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Hawks deal Ladd to Thrashers

by Dan Rosen
The Stanley Cup Champion Chicago Blackhawks traded restricted free agent forward Andrew Ladd to the Atlanta Thrashers in exchange for a 2011 second-round draft pick and defense prospect Ivan Vishnevskiy.

Ladd was reportedly given a qualifying offer by the Blackhawks, but he would have been too expensive for the cap-strapped team to sign and they likely wouldn’t have been able to match an offer sheet either.

A two-time Cup winner (Carolina in 2006, Chicago in 2010), Ladd had been with the Blackhawks since late in the 2007-08 season when he was traded there by Carolina for Tuomo Ruutu. He had 49 points in 2008-09 and 38 points this past season, serving as a key member of the Hawks' checking line.

Ladd suffered an injury in the clinching game of the Western Conference Final that kept him out of the Stanley Cup Final until Game 4. He scored a goal and added two assists in just three Stanley Cup Final games against the Philadelphia Flyers, and finished the playoffs with 6 points in 19 games.

This is the second trade orchestrated between Hawks GM Stan Bowman and Thrashers GM Rick Dudley in the last week.

Prior to the Entry Draft last Friday the Blackhawks sent Dustin Byfuglien, Brent Sopel, Ben Eager and prospect Akim Aliu to Atlanta in exchange for Marty Reasoner, Joey Crabb, Jeremy Morin and picks No. 24 and 54 in the Entry Draft.

Vishnevskiy, 22, has notched 2 assists and two penalty minutes in five games with the Dallas Stars over the past two seasons, which includes being held scoreless in two contests last season. The Barnaul, Russia, native spent the majority of the 2009-10 season in the American Hockey League with the Texas Stars and Chicago Wolves collecting 26 assists, 36 points and 28 penalty minutes in 79 regular-season games during his second professional campaign. He was acquired by the Thrashers, the Wolves NHL affiliate, from the Dallas Stars on February 9, 2010.

Dallas’ first choice, 27th overall, in the 2006 NHL Entry Draft, Vishnevskiy made his NHL debut with the club in 2008-09, tallying two assists in three games. He also appeared in 67 matchups with the AHL’s Peoria Rivermen that season, collecting 13 assists and 19 points in 67 contests. Prior to turning pro, he accumulated 44 goals, 100 assists, 144 points and 197 penalty minutes in 159 career QMJHL regular-season games for the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies spanning three seasons (2005-2008).

Ladd, 24, registered 99 points (37G, 62) and 99 penalty minutes in 184 regular-season games over parts of three seasons with the Blackhawks, which includes 38 points (17G, 21A) and 67 penalty minutes in 82 contests in 2009-10. Ladd, who also appeared in 36 Stanley Cup Playoff tilts with Chicago over the last two years (6G, 4A), was acquired by the Blackhawks via a trade with the Carolina Hurricanes on February 26, 2008.

Follow Dan Rosen on Twitter at: @drosennhl

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