Clearing Space: Chicago Sends Byfuglien, Sopel, Eager To Atlanta In Blockbuster

After a bit of a hold up and an Atlanta side deal with the Sharks, the Blackhawks and Thrashers finally completed their blockbuster trade late on Wednesday night. Chicago clears a ton of cap space, but they aren't out of the woods just yet.

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Trade Finalized As Thrashers Make Side Trade With Sharks, Send AHLer Crabb To Chicago

In order to officially complete their blockbuster trade with the Chicago Blackhawks, the Atlanta Thrashers had to dumb two contracts to get themselves under the limit. They did so late Wednesday (or early Thursday, depending on who you ask and where you're located), trading an expiring contract, an AHL player and a draft pick to San Jose for future considerations.

The news comes via Chris Vivlamore of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, also known as the busiest man on a hockey beat this evening.

Thrashers second deal is Brett Sterling (expiring contract), Mike Vernace and seventh-rounder to Sand Jose.about 12:30 AM ET, Jun 24 via TweetDeck


Just breaking as well is another wrinkle in the original trade. Craig Custance of the Sporting News is reporting that the Blackhawks will also receive Joey Crabb, an AHL player with 29 games of NHL experience, in the final deal.

So, to sum up this entire thing:

Atlanta gets:

  • Dustin Byfuglien
  • Brent Sopel
  • Ben Eager
  • Akim Aliu
  • future considerations (likely nothing much) from San Jose

Chicago gets:

  • Marty Reasoner
  • Jeremy Morin
  • Joey Crabb
  • 24th overall pick this year (originally New Jersey's pick)
  • 54th overall pick this year (originally New Jersey's pick)

San Jose gets (all from Atlanta):

  • Brett Sterling (an expiring contract)
  • Mike Vernace
  • A seventh-round pick, presumably the 188th overall selection from Atlanta

All of this, and we still don't know if Sopel (who is now on Twitter, by the way) will march in the Chicago Gay Pride Parade on Sunday as planned. Although, if recent tweets before the trade was finalized are evidence, he will.


Blackhawks Fans Understand Byfuglien Trade Was Necessary

They're still Cup drunk at our Blackhawks blog, Second City Hockey, and you can't blame them. Today's trade, however, saw three vital pieces of that Cup run shipped out of town, quickly jolting them from their haze. But they knew this was coming, and they knew it was necessary. For those reasons, they're okay with it.

More from SCH:

My initial take on this is that this is a fantastic deal by Bowman. While no one can coach Byfuglien's size, the fact of the matter is that there are far more willing wingers on this team to go to the net in most situations, and all of them are more mobile than Buff. While yes, he has been a playoff "killer", keep in mind he did that killing against very inferior defensive corps in Vancouver and San Jose. The instant someone with as equal skill wants it more than Buff, he disappears, as evidenced by Games 1-4 of the finals, and pretty much every regular season game. I'll be thankful for his contributions, but I'm not going to lose sleep over it.

As far as what ramifications this move has, it appears that the Hawks will now be able to qualify Andrew Ladd, one of the aforementioned willing wingers, who's only due a slight raise from his $1.6 hit. This also all but seals John Madden's exit, which is fine, as we all knew he was likely a one-year and done guy with the Hawks last July. It also makes Patrick Sharp even less likely to be moved, and it appears they're going to commit to him as the full-time #2 center. I'd still prefer a bona-fide second line center for he and Hossa, but that might not be doable given the fiduciary bind the Hawks are in, unless something really creative happens.

Kris Versteeg can breathe a little easier as well, though if I were him I wouldn't go buying any lakefront property just yet. There's still more money to be shed, and losing guys like Burish or Fraser won't bring enough of a relief. Don't think for a second that this is the last move of the off-season, but as of right now, the Hawks got a very good return on some moveable assets, and didn't hurt their chances at a Cup defense, which is all that we can ask of the man named after the Chalice. Stan Bowman gets high marks from me on this one.

Head over to Second City Hockey for the full post.


Is Dustin Byfuglien Overrated?

Behind The Net, our advanced stats blog, thinks Dustin Byfuglien is overrated.

If there's one thing you have to do in a capped league, it's trade your overvalued entry-level contracts as soon as they come to RFA status.  And after Chicago's Stanley Cup run, nobody could be more overvalued than Dustin Byfuglien.  Buf's contributions at even-strength have been very middling the last two seasons, as he faced mediocre competition alongside average linemates and got a reasonable distribution of zone starts:

Read more at BTN.


Reasoner On Trade: 'You Can't Beat' Being Traded To The Champs

Marty Reasoner was traded to the Chicago Blackhawks on Wednesday. Thrashers beat writer Chris Vivlamore caught up with the 33-year-old center to get his thoughts on the deal.

Just talked to Marty Reasoner about the deal. Said he talked to his agent early today and heard rumblings that something might be happening.  Here is some of what he said.

