Editor's note - I had this up about 7 hours ago, but the switch to a new server caused this post to get eaten, as did the post regarding Ramsay. I'm not re-typing the latter one because it's 3:30 in the AM, so please see my articles over at SB Nation Atlanta regarding our newest coach.
Welcome to Chicago South, ladies and gentlemen. The Chicago Blackhawks absolutely needed to dump salary, and wanted picks, prospects, and cheap but useful players. The Thrashers, well, we had a couple of extra picks left over from the Kovalchuk trade, we have a bunch of prospects, and God knows we have cheap and useful players. Match made in heaven, huh?
The Atlanta Thrashers shipped Marty Reasoner, Joey Crabb and Jeremy Morin, as well as New Jersey’s 1st and 2nd round picks to the Chicago Blackhawks for Dustin Byfuglien, Ben Eager, Brent Sopel, and Akim Aliu. Chicago was up against a wall and well over this year’s cap, and apparently someone read Falconer’s blog post on it and thought “Hey, these Atlanta guys seem like they have their stuff together, let’s dump our salary on them! They have Dudley, too, so the guys’ll feel at home.
Atlanta this year will have no problem meeting the cap floor, as Big Buff will be making $3,000,000 next year, Ben Eager is an RFA due for a pay raise to probably a million and a quarter, and Sopel will be making $2,000,000. They also will have plenty of space to fill a void if the team does go ahead and let Maxim Afinogenov walk.
Blackhawks fans and hockey pundits are decrying this trade as a bad one for Atlanta, and saying that the Thrashers got hosed. Gaining three solid role players for Marty Reasoner, 2 picks that weren’t ours to start off with, and Jeremy Morin is not a loss. The Thrashers do not need prospects. We need solid locker room leaders who can play good hockey on the ice. We just got three guys who won the Stanley Cup, one of whom played a HUGE part in said win. Alou and Morin is a great flip because Alou is closer to the league than Morin is, and he’s also a good prospect.
If you look at it this way, the Thrashers have traded Kovalchuk, Salmela, Reasoner and Morin for Bergfors, Cormier, Oduya, Byfuglien, Eager, Sopel, and Aliu. They finally have size, some sort of toughness, and even a few guys who can score. There isn’t a big scoring 1st or 2nd line guy, but I’m sure that that’s on Dudley’s to-do list. This probably just happened to present itself, and if we’re going to make a splash and actually re-build CORRECTLY, then this was a good start. The team still needs to sign another goaltender, a 1st or 2nd line forward, and with these three added, that means that a couple of our current roster players are gone for sure – Armstrong and possibly Afinogenov.
This is a good step forward for Atlanta, and it probably bodes well for the Thrashers signing Torchetti as coach. People might’ve been excited about last season’s potential. Next year, well… maybe it’ll be a little better.