It’s been a busy few days in the National Hockey League, to say the least. Teams are preparing for the upcoming season by stripping away valuable roster parts in last-minute bids to prepare for the draft. Awards are being handed out, with Henrik Sedin picking up the Hart and Ryan Miller winning the Vezina. And the Stanley Cup champs are beginning to get their squad in line for next season.
The Blackhawks started the process by sending Dustin Byfuglien, Brent Sopel, Ben Eager, and prospect Akim Aliu to the Atlanta Thrashers for Marty Reasoner, Jeremy Morin, and the 24th and 54th overall picks in Friday’s draft.
The deal came just hours before the NHL Awards were handed out in Las Vegas, so the news was tough to take for Norris Trophy winner Duncan Keith.
“Well, it really does sadden me,” Keith said. “You know things are going to change when you win the Cup, the way our cap situation was. It’s too bad it had to be like this, but at the same time we’ve got to start looking forward. When these things do happen, I’m sure there might be some more, and it’s not going to be fun.”
The trade is obviously designed for salary dumping purposes and should free up capital for the Blackhawks to sign key players, although one has to wonder about the dealing of a quality player like Byfuglien. He was a key component to just about every Blackhawks playoff win and his presence in front of the net disturbed an array of big time NHLers.
The salary shipped out by the Hawks’ Stan Bowman rings up to $5.33 million, all things considered, and will have little trouble in handling Reasoner’s $1.5 million.
Whether this deal will help or hurt the Blackhawks on the ice is a matter of debate, of course, but it does appear that this is largely about saving money for Bowman and Co. Byfuglien is a loss that the Blackhawks will have to make up for, as their physical presence was mainly headed by his ability to get under the skin of the opposition.
Posted by Jordan Richardson.