The Hawks traded restricted free agent Andrew Ladd to the Atlanta Thrashers Thursday -- the opening day of free agency -- for defenseman Ivan Vishnevskiy and a second-round pick in 2011 and also watched unrestricted free agent and popular agitator Adam Burish sign with the Dallas Stars.
The trade came less than 24 hours after Hawks GM Stan Bowman sent Kris Versteeg to the Toronto Maple Leafs and a week after trading Dustin Byfuglien, Brent Sopel and Ben Eager to the Thrashers and Colin Fraser to the Edmonton Oilers.
Ladd always was a trade candidate. A source said the Hawks had been looking for the right deal involving Ladd for some time.
Ladd, a hot topic during the NHL draft, was reportedly extended a $1.65 million qualifying offer by the Hawks. But he has arbitration rights and was in line for a larger salary, especially considering what players of lesser skill and value received Thursday.
Hawks GM Stan Bowman said he believes Vishnevskiy has a good chance of making the Hawks this season.
Vishnevskiy, 22, was acquired by the Thrashers, the Wolves' NHL affiliate, from the Dallas Stars on Feb. 9, 2010. He notched two assists and two penalty minutes in five games with the Stars. He was a former first-round pick.
"He's a very interesting player," Bowman said. "He's got incredible skating ability. I remember back to his draft year. He was a player we were hoping that was going to be there when we were picking. He's an offensive type defenseman with great wheels.
"He's played a couple of NHL games. I spoke with some people recently who said he probably should have played more games last year in Dallas, then he ended up getting traded late in the year there. So he was with the Wolves. He's a player that has a chance to play in the NHL for us next year. We'll see how it goes in training camp. We have a lot good young defensemen in our mix if you put in guys like [Brian] Connelly and [Shawn] Lalonde. He's along with those guys, a young player who has the attributes you have to have in today's game. He can move the puck. Skating is something that is really critical especially for defensemen."