Updated II: Thrashers trade Eager to San Jose

Ben Eager has served his four-game suspension. Now his season resumes with San Jose.

The Thrashers traded the forward to the Sharks on Tuesday for a fifth-round draft pick in this year’s draft.

On Monday Eager completed an NHL suspension for the match penalty he received when he punched Toronto’s Colby Armstrong on Jan. 7. The 2002 first-round pick (23rd overall) will play for his fourth team when he joins San Jose in time for Thursday’s game in Vancouver. He said he was excited for the new opportunity.

“It’s always a big surprise when you get traded,” Eager told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “Whenever you get traded to a new team you expect you are going to be there for a long time. It didn’t work out here. It’s part of the business. They have a great bunch of guys here. It’s tough leaving the guys. I got pretty close to some of the guys. Now I’ll go to the next team and make similar relationships.”

The trade may not be the last for the Thrashers. The team broke a four-game losing streak with a shootout win over Florida on Monday. It was just their fourth win in the past 13 games. According to general manager Rick Dudley, the next few games will determine if he needs to further change the roster.

“We went through a tough stretch on the schedule,” Dudley told the AJC. “We have to get back to the way we were playing. Personally, I want to see how we play the next few games. After that, if there is a move that makes sense, we will consider it. We have to get back to that tempo we were playing with [earlier in the season]. We did it for such a period of time that you can’t say it was a fluke.”

Eager played 34 games for the Thrashers with 10 points (three goals, seven assists). He admitted he has struggled of late. His last goal came Nov. 19. He appeared in just five of the team’s past 19 games, missing time as a healthy scratch, with a lower-body injury and the suspension. He did not dress in six of seven games from Dec. 11-21.

“I think the season started off pretty well for me personally,” Eager said. “The last month or so it hasn’t been the best for myself. Sometimes change is a good thing. I’m excited for a new opportunity.”

The Thrashers acquired Eager in June, fresh off his Stanley Cup winning season with Chicago. He came to the Thrashers with Dustin Byfuglien, Brent Sopel and prospect Akim Aliu.

Thrashers coach Craig Ramsay said that Eager got limited playing time at left wing with the performances of Evander Kane, Fredrik Modin, Eric Boulton and Patrice Cormier.

“He had a pretty good opportunity early in the season for a bit of ice time,” Ramsay said. “Perhaps we didn’t communicate as well with him. I think he was maybe used to a different system and he was having some trouble adapting. We had some other people step up which took away some of that ice time. Once that happens, you get pushed down and it’s not as easy to perform at your best.”

Ramsay pointed especially to the play of Boulton as a reason for Eager’s diminished role. Dudley said it was also a priority to get Cormier’s career started.

“I think Eric Boulton did a really good job on that left side in the grinding, checking role, but he also scored,” Ramsay said. “It just became a bit of a hard thing to get the kind of ice time [Eager] hoped he would get.”

Ramsay has often been frustrated with the number of penalties his team has taken this season. Eager led the team with 77 penalty minutes. Following the match penalty against Toronto, the Maple Leafs scored four goals on the five-minute major power play.

“Benny is an unbelievable guy,” Boulton said. “It’s always sad when you see a friend and a good teammate like him leave. I’m sure he’ll take full advantage of his opportunity in San Jose and we are happy for him that he’s going to get a good start out there.”

59 comments Add your comment

Mike in Canton

January 18th, 2011
11:19 am

Finally rid of him…


January 18th, 2011
11:20 am

hope there’s at least one more move coming. i’d like to see more of a shakeup… what does this do to our cap situation in regards to keeping above the floor?


January 18th, 2011
11:20 am

Had a feeling that was coming… thought we’d package him in something bigger… oh well.


January 18th, 2011
11:25 am

This made sense. If he does not fit in immediately with San Jose Eager will be waived and all it cost them was a 5th rounder. If he sticks then the got a deal.

But either way the Thrashers got rid of a player that did not fit the system and was holding back other players from playing or on the roster.

If I had to guess Eager knew he was on the outs and that is why he acted out so much in Toronto.


January 18th, 2011
11:27 am

5-th round is not good enough for Benny. I know that people complain about Eager, but I like his play. He was very good protection for Burmi. Good luck Benny!

five hole

January 18th, 2011
11:31 am

Chris, you forgot that we also acquired Ladd from Chicago in the trade.

Eager never fit in here with the style Ramsey wanted to play. We didn’t get much for him because he didn’t have a lot of value, especially after the penalties he took.


