Waiting for the skate to drop

It’s strange times these days around an NHL team. Nobody’s sure whether the guy next to him in the locker room will be there a week from now. The trade deadline is Wednesday at 3 p.m.

Niclas Havelid’s five years (four seasons) with the Thrashers are almost certainly about to end. He told me he hasn’t had any input on where he will go and that experience has taught him not to get too worked up about things he can’t control. He’s not the No. 1 defenseman on the market, but he’d be a great addition for a team needing a veteran stay-at-home guy.

Marty Reasoner and Eric Perrin also are unrestricted free agents this summer unless they re-sign before July 1. Reasoner could be useful enough for a playoff-contending team to be willing to give up a draft pick to rent him for the rest of the season. It probably would be tougher to find a taker for Perrin.

Erik Christensen remains in the lineup tonight with Jim Slater out again. They’re both restricted free agents this summer. Maybe Christensen, like Jason Williams did, would benefit from a fresh start with a new team.

There are two games before the deadline, tonight and Tuesday. By the time the Thrashers play Montreal on Friday, the uncertainty will be over.

42 comments Add your comment

Brendan

February 28th, 2009
1:02 pm

Yes, it surely will come to an end. The General Manager earns his pay by March 4th. Let’s see what DWad does.

Ron

February 28th, 2009
1:53 pm

Christensen had a fresh start with a new team last year, what happened? He might fetch a 3th round pick…maybe.
The Thrashers should be sellers this time of year, but sadly, they don’t have much to sell. How is this team ever to improve?? Free agents don’t want to come here, DW can’t draft, they have no worthwhile assets to trade, and the bright light of the team is probably gone after (during) next season.

mknobler

February 28th, 2009
3:04 pm

Ron, here’s a little solace: Two of the last three first-round picks produced Zach Bogosian and Bryan Little, and Tavares or Hedman could be coming this year.

B. Thenet

February 28th, 2009
3:25 pm

I don’t understand why Don Waddell hasn’t signed any UFAs or RFAs on our team yet.

Of course you are going to have plenty of UFA to deal at the deadline every year…when you fail to re-sign any of them during the season…and this is something he does every year.

There is no way that Colby Armstrong or Marty Reasoner should be without contracts right now. Both are solid, and useful NHL players who we should consider part of this teams future. They shouldn’t be sitting in their lockers wondering where the heck they are going to be next season, or wondering if the Thrashers are interested in keeping them around.

ranallo10 (in AT)

February 28th, 2009
4:17 pm

Let’s say that the Thrashers get unlucky and finish 28th in the league (not out of reach) and do not move up in the NHL draft after the lottery…
Who do you pick?
Do you address defense, offense, or merely the “best player available” with that number 3 choice?
Do you trade down a few spots to get more assets, or trade the pick altogether to fetch a top line forward (think Cammalleri last year)?

B. Thenet

February 28th, 2009
5:26 pm

If the Thrashers are three, I think you look at Svensson-Paajarvii, Duchene, Schenn, or Kane.

You might be able to trade down a few places, and still get one of these guys and maybe a 2nd or 3rd rounder.

B. Thenet

February 28th, 2009
5:28 pm

Sorry, I forgot to add. Those guys are all forwards. After Hedman I think there is perhaps 1 or 2 defenseman that might go in the Top 10. This year at the top of the draft is going to be very forward heavy.

Tony C.

February 28th, 2009
5:51 pm

I want the younger Schenn. Provided we don’t get Tavares…. Although Svenson-Pajaarvii is a lot more skilled than central scouting has rated him IMHO

Brendan

February 28th, 2009
6:48 pm

As we are a rudderless, drifting “aimlessly” team, I’d say … you draft the best available player at whereever you land in the draft.

Jason

February 28th, 2009
7:01 pm

Mike-After taking note of the teams that have been scouting our games over the past month, have you noticed if any are showing up multiple times? That may give a clue as to who is taking a look at our players specifically.

mknobler

February 28th, 2009
7:03 pm

Red Wings scout Pat Verbeek is once again on hand to see the Thrashers play. So is director of pro scouting Dan McKinnon from the Penguins.

stendec

February 28th, 2009
7:48 pm

I am overweight with a heart problem but even I could have stopped the two goals that sorry son of a betch Finn Kari Letemin whiffed in during the first 20 minutes! John Petrino will leave him in because both are brainless idiots who do not know a damn thing about hockey. Good old Ilya “Another Misfire” Kovalchuk is in a zone again. A damn no-score zone. Oh yeah, on the power play, shoot the mother (X) puck! Pretty passes do not count for a damn thing. Another nauseating night in Loseland. To Hell with Kari Letemin. To Hell with all the ball-less quitters! Will gladly shell out a few bucks to purchase their tickets to Hamilton. Hell, ANY city outside of Georgia will suffice!

