Canadiens acquire Sopel, Dawes from Thrashers

The Canadiens on Wednesday acquired defenceman Brent Sopel and forward Nigel Dawes from the Atlanta Thrashers in return for forward Ben Maxwell and a fourth round draft pick.

Sopel is a veteran defenceman who won the Stanley Cup with the Chicago Blackhawks last season. In 59 games this season, the 34-year-old right-hander has two goals and five assists with the Thrashers. Sopel is making $2 million this season – with a cap hit of $2.3 million – and becomes an unrestricted free agent on July 1.

Two stats of note: Sopel was leading Atlanta in penalty-killing ToI at 3:21 per game (20th in the NHL) and was second in blocked shots (10th in the league), with 130 in 59 games.

Sopel will not be in the lineup against the Maple Leafs on Thursday night.

Dawes has only played nine games in the NHL this season, registering only one assist. In 47 games in the American Hockey League, the 5-foot-9, 195-pound forward has 27 goals and 17 assists.

More to come.

• Thanks to video scout Jarred Friedman for Sopel mic’d up

Sopel on Twitter: “Off to Montreal – let the games begin!!” and “Just about to take off. Got to love this part of the game. I had like 90 mins to pack and get to the airport. Thanks to the Atlanta fans.”

The latest Sopel Tweet: “Looking forward to getting to Montreal to start the running for another Stanley Cup.”

Mrs. Sopel’s blog


The team’s release:

MONTREAL (February 24, 2011) – 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.


  1. CrashTheNetCrashTheNet says:

    You would have come off as WAY smarter had you pointed out that the “then” part (as opposed to THAN) would indicate that he is indeed being brought here to play in the NHL. Oh well, better luck next time!

    “When I was a baby I wish my first word had been “QUOTE”, then right before I die I could say “UNQUOTE” – Stephen Wright

  2. fbkj says:

    yes and no, the ihabs app is frigging buggy

  3. Scott in Montreal says:

    I like this trade. It signals to the team the GM is happy with what he’s got and sees potential for a lengthy playoff run. Sopel is a right-hand shot, and is finally the kind of guy we needed to take Gorges spot in the line-up. He is great in his own end, and has tons of valuable play-off experience. He and Gill on the PK should be a treat. This allows Hamr and Subban to catch their breath, and the Wiz and Weber have less pressure on them too. Dawes is insurance I guess.

    Only down side is Maxwell is the featured player on my Habs calendar for the month of March (of course November it’s Markov, and December it’s Halak!)

    …i guess this also means Spacek is out for the season.

  4. likehoy says:

    cause dawes is short

    – Gomez is holding down the “overpaid” button

  5. DearyLeary says:

    Sopel is UFA next year.

  6. SLYDER says:

    This is why PG hasnt made any big splash for a rental D







    (7th could be Brendan Nash?? Picard? Mara?)


  7. Malreg says:

    Dawes was included more for Hamilton’s sake then for the Canadiens.  Hamilton has been pretty decimated by call-ups already (Weber, Desharnais, Pacioretty, White), and they just traded another one of Hamilton’s top 6 forwards, so they got Dawes to help out in the AHL.

    Stop moaning about his size when he wasn’t even brought here to play in the NHL.

  8. gohabsgo25 says:


  9. SeriousFan09 says:

    Sopel not playing tonight, Dawes is deployed to HAM as per reports.

    Next likely Bulldog to move is Mathieu Carle if they’re going to keep moving farmhands who aren’t expected to crack the lineup.


    – I shall always remember Captain Koivu. Habs and Hockey.

  10. habitat says:

    Sopel and Dawes, certainly not hateful. If Spacek is out for the season, I believe our cap situation improves by adding Sopel and Spacek sitting out on IR. Another thought, Maxwell probably would not be playing with the A team. Dawes has some potential, maybe even trade bait with an AKos trade. We might get our 4th back in the next trade. Hopefully we pick up a sizeable gritty forward with scoring ability, please not a rental.

    The calm before the storm, I do not believe PG is done, I can dream.   

  11. The Big O says:

    Great get another 5.9 forward…at least P.G. could have tried for a Eric Boulton or Jim Slater…someone with some size and sand paper…but no, we’re intent on recreating the smurfs on ice…

  12. twilighthours says:

    Crappy.  I thought he might make it in.

