Thrashers offseason updates

I’m back, folks. Sorry for the delay but I got caught up in covering the Hawks’ playoff run and the Braves’ Brian McCann’s new glasses. I will be covering some non-Thrasher stories again next week, but we do have hockey to report.
Had a lengthy meeting and interview with GM Don Waddell this week. We talked about many things, including Ilya Kovalchuk, the draft, the goaltending situation, etc. I just finished writing a story on Kovy that will appear in Sunday’s paper. We talked at length about the contract negotiations. Here’s the hook to the story that I can fill you in on: They will not trade Kovy this year. There will be no Marian Hossa drama at the trade deadline.
Here is what Waddell told me: “At this point I can tell you, I’ve discussed it with the ownership, with the coaches, we have no intentions, regardless of what happens this summer with signing him, we have no intentions of trading him. If you trade every player that is going to come up to be an unrestricted free agent, the way the league is set up you are going to be a free agent at 25 [years old], so we are going to be doing this all the time. You have to look at the big picture and say this year is more important to us than years from now. Florida went through it with [Jay] Bouwmeester. They didn’t trade their big guy, but they missed the playoffs. You are going to see that more and more. Where a player is 25 and he’s going to get a home run deal, but it’s more important right now to keep him and keep the franchise moving in the right direction.”
Kovy wants to see an improved roster before he re-signs. Negotiations are likely to go beyond the July 1st start date. Kovy and his agent need to see what moves are being made. I got a good idea about the draft from my conversation with Waddell and will write about that next week. We could also see a trade at or near the draft, probably including either Kari Lehtonen or Ondrej Pavelec. Goaltending is an area of depth. Stay tuned on that.
Here are a couple updates:
Marty Reasoner: Expect him to be signed soon. Waddell said he is confident it will happen. Some details to work out, but it looks like he will be back.
Toby Enstrom: His surgery went fine and he is expected to be fully recovered by training camp. Don has not spoken to him but Johan Hedberg has. Don said he could have continued to play in the World Championships but it wasn’t worth the risk.
Ondrej Pavelec: He had his knee scoped following the season. He’s back working out already.
Hope that keeps us going through the weekend. I’ll be writing more from my interview with Waddell.
Here is my question: If you have to trade one of the goalies to get some help and convince Kovy to re-sign, which one goes? Lehtonen, the No. 1, but who has injury issues that have prevented him from proving himself an entire season? Or Pavelec, who has big upside but hasn’t proven he can play every day?

166 comments Add your comment


May 15th, 2009
3:15 pm

Someone comparing Kovy with Vick. Now that really takes the cake. Sounds like an excuse Waddell would come up with.


May 15th, 2009
3:17 pm

Sara, when Bernie Mullin was with the Spirit, he went on 680TheFan several times to talk about the Hawks and Thrashers, and moves they might make. Extremely specifically, I recall Bernie talking about the possibility of the Hawks acquiring Allen Iverson. Bernie said, “Yeah, we have the money. But we just don’t think he’s the ‘right element’ to bring into our lockerroom.” Then, Mullin was on 680TheFan after the Thrashers were swept by the Rangers in 2007, saying that there were many FA Centers the Thrashers were considering, but that they didn’t think the coveted Tier I centers would be worth the money they were paid.

Some people are, at this moment, “clapping.” Bernie may have been RIIIGHT about that. Gomez, and his $7 million? Briere and his $7.1 million? Drury, and his millions. But Bernie was EMPHATIC, Sara, that the organization HADDDDDD the money–they just didn’t think it was PRUDENT to spend it on Drury, Briere and Gomez. Fans called into to 680TheFan to complain that not getting those players cost the organization Marian Hossa. Truthfully, I’m not 100% sure that gripe is accurate. I think it ‘contributed’ to Marian Hossa not re-signing here. But, for me, I think it was Hossa wanting to play in Detroit. And absent that, some “more traditional” hockey market. But I’m basing my, “They had the money comments” on what I heard over the public airwaves of 680TheFan, in the morning, on the “Rude Awakening Show.” Now, I don’t dispute that FUBAS’ finances may not be where they’d like. But I’m sure FUBAS would counter that their offer to Brian Campbell disputes how “destitute” they are, financially. Admittedly, Sara, even I have to credit FUBAS with the ATTEMPT at signing Campbell. Atlanta DID put forth a very high dollar offer on the table for Campbell. I believe it was seven years, $56.8 million. That’s not a chump change offer. I was, quite frankly, surprised to hear FUBAS had really made an offer of that magnitude. Remember, at that time, Buffalo offered $5 million to Campbell, who rejected it. His agent, Bartlett, I think his name is, said they wouldn’t take less than $6. I forgot what Campbell’s actual cap hit turned out to be with Chicago. But I think it was OVER $7 million.

