"This deal improves our hockey club in both the short and long-term," Atlanta general manager Rick Dudley. "With Blake Wheeler, we are getting a versatile two-way forward, and Mark Stuart will help anchor our already strong group of defensemen as we make a push toward the playoffs."
Peverley has 14 goals and 34 points for the Thrashers this season. He was a waiver-wire addition during the 2008-09 season but became a vital member of the Atlanta offense in the past two-plus seasons. Valabik has been back and forth between Atlanta and Chicago of the American Hockey League the past couple of seasons, playing a total of 80 games for the Thrashers between 2007-08 and last season, but none this year.
Wheeler, 24, had 21 goals as a rookie in 2008-09 for the Bruins, but dropped to 18 last season and has 11 in 58 games in 2010-11. He was the fifth pick of the 2004 Entry Draft by Phoenix but elected not to sign with the Coyotes after leaving the University of Minnesota.
Stuart, 26, has 1 goal and 5 points in 31 games for the Bruins this season. The 26-year-old was the 21st pick of the 2003 Entry Draft by Boston.
Wheeler and Stuart reportedly cost a combined $3.875 million against the salary cap this season. Wheeler can be a restricted free agent at season's end while Stuart could be an unrestricted free agent. Peverley has another year left on his contract at $1.325 million. The deal gives Boston more cap flexibility -- certainly enough room to complete the reported trade for Toronto's Tomas Kaberle.
Atlanta has been struggling after a surprising start to the season, and Dudley has said he was looking to make a move for a forward and a defenseman.
The groove of being behind a bench is going to be interesting at first, but thank God we have a few exhibition games to get rid of those cobwebs. Overall the excitement of it all and the freshness and coming back refreshed, all those things are going to be assets. If [the players] come ready to give their best effort in practice and games, good things are going to happen. I'm always looking for results. It's not always on the scoreboard. It's winning and building something.
— Bryan Trottier on making his return to coaching as an assistant with the Sabres