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Blackhawks give Sopel three-year, $7 million extension

CHICAGO -- Blackhawks defenseman Brent Sopel signed a $7
million, three-year contract extension Thursday.

Initially acquired by Chicago as a free agent in September, the
31-year-old Sopel has appeared in 33 games for the Blackhawks this
season with 10 assists. He has a plus/minus rating of plus 10.

"Brent has been a key addition to the Blackhawks because of his
play on the ice and his leadership in the locker room," general
manager Dale Tallon said.

Sopel broke in with the Canucks in the 1999-2000 season and has
had two stints with Vancouver while also playing with the Islanders
and Kings.

His extension comes with the Blackhawks mired in a seven-game
losing streak. Chicago's next game is Friday against Minnesota.

Sopel will make $2.5 million in each of the first two years of
the deal and $2 million in the final season.

Earlier Thursday, Chicago traded defenseman Magnus Johansson to
the Florida Panthers for a seventh-round pick in the 2009 draft.
Johansson played in 18 games for the Blackhawks with no goals and
four assists.

Chicago also assigned right winger Troy Brouwer to Rockford of
the AHL.