Be that as it may, I don’t doubt that FUBAS may be in more trouble, TODAY, than in 2007 or 2008. So, if they’re saying that they don’t have the money anymore, maybe they’re telling the truth. I’m just saying … that in the PAST, their former “spokesperson,” Bernie Mullin, said they had money to improve the teams. I can’t be the only one who hears those interviews on 680TheFan.


May 15th, 2009
3:25 pm

If we trade anyone it should be Pavlec and a high draft pick for a stud defender. I mean, if we get one more really solid defender and then got a true top scoring RW then we are getting there. Might sneak in next year to the playoffs but after that I’m sure we can manage one more signing to fix any holes that come up during the season. Our weakness has never been in goal, its always been in Defense and not being able to clear the puck after the big save.


May 15th, 2009
3:53 pm

Obviously, the Thrashers can’t re-sign Kovalchuk on May 15th. Clearly. What people are ‘reacting to’ are the comments made by the GM. Waddell telling us that what Florida went through with Bouwmeester is common, are ‘troubling’ comments. Aside from Bouwmeester, I can only think of two other players I can recall were in the same boat: Marian Gaborik, with Minnesota, and Keith Tkachuk, with St. Louis. With Gaborik, there was an injury and they couldn’t trade him, if I recall correctly. With Tkachuk situation, I think the Blues and Tkachuk, in concert, agreed that it was in the Blues best interests to keep him there, and not to “rent him.” In the end, they kept him. (Tkachuk had an NTC. He’d have to waive it to be traded.) And the Blues, like the Panthers with Bouwmeester, were in a playoff race and needed this player to reach the playoffs. In the case of St. Louis, it worked. But ask yourself this question: “Are the Blues mismanaged? Or did they just have a rather unfortunate rash of injuries to some of their key players and draft picks?” Moreover, Tkachuk very well might retire. He’s in his 40’s, I believe. KT is far from a ’spring chicken,’ who’d fetch upwards of $8 million out on the open market. But I digress. In Minnesota, the Head Coach, Jacques Lemaire, resigned. And the GM, Risebrough, was fired. Sumptin’ goin’ on there. But I’ll leave it alone. Let’s look at Florida. “Are the Florida Panthers a well-run organization?” Heyy, who just fired off a “rim shot.” Tsk, tsk, tsk. Percussianists?!, what can you do.

Before you answer, as if you needed a moment to ponder it, the Panthers last playoff appearance occurred in 2000. They were SWEPT by the New Jersey Devils. In fairness, the Devils won the Cup that year. But if you’re the curious sort who asks, “Well, just WHEN WAS the Panthers last playoff win?” The answer to that question is: “There’s no way in H#LL Bouwmeester liked what he saw during his years there, as a 2002 draft pick of theirs, and wanted out.” By the way, the Florida Panthers last playoff win happened on April 17, 1997, in Game One of their opening round series with the NY Rangers. The Panthers were the #4 seed, hosting #5 New York. And the Panthers posted a 3-0 shutout. If you must know, the Rangers took the next four games of the series, to close the Panthers out in Florida in five games. Esa Tikkanen potted not one, but TWO overtime winners in this series, including the series clincher in Game Five. There. You now know MORE THAN YOU EVER CARED TO about the Florida Panthers playoff history.

B. Thenet

May 15th, 2009
4:44 pm

I regards to trading Kovalchuk. If we replace him with a couple of guys with 20-30 goal scorers who can add some size, defensive responsibilty, PK ability, along with speed…..I submit we might actually be as good a team, if not a better team, than we are with Ilya.

I don’t want to turn this into a what would you trade for Ilya thread, but I think you can get some very nice young pieces for Ilya if you play your cards right. Of course providing he has no interest in re-signing with the Thrashers.


May 15th, 2009
4:56 pm

Okay, general observation because I went away for a few hours and came back to find most of the blog has gone into an apoplectic fit.

Maybe I’m being overly optimistic (something I cannot be accused of according to my family) but I did NOT read that he wasn’t going to re-sign Kovy into DW’s words at all.

As I recall what drove the team and all fans nuts in the 2007 / 2008 season was the not knowing about Hossa and the fact that after he DID leave, the team just deflated and for all intents and purposes mailed in the season.

