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Atlanta Thrashers Acquire Blake Wheeler, Mark Stuart From Boston Bruins

Rich Peverley and Boris Valabik were acquired by the Boston Bruins today in exchange for forward Blake Wheeler and defenseman Mark Stuart. In some pre-trade deadline salary cap maneuvering, the Bruins had to clear space for Tomas Kaberle to arrive from the Toronto Maple Leafs. Kaberle is due the remainder of $4,500,000 worth of salary, and the Bruins were already pushing the league's salary limit. Peverley's contract of $1,250,000 is less than Blake Wheeler's $2,200,000, and with the addition of this and Sutart's the Thrashers are no longer at the league's floor - the New York Islanders return to being the lowest payroll in the league.

Peverley was claimed off of waivers from the Nashville Predators in January of 2009, and was credited with helping the 2008-2009 Thrashers finish with a run of respectability. In 39 games with the Thrashers that season, he had thirteen goals and twenty-two assists, which is outstanding compared with his two goals and seven assists in 27 games played with the Predators that year. Last season Peverley had 22 goals and 33 assists, and so far this season he has fourteen goals and twenty assists. He has been spending a decent amount of time on the fourth line recently, as Coach Craig Ramsay has been preaching defensive responsibility to his forwards. Peverley had a three point night last night, but still sits at a -16.

Boris Valabik was the Thrashers' tenth overall draft pick in the 2004 entry draft. He ranks fellow Slovak Zdeno Chara as his idol, and the 6'7" defenseman has even squared off against Big Z in a game last season. Valabik has spent this season with the Chicago Wolves after a poor showing pre-season. He was injured several times last year, hindering his skating development. He does, at times, have issues controlling his massive size and it makes it difficult for him to skate well.

Blake Wheeler is an offensive player of the same ilk as Peverley, just more expensive. This season he has eleven goals and sixteen assists, but is a +8 on the season. His career +/- is a +40, thanks to an outstanding +36 year in 2008-2009. Coach Ramsay worked with Wheeler, as well as new defenseman Mark Stuart, when they were together in Boston.

Mark Stuart is the older brother of former Thrasher Colin Stuart. So far this season he has a +8 overall rating with one goal and four assists.

According to Ben Wright, Wheeler will be wearing #26 and Stuart will sport Valabik's old #5 for the Thrashers. They will be joining the team in Edmonton for tomorrow's game.

Photographs by coka_koehler used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.