Dudley does right in trade with Blackhawks – TSN reports Ramsay new head coach, Torchetti assistant

NOTE: Shortly after posting my thoughts on the trade with Chicago, news started hitting about the reported coaching hires of Craig Ramsay and John Torchetti. Thus, there are some updates found below the original post.

Rick Dudley made a deal with his previous employer to pull off his first trade as the Thrashers general manager. Heading to the Chicago Blackhawks will be centerman Marty Reasoner, prospect Jeremy Morin as well as the 24th and 54th picks in this weekend’s entry draft. Those picks were acquired last February as part of the deal that sent Ilya Kovalchuk to New Jersey.

Coming this way are forwards Dustin Byfuglien and Ben Eager as well as defenseman Brent Sopel. The Thrashers will also get prospect Akim Aliu, the 56th overall draft pick by the Hawks in 2007. He currently plays for the Toledo Walleye of the ECHL.

Dustin Byfuglien, seen here in action against the Vancouver Canucks, is heading to Thrasherville along with Ben Eager, Brent Sopel and prospect Akim Aliu (AP photo/Paul Beaty)

Dustin Byfuglien, seen here in action against the Vancouver Canucks, is heading to Thrasherville along with Ben Eager, Brent Sopel and prospect Akim Aliu (AP photo/Paul Beaty)

Byfuglien played in all 82 games last season for Chicago scoring 17 goals, 17 assists and was a –7. In five NHL seasons he has 55 goals and 54 assists during 260 games and is a –15. During last spring’s playoffs he tallied 5 goals and 16 assists during the Blackhawks’ successful Stanley Cup run. He was originally a defenseman but was moved to right wing at the beginning of the 2007-08 season to give the Blackhawks a bigger body in front of the net.

Byfuglien is a native of Minnesota and was the 245th overall pick by Chicago in 2003. His stepfather, Dale Smedsmo, played four games at the NHL level with the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Ben Eager was a first round pick by the Phoenix Coyotes in 2002…23rd overall…and has spent the last three seasons in Chicago. Last season he netted 16 overall points primarily playing on the fourth line. In 255 career starts, he’s amassed 621 penalty minutes. During the playoffs he was a +2 and had a goal, two helpers along with 20 PIM.

Sopel is a veteran defenseman who was a 6th round draft pick in 1995 by Vancouver. He spent 5+ seasons with the Canucks. He’s also spent some time with the Kings and Islanders but the last 3-1/2 seasons have been with the Blackhawks. He is a career +26 in 588 NHL games and has scored 42 goals and 169 assists.

One other quick thing here regarding Aliu…back in 2005, the native of Nigeria was involved in an on-ice altercation with Steve Downie while the two were playing with the Sudbury Wolves of the OHL. During practice, Downie blindsided Aliu with hit to the mouth… knocking out three of his teeth. From what I understand, the incident came about after Aliu refused to take part in a team hazing event in which rookies were forced to stand naked in a bus bathroom. Downie was suspended for five games and instructed to undergo professional counseling while Aliu was suspended for one game.

As far as dollar and cents go…Byfuglien will be in the last year of a contract that pays $3 million and will be an RFA after the season. Sopel will be paid $2 million and is slated to be a UFA next summer. Eager is an RFA as of July 1 and is coming off a contract worth a little less than a million dollars.

What do you think of the trade?

  • Thumbs up! Dudley did right (79%, 149 Votes)
  • Thumbs down! Don't like it (21%, 39 Votes)

Total Voters: 188

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As for my initial thoughts on the exchange, well…I gotta say I like it. Basically, you have a swap of prospects, albeit a promising one with Morin. Then what you have is the Thrashers parting ways with a very good third/fourth line center and a pair of picks for three NHL caliber players…obviously, the big name there being Byfuglien.

With the addition of Eager, I also have to wonder if a player like Eric Bolton or Evgeny Artyukhin could now be expendable. Bolts and Arty will both be a UFAs next week.