DW essentially just guaranteed that not only would there not be any potential distraction with trade / don’t trade rumors, but that Kovy, being Kovy, would be playing hard all the way down the stretch no matter what, and as a result, so would the team, by following their Captain. Whether he is doing it for the sake of improving is FA chances or not, he will be playing hard if there isn’t a signed contract on the table. How can that not be better for the long term interest of the team than trading for nothing and repeating the fiasco that was the stretch run of the ‘07 and ‘08 season?

As SUPES indicated above, exactly what would you trade Kovy for? Would you say that Kovy will have the value that Hossa had in a better economic market? If so, do you think we’ll do better than an Army, Christensen and Esposito? Because I’m falling back into my cynic mode and not buying into that possibility at all…

R. Stroz

May 15th, 2009
4:59 pm

Can anyone name a top five player on the Thrashers that has ever been re-signed once that player achieved UFA contract status besides Kozlov?

Brunette, no. Staios, no. Savard, no. Hossa, no. Add player here, no.

Can anyone name a top tier UFA that has signed with the Thrashers?

Anyone want to take bets that this year will be any different with Waddell still at the helm?

R. Stroz

May 15th, 2009
5:28 pm

Chris – The ASG court case was suppossed to kick back into gear on May 8. Have you heard anything about the case?


May 15th, 2009
5:48 pm

Last time I checked, 27 teams did just fine without Kovalchuk. ;)

Honestly, I’m not worried about it… as long as Peverley, White and Little don’t play a disappearing act next season like Perrin… but I guess Kozlov is due for a slump, since he’s been alternating good and bad seasons.

It seems every year, one or two players fall asleep behind the wheel.


May 15th, 2009
5:54 pm

Christy, you’re right. Waddell never said he wouldn’t re-sign him. The truth I believe is that Waddell desperately WANTS to re-sign him. The blogger reaction you’re seeing is in response to Waddell lending legitimacy to losing key players, like Florida potentially has with Bouwmeester, because they weren’t signed in their UFA year, ANNNND weren’t traded at the deadline. Like it’s going to happen all the time, to every team in the league. With Atlanta being no different.

Christy ask yourself this question: “Would it be OKAY with you if Kovalchuk weren’t traded by the deadline, if he remained unsigned?” In other words, would you still have a GOOD FEELING about Kovalchuk re-signing with Atlanta in the offseason, when he is scheduled to hit the open market on July 1, 2010, where Atlanta no longer controls his rights? In short, that Kovalchuk would be FREE to sign with ANY OTHER TEAM, without ANY compensation coming back to the Thrashers, whatsoever, for his departure.

That’s the issue.

If that actually happened, the only silver lining would be … well, gee, Atlanta just cleared up $6.5 million in cap room. I guess, at that point, the ownership couldn’t claim that they can’t afford Bryan Little’s new contract, now can they?

Almost nobody wants to lose Kovalchuk. Some might. But those who want Kovy to leave, more than likely, also want to see some form of compensation returned to the Thrashers for having lost Kovalchuk. If I’m hearing Waddell correctly, it’s his plan not to trade to Kovalchuk, opting instead to try to ride out the possible momentum of his presence on the roster to the very end of the season.

See what a re-signed Kovalchuk avoids, if completed sometime in July/early August? That’s all.


May 15th, 2009
6:06 pm

Hokie, and some team is gonna win the Cup WITHOUT Kovalchuk this year, too. Who knew that was possible? The most positive I can come with, in a post-Kovalchuk Thrashers era would be … that the team-record setting six-game winning streak was completed 50% without Kovalchuk. How’d I do? Did win anyone over with that argument?


May 15th, 2009
6:09 pm

R.Stroz, does Nic Havelid count as a Top 5 player? That’d be my only guess.


May 15th, 2009
6:09 pm

Well, the new GM might trade Kovalchuk ;)

…because if this team gets off to another horrible start like it did this past season, I can’t see how Waddell could possibly keep his job… Kovalchuk certainly wouldn’t want to resign at that point.


May 15th, 2009
6:12 pm

R.Stroz, does Nic Havelid count as a Top 5 player? That’d be my only guess.

Does Bondra count?… Stroz didn’t specify RE-sign.

And we can’t count out the blockbuster deal signing Byron Dafoe… hehe.

World Be Free

May 15th, 2009
6:24 pm

The folks in Buffalo were ticked when they did not sign Campbell, Briere and Drury. While I like all 3 as players, none are worth the money they are getting. Campbell is the 3rd best defenseman on the Hawks.

All 3 are a drain on their teams’ salary caps.

Something to think about when we think about shopping on July 1.

