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AP: Blackhawks send Byfuglien to Thrashers

ATLANTA -- The Stanley Cup champion Blackhawks and the Thrashers were awaiting NHL approval Wednesday on a multiplayer blockbuster trade that would send Dustin Byfuglien, Brent Sopel and Ben Eager from Chicago to Atlanta, according to a person familiar with the negotiations.

The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the trade had not received final approval from the league.

Chicago also would send a prospect to Atlanta and acquire first- and second-round picks in this week's NHL draft as well as forward Marty Reasoner and prospect Jeremy Morin.

The trade clears salary cap space for the Blackhawks and provides more experience for the Thrashers.

Chicago's Duncan Keith, who won the Norris Trophy on Wednesday night as the NHL's top defenseman, said the Blackhawks had to start making changes even though the Cup victory was still fresh in their thoughts.

''There might be some more and it's not going to be fun,'' Keith said. ''Everybody is going to have to keep moving forward, and a lot of times that's part of the business.''

As the teams awaited league approval, players involved in the deal also were left on hold.

Sopel addressed the trade on his Twitter account. He tweeted ''Thank You Everyone for the Amazing Well Wishes, but this is all just Rumor and has not been Confirmed yet. But regardless I LOVE U CHICAGO!''

Byfuglien can become a restricted free agent after the 2010-11 season.

Led by young stars such as Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane, the Blackhawks beat Philadelphia for their first Stanley Cup title since 1961, but they were hardly a two-man show.