Brent Sopel traded to Montreal

Updated: February 25, 2011, 12:50 AM ET news services

The Montreal Canadiens announced they have acquired veteran defenseman Brent Sopel and forward Nigel Dawes from the Atlanta Thrashers in exchange for minor league prospect Ben Maxwell and a fourth-round pick in this June's draft.

Sopel, an 11-year veteran, has two goals, five assists and a plus-minus rating of plus-7 in 59 games this season. He was in his first season in Atlanta after three seasons with the Chicago Blackhawks.

Sopel, 34, is earning $2 million this season and will be an unrestricted free agent July 1.

Dawes has one assist in nine NHL games this season. The 26-year-old has spent most of the season with the Chicago Wolves, ranking fourth in the American Hockey League with 27 goals.

During his time in Atlanta, he made the team only the second in NHL history to have five black players. He also has played for the Rangers, Coyotes and Flames.

The 22-year-old Maxwell has 11 goals and 29 assists in 47 games for Hamilton of the AHL. He was a second-round pick in 2006.

Information from's Pierre LeBrun and The Associated Press was used in this report.