World Be Free

May 15th, 2009
6:25 pm

Todd Marchant would be a great off season pickup. He shut down Datsyuk for most of the Ducks-Wings series.

Keep Kari-he was great after the trade deadline. Get him a personal trainer, so he stays in shape all year, avoiding the annual pulled groin or other various muscles.


May 15th, 2009
6:33 pm

Hokie, R.Stroz did specify “RE-sign.” I think he said, “Re-sign once they hit UFA status.” I’m at a loss, other than Nic Havelid, iffff Nic Havelid counts as Top 5. Waddell certainly re-signed J.P.Vigier and Eric Boulton enough times.

But I digress. Hokie, I just can’t envision a scenario where the AS, LLC would ACTUALLY FIRE Waddell. I can’t. He’s doing what they tell him to do. They never fire him over the results, which I won’t rehash. But suffice it to say, if the results haven’t gotten Waddell yet, what will?

I’m deadly serious. But what if Kovy leaves? Well, playing Devil’s Advocate here, what if ownership TOLD WADDELL he COULDN’T Trade him. Let’s say Waddell even ASKED!! Let’s say, hypothetically, Waddell has walked into Gearon or Levenson’s office, for a speaker phone conference call with the other owners. Now, this example is entirely fabricated to illustrate a point. But continuing, let’s just say that Waddell says, “I just got off the phone with Jay (Grossman, Kovy’s agent.) And they’re saying that they’re happy to play out the season, but that they won’t re-sign in 2010. Ilya is determined to play in another market next Fall. Because of this, I’m requesting that we trade him, either AT THIS TIME or at the trade deadline, so that we recoup something for him.”

Still with me, in this nightmare example? What if the ownership says, “Look, Don. We have to sell every conceivable ticket we can, from Opening Night to season’s end. So no, your trade request is DENIED. Kovalchuk can leave, if he wants, when he fulfills the obligations of his contract. But no sooner.”

Kovy’s quote comes to mind here, “You must do what the little slip of paper says,” referring to his 5-year contract, that he signed back in 2005.

Waddell, hypothetically, goes home and cries into a glass full of bourbon. He turns to his wife and says, “Now, what do I tell people? They’ll put my head on a pike. Nothing I say will ever make this okay.” And his wife says, “Well honey, I guess you’re just going to hope that some people will understand the predicament you’re in.”

I suppose, he could always quit?

Chris Vivlamore

May 15th, 2009
7:29 pm

Some very good comments folks. I didn’t make one thing as clear in my blog as I did in the story that will appear on Sunday. Waddell made it very clear he wants to re-sign Kovy. That is his intention. I was trying to give a little insight into the upcoming story by letting you know that he won’t trade Kovy, even at the deadline. Certainly his first option is to re-sign him.

Keep up the good discussion. I’ll check in through the weekend.


May 15th, 2009
7:55 pm

It’s too early to really get into this but the only way I trade Kovy is if he says he will not extend. If that is the case I hope the breakup is amicable and Kovy does and says the right things so he can go to the highest bidder, preferably one of his choosing where the deal is worked out beforehand in a sign and trade. If it has to be, that is the best thing for all parties.

But, c’mon, the playoffs aren’t even over yet, the entry draft is about six weeks away and the FA signing period is a few days after that. That’s also the date contract negotiations can begin w/ Kovalchuk. Everybody take a breath and relax.


May 15th, 2009
10:42 pm

Brendan, now that you’re playing these scenarios out, let me ask you: do you think that Levenson & Co firmly count on the fact that most STHs in Atlanta are suckers and aren’t worth paying close attention to on the merits? And If they do, how realistic their views are in this regard?


May 16th, 2009
12:42 am

Well Midfield, I’d say that most owners in the NHL understand the dynamics of what’s going on with their franchises. Admittedly, my memory of this is “hazy,” but when Eric Staal’s contract was up, Carolina ponied up before training camp ended. Now, as I’ve said, that may not be exactly accurate. Maybe they signed him before camp. Maybe they signed him a little bit after camp. Maybe it was right before Opening Night. But the point is, Carolina realized what having Staal un-signed all year could do and mean for their club, moving forward. Sure, they’d get that last and final year of Staal, and perhaps, the STH’s with it, but WHAT THEN, AFTER THAT??

