The first- and second-round picks that Chicago gets in the deal were acquired by Atlanta in the trade that sent Ilya Kovalchuk to New Jersey last February.
The prospect Atlanta is getting from Chicago is Akim Aliu.
Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman admitted that the deal was "simply a salary cap move."
"It's exactly what we set out to accomplish," he added. "To get some draft choices. ... There were a lot of other considerations and we're satisfied where we ended up."
Rick Dudley, who in April was promoted to general manager in Atlanta, said the deal made the Thrashers "significantly better, immediately."
"I think what we saw in the playoffs is the Dustin Byfuglien we've seen evolving for some time now," Dudley said in a conference call early Thursday morning. "As a forward he's probably one of the premier power forwards in the league."
No surprise. It's been known since they resigned Toews, Kane and Keith to extensions during the season that the Hawks needed to shed $10M+ from their cap during the offseason to get under next season's cap. It was well known that one or two of Sharp, Versteeg, Buff would have to be moved. Brouwer and Bickell can do a pretty good job handling Buff's role.
Buff's contract is up next year and most likely based on his playoffs was going to be looking for a big contract. So might as well trade him now while his value is the highest. Although he had a terrific playoffs he does disappear for alot of games in the regular season.
Thrashers GM Dudley was Hawks Asst GM so he knows of the Hawks players.
Huet is available if anyone wants his $5M+ contract. Most likely, if the Hawks can't trade him he'll be sent to the AHL to reduce his cap hit.
Good trade for both teams, both got what they needed. I like what Atlanta is doing since trading Kovy last year. They weren't too far off last year, had a chance at the playoffs but had a tough schedule to finish off the year and couldn't get in. I wouldn't be suprised to see Atlanta up high in the East standings next year.