Blues trade Tkachuk to Thrashers Staff

2/25/2007 1:53:38 PM

Forward Keith Tkachuk waived his no-trade clause with the St. Louis Blues on Sunday and was dealt to the Atlanta Thrashers.

In exchange, the Thrashers gave up a first-round pick and a third-round pick in the 2007 Entry Draft, a second-round pick in 2008 and centre Glen Metropolit. If Tkachuk re-signs with the Thrashers, the Blues also get a first-round draft choice in 2008.

Both teams were in a holding pattern while Tkachuk and his family decided.

"I found out late last night, but with three children I needed some time because it's tough anytime a family is involved," Tkachuk told TSN on Sunday.

"But from a hockey standpoint, there was never any doubt, it's a no brainer."

Tkachuk hopes to meet up with his new team in Boston and play on Monday night before returning to St. Louis to help his family adjust.

The Blues exercised a $3.8 million US option on his contract last spring, and the 15-year NHL veteran is set to become an unrestricted free agent in July.

''Some people are going to say it's too much,'' Thrashers general manager Don Waddell told Canadian Press. ''You know what? Talk to me at the end of the year about it.''

The Thrashers, who started the day in sixth place in the Eastern Conference with 72 points, were looking for some added punch to an offence that already features snipers Ilya Kovalchuk and Marian Hossa.

"I'll be expected to help out up front by adding size and grit to a lineup that's very deep," said Tkachuk. "They want me to play the middle for now which I've grown accustomed to in St Louis."

Tkachuk, 34, has 20 goals and 43 points this season.

He has 466 goals and over 911 points in 958 plus career regular-season games with Winnipeg, Phoenix and St. Louis. Tkachuk has scored 30-plus goals in eight seasons, and has had 50-plus goals twice.

In 1996-97, he scored 52 goals for Phoenix to become the first American born player to lead the league in goals.

It marks the second time that Tkachuk has been traded on or near the NHL's trade deadline. In March of 2001, the Coyotes traded Tkachuk to St. Louis for Ladislav Nagy, Michal Handzus, Jeff Taffe and a first round selection (Ben Eager).

"I see this team as having just as good a shot (at the Stanley Cup) as any team," said Tkachuk. "We're one point out of the division lead, so I'm very excited about the opportunity."