See, this is the part I’m not too sure FUBAS understands. Maybe the thinking is … well, gee … plenty of our STH’s are corporations, who use these tickets as an opportunity to wine & dine clients. In those cases, it might matter not how good or how bad the team might be. They’re not there to “cheer.” These tickets are “bonuses” for their out of town guests, who might not care a bit about the Thrashers. They’re not there, emotionally invested, in the team wearing blue. They’re there to “kill time” while in Atlanta, on business. But if you’re the Spirit, LLC, all the money’s GREEN. I suspect the Spirit views most, if not all, fan criticism as the ramblings of inconsequential idiots and smart alecs. They’d listen, if you were HOME DEPOT. They’d listen … if you were Coca-Cola. They’d listen … if you were any kind of sponsor with deep pockets. Them, they care about. Maybe STH’s along the glass, they care about. But it’ll take the realization that not only can they not sell discounted tickets to Thrasher games, they can’t GIVE THE TICKETS AWAY. That’s when you’ll hear Levenson say, “Okay, we realize, NOWWWWWW, that we made a mistake.” They don’t think this day is coming. And maybe it won’t. In a city of 5 million people, it’s a very low percentage of them that need to make up 18,545. And yet, will they achieve it?

Sage of Bluesland says Levenson craves the green in your wallet. And depends on it. I guess we’ll find out if that’s true or not. If Kovy going un-signed on “Opening Night” means the Thrashers play before 6,000 to 8,000 fans, the organization won’t reach their benchmarks for higher revenue-sharing. And that’ll hurt their bottom line. They count on revenue-sharing dollars to break even, or marginalize the losses. In theory.

World Be Free

May 16th, 2009
9:11 am

It’s very simple-Kovy stays if the owners open their wallets and spend higher that 29th or 30th in payroll. I am an optimist, one who hopes the owners will put the last 9 years behind us and start to invest in the product and the scouting necessary to build a winner.

It’s happened in other places and other sports.


May 16th, 2009
10:10 am

Keep Kovy…trade Kari for scoring and defense…and give The Big O his chance…Kovy has stated in the past that he is a STUD..The Thrashers new LOCAL owners….Waddell is not the reason for poor seasons, the Owners ARE…remember, he was schooled in the Red Wings org and also was trained by Scotty Bowman…

World Be Free

May 16th, 2009
10:40 am

NS Dave-I think some of us remember when the Wings were very bad. The stands were nowhere near capacity (like Atlanta). Detroit was so bad, Barry Melrose was one of their defensemen.

Everything changed when a local owner, Mike Illitch bought the team. Anther example of ownership changing the mindset of the franchise.


May 16th, 2009
12:36 pm

Brendan – to answer your question, if DW doesn’t sign Kovy this summer, no I won’t have a good feeling about Kovy long term, but I’m also going to try and sit back the last year with Kovy and know that when I get tix for the last game of the season at home that he’ll still be in uniform and that I’ll have the pleasure of watching him play one last time.

Aside from that, DW’s words vis a vis Bouwmeester – if Florida had traded him instead of making the run at the playoffs – what would their fans have thought? If, come February, Atlanta is still in it, just a couple of games from that 8th spot and playing well down the stretch, and Kovy is still un-signed – do you want him traded for what we might get, or do you want him to play it out and see what might come of it? I think that’s the possibility that DW was offering. not the fact that we can lose out on the playoffs and not get anything in return because we didn’t sign or trade Kovy. But the answer to the “what if” we just keep playing it out.

mark m

May 16th, 2009
1:45 pm

I just don’t think you can take a paranoid approach to running a team and be successful. A successful organization is one that can keep it’s big name players when their contracts are up. We will never be successful in the long run if we keep trading our stars for Armstrong, EC, Espo type packages. Just not gonna happen. I just don’t think it sends a good message to players across the league when you are trying to deal your top guy every year. What FAs will want to come play for such a team? I guess I’m in the minority in agreeing with DW on this one. Hopefully we sign kovy to an extension and it won’t matter, but if next season comes and goes and we are battling everyone else for his services next offseason, so be it. The alternative, another group of 2nd-3rd line prospects is not gonna make me feel any better.

As for the goalie situation, until the NHL adds the second net into play requiring the use of 2 starters, one of these guys has to go. This is really the organizations only area of strength. We have to deal from there to add to our weak areas. If you aren’t confident Kari can stay healthy enough, trade him. If you think Pavs will be the better NHL goalie, trade Kari. But you gotta do something. DW needs to be listening to offers for both and make the deal that maximizes return. but anyways, we cant keep all 3 because we fear another crazy rash of goalie injuries again.

we should have money to spend this offseason, so hopefully we have better success in drawing in a top 6 type forward, preferably a legit top line guy.


