ATLANTA (AP) -The Thrashers sent the rights to free agent center Keith Tkachuk back to St. Louis on Tuesday, reacquiring the conditional first-round pick they traded to the Blues in a deadline deal that helped Atlanta reach the playoffs for the first time.
The Thrashers gave up winger Glen Metropolit and their first-round pick in last week's draft to acquire Tkachuk in a Feb. 25 trade. He had seven goals and eight assists in 18 regular-season games for Atlanta, which won the Southeast Division but was swept by the New York Rangers in the opening round of the playoffs.
To land the highly coveted Tkachuk, the Thrashers also gave up a third-round choice in last week's draft and a second-round pick next year. In addition, St. Louis would have received a first-round pick in 2008 if Tkachuk had re-signed with Atlanta.
Now, the Thrashers will keep their first-rounder and could even re-sign Tkachuk if he becomes an unrestricted free agent on July 1, though that reacquisition is considered highly unlikely. The trade allows the Blues to deal exclusively with Tkachuk for the rest of the week.
If he should become a free agent and sign with the Thrashers, St. Louis would get either a fourth-round pick in 2008 or a third-rounder in '09.
The 35-year-old Tkachuk played in 61 games for the Blues last season, putting up 20 goals and 23 assists. He is closing in on 1,000 points, having scored 473 goals and adding 453 assists during his 15-year career.
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