stendec

February 28th, 2009
8:40 pm

Ilya Kovalchuk scored with less than a minute to play in second period. No one can misfire forever! How long before worthless oxygen waste Kari Letemin gives that one back? Oh well. It is 2-1 after two periods. Is another of those close losses apologists savor so much only a few minutes away? Only time will tell.

stendec

February 28th, 2009
9:09 pm

WOW! That piece of shet in the Toiletlid goal is even more worthless than I thought he was! The Finn bestard sure gave the goal back in record time! Damn son of a betch. Secured another home loss! Thanks for nothing Finland! Mother (X) fourth rate backwater country not worth a flying (X). Do not export any more of your smelly trash! Can we deport the bestard?

stendec

February 28th, 2009
9:20 pm

Another goal for Kari Letemin to return! Hope it takes just a tad longer THIS time. Another close defeat looms. Break out that champagne apologists! Just think if the home team had a REAL damn goaltender instead of an untalented fraud between the pipes. Sigh. But sign him for life right braindead poll voters? Damn unintelligent jerks!

stendec

February 28th, 2009
9:33 pm

Home team netted enough. Congratulations! Nice rally. Been waiting all season to see some toughness. Witnessed it tonight!

B. Thenet

February 28th, 2009
9:47 pm

Heck of a game tonight.

The Ilya Kovalchuk Show

Thrashy Thrashy

February 28th, 2009
10:25 pm

Ilya Kovalchuk hasn’t been misfiring too much lately. He’s fifth or sixth in the league in goals. He’s also in the top ten in points. Kovalchuk has been awesome the last month or so.

Brendan

February 28th, 2009
10:46 pm

The last 21-minutes of this game were some of the best of the season for the Thrashers. Good job.

Supes

February 28th, 2009
11:18 pm

Great come from behind win for the Thrashers at Phillips tonight. I was impressed by how they battled and attacked, and skated with energy and desire to compete even when they got down 3-1 in the 3rd period.

Always nice to beat a division rival like Carolina at home!

I sure hope Marty Reasoner and Eric Perrin both remain Thrashers, saw effort and plays made from both tonight.

One of these days young Boris Valabik will stop taking stupid penalties…impressed with Bogosian’s skating and puck handling ability. He’ll be a good one (just needs experience and time at the NHL level)

Ilya is playing very hard of late too, still takes too many bad shots (at times) but the effort is there. I liked what he said after the game when interviewed…they played hard for the fans, that they owed the fans the effort and energy and to deliver a victory.

Good crowd at Phillips tonight as well.

Overall, I’m very impressed that such a young team with a 1st year coach isn’t showing signs of quitting with 20 some games left in the season and are doing the best they can (esp. putting out the effort).

Oh, and Stendec…STFU man. Negative, negative, negative that’s all I’ve ever seen from you on this blog (I mostly just lurk) but someone has to tell you to calm the frak down and enjoy the victory!

mknobler

March 1st, 2009
1:42 am

I’ve got to agree with Supes about Bogosian, who has been playing well lately and is looking more and more comfortable in the NHL. You’re going to see a slew of points from him soon if he stays as active as he has been.

Jason, Pat Verbeek of the Red Wings has been around a lot, but I’m not sure that means the Thrashers are going to make a trade with Detroit.

Jason

March 1st, 2009
9:58 am

Maybe not Mike, but after the beatdown Nashville gave them last night, 8-0, I bet they would love to have Pavelec or Lehtonen over how they’re two goalies have been playing lately.

ranallo10 (in AT)

March 1st, 2009
10:41 am

Conklin and Osgood have been playing stellar hockey as of late, but last night was a bad game. I believe Conklin had two straight shutouts prior to the Nashville game.

Ray

March 1st, 2009
1:18 pm

Conklin, Osgood, Brodeur, etal would all look as bad, if not worse, than Kari if they faced 35+ shots night in and night out. Brodeur stopped 14 shots last night. That’s a good period for our goalies! Anyone who writes that Kari is the problem is an idiot who doesn’t understand hockey.

This team will never improve to the level we (the fans) want it to until the overall defense of the team is improved and the SOG are limited significantly.

Brendan

March 1st, 2009
2:33 pm

How ’bout this beautiful, snowy day! A perfect day to bask in the glow of a Thrashers victory over a division rival, in a “must win” game for the ‘Canes.

GaVaHokie

March 1st, 2009
3:43 pm

It was reconfirmed on Satellite Hotstove last night that Philly is looking at Lehtonen in exchange for Van Riemsdyk.

They also said that Philly would have to move Biron or Nitty to accomodate Lehts.

