his hat trick with an empty netter to put the game out of reach.

St. Louis dominated the first two periods, outshooting the Blackhawks 26-8 as they built up their 2-0 lead. The Blackhawks’ power play failed them early in the game, missing out on five chances to capitalize with the extra man through 40 minutes.

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Sean Leahy is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy.

WATCH LIVE: Canadiens at Kings

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The Montreal Canadiens play their second game of a three-game west coast trip Wednesday night against the Los Angeles Kings.

It hasn’t been the best start for the Habs, who sit tied for last in the Eastern Conference with a 1-4-1 record. They’re winless since an opening night win over the Buffalo Sabres. On the other side of things, the Kings are the only NHL team that has yet to lose in regulation. Their 4-0-1 start puts them a point behind the Vegas Golden Knights, and their game in-hand gives them the opportunity to leap into first place in the Pacific Division with a victory.

You can check out tonight’s game on NBCSN (10:30 p.m. ET) or online via the live stream.

CLICK HERE TO WATCH LIVE

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Sean Leahy is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy.

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