"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.
Life's about opportunity and how you respond to that opportunity, and obviously he must have some swagger about him, some confidence about him, because he was solid. He made some good saves. He was 6-foot-3 on every shot, which is a good thing for a goalie. He played well. We got a win.
— Maple Leafs coach Mike Babcock on rookie goaltender Garret Sparks, who made 24 saves in his first NHL start, a 3-0 win vs. Oilers
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