Steve Rosenbloom, not normally known for analysis like this, has a very good take on the deal in the Tribune:
Hawks general manager Stan Bowman is acting like a trader in the pit, selling when his asset had the most value and protecting those with a greater upside. Without getting into mind-numbing math, the salaries of Byfuglien, Kris Versteeg and Patrick Sharp appeared to dictate that at least one of them would have to go. All of them came up big in the postseason of a lifetime. Nobody wanted any of them to go. But if it had to be one of them, the best move would be Byfuglien.
Not to diminish his contributions, starting the playoffs on the blue line, then moving up front and terrorizing Vancouver again before exacting revenge on Chris Pronger and the Flyers in Games 5 and 6 of the Stanley Cup finals, but Byfuglien isn’t as fast as Sharp and Versteeg, a big factor in the Hawks’ puck-possession game.
Byfuglien had a strong start to the season because he had to get in shape early for the U.S. Olympic camp, but he fell off and lost his spot on the top line to Troy Brouwer.
By comparison, Sharp can play center and wing, and kills penalties and works the point on the power play. He’s way too valuable to coach Joel Quenneville’s penchant for playing toy soldiers.
Versteeg is a high-wire act with a great shot who also showed some supreme checking abilities when placed on Dave Bolland’s line, qualities the Hawks appear to value more than Byfuglien’s.
The Hawks had to clear cap space, and Stan Bowman’s a good hockey mind. He appears to be off to a good start.