Via this Sun-Times blog, GM Stan Bowman discusses yesterday’s blockbuster trade with the Thrashers on a late-night conference call. Among key points:
SB: "First and foremost, [Byfuglien] was a pretty really talented player. In some ways, he was more of skill player than anything else. He had really good hands. He was a big body but I think, first and foremost, he could play the game which is something we’ve always stressed. If you’re big and tough and you can play, that’s great. But if you’re big and tough and you struggle to be able to handle the puck or be able to skate than you’re not as much use to a team like us.
“We’re going to have some guys from within emerge with some bigger roles. We kind of saw that emerge as the year wore on. A guy like [Tomas] Kopecky, who most of the year was on the fourth line and even in and out of the lineup a little bit, [but] by the end of the playoffs he was playing on a top line. He’s a big strong guy. He’s physical. He goes to the net. I think a guy like Kopecky is going to have a bigger role next season. I think I mentioned Bickell and there is some other young guys, [Jack] Skille and those kind of guys. I think we’ll have Jake Dowell in the lineup. He’s certainly going to get a chance to play on our team. He brings a lot of that rugged play as well. We’re going to have to look at the free-agent market and trades as well. We’re going to have some openings. We are going to have to address that.”