MONTREAL – Montreal Canadiens general manager Pierre Gauthier announced today that the team acquired defenseman Brent Sopel and forward Nigel Dawes from the Atlanta Thrashers, in return for forward Ben Maxwell and a 4th round pick in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft. Sopel will join the Canadiens tonight, while Dawes will report to the AHL Hamilton Bulldogs.
Sopel, 34, played in 59 of the Thrashers 61 games thus far this season, recording seven points (2 goals, 5 assists) while averaging 16:25 of time on ice. He totalled 40 shots on goal and 16 penalty minutes. Sopel currently ranks second on the team, first among defensemen with a +7 plus/minus differential, and ranks second on the club, 7th in the NHL with 130 blocked shots.
The 6’2 and 205 lbs defenseman, who won the Stanley Cup with the Chicago Blackhawks in 2010, is in his 11th NHL season. Since he first joined the NHL back in 1998-99, Sopel amassed a total of 218 regular season points (44 goals, 174 assists) in 647 regular season games with the Vancouver Canucks, New York Islanders, Los Angeles Kings, Chicago Blackhawks and Atlanta. He has a career +33 plus/minus differential and totaled 309 penalty minutes. Sopel also played in 64 career playoff games, registering 17 points (3 goals, 14 assists). He played in all Blackhawks 22 playoff games in 2010 recording six points (1-5-6).
A native of Calgary, Sopel was a 6th round selection, 144th overall, by the Vancouver Canucks at the 1995 NHL Entry Draft.
Dawes, 26, played in nine games with the Thrashers in 2010-11, his fourth NHL season. The 5’09” and 200 lbs forward recorded one assist while averaging 11:11 of time on ice. He is currently 4th in scoring with the AHL Chicago Wolves with 44 points in 47 games (27 goals, 17 assists). He leads the team, and ranks 3rd in the AHL in goals (27).
Born in Winnipeg, Dawes was a 5th round pick, 149th selection overall, by the New York Rangers in 2003. He played in a total of 208 career regular season games in the NHL with the Rangers, Phoenix Coyotes, Calgary Flames and Atlanta Thrashers. He registered 84 career points (39 goals, 45 assists) and 43 penalty minutes.
Selected in the 2nd round by the Canadiens, 49th overall in 2006, Ben Maxwell was held scoreless in 20 games with the Canadiens during the 2008-09 and 2009-10 seasons. This year with the Hamilton Bulldogs, he recorded 40 points in 47 games (11 goals, 29 assists) and 32 penalty minutes.ALSO READ:Gameday comments: Gill
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