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.

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