To land the highly coveted Tkachuk, the Thrashers also gave up a third-round choice in last week's draft and a second-round pick next year. In addition, St. Louis would have received a first-round pick in 2008 if Tkachuk had re-signed with Atlanta.
Now, the Thrashers will keep their first-rounder and could even re-sign Tkachuk if he becomes an unrestricted free agent on July 1, though that reacquisition is considered highly unlikely. The trade allows the Blues to deal exclusively with Tkachuk for the rest of the week.
If he should become a free agent and sign with the Thrashers, St. Louis would get either a fourth-round pick in 2008 or a third-rounder in '09.
Tkachuk, 35, played in 61 games for the Blues last season, scoring 20 goals and 23 assists. He is closing in on 1,000 points, having scored 473 goals and adding 453 assists during his 15-year career.
* The Blues placed 14-year NHL veteran Dallas Drake on waivers, the first step in buying out the final year on his contract if he goes unclaimed. Drake played six seasons with the Blues, including two as captain. The team said it needed the roster spot heading into training camp.
* The Pittsburgh Penguins will let right wing Michel Ouellet become a free agent. General manager Ray Shero said the decision not to make a qualifying contract offer to Ouellet was driven largely by the salary cap and the fact that Ouellet would be eligible for salary arbitration. *