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Report: Dustin Byfuglien shipped to Atlanta in blockbuster trade

Jun 23, 2010, 6:00 PM EDT

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.

  1. ChicagoDan - Jun 23, 2010 at 6:12 PM

    I like the trade but hate to see Sopel go, he was a solid defenceman. Byfuglien is erratic and had a great playoff run and was a force but he was almost non existent in the regular season. So if you could have gotten his salary off the books and got some draft picks in his place to build up solid an already solid farm system then good job Stan.
    Next to go will be Versteeg and hopefully Huet.

  2. dot - Jun 23, 2010 at 6:21 PM

    has big buff had his day with the cup yet?That sucks but alls fair in hockey trades i guess, but it sucks.Huet gone yet?

  3. Jovana Grbic - Jun 23, 2010 at 6:41 PM

    Holy cow. I think it’s a good trade for the Hawks (especially since they need to worry about keeping Sharpie next year) but I’m stunned. Frankly, I thought Dustin Byfuglien was off-limits. Wow.

  4. HawksFan2010 - Jun 23, 2010 at 6:56 PM

    It’s too bad to see Big Buff go. He was quite a force in the Blackhawks Playoffs run!

  5. cynnical1 - Jun 23, 2010 at 7:07 PM

    Things are moving along rapidly,too bad about Buff but then again he was sporadic at best taking stoopid penalties at inopprtune times.Akim Aliu is best to be removed(saw him play junior hockey in my city)also took ridiculous penalties at the most important times during playoff games.Cristobal Huet can you say AU REVOIRE?

  6. frankdatank - Jun 23, 2010 at 7:33 PM

    thnk god sopel left, hes a scrub!!

  7. Little Tommy - Jun 23, 2010 at 8:07 PM

    Hey Frank, exactly how many shots did you block during the playoffs??? I think your scrub Sopel had about 300! LOL

  8. GoHawks13 - Jun 23, 2010 at 8:28 PM

    Well played Little Tommy. Your right Sopel was huge in shot blocking and in killing the power play. Hate to see Bigg Buff go but we had to lose someone glad it ins’t sharpie.Next should be Huet and his big money.

  9. pip martin - Jun 23, 2010 at 10:26 PM

    Trade leaves Hawks with no enforcer. Eager and Buff were key to protecting Kane.
    Sopel was huge in Cup run.
    Let’s face it, the team that won the Cup was Tallon’s team, the team next year will be Stan Bowmans. Not sure that’s good.

  10. Horus - Jun 23, 2010 at 11:59 PM

    This was a great trade for the Blackhawks. Sopel is past his prime and expensive. He was one of those experience guys which a team full of Stanley cup champions doesn’t need anymore. Ben Eager is a tough guy. He has some talent but he will never have more value than right after scoring that goal in game 2. They can find a guy for that role. Because of the cap they were gonna have to lose someone. Byfuglien is going to get paid and not having that big contract will allow them to sign other players and not have to trade anyone else. That means that if they do trade any of the other guys they will be in an even stronger trading position.
    Cap space and now they have 2 1sts and 2 2nds. And a Madden type for less money.
    Nice job Stan Bowman.

  11. Dan - Jun 24, 2010 at 1:36 PM

    Long time reader and first time poster. To Horus above….
    They actually have 3 2nd round picks #43 #54 and #60.

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