Brendan

March 1st, 2009
5:52 pm

I saw that, also, Hokie … on the ‘Hot Stove’ segment. And ya know what? I can’t, for the love of Pete, figure out why either side would do this deal. The Flyers have two quality goalies in Nittymaaki and Biron. What has Lehtonen done, aside from a 34-win season in 2006, to make any team go, “Gah-gah” over him? Now, vanRiemsdyk is a fine young prospect. He was selected 2nd overall in 2007. In this regard, Waddell ‘might’ get a “pass.” In other words, one 2nd overall pick (2002) for another 2nd overall pick (2007), and Atlanta would control vanRiemsdyk’s contract for many more years. Officially, vanRiemsdyk is listed as a left wing. We’ve got Kozlov and Kovalchuk holding down the top two scoring lines at that position. And Brett Sterling is still in the system, with his ability to be an NHL-calibre player still up for grabs.

If Philly is seriously looking at Kari, then they think the problem with Kari’s numbers and “focus issues” are Atlanta defense-related. Hmmn, interesting theory. I guess the Flyers felt they got such a good deal with Coburn, that they might try shopping with Atlanta again.

Okay, but they’re not exactly moving an old, out of shape, 35-year old this time around. If Atlanta actually did this deal, don’t the T-birds pretty much have to rush young Pavelec into the starters role next season? He’s 21, I might remind everyone. Now, nothing says DWad can’t go shopping for a proven commodity netminder either at this trade deadline or in the offseason. He’s still got Hedberg to be the backup, if he wants to keep Pavelec in the AHL.

Personally, I don’t think Waddell has any thoughts of trading Kari. That was “his prized pick” of the 2002 draft. If the Wadster could just fix Atlanta’s Defense, they might be fine. Kari really isn’t some “flop” of a netminder. He shouldn’t have to face 41 shots a game.

Kari is only going to cost $3-$4 million to re-sign this summer. And I’m fine with him being the backup, if Pavelec legitimately wins the starting position next year, or down the road. Having Kari as insurance is a pretty good deal, in my opinion. Now, I hear ya. “But Brendan, is being a ‘backup goalie’ really an acceptable return for a 2nd overall pick?” Well, quite frankly, “No, it isn’t. But it IS what it IS.” Just because Kari hasn’t set the league on fire and stolen playoff series for Atlanta doesn’t mean they should spew him out like some bad fish at a Chinese restaurant.

kracker

March 1st, 2009
6:35 pm

Eklund had Havelid to Buffalo/Minnesota. No details.

**ranallo** What’s the Lightning got left to play for? The Thrash easily pass them if they keep playing like they have lately.

kracker

March 1st, 2009
6:36 pm

kracker

March 1st, 2009
6:38 pm

What html controls do we have now? Any? None?

exSTH

March 1st, 2009
7:10 pm

Ray, I have been saying all year that Kari is the problem. How many other #1 goalies CONTINUALLY let in soft goal after soft goal?!? Stendec is RIGHT ON that AGAIN last night’s Carolina goals should have been stopped. If Lehtonen is not injured, he’s letting in a soft goal or two EVERY game! That’s the only consistancy in his game! Every goalie will be off maybe 1 game in 5 or the better goalies 1 game in 10, but EVERY NIGHT you can point to another goal that “Kari would love to have that one back” or “Kari is not on his game”. Why do you think we got behind early in SO MANY games this year?!? According to your illogical reasoning its the D! Sigh! Wasn’t Bogo, SCHNEIDER, Havelid, Hainsey playing those games?!? Now you look like the idiot! LEHTONEN NEEDS TO GO! This is the time we can get the most for him.

sisu

March 1st, 2009
7:30 pm

How ever you feel about Kari, I see very little in the form of who his replacement is? If you think Pavelic is ready then fine but I think there would have to be a major pitch to get a veteran goalie to the team. Maybe Minnesota or Chicago would be where to look? Do you feel that the ASG is willing to spend 6 to 7 mil on a goalie?

exSTH

March 1st, 2009
7:52 pm

Who says they need to spend that kind of number? Do you realize that Tim Thomas (all-star goalie) is a UFA and only makes 1.1M and Fernandez makes around 4M? And Conklin another UFA makes only 750K. Backstrom is also a UFA and makes around 3M. I said in a previous blog that there are 25 UFAs out there where at least 15 you could show statistically are MUCH, MUCH better than Lehtonen. And another thing for the “idiot” calling Ray, the Thrashers play a completely different style of hockey than the mentioned Red Wings and NJ. Minn and Columbus also play a defense oriented “style” whereas the Anderson led Thrashers are a completely OFFENSIVE minded defense that takes alot of chances while pinching up which is going to obviously give up a lot of shots. So Ray, I don’t think you have much hockey intelligence!

ranallo10 (in AT)

March 2nd, 2009
7:41 am

“Draft choices probably isn’t my first choice at this point. I’d like to get live bodies,” Waddell said. “”Saying that, if somebody offers an unbelievable pick for a guy, we’ll look at that. I’d like to get players who have already been drafted or are already playing pro hockey.”