January 18th, 2011
11:32 am

Ladd was a seperate trade with Chicago…

Joe Friday

January 18th, 2011
11:34 am

not surprised at all, figured he’d never dress for us again. He was not well liked in the room


January 18th, 2011
11:36 am

Wow. The owners and upper level management continue to do NOTHING to make this team better. Despite last night’s thrilling win, Thrashers have lost 8 of the last 11 and are swirling the playoff drain. Having an NHL Low Payroll year after year after year after year after year is not going to cut it. If the team wants to stay in Atlanta, Ownership you act like it and do something about it.



January 18th, 2011
11:45 am

Waddell and management purposefully leave cap space for the trade deadline. If the team is in the playoff hunt, they spend the money.

The next four games will be very important to keep us in the hunt and justify spending.


January 18th, 2011
11:55 am

To be honest, I’m surprised we got a 5th rounder and not “future considerations”. Eager’s value was at an all-time low and we just needed to get him out of the locker room ASAP so the team can focus on the games ahead.

I like this, hopefully we’ll see some bigger trades in the next few days/weeks.

Go Duds!


January 18th, 2011
11:56 am

This move tells the team that you will work hard Ramsy’s way or be gone. Dudley and Ramsey are developing a young team the correct way. It has been rough for the recent games, but i have confidence in Dudley and Ramsey. This is very new for me with this organization.

Joe Johnson

January 18th, 2011
12:10 pm

They can’t pay for anymore of the the Thrashers contracts cause they NEEDED to pay me $24 mil this year………….


January 18th, 2011
12:11 pm

5th rounder??? Unless, he was just absolute poison in the locker room, I’d rather have kept him.

Sherry Taylor

January 18th, 2011
12:12 pm

For those of you who think this is a bad move, you need to go back and look at the contribution Eager has made to the team . . . penalty after penalty that has hurt the team, lead to goals for the other team and wins for the opponents. He’s sat on the bench as a healthy scratch as much if not more than he’s played. By trading him at this point, I think Ramsey and Dudley are saying you come to play the game and play with skill and discipline or you don’t play for this team. I know he’s supposed to be sort of an enforcer, but even that place on the team requires discipline, and he hasn’t always shown a great deal of that. Saw this move coming weeks ago.


January 18th, 2011
12:38 pm

So long Beaver. Saw this one coming…dude was begging for it.

East Point Bob

January 18th, 2011
12:39 pm

5th rounder ? The owners could care less about feilding a winning team, They are IDIOTS !


January 18th, 2011
12:42 pm

Anyone who thinks it was a bad move doesn’t get it. They wanted him gone. Yes, it isn’t much but that’s probably all he was worth to the team just so they could get rid of him. Right now.he’s associated with his 4 game suspension, that isn’t going to make him valuable to most other teams. In the long term now, who knows who could be coming to this team in the coming weeks. They know what they’re doing.

Mike Bibby

January 18th, 2011
12:43 pm

…And then there is the money they waste on me.

hip czech

January 18th, 2011
1:01 pm

No way anyone gives us more than a mid round draft pick for Eager….addition by subtraction.

I never thought I’d say this…but hurry back Jim Slater!

The GG line needs to be reunited and when that happens the rest of the lines will work better also. I never thought an injury to Slater would have such a big impact.

When Slater does come back two lines are set:


I just am not feeling it for Anthony Stewart…so maybe Cormier cuts into Stewart’s PT?

Little-Kane-Cormier? This would seem to fit into the ‘it is nice to have 2 centers on each line’ mentality.


Keep Bogosian at the food spread for a few more games.


January 18th, 2011
1:12 pm

Need to send Bogo packing too. That guy was a waste of a 1st Round Pick. Move him NOW!!!!!!!!!!!


January 18th, 2011
1:12 pm

With Cormier healthy there was really no way to keep two similar players…piling up picks again?


January 18th, 2011
1:29 pm

This is a good move for the team…. We will buyers and not sellers at the trade dead line. I was told that one of the Canadians teams possible Edmonton or Ottawa has been talking a lot to Duds. I would really like Mike Fisher on this team. I believe he has a no trade clause and he would have to approve the trade. Jason Spezza I believe would tie up a lot of money, not sure that would be a good move. I really like Chris Neil.

Maybe the Dustin Penner move will happen….

Hey five hole

January 18th, 2011
1:33 pm

Seperate trade you dolt

Le Cormier

January 18th, 2011
1:40 pm

This solidifies Cormier’s roster spot, still wish we coulda got more for Eager, who simply had a bad go of it here. I think we all saw this coming though. Too bad Modin isn’t on the plane with him.


January 18th, 2011
1:42 pm

Chris – doesn’t this move also help to replace a conditional 6th or 7th round pick we gave up earlier this spring when the Buff trade put us over the 50 contract limit? Didn’t we give up something to SJ in return for the favor of them taking on some cheap contracts of minor leaguers who may or may not have gotten waived or terminated?


January 18th, 2011
1:47 pm

Need to find a winger who can find the back of the net before 2 minutes remaining in the game.


