Aliu, Crabb swap places in ATL-CHI deal

The Atlanta Thrashers, parent club of the AHL’s Chicago Wolves, have acquired forwards Dustin Byfuglien, Ben Eager and Akim Aliu, along with defenseman Brent Sopel from the Chicago Blackhawks (Rockford IceHogs) for forwards Marty Reasoner, Joey Crabb and Jeremy Morin, as well as a first-round choice (24th overall) and a second-round choice (54th overall) in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft. 

Aliu, 21, tallied 17 points (11 goals, six assists) in 48 AHL games last season with the Rockford IceHogs. He also earned 14 points (five goals, nine assists) in 13 ECHL games with the Toledo Walleye.

The 6-3, 225-pound center has posted 19 points (13 goals, six assists) in 55 career AHL games with Rockford. Prior to his professional career the Okene, Nigeria, native played four seasons of junior hockey from 2005 to 2009 with Sudbury and London of the Ontario Hockey League, recording 167 points (76 goals, 91 assists) in 205 games.

Aliu was selected by Chicago in the second round, 56th overall, of the 2007 NHL Entry Draft.

Byfuglien, 25, recorded 16 points (11 goals, five assists) in 22 post-season games while helping lead the Blackhawks to the 2010 Stanley Cup Championship. The 6-4, 255-pound left wing led the NHL in post-season game-winning tallies (five), tied for the league lead in power-play goals (five), and was tied for third in the league and shared the team lead in overall goals. Byfuglien posted 34 points (17 goals, 17 assists) while appearing in all 82 regular-season games with Chicago.

The Minneapolis, Minn., native has earned 109 points (55 goals, 54 assists) in 260 career NHL games with the Blackhawks and has added 25 points (14 goals, 11 assists) in 39 Stanley Cup Playoff games. Byfuglien, who was selected by the Blackhawks in the eighth round (245th overall) of the 2003 NHL Entry Draft, also posted 74 points (26 goals, 48 assists) in 124 career American Hockey League games with Norfolk and Rockford., and was an AHL All-Star in 2007.

Eager, 26, appeared in 60 games with Chicago last season, earning 16 points (seven goals, nine assists) and a team-leading 120 penalty minutes. He added three points (one goal, two assists) in 18 post-season contests.

The Ottawa, Ontario, native has earned 52 points (27 goals, 25 assists) and 621 penalty minutes in 255 career NHL games with Chicago and Philadelphia. Eager has also posted five points (two goals, three assists) in 37 Stanley Cup Playoff games with the Blackhawks and Flyers.

The 6-2, 230-pound left wing tallied 35 points (13 goals, 22 assists) and 509 penalty minutes in 123 career AHL games with the Philadelphia Phantoms. He collected three points (one goal, two assists) in 19 AHL playoff games and helped the Phantoms capture the 2004-05 Calder Cup Championship.

Sopel, 33, appeared in 73 regular-season games for the Blackhawks last season, posting eight points (one goal, seven assists). The 6-1, 200-pound defenseman added six points (one goal, five assists) in 22 Stanley Cup Playoff games. His plus-seven rating in the playoffs tied for fifth on the Blackhawks and 11th in the NHL.

The Calgary, Alberta, native has earned 211 points (42 goals, 169 assists) in 588 career NHL games with Vancouver, the NY Islanders, Los Angeles and Chicago. He also posted 105 points (26 goals, 79 assists) in 182 games with the AHL’s Syracuse Crunch.

Reasoner, 33, appeared in 80 games for the Thrashers last season, tallying 17 points (four goals, 13 assists). The 6-1, 205-pound center tallied 47 points (18 goals, 29 assists) in 159 games after signing with the Thrashers as a free agent prior to the 2008-09 season.

The Honeoye Falls, N.Y., native has earned 223 points (82 goals, 141 assists) in 624 career NHL games with St. Louis, Edmonton, Boston and Atlanta. He also posted eight points (two goals, six assists) in 23 career Stanley Cup Playoff games with St. Louis and Edmonton.

Reasoner, who was selected by St. Louis in the first round (14th overall) of the 1996 NHL Entry Draft, appeared in 124 AHL games with the Worcester IceCats and Hamilton Bulldogs, tallying 127 points (57 goals, 70 assists), and he was an AHL All-Star in 2000.

Crabb, 27, recorded 53 points (24 goals, 29 assists) in 79 games last season with the Chicago Wolves of the AHL. He ranked third on the team in goals and was tied for fourth in points. The 6-1, 190-pound right wing added 11 points (six goals, five assists) in 14 Calder Cup Playoff games.

The Anchorage, Alaska, native has posted nine points (four goals, five assists) in 20 career NHL games with the Thrashers and has 139 points (55 goals, 84 assists) in 256 career AHL games with Chicago. He won the 2008 Calder Cup championship as a member of the Wolves.

Morin, 19, registered 83 points (47 goals, 36 assists) in 58 games with the Kitchener Rangers last season, his first in the OHL. The 6-1, 190-pound left wing ranked fourth in the OHL and second on the team in goals, and was third on his team in points. He added 21 points (12 goals, nine assists) in 20 OHL post-season games. The Auburn, N.Y., native also represented the United States at the 2010 IIHF World Junior Championship, recording seven points (two goals, five assists) in seven games while helping his team to the Gold Medal.

Morin was selected by the Thrashers in the second round, 45th overall, of the 2009 NHL Entry Draft.