Could the addition of Sopel play into the Pavel Kubina contract talks? Should the Thrashers find themselves unable to resign that veteran blueliner, they now have Sopel to fill the void. Of course, if the team retains Kubina’s services then you have a defensive corps that includes those two plus Ron Hainsey, Toby Enstrom, Zach Bogosian and Johnny Oduya. Toss in and Arturs Kulda and…hmmmmm… that’s a pretty decent group.

Also, what might any of this mean to someone like Maxim Afinogenov…could this possibly influence his decision to re-sign here? That is, I mean, if Dudley increases the term of any such deal to anything greater than one year. Or is it more likely that Buff has been brought in to replace Max?

Of course, that would also make one Boris Valabik expendable.

Regardless of how all that plays out I really do like this trade. Sure, I hate to part ways with a player like Reasoner who works his butt off on the defensive end of the ice, but the returns are good…so I give this deal a big thumbs up.

:!: UPDATE June 23 11:00 pm :!:TSN.ca is reporting that Craig Ramsay is the new head coach for the Thrashers.

:!: UPDATE June 23, 11:50 pm :!:TSN.ca now reports that John Torchetti will be named assistant coach for Thrashers.

:!: UPDATE June 24 12:55 am :!: – There seems to be another trade in the works that is needed to finalize the one with the Blackhawks. This would send Brett Sterling and Mike Vernace to some place called Sand Jose, as C-Viv tweets.

113 comments Add your comment

Sara

June 23rd, 2010
10:17 pm

I really like the trade but it’s got a hiccup – the trade puts the Thrashers at 51 contracts – one over the max. So either we have to add another piece or we have to get rid of someone (paging Todd White perhaps??).

But it makes us tougher and meaner and with Buff we’ll finally truly have the Holmstromesque player I’ve been wanting for forever. I think the pieces all upgrade what we have. Hate to lose Reasoner and Morin but you have to give to get.

It’ll be interesting to see how this plays out .. not only to get the trade finally called but if we’ve technically loaded up on the max contract number, what will that mean for trying to fill out the entire roster.

Sara

June 23rd, 2010
10:18 pm

Oh and by “add another piece” I mean add another component to the trade.

Rawhide

June 23rd, 2010
10:19 pm

So either we have to add another piece or we have to get rid of someone (paging Todd White perhaps??).

Sara – Yessssssssssssssssssssssssssssss….. :cool:

BTW everyone…congrats to Nic Bergfors for making the NHL All-Rookie Team.

Flagstaff

June 23rd, 2010
10:30 pm

So, Bill, do you think that this means that Duds won’t try to land a top-6 forward in free agency, as he said he would?

DanTheMan

June 23rd, 2010
10:31 pm

I guess some people don’t know what RT means on Twitter :)

As for the trade, i give kudos to Dudley. Hoping this is just the beginning and things will fall down (whether its another trade at the draft, or some of our UFA signings)

Mr. Awesome

June 23rd, 2010
10:31 pm

Bill howsitgoing!! Sorry wont make it DP Sunday. On vacation. Have a drink for me

Mr. Awesome

June 23rd, 2010
10:33 pm

That’s supposed to say Friday. I strongly dislike auto text

Smoothie

June 23rd, 2010
10:37 pm

OMG!! Duh, I’ve been on so many different blogs I can’t keep them all straight! Feel free to delete my post as that is just plain silly on my part. And pass the Bud Light!!

Hokey P. Clisters

June 23rd, 2010
10:40 pm

I don’t know whether to shout or blow a vuvuzela.

