Quenneville: Trades are business moves
LOS ANGELES -- Chicago Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville has talked to other coaches who have won the Stanley Cup about what to expect the following season, but nobody had to tell Quenneville that one step he would have to take would be losing some of his players.
Quenneville spoke publicly Saturday for the first time since the Blackhawks completed a multiplayer deal Wednesday with the Atlanta Thrashers. The trade was made to help Chicago deal with salary cap constraints.
"Whether it's tough or not, it's the reality of the business," Quenneville said just before the second round of the NHL draft. "Things will change. It's not necessarily hockey trades. They're business trades."
Dustin Byfuglien, Brent Sopel and Ben Eager were moved to the Thrashers, and hours later Colin Fraser was traded to the Edmonton Oilers. Quenneville admitted it was tough to see them leave, but he knows they have enough in place to repeat.
"You look at the core and nucleus and it's in place," Quenneville said. "We'll have to get younger. It's not going to be the same, but the core is there."
The centerpiece of the trade was Byfuglien. A former eighth-round draft pick, he helped the Blackhawks net a first-round and second-round pick in this weekend's draft, plus a prospect and veteran center Marty Reasoner.
Quenneville understands why Byfuglien cost the Thrashers so much: He's a power forward who has the ability to do it all.
"He dominated some playoff games like not many guys can," Quenneville said. "Everybody looks for that power forward. Everybody wants that guy. I would expect Buff to be that guy. In fact, he is that guy."
With so much turnover and a short offseason, Quenneville has a new challenge in front of him, and he's already preparing.
"I've talked to some coaches that have won, and going into the [next] season everyone has a different way of how to go through it," he said. "We'll have to figure out the best way for us."
Jesse Rogers covers the Blackhawks for ESPNChicago.com.