It’s taken essentially all day, but the blockbuster trade between the Chicago Blackhawks and the Atlanta Thrashers is a done deal, with some help from the San Jose Sharks. As we mentioned earlier tonight, the Thrashers had to make another trade in order to have room on their books to add the contracts of Dustin Byfuglien, Brent Sopel, Ben Eager and Akim Aliu from the Blackhawks. The Thrashers found a trading partner in the San Jose Sharks to send some of those other players to as TSN’s Bob McKenzie and Darren Dreger found out and James Mirtle of the Globe and Mail clarified.
The Sharks have acquired a seventh round selection in 2010, Michael Vernace and Brett Sterling from the Thrashers for future considerations.
So with that out of the way, the Blackhawks and Thrashers are clear to make their deal although it’s got one more component added to it that was not included in the originally reported deal. The deal now looks like this:
- Chicago trades: Dustin Byfuglien, Brent Sopel, Ben Eager, Akim Aliu
- Atlanta trades: Marty Reasoner, Joey Crabb, Jeremy Morin, 24th and 54th overall selections in the 2010 NHL Draft
The biggest point of this deal for Chicago was to help cut salary off their books and they’ve done that effectively as James pointed out earlier today. The return the Blackhawks are getting for giving up three players who are being traded at their absolute peak value is stunning.
In Morin they’re getting a guy who had a huge year for the Kitchener Rangers in the OHL scoring 83 points in 58 games and then another 21 points in 20 playoff games. Adding in Atlanta’s other first round pick at 24th overall and their third round pick at 54th overall and Stan Bowman’s got a lot more fun to have on draft weekend as well as breathing a huge sigh of relief of not having to rack his brains over where to cut payroll. In other words, Chicago is absolutely giddy that they found a dance partner willing to give them everything they wanted and thensome.
For the Thrashers, they’re taking an educated gamble and banking on the hopes that Dustin Byfuglien found a consistent game to play while helping the Blackhawks win the Stanley Cup. There’s hope that he can become a physical wrecking ball in an Eastern Conference that decidedly lacks that sort of presence. If Byfuglien is the 15-19 goal scorer he was for the Blackhawks during the regular season the last three years, however, the Thrashers are going to very disappointed. Sopel and Eager are role players and it’s clear that soon-to-be new coach Craig Ramsay is going to tighten things up defensively and they’ll help that. Still, the Thrashers are banking on Byfuglien to be a force for them in a hefty way and while there’s no doubt that Atlanta will be a very difficult team to play against, whether it translates to success in the Southeast Division remains to be seen.