  13. MikeL says:

    Good trade. We needed defenseive depth, and we got a good shotblocker and PK guy.

    Maxwell never seemed like an NHLer to me. Seemed like he didn’t work hard enough and was a little too soft. Really not worried about losing him.

  14. TomNickle says:

    Sopel won’t play tonight per Lavoie.

  15. filincal says:

    Good acquisition….I wanted to Sopel to be signed a couple years ago before he went to Chicago. As for Dawes…I think when he comes up he’ll give his line a pretty good boost of energy.







  16. smiler2729 says:

    Milan Luchicken just got a little yellower and will probably have the flu on the 8th

  17. CowtownCanadien says:

    Sopel a solid D man and Dawes for the farm. I like this deal. PG just might know what he is doing!

  18. TomNickle says:

    Okay,  does Gomez, Weber and Kostitsyn get Stastny out of Colorado?

    Keep in mind their ownership is wealthier than ours and they have a very low cap payroll.

  19. DearyLeary says:

    Dawes is RFA next year

    Sopel is UFA, 2.3 cap hit.

  20. SLYDER says:





  21. Chris says:

    You were just happy that your pants buzzed.  😉

  22. munch17 says:

    Anyone know their contract status / cap hit?

  23. NightRyder says:

    The exodus in the nation’s capital continues as the Ottawa Senators shipped veteran forward Alex Kovalev to the Pittsburgh Penguins on Thursday for a conditional seventh-round pick.

    If Pittsburgh wins the first round of the playoffs and Kovalev plays in at least fifty percent of the games, the pick becomes a sixth-round selection.

    Fire sale!!

  24. HabFanSince72 says:

    Sopel is a UFA this summer. Cap hit M$2.2

  25. Say Ash says:

    Was that the 6-5 comeback?

  26. smiler2729 says:

    “then for the Canadiens”

    C’mon, man, it’s THAN not THEN. Sorry but the internet and its effect on the english language and grammar needs to be nipped in the bud.

  27. ooder says:

    good trade… deffinately helps out the D

    i wonder what the point of aquiring Dawes is though


    GWG = game winning gionta!

  28. Bugs says:

    This trade brought to you by Dezzy Dezarnay Travel.

    “Buttin ahead in the lineup gets you places!”

  29. HabFanSince72 says:

    The owner is wealthy, but the team is a consistent money loser.

    I suspect Kroenke didn’t get rich by wasting money. I could be wrong.

    I know the Molsons got rich by inheriting money.

    In any case  our overpaid unwanteds for a perennial all-star isn’t a deal that Colorado has any reason to make.

  30. Jordio-oh says:

    reckon Spacek is just going to retire?

  31. c.robillard says:

    Kovalev back to Pittsburgh! Awesome!

  32. SLYDER says:

    I like this move for this reason: PG has made it clear he isnt willing to mortgage the future for a big name rental on the back-end (AKA Chris Phillips). Markov and Gorges are out for the season, not forever. Clearly PG still views these two (as im sure everyone else does) as his #1 and #2. PG is saving his big splash for the scoring power forward we obviously need. The small, inexpensive moves to pick up Mara and Sopel are likely all we will see in regard to replenishing the defence for the time being. It also tells us that he is most certainly on the hunt for a long term solution to our size and scoring deficit up front. If the right move isnt there before tuesday, this will be the team that plays in the post-season, thus making the off-season an interesting one for PG himself and the fans.

  33. SmartDog says:

    Good morning, sunshine.

  34. likehoy says:

    geez PG, just sign theo fleury already!

    5’9 nigel dawes…

    next thing is to trade benoit pouliot for nathan gerbe cause he’s just too damn big for this team!

    not a bad trade nonetheless…we have more depth, which was starting to run thin.

    – Gomez is holding down the “overpaid” button

  35. fbkj says:

    chick friend of mine from jersey, huge rangers fan… i take her to see the rags up here once a year… 2 years ago, dawes father was sitting in back of her, totally hitting on her, got her number etc

    she just sent me a txt “LOL say hi to lloyd for me!”

  36. CrashTheNetCrashTheNet says:

    Well now that you’ve added SERIOUS………

    “When I was a baby I wish my first word had been “QUOTE”, then right before I die I could say “UNQUOTE” – Stephen Wright

  37. Say Ash says:

    Who would you pair Sopel with?

