HabsWorld.net -- 

The Habs made a splash in the trade market on Thursday, acquiring D Brent
Sopel and F Nigel Dawes from the Thrashers in exchange for F Ben Maxwell and a
4th round pick.  Sopel was a Stanley Cup winner with the Blackhawks last
season while Dawes has over 200 games of NHL experience under his belt despite
spending most of the season in the minors.

Sopel is a 6’2, 205 lb blueliner who will be joining the 6th team in his 11
year NHL career, having spent time with Vancouver (twice), Los Angeles, New York
(I), Chicago, and Atlanta.  He has shown signs of offensive flash in the
past, picking up 10 goals and 42 points back in 2003-04.  However, he has
settled into a defensive, stay-at-home role, failing to pass the double digit
point mark the last two season.  He has 7 points in 59 games (2-5-7) so far
this season.  He did, however, sit 2nd on the Thrashers with 130 blocked
shots, though he averages just over 0.5 hits per game.  Sopel was on our
list of ‘names to ponder’ on the blueline in our defence
last week.

Dawes, 5’9 and 200 lbs has also bounced around in his career, having spent
time with New York (R), Phoenix, Calgary, and Atlanta.  He has spent most
of the season with the Chicago Wolves, picking up 42 points (25-17-42) in 46
games.  He also has an assist in 9 games with the Thrashers this year. 
He has been assigned to the Bulldogs, where he will replace Maxwell.

Maxwell was the Habs’ 2nd round pick back in 2006, 49th overall.  He was
a favourite of former coach Guy Carbonneau and current bench boss Jacques Martin
for his hockey smarts.  However, his lack of offensive success is what has
held him back as he has failed to hit the scoresheet in 20 career NHL contests. 
On the farm though, he was having a very successful season, picking up 39 points
in 47 games to lead the Bulldogs in scorers among active players.  Maxwell
had the highest odds of being traded in yesterday’s prospect
.  He leaves the Bulldogs as their 9th leading point getter in
franchise history.

Sopel is a pending unrestricted free agent with a cap hit of $2,333,333 and a
salary of $2 million.  Dawes is a pending restricted free agent with
arbitration rights, earning $650,000 in the NHL and $105,000 in the AHL, meaning
he is not subject to re-entry waivers.  The deal brings the Habs’ max cap
hit acquisition space down to $1,844,267.03, though if Jaroslav Spacek is out
long-term as reports suggested earlier this week, that amount may change yet