I love that quote…basically he’s saying that he prefers a player already drafted by someone else (and their scouting dept.). I understand he means players ready to jump to the NHL in the next year or two (as opposed to 4 or 5 with lower round picks, if they ever make it to the NHL)…but it’s definitely a quote that can be misunderstood or read into.

kracker: I believe the Lightning and the Thrashers have exactly the same thing to play for right now…pride and chemistry. The Lightning are in better position to get the number 2 spot and the Thrashers will be picking from the 3 spot, AGAIN. This isn’t an ideal place for drafting, in my opinion, which is why I posed the question.

I don’t believe for a second that any team plays for draft position, but the Islanders are better suited (due to injury and trade bait) to remain the worst team in the league, and the Lightning and Thrashers seem to be playing for 28th. The Lightning have injuries (Ranger is now out for the season) and overall bad chemistry compared to the Thrashers, which means the Thrashers will likely win more than the Lightning in the remaining 20ish games.

Again, the state of our team is why I posed the question. As fans, what would you want to see done with that #3 pick? I feel that it’s a greater chance it’s the pick this team will be “stuck with”.

Ray

March 2nd, 2009
9:54 am

ExSTH, I understand completely the different styles of hockey the teams you mentioned play. You make my point whether you realize it or not. If any of those goalies played for Atlanta, their save percentages wouldn’t be as good as they are for their current team. Likewise, Kari’s save percentage would improve dramatically if he moved to Det, NJ, MN, etc. That’s the point, with our style of play the goalie will be left holding the bag often and facing many more shots/game compared to other goalies. Good, or bad, that’s the way it is. Because of this, you (fans) really can’t expect Kari, or any goalie to face that barrage of shots and statistically be a top 10 goalie.

exSTH

March 2nd, 2009
10:02 am

Eklund @ hockeybuzz.com is saying that the Red Wings are looking at Lehtonen. That’s probably why their scouts have been to almost every game in the past month. I hope DWad doesn’t screw this one up!

ranallo10 (in AT)

March 2nd, 2009
10:14 am

Eklund also said Kovalchuk was going to Minnesota…and Montreal…and Toronto.

Eklund’s “sources” are as reliable as much as your or my opinion on any trade that could be made by Atlanta…

ranallo10 (in AT)

March 2nd, 2009
10:23 am

Clearly I failed English.

Incredulous Reader

March 2nd, 2009
11:08 am

If DWad is in fact crazy enough to entertain offers from DET for Kari Lehtonen, he darn well better get back Conklin, a player like Jiri Hudler for our 3rd line C (insurance against losing Reasoner), and a prospect who might be ready in a couple of years to replace Slava at LW.

Smoothie

March 2nd, 2009
11:24 am

http://tsn.ca/nhl/feature/?id=9267

Ranallo, while I would prefer we get Hedman to bolster our defense, I don’t think Schenn or Duchene would be bad consolation prizes at the # 3 slot to augment our forward prospects. Obviously, only Hedman and Tavares seem to be locks for jumping right in and playing (love Hedman’s size at 6′6″) so we probably need to take the most talented player in the draft after those two go to NY and Tampa. After the their boneheaded move to trade Dan Boyle, I don’t think they’ll pass up the opportunity to draft Hedman.

Hopefully, this next month of playing time will help cement Valabik’s confidence that he can play 3rd pairing minutes full-time next year. Perhaps we can pick up a stay at home D-man to play 2nd pair minutes with Hainsey. I would really like to see Toby and Z-Bo as our top pairing guys next year. And I’m not ready to give up on Oystrick as a potential 3rd pairing partner for Valabik.

Bogey & Toby

Ronsey & FA or XLB

Oyster & Boris or Kulda / Lewis

The youth just might serve us well if we can a) sign a big-name FA center to play with Kovy, b) Peverley can stick as a top-6 guy, c) drop Whitey to 3rd line C if we lose Marty and d)find the right kind of 2-way forwards to bolster our 3rd and 4th lines and make us a better puck possession team in general. Of course, that’s probably a lot of wishful thinking with this ownership’s poor committment to success.

ranallo10 (in AT)

March 2nd, 2009
1:59 pm

Smoothie: I’ve responded to this on the newest blog.

Wngzfan

March 3rd, 2009
1:24 pm

In Detroit, they’re ALL going to still be there on Thursday. Only teams like Atlanta have entire locker rooms up for sale. Why not, you’re not going to the playoffs….again.