The Thrashers have a new look for the 19-game push for the playoffs.
In: Radek Dvorak, Rob Schremp, Ben Maxwell, Brett Feasterling. Out: Niclas Bergfors, Fredrik Modin, Patrick Rissmiller, Drew MacIntyre.
The team made several moves at the NHL trade deadline Monday with the biggest the acquisition of Dvorak from Florida. To obtain the forward, and a fifth-round draft pick, the Thrashers sent forwards Bergfors and Rissmiller to the Panthers. The Thrashers also sent Modin to Calgary for a seventh-round draft pick. They claimed Schremp on waivers from the New York Islanders. In a final trade of mainly minor-leaguers, they sent goaltender MacIntyre to Montreal for 24-year-old defenseman Feasterling.
In the first move of the day, the Thrashers signed newly-acquired defenseman Mark Stuart to a three-year contract worth $5.1 million.
“We improved our penalty kill,” Thrashers general manager Rick Dudley said. “We got a little younger. We think we added pieces that can help us. We think we added versatility. We allowed a couple of things to happen for a player who might have been the odd-man out. We added some depth on the blue line. We are pretty happy with what we got accomplished.”
Dvorak, 33, had 21 points (seven goals, 14 assists) in 53 games with the Panthers this season. He will become an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season after making $1.7 million this year.
The 6-foot-2, 200-pound right wing has 555 points (215 goals, 340 assists) in 15 NHL seasons with Florida, the New York Rangers, Edmonton and St. Louis. He also has playoff experience with Florida and Edmonton. He was originally a first-round pick (No. 10 overall) of the Panthers in 1995.
Dudley said Dvorak will help the team’s beleaguered penalty kill unit.
“I think he’s a talented guy,” Dudley said. “I think he’s a very good skater. We have certainly added speed. As we said, he’s a great penalty killer. … We think he can be a 20-goal scorer if he comes in and lights it up and has some fun. I think he will have some fun playing in this system. Speed in an important part of this system and he adds that.”
Bergfors never seemed to fit into coach Craig Ramsay’s system. He had 11 goals in 51 games this season and was a healthy scratch 11 times. Most recently, Bergfors was skating on the third line and he averaged just over 10 minutes of ice time over the past eight games. Bergfors, who signed a one-year, $900,000 deal before the season, will be a restricted free agent. Bergfors came to the Thrashers last season from New Jersey as part of the Ilya Kovalchuk trade. He had 46 points (19 goals, 27 assists) in 78 games with the Thrashers.
Dudley said claiming Schremp made it easier to move Bergfors.
“He’s been struggling,” Dudley said. “He had one goal in his last 14 games. Bergy is a streaky player. We were in a situation where we needed him to be streaky the other way.”
Dudley called Modin the “odd-man out” and sent the unrestricted free agent to be to Calgary for a chance at increased playing time.
The Thrashers re-called Maxwell from AHL Chicago Monday. He was acquired from Montreal last week for Brent Sopel. Goaltender Peter Mannino was also re-called to back up Chris Mason with Ondrej Pavelec injured. Spencer Machacek was re-assigned to Chicago.
The Thrashers acquired the 6-foot-2, 215-pound Stuart from Boston, along with Blake Wheeler, on Feb. 18. The 26-year-old has appeared in all four games since the trade and has 16 hits and is a minus-2.
Stuart will make $1.6 million next season, $1.7 million in 2011-12 and $1.8 million in 2112-13. He was scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent following the season.
The deal came together over the last few days, according to Stuart, and was finalized Sunday night.
“Coming here I didn’t really expect anything, just to come in here and play well and help the team,” Stuart said. “It was nice to get a deal done. I like it here a lot. I’ve very comfortable here. I like the people a lot and I think the team has a lot of potential.”
Schremp has 10 goals and 12 assists and is a minus-19 in 45 games for the Islanders this season. Thrashers forward Tim Stapleton remained with the team after clearing waivers.
Dudley said he believes the moves are enough in the final six weeks of the season to make the playoffs.
“It has to be,” Dudley said. “We wanted to make changes. We did. I think it looks good, very good.”