Boston Bruins Trade Wheeler, Stuart to Atlanta Thrashers for Peverley, Valabik

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photo courtesy of AP Photo

The Boston Bruins announced significant trades on Friday; the first of which sent Blake Wheeler and Mark Stuart to the Atlanta Thrashers for Rich Peverley and Boris Valabik.

The B’s began with this trade to clear cap space for their later deal, and did so successfully. Between the two players, the Bruins were able to ship out $3.875 million, as Wheeler’s cap hit was $2.2 million and Stuart’s was $1.675 million this season. In return, they brought in the $1.325 million salary of Peverley; Valabik was immediately assigned to AHL affiliate Providence, so his salary of $762,500 won’t affect the Bruins’ cap unless he is called up.

While this trade was made primarily to send two players with decent cap hits and expiring contracts away, the Bruins acquisitions will also benefit the team in the short- and long-term future.

This season, Wheeler and Stuart have tallied a combined 32 points, while Peverley, 28, has racked up 14 goals and 20 assists in 59 games for the Thrashers.

Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli will look to incorporate Peverley into the third line with Michael Ryder, Tyler Seguin, and Chris Kelly, who was recently acquired from the Ottawa Senators.

“We get back a player, Rick Peverley, who is a terrific offensive player,” Chiarelli said during a press conference Friday afternoon. “With his number of shots he’d be second on our team. He’s got a really good wrist shot and a one timer. He’s got a bit of an edge when he plays.”

Peverley will join the Bruins in Boston on Sunday.

While Peverley will be able to make an immediate impact in Boston, Valabik will need to work his way up from Providence.

The 25-year-old 2004 first-round pick has played in 80 games for the Thrashers over the past three seasons. Though he has only recorded seven assists during this time, he has managed to accrue 210 penalty minutes. Standing at 6’7” and weighing in at 255 pounds, Valabik is a large defenseman and takes advantage of that with his physical style of play.

"Valabik [has] been a little slow in developing," Chiarelli said. "He's still a project, but he's a guy we're willing to work with."

Bostonians will remember his name for his fight against Zdeno Chara in December 2008.

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