May 16th, 2009
2:02 pm

Just remember, Kovy is not Hossa or Heatley. His character, I think, has shown to be more formidable than that of Hoss and Heater. Those guys wanted out, and for whatever reason, I honestly think Kovy wants in. He just wants to make sure the team isn’t going to suck forever. If he thinks they will, by all rights he will be out of here. And I think there is nothing unreasonable at all with his demands.


May 16th, 2009
3:23 pm

Christy–If Kovalchuk won’t re-sign by the trade deadline, he’s forced my hand. And there it is. At that point, I’d have to examine why I failed with him. And blame myself for his loss. All while trying, as best I can, to salvage WHAT I CAN, for him. Who knows? Maybe the “salvage effort” is still enough to get into the playoffs?

We’ll never know what Bouwmeester might have fetched at the trade deadline? Who could know that? Other than the Panthers GM, having listened to the offers. I have no idea what Florida was or wasn’t offered for Bouwmeester. Maybe there was a pretty solid, missed opportunity there? Maybe even, grasping to be sure, enough to overtake Montreal and qualify for the 8th and final spot. We’re only talking about 1-point there, in the standings.

And on July 1, I beg him to return. Pay him whatever he wants. And say, “Hey, ya know, we were just renting you.”

There’s another approach, here. Why not just try to convince Kovalchuk to be a little bit more patient? Christy, Will you “boo” Kovalchuk on the final home game of the 2010 season, if he’s un-signed? Will you “boo” him if returns to Philips Arena wearing another team’s uniform in the 2010-11 season? My answer to both those questions is “no.” Kovalchuk is trying to effect change here. And he’s run into a brick wall, since the 2007 season.

Bob (other)

May 16th, 2009
3:23 pm

Brendan, why don’t you consider writing the speculative War and Peace novel, most of the hypothetical, specultaive content could be pulled from your postings.

Bottom line is you do not know. No one does other than the parties directly involved. Look around the league…how many teams can make money available to add a 8 to 10Million player…not too many, not without massive movement of their current roster.

Get a grip…its a business and let those who are in that business run it.

Your passion is compelling but all this speculation is really meaningless. We can have a good year next year…finished strong, hopefully it carries over.


May 16th, 2009
3:29 pm

Bob(Other), when Kovalchuk re-signs in July, I’ll save a glass of champagne for you. For all of this will have been avoided. There’s absolutely nothing anyone can on May 16th. From a fans’ perspective, there’s nothing anyone can do. We don’t have control. I just hope it all works out. Same as you.


May 16th, 2009
3:57 pm

OK, will someone please answer this question.

If it comes down to this and Kovy has to be traded, could the Thrashers trade him to the Isles (for the number 1 pick in John Tavarez, asuming they pick him with that pick, since the draft is before we all expect Kovy to be signed/not signed).

That would be the only thing that DW can do to keep the casual fans interested in showing up, showcasing a talent like Tavarez (who maybe the second coming of Gretzky).

Plus with the 4th pick, Thrashers could have 2 of the top 4 young players in the draft to show.

Given Kovy’s contract situation, does the NHL do “sign and trades” like the NBA does? As in, knowing that the Kovy will be a unrestricted FA at the end of 2010, would any team want to give up something like the number 1 pick in the draft for him?

The Joker

May 16th, 2009
4:14 pm

“Get a grip…its a business and let those who are in that business run it.”

Bob (other) : Don’t you mean run it into the ground?


May 16th, 2009
5:38 pm

Supes, yes, a sign and trade is doable. That’s how Hossa came here, he just didn’t know he would be traded to Atlanta when he signed with Ottawa. Anyway, as far as I know, any team can sign a player and then trade him whether or not the player being signed knows of the deal before he signs the contract.

I suspect that is the scenario you are talking about where Kovy has prior knowledge of the trade before he signs the contract extension. I know of no reason why that isn’t a legal trade. No party is being coerced or taken advantage of. Any player not wanted to be traded gets a NTC written into his contract – if he has the clout to do so.

ranallo10 (in AT)

May 16th, 2009
6:03 pm

“would any team want to give up something like the number 1 pick in the draft for him”

I’ll take a stab at this one, Supes.


The Islanders are just swapping positions with the Thrashers in the dreaded “will Kovalchuk sign” drama, if they were to make that deal. They have no guarantee he would sign with them, and if it were as easy as “sign-and-trade” why would Atlanta not just force a player to be included and that player “fail” the physical (i.e., Kovalchuk is signed, trade is nullified, he’s now “stuck” in Atlanta with a fat new contract).

