CHICAGO (Reuters) - Stanley Cup champions the Chicago Blackhawks have released forward Dustin Byfuglien in a multi-player trade with the Atlanta Thrashers.
The 25-year-old Byfuglien, who scored 11 goals during Chicago's run to their first championship since 1961, will head to Atlanta with center Ben Eager, defenseman Brent Sopel and prospect, Akim Aliu.
The Blackhawks receive a first and second-round pick in exchange, along with forward Marty Reasoner, winger Joseph Crabb and prospect Jeremy Morin.
Chicago have been forced to part with some of their players due to salary cap issues and lose Byfuglien after he netted five game-winning goals in the post-season.
"It is what it is. It's part of the job," Byfuglien told a local Chicago radio station. "You're not going to stick in one spot the whole time, so I've got to go."
(Reporting by Jahmal Corner in Los Angeles; Editing by Ian Ransom)