Didn’t Duds say that Morin was a miserable SOB? Looks like Morin has gone from a miserable SOB to SC champs.

vuvuzelas…….miserable SOBs……..Eklund…….Thrashers……..Buff……Sopel……Eager…..Allen……
blockbuster trade……..Duds……Elrod……Torch…..the apocalyse looms……………

Rawhide

June 23rd, 2010
10:40 pm

Flagstaff – I dunno. Let’s take a look at what we have here. With the players curretly under contract, possible lineups could be something like…Antropov centering Bergfors and Byfuglien…Peverley between Kane and Little….Jim Slater centering Todd White and [insert LW]…4th line of Eager, Thorburn and [insert one more enforcer].

Maybe we could dump TW, re-sign Boulton and Artyukhin to go on 4th line…then put Thorns on the third line with Slates and a FA pickup?

JK Sockey

June 23rd, 2010
10:41 pm

Those of you frothing at the mouth over landing Buflygin need to go look at his regular season stats. He’s not going to score 20g next season.

glovesave29

June 23rd, 2010
10:43 pm

As Mr. Rourke would say…”Smiles Everyone…Smiles!” This is a trade to get excited about!

Morin could end up great. He could also really suck. He’s a prospect. Never played above Major Junior. Ya just never know…

Like the trade. Bill, this reminds me of the conversation we had with Tim back mid-season about making a team big and tough. Me likey! Let’s make teams have to hit the whirlpool after a night with the Thrashers!

glovesave29

June 23rd, 2010
10:46 pm

Smoothie – no no NO!!!Bud Light NEVER!!! (and this from a St. Louis native). Life is too short to drink cheap beer. To quote good ‘ol Monty Python…”Beer in America is like having sex in a canoe…its #&@%$ing close to water!” Open your horizons to one of the many great micro brews out there.

Mr. Awesome

June 23rd, 2010
10:50 pm

Candy is dandy but liquor is quicker………and tasteier!

Rawhide

June 23rd, 2010
10:54 pm

Hockey P. Clisters – Ya know, speaking of coaches…I consulted with my Magic-8 ball today, asking it if we would learn of the new Thrashers coach soon.

The response was …”Signs points to YES”.

:!: TSN says it’s Craig Ramsay.

Mr. Awesome – Have fun on vaca…say hi to the lovely Mrs. Awesome for me.

glovesave29 – Yes, I remember those chats with Mr. Ecclestone. “Get bigger…get better”, he said. Very true.

JK Sockey – Time will tell I guess. But I think he’ll do OK. I was very impressed with his overall play in the postseason. As for his numbers with Chicago, he scored 19 in 67 games three seasons ago…15 in 77 games two years ago…17 in 82 games last year.

Cam

June 23rd, 2010
11:13 pm

As a Blackhawks fan, I think it’s a great deal for Chicago. The Hawks shed about $3 million depending on what they do with Reasoner, get 1st and 2nd round picks, and top it off by getting a 1st-round talent in Morin.

The entire trade from the Thrashers’ perspective will depend on how well Byfuglien plays over the course of the season and if they can re-sign him if he has a good year.

HookyBob

June 23rd, 2010
11:17 pm

In Duds I trust!!! So much for starting out slow & easy. This deal really shook up the player resigning and UFA needs options. What are our biggest needs now (player wise)? Maybe a #1 center, or could it be goaltending?

Surveying the new reality,…….we just got bigger, tougher & meaner,…those are good terms in hockey parlance. (The cost is just over $4 M.) Back when the Leafs picked up Dion Phaneuff I almost posted about there “being a new sheriff” in the Eastern Conference. It is my sincere hope that, as of today, there is an new sheriff in the east,…wearing Thrasher Blue. Have fun in the east Dustin. When do we play Philly?

I love the idea of having two players, Buf and Antro, who can crash the crease, distract goalies, and deflect shots from the points (do you hear me Toby?). I’m told that Roberto Luango is throwing a party.

Now if we could just add Iginla we’d have my dream line of Iggie, Kane & Buf. Who could we give up to get Iggie?

Marty, we are going to miss you. You have earned my respect and admiration. Whenever the Thrashers aren’t in the game I’ll cheer for you and your team.