This isn’t the NBA (thankfully), so the sign-and-trade type deals don’t happen all too often. I can only think of two situations in which a recently signed player was traded in the NHL, one of which was Hossa. The other was Tim Gleason, who was traded to Carolina for Tverdovsky and Jack Johnson only a 12 days re-signing with Los Angeles.

So no, I don’t believe a sign-and-trade would happen, and no, I don’t believe any team with the right package to acquire Kovalchuk would be willing to give up a franchise player or #1 draft pick.

World Be Free

May 16th, 2009
6:30 pm

Keep Kovy and do not trade him under any circumstances.

He has developed into a winner and a leader. Those qualities are very tough to find.

Bob (other)

May 16th, 2009
6:45 pm

Joker you may want to check out this link.
Franchise value incresed, P&L negative. If you look at same for the NBA you will see the Hawks are slightly positive on the P&L.

We all want to win…but it is a business and compared to many other franchises we have performance that is indeed better.


May 16th, 2009
8:59 pm

At some point even the most STUPID of people see change IS needed !

These owners are good at their given jobs in the business world, I will give them that. The fact they have $ and spent some to buy these teams is also a given… But the fact they are good at one type job DOES NOT mean they are good at running professional sports teams. They are HORRIBLE !

These guys are like the geeks who could not make a girls softball team in elementry school, but now that they have book smarts and made a lot of money,how I do not know, they thought they could step up to the plate and be sports owners…. They have FAILED at every turn and it has been AWFUL to take for hockey fans !

Ok, I own several businesses, if a sales manager does not produce
on a consistant basis, after a period of time goes by and things do not improve, well I would have to make a change to better the companies bottom line… This is what gets me about these idiots… Anyone can hold a budget and keep expenses in line, that is a job a good CPA could preform, NOT a GM. A GM’s job is to assemble the BEST possible collection of players he can to WIN.

Has don waddell done that? NO NO NO NO NO NO !!!!!!!

don waddell IS responsible for this team being what it is, not too good.
Look at all the FAILED UFA’s, The EXCELLENT ones we lost and so on…
it is a degrace to say the least. waddell has not preformed up to the standard of any other GM in the NHL. He has FAILED at every turn,
He has zero eye for talent, no idea how to put a WINNING team togather and I believe does not give a damn about the Thrashers win or lose.

don waddell should have been gone after year three, no if’s and’s or but’s about it ! He is clueless and has been from draft day one when he drafted Patrick WHO ??????? Not much more you can say there…

waddell is a career LOSER, he must be fired replaced or run out of town if the franchise is going to thrive….. I don’t think the team will.

I expect to see yet another 70-75 point season next year, all the broken promises,all the LIES from waddell mean nothing will ever change until these clowns who own this team realize ONE DAY,don waddell is a
VERY BAD GM and then hopefully change will take place, but with waddell
still here, look for little or NO improvement and continued losing…
That won’t change until changes are made !

The Joker

May 16th, 2009
11:18 pm

“We all want to win…but it is a business and compared to many other franchises we have performance that is indeed better.”

Bob (other) – Are you kidding me? The Thrashers are the 27th out of 30 teams. Doesn’t that make our ownership one of the five worst in the league using the metric which you supplied? Well yes, it does. look at the following link:

Even worse, that metric is based on the 2007-2008 season, before the recession and the 50% decrease in STH retention due to the incessant discounting. We all know attendence last season was down and overinflated due to the number of FREE ticket vouchers handed out like candy at Metro Atlanta schools.

Now, Bob (other), should we rename you the Riddler? See you claim to be a fan sitting in Section 116 yet you also claim to have access the P&L statement for both the Thrashers and Hawks. So, are you a fan with season tickets in Section 116 or an ASG employee or owner with access to the financial statements? So, Riddle me this, which are you?

Mr. Neutron

May 17th, 2009
8:21 am

>>>“If we felt we were helping our team and getting a good player back for one of our goalies … that would be something we would look at,” Waddell said.

Hey, here’s an idea. You’re $10 million under the salary cap. Why not go get a player AND keep your goalie?

World Be Free

May 17th, 2009
9:09 am

I think they are more the $10M under the cap. It all depends on if the owners want to spent. You can keep Kari, Kovy and get help via UFA or RFA.

People in other cities feel just like us; go to some of the local papers in non-playoff or first round loser cities. The fans are all pissed.

In each case, fans are asking management “what are you going to do about it?”

Current management is what we have to work with. If they are willing to imnprove the team, it will happen. If not, they’ll be on the move to some of city and Atlanta once agian, will be unfairly coined as a non-NHL town.


