Last summer, Atlanta was the beneficiary of Chicago's massive salary-cap problems, landing Dustin Byfuglien in a trade shortly after the Blackhawks hoisted the Stanley Cup. Now, the Thrashers have made sure that the 25-year-old won't be going anywhere else for a long time.
Byfuglien and the Thrashers agreed to a contract extension on Tuesday, the team announced.
The team didn't disclose details of the deal, but TSN's Bob McKenzie reported via Twitter that it was a five-year, $26 million deal, paying Byfuglien an average of $5.2 million per season.
"Dustin has emerged into an elite player this season and been invaluable as a leader both on and off the ice," general manager Rick Dudley said in a statement released by the team. "It was a priority to sign him and we're looking forward to witnessing his All-Star caliber play for many years to come."
Byfuglien not only switched cities but also positions this season, seamlessly becoming an imposing defenseman for a competitive Atlanta squad. He has 17 goals and 26 assists to go with an even rating, as the Thrashers sit in ninth place, trying to make the playoffs for the first time since 2007 and just the second time in franchise history.