Congratulations to Bergie.

Once again,…In Duds I trust. One of these days (soon) “It is what is.” is going to morph into “I’m so fortunate to be here.”

Red Light

June 23rd, 2010
11:17 pm

The one caveat is this, which I’m very surprised hasn’t been brought up by those who look at most things done by the personnel “gurus” with skepticism, is that if Byfuglien and Sopel aren’t re-signed for 2011-12, then essentially the Thrashers receive Eager and Aliu for Reasoner, Morin, and the 24th and 54th picks. So, the true value of this trade is contingent upon – dare I say – a contract extension. Gulp.

Smoothie

June 23rd, 2010
11:19 pm

glovesave – don’t worry man, I’m not a beer drinker. I’m a bourbon guy. So if I’m gonna have a beer from time to time, it’s gonna be Booood Light!

I think some of the folks criticizing this trade are failing to realize that Buff doesn’t have to score 25-30 goals to make this a good trade. The fact that his mere presence on the ice can open things up for players like Pevs & Kane as well as make our PP more effective bring big value to this deal.

Morin ’schmorin…let’s wait and see who we get with the 8th pick. There are only so many Top 6 prospects we can add to the trio of Bergie, Kaner and Little. Luckily, we have the 8th pick (Johansen, Skinner, perhaps Connolly) to go along with Klingberg, Cormier, O’Dell, Machacek and Aliu. Although only two of those will probably ever see top 6 minutes. But Duds may still have something else up his sleeve.

Smoothie

June 23rd, 2010
11:21 pm

Wow Bill! Great scoop man! Way to go! Hooray for Rammer!! Can’t help but love him.

WBF — we got our man! Our hunch was right! Still holding out hope Torch will come to be Associate / HC-in-training, but I doubt we’ll be that lucky. Who knows?!

Rawhide

June 23rd, 2010
11:23 pm

Cam – Great comments from your side of this deal! Thanks!!

Red Light

June 23rd, 2010
11:33 pm

When World Be Free wakes up from his slumber only to find Ramsay behind the Thrashers bench, put some cotton in your ears because the screams of joy will be very loud. If TSN is correct, all I can say is that Duds was at least 1-for-2 today.

jack

June 23rd, 2010
11:37 pm

apparently there has been another trade. Can’t wait to see who it is. Anyone disappointed Torch will not be here. I am but I think Ramsay will be good

Thrashers27

June 23rd, 2010
11:44 pm

According to TSN, looks like Torchetti is coming in as an associate coach. Wow!

JLH

June 23rd, 2010
11:44 pm

Smoothie – TSN reporting Torchetti to Atlanta as Ramsay’s associate coach

Smoothie

June 23rd, 2010
11:48 pm

This is a proud day for the Atlanta Thrashers franchise. Duds connects on the daily double!!

Nice job Duds! All hair, get it, the Pimp Daddy of Puckdom!!

Rawhide

June 23rd, 2010
11:48 pm

JLH – Actually, that’s swaped the other way around.

TSN now reports Torchetti will be named assistant coach in Atlanta with Ramsay head coach.

R. Stroz

June 23rd, 2010
11:53 pm

In the words of Gomer Pyle…SURPRISE…SURPRISE…SURPRISE.

R. Stroz

June 23rd, 2010
11:54 pm

Now if we can get rid of Charmin, this team will be ready to roll.

jeff97

June 23rd, 2010
11:57 pm

talk about having your cake and eating it too…getting Torch and Ramsay. Big night for Duds. Lets hope we look back on this night as a big turning point for this franchise. cant wait to see Big Buff in the fall.

Red Light

June 24th, 2010
12:30 am

In order to get under the 50-player under contract limit to allow the Blackhawks trade to go through, TSN’s Darren Dreger reports that the Thrashers deal Brett Sterling’s expiring contract, Mike Vernace and a seventh-round pick to San Jose in exchange for future considerations.

