Confusing headline right? Well, let me explain. There was a time when the St. Louis Blues traded their star forward to the Atlanta Thrashers for several draft picks and found a way to re-sign him the following offseason.
On February 25, 2007, with a record of 26-26-9, the St. Louis Blues decided it was time to trade the 34-year-old forward in his contract year to the Atlanta Thrashers. In return, the Blues would receive Glen Metropolit, a first and a third-round pick in the 2007 NHL Draft, a conditional 2008 first-round pick (if the Thrashers can re-sign Keith Tkachuk), and a 2008 second-round pick.
St. Louis went on to miss the playoffs, finishing with a sub .500 record and just 81 points. Tkachuk on the other hand found some success down south, collecting 15 points (7 G, 8 A) in 18 games playing on a line with Ilya Kovalchuk.
Sparked by the trade, the Thrashers ended the season as the Southeast Division champions with 97 points. This was the first and only time that the Atlanta Thrashers would qualify for the Stanley Cup playoffs. While they went on to be swept in the first round by the New York Rangers in four games, Tkachuk tied for the team lead with three points in the series.
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The NHL Draft was held on June 22-23, 2007 in Columbus, Ohio, where the Blues first decided to trade their newly acquired 2007 first-round pick and a third-round pick in the draft to the Flames in exchange for the 18th overall pick. With Calgary’s pick, the Blues chose defenseman Ian Cole.
Ian Cole should be familiar to most Blues fans. Cole played 113 games in the note collecting 22 points and a plus-24 from 2011 to 2014.
With Atlanta’s third-round pick, the Blues took Brett Sonne who was never able to crack an NHL roster. Sonne collected 68 points in 271 games in his AHL career before playing for various teams overseas.
The 2008 first-round pick that was on the table was taken off once the Thrashers failed to re-sign Tkachuk. Luckily for St. Louis, Keith wanted to be a Blue and they were able to trade for the rights to sign him before he could hit free agency. The two parties agreed on a two-year deal worth $8 million.
As it turned out, the veteran forward would finish out his career in St. Louis over the next three seasons, posting 139 more points after the agreement.
As previously mentioned, Cole (chosen with Atlanta’s first-round pick) found himself in the Note for a couple of seasons before the Blues decided it was time to shake things up in 2015. After trading for Zbynek Michalek, they decided to keep dealing. They then sent Cole to the Penguins for current Blue Robert Bortuzzo and a seventh-round pick in 2016.
We all know how the story has played out with Bortuzzo. He has posted 36 points and a plus-45 in 251 games played. Oh, and he also was a key cog last season in the Stanley Cup, scoring a huge goal against the San Jose Sharks in game two of the Western Conference Finals.
The trade seemed to work out well for both sides. The Thrashers used the mid-season acquisition to spark their first-ever run to the Stanley Cup Playoffs while the Blues were able to get their star back a few months later and turned one of the draft picks into a piece that would help them win the franchise’s first Stanley Cup.