  38. SmartDog says:

    Unless you think Maxwell is a SERIOUS future top-6 forward, this is a great trade.

    We get a big cup-winning, responsible, sandpapery shut-down D man.

    AND we replace one small but interesting forward with another – a guy who ranks 3rd in the AHL in goals (27).  

    Add a 4th rounder to make it all happen… this is sweet!

    (BTW, a few years ago Sopel was traded for a 2nd round pick.)  


  39. saf says:

    I believe they are both UFA’s come July 1.  Dawes is on a two-way contract so he is certainly bound for Hamilton but can come up in an emergency.  


    Wasn’t Dawes placed on waivers to be sent down from Atlanta?  If so, does he have to pass through waivers to come to Montreal as a call-up?  


    It’s a pretty fair trade.  Atlanta gets a decent mid-range draft pick, a player with some potential (Maxwell is only 22) and some salary relief.  Montreal gets playoff defensive help and a player with NHL experience as emergency forward depth (at a slight discount form last year’s emergency help … which was Maxwell).  


  40. Sportfan says:

    Will we get to see them in action tonight >>

  41. OneTimer says:

    No Gill bro?

  42. Jeff says:

    Gomer & Kossista plus Weberot for Stastny…..have u started drinking again?

    Sopel & Dawes now Canadiens….a veritable Hobbitville, Quebec!  Muahhhh!


  43. fbkj says:

    nooooo year after that one

    early decemberish

  44. SeriousFan09 says:

    Put more scoring depth in HAM? Maybe Habs would like to try and pump up his value and then move him this summer.


    – I shall always remember Captain Koivu. Habs and Hockey.

  45. Malreg says:

    We went from not having a single right-handed defenseman in the lineup to too many! PK, Weber, Wiz, Sopel…

  46. krob1000 says:

    I will now pray

  47. fbkj says:

    actually it was the centennial opening game

  48. ooder says:

    ya i guess it’s really for hamilton’s sake.. maybe help cunningworth out a bit..

    especially if they’re taking maxwell..

    however i like likehoy’s answer better 🙂


    GWG = game winning gionta!

  49. Malreg says:

    Argggg that one always gets me!  It has nothing to do with the internet, I’ve always mixed those two up.

  50. nickster13 says:

    Sopel-Sandpapery? Maybe 3 years ago, now he can’t even play defence for the thrashers, they scratched him recently a handful of times, doesnt sound quite as good

  51. Scott in Montreal says:

    True, but those four are the only R’s in the roster. Mara, Festerling, Nash, Picard, Gill, Hamr, Markov and Gorges are all L’s.

  52. smiler2729 says:

    Steven Wright NOT Stephen Wright.

  53. RGM says:

    Subtract two Grammar Police points for not capitalizing English. Subtract one additional point for not capitalizing Internet.

    Go Habs Go!

  54. EastCoastJoe says:

    Markov, Hammer, Sopel all UFA’s.  Weber, Gorges RFA’s

    Subban and Spacek are the only signed D at this point.  Though that’s not a terrible lineup, the Habs needn’t be handcuffed by feeling they can only sign current roster players, depending on the health of Markov and Gorges.  I’d sign Gill to another year, maybe two for the right price.  At the very least, he’s hilarious.  Maybe offer Wiz a contract, though there are moments I cringe when he has the puck in his own end.  I haven’t looked at the available crop.  Maybe this IS the way to go.

  55. smiler2729 says:

    English the language, unlike English the nationality, doesn’t require capitalization unless it begins a sentence. Nor does internet. Another misconception.

  56. SLYDER says:

    Markov and Subban together – with a side of Weber – provide PLENTY of offencee for that defence. No need for Wiz and his defensive liability.


    Spacek is too old and has proven himself too soft (See Boston brawl and his “fight” against MacArthur). Thank him for his services, he played well.


    As for Gill…I’ve had a serious hate on for him since he arrived. Many of his skills and intangibles can be found in a hockey player who can skate. And his size can be found in players that can use it. His humor can already be found on the current roster.


    …and dont forget…Tinordi waits in the weeds

  57. RetroMikey says:


    “We will win the Cup one day only with ? in the nets “

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