The Thrashers have traded forward Ben Eager to the San Jose Sharks for their fifth round pick in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft. Eager is fresh off of a four-game suspension for his actions in a game against Toronto on January 7 and had been used sparingly by Craig Ramsay in the month before his suspension. the rugged winger shad a strong preseason for the Thrashers but struggled to solidify a role for himself. He wasn’t contributing consistently at the offensive end and wasn’t strong enough defensively to earn PK time.
By moving Eager the Thrashers add a draft pick that either gives them some depth at the draft in June or can be peddled in a deal before the trade deadline (Feb. 28)or at the draft. The move also frees up a roster spot and gives the Thrashers a more manageable 14 forwards (including Jim Slater who is on the IR). With Eager on the roster management would have been forced to make a roster move when Slater (who has been missed in the faceoff circle and on the PK) is healthy. Now they can keep both Spencer Machacek and Patrice Cormier if they want to and take a longer look at what they have to offer.
Eager gives the Sharks some more size and depth, and sends their struggling team a message that roster spots and playing time aren’t safe.
In short, the Sharks get a useful player that may be able to help them and the Thrashers get more roster flexibility and a draft pick while moving a player who wasn’t contributing as much as had been hoped.
Eager had three goals and 10 points in 34 games as a Thrasher along with 77 penalty minutes.