January 18th, 2011
1:51 pm

Hip Czech I like those lines right there. Antropov and Burmy seemed to be developing some chemistry before all these injuries and Ramsay had to mix things up to fit the kids in the lineup. I was hoping Eager would provide some much needed grit and toughness this team needs. Unfortunately he brought too much toughness that doesn’t help you win games but is the cause to losing some games like the Toronto game.


January 18th, 2011
2:04 pm

I am a little surprised it is only a 5th rounder, but I think it is a small move in a chess game. I HOPE this was the thinking that opening up this roster spot was the beginning of a couple of other moves that bring in at least one premier goal scorer that can work with the rest of the guys. I love the idea of scoring by committee, but we still need an experienced shooter or two for the younger gusy to learn from. And i don’t mean somone pushing 40 that can’t keep up with the pace.


January 18th, 2011
2:36 pm

Next one to go should be Zach get rid of this looser we have Meyer now who really wants to play and I’ believe he will be good for this team………….get of your ass Trashers and start playing some solid Hockey or else


January 18th, 2011
2:58 pm

I can’t believe everyone wants to give up on Bogo so fast. The Thrashers already made that mistake with Coburn and they won’t do it again. Maybe Bogo needs some time in the press box. Maybe he needs a different linemante. Who knows but I don’t expect them to give up on Bogo anytime soon.


January 18th, 2011
3:02 pm

good deal. Eager was adding no value. On Bogosian – don’t penalize him just because he got drafted by a bad team that had to put him in the nhl at 18. If he was elsewhere he’d probably just be breaking in this season and there would be 0 calls to deal him.


January 18th, 2011
3:14 pm

Dudley and Ramsey know what they are doing. Eager is not a smart hockey player and consistently took bad penalties. I am sure his teammates were sick of him costing them goals/games with his stupidity. I am suprised we got anything for him and werent forced to just waive him. I think Duds will pick up a scorer and a defenseman by trade deadline. Also, we really need to address backup goalie. Mason has been awful. With regards to Bogo, give the kid a break – he is only 20. Yes, he has totally sucked lately but he is a huge talent. Give Ramsey the chance to teach/mold him.

Dr Fever

January 18th, 2011
3:25 pm

hey five hole/jb-

the word is separate. Put your teeth back in.

Wayne stuck in AL

January 18th, 2011
3:27 pm

From GaVaHokie:
“Waddell and management purposefully leave cap space for the trade deadline”

Well, at $16-18 million of cap space, we’ve got enough to acquire FOUR players…

hip czech

January 18th, 2011
3:28 pm

For those thinking Eager would bring a top 6 forward here is the thoughts from a Chicago blog:

“A lot of Hawk fans, and this blog, had theorized that Eager is just the tonic the Hawks need for their lower lines.

But before we hang Stan Bowman in effigy on this one, let’s consider a few things.

First, Eager isn’t the only 220-pound, bottom 6 forward out there.

Second, Eager is both concussion- and dumb-penalty prone— and perhaps no one knows that better than the Hawks. “


January 18th, 2011
3:29 pm


January 18th, 2011
3:30 pm

Calling for a trade of Bogo is ASININE!!
Keep doing it guys…. demonstrate to ALL what a MORON sounds like.
Trade a 20 yr. old D-man….. please, just STFU.

East Point Bob

January 18th, 2011
3:42 pm

lordstan57, From your comment, I have to assume that you never watch his play and how it is getting much worse than much better, He is a loser and needs to be traded for something while he still has value as trade material. He has not understood the game the past two years, and on ice for 5 GA at Dallas proves he is not worth keeping. We are trying to win and OJT is not something the Thrashers need to be doing with him any longer, they have baby’ed him for two years and he has regressed, not progressed, Get rid of him ASAP !


January 18th, 2011
3:45 pm

Lets not forget buff was awful on d for chicago guys. This is his breakout year and it’s his 6th season, it takes awhile for a defenseman to mature. Plus odyua has been terrible with bogy on the bench you’ll see how bad odyua has actually been.

j nes

January 18th, 2011
3:55 pm

How many of you that want Bogosian traded also wanted to trade a similarly young underperforming defenseman by the name of Coburn? Bet you would like to have that one back.


January 18th, 2011
4:00 pm

Actually anyone who takes a penalty now is costing the team, because the PK sucks. It sucks bad. It may be the worst I’ve seen. It will be ranked 30th very soon.

I hope Ramsay finds those new penalty killers he asked for.


January 18th, 2011
4:21 pm

Those of you who think Oduya has been terrible. Exactly what games have you been watching? (the whiff on the PK last night notwithstanding).

hip czech

January 18th, 2011
4:29 pm

I’m not calling to trade Bogosian…but he does need to sit out for awhile. Hopefully he is not suffering from effects of the wrist injury. He just doesn’t bring anything to the table right now. No big shot, no big hits, no big defense, no big nothing.