Red Light

June 24th, 2010
12:37 am

Custance says Joey Crabb also is included in Blackhawks trade!

Joe Friday

June 24th, 2010
12:38 am

I like Buf, but he was underwhelming in the regular season. Obviously had a huge playoffs, but I’m cautious on him. Sopel completely underwhelmed me all last year, cringed every time he was out there. If we don’t sign Kubina or someone as good b/c of Sopel, then Dudley screwed up here big time. Eager is a throw in, no big deal.

If Big Buf can turn his career on now after that big playoffs, it’s a win for us, but this is kind of disappointing. I was really wanting Sharp or mabye Versteeg. Chicago did well, I think, dumping some of their garbage and selling Buf high.

I like the coaches, that’ll make a difference. But very concerned that they’re letting Kubina go and replacing with Sopel. that’s a big step backwards. We also need to replace Kovy’s scoring. Eager and Buf don’t do that.

Rawhide

June 24th, 2010
12:41 am

Joe Friday – I don’t think anyone expects Buff or Eager to replace Kovy’s 50 goals. Rather something like Buff, Bergi combined with Kane…a combination of all these players making up the difference.

Remember, this is no longer to be [insert superstar player name here]’s team…rather. just “team”.

Wayne stuck in AL

June 24th, 2010
12:53 am

I don’t know if I should be underwhelmed by the players we got back from Chicago (judging from the criticism I’ve been reading all around the blogosphere) or overwhelmed by the fact we have a GM who is actually, dare I say, proactive?

Joe Friday

June 24th, 2010
12:56 am

Rawhide, who’d you rather have, Kovy or Bergfors and Buf? On D, who’d you rather have, Kubina or Sopel? I’ll hope there’s more more moves to be made, b/c we didn’t get better looking at those moves l just listed, if that’s where it stops, but I’ll hope that’s not where it stops, that it’s just the beginning of the reshaping of the roster.

Rawhide

June 24th, 2010
1:00 am

JF – The Kovy train as left the station…so it really doesn’t factor in my equation. I was simply stating that I don’t think anyone is looking for those two players…or any two players… to replace his production alone. Once Kovy left, Waddell indicated that the team would no longer be built around one player to carry the team…rather it would be a “team”.

As for Kubina or Sopel…I’m hoping it will be both of them, as indicated in my post.

That said, I do think we are seeing only parts of the whole picture…much like what you said. While I do like the trade, I will still judge the overall product once the team comes out of camp and starts the season.

Alan R.

June 24th, 2010
1:09 am

Rawhide, who’d you rather have, Kovy or Bergfors and Buf? On D, who’d you rather have, Kubina or Sopel?

I’d rather have a team effort as opposed to a couple individual efforts. But you weren’t really asking me. For YEARS, this has been “Kovalchuk and the Thrashers.” It’s time to shed that image. It’s time our guys acted and played as a team, as opposed to playing to “get it to Kovy.”

I don’t know if I should be underwhelmed by the players we got back from Chicago (judging from the criticism I’ve been reading all around the blogosphere)

You know what they say about opinions, right?

I’m actually very happy with this trade, and really can’t wait to see them in action. We’ve gone from a colony of smurfs to a virtual UFC roster in just under a year. Sure, we still have a few small guys, but we’ve also got a lot of size, grit, and talent now. Size, especially. Have we ever had a lot of size on this team? Waddell didn’t really seek out much. He was Papa Smurf. That’s not exactly a winning formula.

Red Light

June 24th, 2010
1:26 am

Dudley said that Kubina and the Thrashers are “ways apart right now!”

R. Stroz

June 24th, 2010
1:55 am

Here are the official links from the Thrashers confirming trades with the Blackhawks and Sharks:

http://thrashers.nhl.com/club/news.htm?id=532601&navid=DL|ATL|home

http://thrashers.nhl.com/club/news.htm?id=532603&navid=DL|ATL|home

Tony C.

