It's official. Early Thursday morning, the Chicago Blackhawks traded playoff hero Dustin Byfuglien to Atlanta as part of a multi-player deal.
The Hawks will send Byfuglien, center Ben Eager, defenseman Brent Sopel and prospect Akim Aliu, a second-round pick in 2007, to the Thrashers for the first-round pick (No. 24) Atlanta acquired from New Jersey in the Ilya Kovalchuk trade, a second-round pick (No. 54) that also came from New Jersey, prospect Jeremy Morin, veteran forward Marty Reasoner and winger Joseph Crabb, who played his first 29 NHL games as part of the Atlanta franchise this past season.
Some people may have mistaken Byfuglien for a Free Agent since there was a lot of movement talks with him...but he wasn't. What Byfuglien did represent was a contract that could easily be moved after he potted 11 goals (5 game winners) during Chicago's Stanley Cup run this year. Eager is a restricted Free Agent so Atlanta only recieves his negotiation rights at this point. Byfuglien was getting paid $3 million and Eager made $965,000 last season and is probably due for a raise.
Still plenty of work for Stan Bowman...because if you try and fill out Chicago's roster with just the players that they have signed...here's what you get:
That doesn't include Niemi, Ladd, Hjalmarsson, and a few other RFA's and UFA's that were instramental in stealing the Stanley Cup. It's also right around the new Cap ceiling, which has officially been set at $59.4 million.
Good luck, Stan.