"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.
Yeah, it was a pretty special moment for me. Today was my Dad's [55th] birthday. I have a lot of family in town, so it was a special moment for me to score my first one today. A win definitely would have capped it off, but you can't have everything.
— Sabres rookie Jack Eichel after scoring a goal in his National Hockey League debut
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