How a defenseman can use his stick to try and block a shot (a la the goal in Dallas the other night) is beyond me. All that does is make it really hard on you your goalie to handle the deflection). Zach, take a lesson from Sopel, get your BODY in front of the puck.

Oduya is steady, I don’t see how you can criticize him. Heck, even Hainsey has been playing OK lately (last night was his best game as a Thrasher that I can remember).


January 18th, 2011
4:31 pm

Trust me, people would still complain if we still had Coburn. Philly fans complain about him, I can’t imagine what would be said “here” considering people complain when the sky is falling and complain when it isn’t.

Vitamin Z

January 18th, 2011
4:45 pm

Didn’t Bogy play better after his leg injury? I remember his comment along the lines of “It is amazing to see how much time you really have with the puck, from the press box. On the ice it feels that there is no time at all”. He came back after that injury and performed nicely. Maybe spending some time in the press box now will do him some good. I don’t think we should be talking trade when it comes to Zach just yet.

NHL Ready

January 18th, 2011
5:02 pm

Thrashers are hurting at the moment last nights game was totally lucky. That will not happen very often and would not have happen if we were playing a good team. I do not like the rookie line. We need Slater back soon. Stewart no showing much he could be replaced easily. I am starting to lose interest we are falling back to the same old crap as last year. Better players yes but not a top talent team not yet we need a big time player who can help. Sooner the better before we start playing catch up to the Canes.

Richard Dawson

January 18th, 2011
5:37 pm

We still are a ways off from being a upper level team. Just watching our skating, puck handling, and defense, it is clear we are not at the same level as many NHL teams. The effort is there, but the skill is not. It is tiring watching us give up so many shorthanded chances on power plays, for example. We never seem to get as many quality PP shots as other teams. I haven’t checked the stats, so I could be off, just going off my observations lately.

Tony C

January 18th, 2011
7:22 pm

Disappointing return on a disappointing acquisition. But honestly, other than a couple of nights when he was playing with Burmistrov & Antropov he really didn’t show me anything we cannot find elsewhere. His recent play hasn’t done anything to increase his value so…

Flames-Definitely Canadian teams?

For those who want to deal Bogosian now=dumb idea. Granted, he’s being coached by guys who are world-renowned for their teaching ability… But we keep seeing the guy have a brain-cramp and make the exactly wrong play. I truly think he’s more than a little overwhelmed by everything that Ramsay & co. are throwing at him-hopefully the ability to look down at the game and see the larger pattern will help while he’s scratched.

If it’s a case of “I do it my way” by Zach-then being benched seems like the answer as well.

I wager it’s one or the other-this kid’s not a bust and I would think it foolish to pull the cord this soon with him anyway-he’s still disappointing and it’s the end of his contract, OK you have to look at that, but trading Bogosian without getting a substantial return is just dumb (and P.S. his recent play hasn’t exactly driven perceived value up).


January 18th, 2011
7:44 pm

Very active and interesting blog and comments today! I thought Tom’s post at 11:25 was excellent, about Eager “acting out” so much in Toronto. We need not look much past Ramsay’s comment, “We don’t question the league. We just move on.” After hearing that, I figured Eager had either bought himself a permanent seat in the pressbox or a trade out. Now we know.

I liked GaVaHokie’s comment at 11:20 … about possibly getting more for Eager. We are moving an NHL-caliber player for a draft pick that typically results in a fixture somewhere within the confines of the ECHL. But I get it. “Addition by subtraction.” They wanted him gone, and placing him on waivers would only rid us of his salary … and nothing more. And right now, the Atlanta Thrashers don’t have salary cap issues, unless we’re concerned about how much FARTHER below the FLOOR of the cap we are.

I liked Russian’s comments at 11:27. Eager was potentially protection for some of our players. A guy who gets suspensions acquires the attention of the players on the ice. He’s San Jose’s problem now, though. The League offices have Eager in their cross-hairs.

But the comment of the blog, thus far, belongs to “iamtheratio,” at 11:55 AM. http://blogs.ajc.com/atlanta-thrashers-blog/2011/01/18/thrashers-trade-eager-to-san-jose/#comment-23670. Trading for “future considerations” always irks me. What if that’s a firm pat on the back, and an assurance that you’re fine GM, a gentleman and scholar, and a humanitarian, to boot. And here, look, I’ll even buy you a FREE coffee at Starbucks. Just once, I want to hear a tale where a “future considerations” trade resulted in something tangible. Wait, was Pavel Datsyuk part of a “future considerations trade” draft pick? He went 171st overall, in the 8th round, of the 1998 draft.