Blockbuster completed: Chicago trades Byfuglien and others to Atlanta for Reasoner, picks, prospects

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Byfuglien.jpgIt’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.

Bolland back in, Bjugstad out with injury for Panthers

Evgeny Medvedev, Nick Bjugstad
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Message sent or not via healthy scratches or not, Dave Bolland returns to the Florida Panthers mix on Tuesday.

Unfortunately for the Panthers, it’s maybe not under the most ideal circumstances, as part of the explanation for his return is Nick Bjugstad‘s absence.

The Miami Herald’s George Richards reports that Bjugstad is out tonight against the St. Louis Blues with an upper-body injury that he suffered during a Monday practice.

In fact, as you can see in the tweet above, the young forward was sent home because of the injury.

This forces some shuffling, with Vincent Trocheck moving up to the second line while Bolland centers the third combo as usual.

The Panthers are currently on a two-game winning streak and visit St. Louis as the second date in a five-game road trip.

This is also the early part of a span in which they play nine of 10 games on the road (counting Sunday’s away win), so a prolonged absence from Bjugstad could sting that much more.


Royal pain: Kings’ Greene to have shoulder surgery, out indefinitely

Jiri Hudler, Matt Greene
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The Los Angeles Kings lost one of their most veteran defensemen on Tuesday, as the club announced Matt Greene would be out indefinitely following shoulder surgery.

Greene, 32, had only appeared in three games this season, missing extensive time with the ailment. He had recently resumed skating with teammates and looked to be on the way back to a return, but never got to the point where he was participating in drills, or taking contact.

With Greene out of the lineup, the Kings have primarily gone with a six-man defensive unit of Drew Doughty, Jake Muzzin, Alec Martinez, Christian Ehrhoff, Jamie McBain and Brayden McNabb. Derek Forbort and Jeff Schultz have also been in the mix, but sparingly.

If Greene misses extensive time, L.A. could be in the market for a defenseman come trade deadline day, like they were last year before acquiring Andrej Sekera from Carolina. Greene is one of the most playoff-tested players on the L.A. roster, with 79 games and two Stanley Cups on his resume (and another Stanley Cup Final, with Edmonton in 2006).

Looks like the Canucks will have an interesting lineup tonight

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The Vancouver Canucks got banged up last night in Anaheim. As a result, it looks like they’ll have an interesting lineup tonight in Los Angeles.

Coach Willie Desjardins confirmed this morning that wingers Chris Higgins and Jake Virtanen were hurt and wouldn’t dress against the Kings.

In game-day line rushes, AHL callup Andrey Pedan, a defenseman, was skating on the wing with Jared McCann and Radim Vrbata.

But hold on, that doesn’t necessarily mean Pedan will make his NHL debut tonight. This morning, the Canucks announced they’d called up d-man Alex Biega from AHL Utica. Theoretically, inserting Biega could allow the offensively inclined Yannick Weber to move up to forward. Biega and Weber both shoot right. Pedan shoots left.

But wait, there exists another possibility — that both Pedan and Biega could play. That will depend on Chris Tanev‘s status. He got banged up yesterday as well, though he was able to skate this morning.

Confused? It’s OK. So is everyone.

As an aside, the Canucks not only got banged up last night, they also got pushed around and embarrassed in a 4-0 loss to the Ducks.

On that note, here’s what Pedan did to Jarred Tinordi in a Utica-Hamilton game last season:

Francis, Kurri, McKenzie named to Hockey Hall of Fame committee

Ron Francis
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The Hockey Hall of Fame selection committee added some big names on Tuesday — most notably, a pair of Hockey Hall of Famers.

Ron Francis (inducted in 2007) and Jarri Kurri (2001) have been appointed to the committee, the Hall announced. Longtime hockey scribe and hockey insider Bob McKenzie was also named; together, he and Francis and Kurri will replace an outgoing trio of Lanny McDonald, Mike Emrick and Peter Stastny.

Francis currently serves as the GM in Carolina while Kurri holds the same title with Jokerit of the KHL.

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McDonald resigned his spot on the committee to become chairman, while the terms of Stastny and Emrick expired.

The Hall also announced Eric Duhatschek, Michael Farber and Bill Torrey were reappointed to the selection committee for a further three-year term.

The next big meeting for the new members of the selection committee comes in late June, when everyone gathers to consider candidates for the 2016 Hockey Hall of Fame.

The announcement for new inductees will be made on June 27. As we’ve written about in the past, the list of first-time eligible entrants isn’t exactly overwhelming, so this could be the year some “passed over” candidates get in.

Among those in that category? Eric Lindros, Dave Andreychuk, Mark Recchi and Jeremy Roenick, to name a few.

Related: Poll: Who should be in the 2016 Hockey Hall of Fame?