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It was reported Wednesday and finally confirmed this morning, the Chicago Blackhawks have traded Dustin Byfuglien, Ben Eager, Brent Sopel and Akim Aliu to the Atlanta Thrashers for a first round pick (24th overall), a second round pick (54th overall), Marty Reasoner, Joseph Crabb and Jeremy Morin in a salary cap casualty for the Stanley Cup Champion Hawks.

With big contracts to players like Toews, Kane, Keith, Hossa, Campbell and Huet, plus Niemi due a raise after leading the team in net to the Cup, Chicago knew they had to cut some ties to superstars this off-season.

The two draft picks Atlanta ships to Chicago they acquired in the deal with New Jersey prior to the trade deadline that moved star winger Ilya Kovalchuk to the Devils. So essentially Atlanta has traded Kovalchuk for Byfuglien, more or less, meaning they haven’t done all that bad. For Chicago, it’s never good to lose a player who scored five game winning goals for you in the postseason, but moves have to be made.

The Blackhawks should have no problem this upcoming season and should be a threat to repeat as champions. After this trade and playing in the mediocre Eastern Conference, Atlanta has the potential to make the playoffs next season for only the second time in franchise history.