June 24th, 2010
2:02 am

This is deal is fine IF we re-sign Kubina or are able to trade for somebody with a similar skillset on the blueline. I am intrigued to see the PP with Antropov being released from screening duties by the addition of Byfuglien (who unfortunately doesn’t impress me nearly as much as his hype would warrant.)-allowing #80 to be the playmaking type of guy he truly is.

Tony C.

June 24th, 2010
2:20 am

As far as creating a “buzz” around the team, the cynic in me can’t help but notice the obvious marketing bonus of Byufglien’s ethnicity as well as Sopel not being afraid to be associated with the LGBT community.

Seriously, the trade looks good if Byufglien shows he can play in December as well he did in April.

Tony C.

June 24th, 2010
2:33 am

Also, Custance has quotes from Dudley’s debrief conference call.

Hockey Biltong

June 24th, 2010
3:21 am

This is great news! Good coaching selections and a good trade.
Don’t forget that Buf started on “D” last year, then ended up on “O” where he really seemed to flourish. It will be interesting to see where the new staff puts him? As well as the rest of the guys.
I hope this trade segues right into another for a goalie and a top scorer!!!!
My hockey blood is out of hibernation now!!!

World Be Free

June 24th, 2010
5:05 am

Well guys, as some of you predicted, I am quite a happy man early this morning. Rammer and Torch (if it is true), something we speculated on earlier would be a major upgrade. Two class acts and 2 winners behind the bench, along with 3 guys who are barely over their Stanley Cup hangovers. Not bad. Smoothie, Red Light and others-it is 5 AM and I need a beer, or 2.

Some of us still need to please stop comparing the new guys and the new regime to way things have been here in Atlanta, cause things are changing quickly and I don’t think Dudley is finished.

Final question-do you think Kovalchuk would have wanted to leave Atlanta if he say this type of commitment from management, to bring in winners both on and off the ice? We predictaed a change in philosophy on this team and now it is happening. It’s like being released out on parole after 10 years of prison (not that I know what that’s really like).

Cam

June 24th, 2010
5:51 am

“Don’t forget that Buf started on “D” last year, then ended up on “O” where he really seemed to flourish. ”

Hockey Biltong,

Byfuglien was a forward all year until Campbell’s injury forced him to move back to defense out of necessity. And trust me as a Hawks fan when I say this: you want Byfuglien up front. He’s too slow of foot and not technically sound enough to be a defensemen.

Smitty

June 24th, 2010
6:21 am

I was worried about Ramsey’s health but with Torchetti as a back-up, that concern has been eliminated. Buf is still a developing player. Sopel is a good PK defenseman who blocks a lot of shots. Eager is bigger and faster than Bolts.

We kept our first pick so Duds did not mortgage the future. When Duds mentioned Morin and Cormier earlier this week, I thought one of them might be gone.

Not a bad couple of days for Dudley and the Thrash.

The Real Thrash

June 24th, 2010
6:40 am

This seems very much like a Waddell trade. We traded for two players who will be playing out their contracts next year. So again we will be in a postion one year later of having the trade them since we will not resign them.
How is this something new?

Tom

June 24th, 2010
6:49 am

The deal really revolves around whether Buff plays like the playoff player he was or the regular season player. If he is the regular season player then we lost. He was a -5 player on a team that was all positive. If he plays like he did in the playoffs we will be a playoff team.

The one thing we did was give the team some size and grit to protect our skill players. That is a good thing when building an NHL team.

Pittsburgh Pirate Fan

June 24th, 2010
7:21 am

Let’s take a test-

All those in favor of Dudley’s work so far, including the firings, trades and possible coaching hires take one step forward. All those who think Dudley is a lap dog and Waddell still runs the show take one step backwards.

Nice to see some of us are willing to move forward with the latter group moving backwards and living in the past.