I posed this thought on Twitter during Sunday night’s game: Is the trade that brought Dustin Byfuglien, and others, to the Thrashers the greatest in franchise history?
I was accused by a few of hyperbole. However …
* Byfuglien leads the Thrashers in scoring with 25 points through 24 games. He is also tied for the team lead with nine goals. He had 34 regular-season points all of last season with Chicago.
*After his goal against the Bruins, he leads the NHL with five game-winners. Two have come in overtime.
* He leads all NHL defensemen in points and goals.
* He leads all NHL defensemen with power-play goals (4) and is tied, with teammate Tobias Enstrom, atop the league in power-play points (13) by a defenseman.
* His four-point performance Sunday tied Jaroslav Modry’s franchise record for points in a game by a defenseman, set Dec. 26, 2005. Look at the four points. He assisted on Evander Kane’s goal by taking the puck into the offensive zone, circling all the way around the boards, before a cross-ice pass. He assisted on Jim Slater’s goal by stealing the puck along the boards instead of going for a big hit. He assisted on Niclas Bergfor’s power-play goal with a shot on net from deep inside the offensive zone. His goal was another demonstration of his wicked wrist shot.
* He is currently one of two alternate captains, along with Enstrom.
Remember, the Thrashers obtained Byfuglien, along with Ben Eager, Brent Sopel and prospect Akim Aliu, for Marty Reasoner, Joey Crabb, prospect Jeremy Morin and one of their two first-round picks in 2010.
I thought for a minute about the trade for Marian Hossa, but the Thrashers gave up Dany Heatley in that deal. The Thrashers went to the playoffs with Hossa, but Heatley went on to have two 50-goal seasons with Ottawa.
Several folks mentioned the Ilya Kovalchuk trade to New Jersey as the best. It brought Bergfors, Johnny Oduya, prospect Patrice Cormier and the first-round pick used in the Chicago deal. It also cleared the way for the deals that brought the former Blackhawks, including newly-named captain Andrew Ladd is a separate deal, to Atlanta.
Let me know what you think. Is the offseason trade with Chicago a franchise turning point? Or, as some suggest, it’s hyperbole?