“You can’t beat going to a team that just won the Stanley Cup. I’m pretty excited.”

“It’s always a little shocking to be traded, but we’ve been through it before.”

“I would have liked to have stayed in Atlanta another year and help that team build, but it’s a new chapter. It will be exciting. You can tell from watching the playoffs that the Blackhawks have taken over the city.”

“[My time in Atlanta] was good. I met a lot of great people. … I think you learn a lot about yourself when you are in different situations and I definitely learned a lot about myself there. I will always have fond memories. My daughter was born there. … You become part of the community even if it’s a short amount of time. But we signed up for this.”

(H/T SBN Chicago)


Not Done Yet: Blackhawks Still Have Salary Cap Issues After Trade

What does this blockbuster trade between the Blackhawks and Thrashers mean for Chicago's salary cap issues?

It means the Hawks now have $2.3MM in cap space for next season, with 13 players signed. It means the Hawks now have the cap space to qualify (and re-sign, if they are so inclined) Andrew Ladd, Antti Niemi, Niklas Hjalmarsson and Jack Skille. It also means they still have at least two big moves to make.

Let's say Bowman re-signs Ladd, Niemi and Hjalmarsson at $2.75MM, $3MM and 2.25MM, respectively.

That puts them $5.7MM over the cap, with 16 players signed.

I know, I know. Bury Huet in the AHL. Promote Crawford. Okay. Recalculating... All right. Now it's only $890K over the cap, with 16 players signed. Let's fill out the roster with minimum wagers, call it $700K per player. Four time $700K is $2.8MM, so add that in, and you get...

$3.7MM over the limit, but with a full roster. So, there are still one or two moves left to make.

Read more at our Kings blog, Jewels From The Crown.


Blackhawks Clear $4.18 Million In Cap Space With Trade

They had to clear space. They certainly did that. With one fell swoop, the Blackhawks cleared about $6.7 million in salary cap space. Mike Chen at From The Rink crunched the numbers.

To Atlanta

Dustin Byfuglien: $3 million
Brent Sopel: $2.33 million
Ben Eager: RFA

To Chicago

Marty Reasoner: $1.15

Net cap space: $4.18 million

When you combine this trade with the news from yesterday that the salary cap will go up about $2.5 million next season, the Blackhawks have cleared up around $6.7 million in two days. They aren't completely out of the woods, but things are obviously a lot better for them at this point.


Thrashers Fans 'Disappointed' In Trade With Blackhawks

Thrashers fans at SB Nation's Bird Watchers Anonymous are disappointed with the blockbuster trade their team made with the Chicago Blackhawks today. That's the initial reaction, at least.

My initial reaction is disappointment frankly. I wanted to see the Thrashers land Patrick Sharp, not the players headed Atlanta's way. Byfuglien is a defenseman converted to forwards who has been rather inconsistent so far as a forward. He had a terrific playoffs and the Hawks sold him high. Eager is a checking line player who already makes $1 million. Sopel is an overpaid 2nd/3rd pairing defenseman with just one year left before he is a free agent. Akim Aliu is a physical checking forward who had issues in junior hockey.

So the Thrashers just added a 2nd line winger, three checkers and a bottom half defenseman and a bunch of salary for a 1st rounder, 2nd rounder, prospect taken in the 2nd round (Morin) and a solid veteran and potential team captain (Reasoner). At the moment I'm underwhelmed and hope these guys look better in a Thrashers uniform than they do on paper.

For more on the trade from the Atlanta perspective, be sure to stay with BWA.


Clearing Space: Chicago Sends Byfuglien, Sopel, Eager To Atlanta For Reasoner, Morin, Picks

For more on this story, check out SB Nation Chicago.

The Chicago Blackhawks have made the blockbuster trade everybody knew they would be forced to make. Playoff hero Dustin Byfuglien is heading to the Atlanta Thrashers, along with Brent Sopel and Ben Eager. Prospect Akim Aliu also heads south.

In exchange, the Thrashers send Marty Reasoner, 2009 draft pick Jeremy Morin, the 24th overall pick and the 54th overall pick in this year's Draft. The deal was reported by Kevin Allen of USA Today and Pierre LeBrun of ESPN.

Ironically, our Thrashers blog, Bird Watchers Anonymous, wrote a lengthy piece on Tuesday about how the Blackhawks cap crunch will force them to make trades, and readers of BWA opined  in the comments on how the two teams could make a deal. That's obviously come to fruition today.

We talked here yesterday about how the Blackhawks were asking for a first-round pick and a prospect in return for Byfuglien. Well, it took adding a few players on each end, but ultimately, that's what they got for number 33.

The other subplot here, of course, is that Sopel was slated to march with his family and the Stanley Cup in the Chicago Gay Pride parade on Sunday. It'll be interesting to see that dynamic should Sopel still decide to march.

Again, for more on this story, check out SB Nation Chicago, Second City Hockey and Bird Watchers Anonymous.

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