May 17th, 2009
9:55 am

Waddell is so full of crap, as usual. Of course he’ll trade him if Kovalchuk won’t re-sign, the only question is if they trade him this summer or wait till the deadline. It would set the franchise back even further, if that’s possible, to lose him for nothing.

Now who expects Kovy to re-sign here this summer? Thought so…this is going to drag out all year and we’ll be subjected to the Don Waddell dance of obfuscation all year, wonder how long it will take before Waddell starts bad mouthing Kovy? “I’ve felt all along that this player just wouldn’t buy into a system so of course we’re much better off now with Maxim Afinigenov in the fold”.

Bob (other)

May 17th, 2009
9:56 am

Joker, I am a fan STH and obvoiusly smarter than you. Look at some of the other teams P&Ls we are not 27ty there. Look at the debt ratio, we are not 27th there. You just dont get it. It is an entertainment business largely supported by corporate sponsorship, corprate sales and STHs. That is the model for all professional sports with one exception and that is the NHL doesnt have the kind of TV money, although Toronto sure does. The Leafs consistently have the highest value, highest profit and haven’t won since 67.

I hope you can quit being so negative.
I enjoy the games, support our team and will continue to do so.


May 17th, 2009
10:20 am

LAC… and what if Waddell had permission from ownership to retain Savard at $5 million back in 2006?

Do you think Waddell REALLY thought Steve Rucchin was an upgrade to Marc Savard? Or do you think it was ownership saying “we gotta go cheaper”? Ownership had just spent $37 million that season, which by Gearon’s own words was “a lot of money”.

That was the summer Waddell supposedly wanted to get Michael Nylander, who ended up getting $5.5 million from Washington… so, if ownership wanted to go cheaper, “why not go with Rucchin who was generally good for abot 40 assists a season in Anaheim and has playoff experience?”

Choices of a wishy-washy ownership group that wants to operate at bare minimum… again, Waddell says “it will be in my book some day” and “I like having a job.”


May 17th, 2009
10:50 am

No gava, Savard had proven himself and was very effective here, at close to the same time holik was brought in and never worked out at all, Rucchin was washed up before he was signed,a waddell trademark.

waddell shows NO desire to win,everyone knows people like rucchin/williams and other CHEAP unproductive waiver pickups
have NEVER worked out,how about Rico Fata,great addition right ?

Where is Joe Metkzo now ???? Who are most of these guys ? Not top level players for sure. Not saying EVERY player needs to be top flight,but
waddell’s eye for talent is simply AWFUL ! We need players who wit
in here, and 90% waddell gets DO NOT ! Which simply adds fuel to the fire,that waddell is The Worst GM in pro sports.

Hey Chris… ask waddell what he thinks of the fans BLASTING him !
I would like to hear his nutty answer… He HAS TO BE FIRED !
This to save this franchise, more waddell calling the shots means MORE LOSING !

Ice Meister

May 17th, 2009
11:04 am

Does anyone really want to talk about how we can improve this team, or do we just want to bitch about the past? We know what we have in ownership and management, but can’t we find anything positive to talk about?

It is Sunday you know.

Rink Rat

May 17th, 2009
11:23 am

Therein lies the problem, Ice Meister. As fans, we don’t control anything. We control nothing. Beyond ticket sales. We could sit here, alll dayyyy lonnnnng, proposing trades, draft picks, front office moves to make the team better. What will come of it? What? The only people who CAN effect change are the owners, who control the GM. And, as a courtesy to you, Ice Meister, I won’t rehash their past.

Ice Meister

May 17th, 2009
11:39 am

I can only hope that the decline in ticket sales (and interest) will get management and the owners to start to move in the right direction. I am just as frustrated as you and so many others who sign into this blog every day.

But I find encouragement in the fact that this team played well after Kovy was made captain. The team worked hard and we have a good coach. I agree on not rehashing the past, I just hope the past is not a roadmap for the future.

For now, I will stay positive and hope.

Enjoy the game today folks


May 17th, 2009
12:17 pm

Has anyone read cv’s story today? If so is there any surprising info?

The Joker

May 17th, 2009
1:44 pm

Bob (other) – Yes, I missed the other links, my bad. That said, those numbers are a year old, which don’t take into account the dropoff in ticket sales due to the recession and fan displeasure with ticket discouting.

Are you smarter than me? I don’t know. I don’t consider tickets to be an investment as you do. Tickets are a discretionary expense, not an investment. I didn’t see many Thrasher fans in 116 last season, especially against Buffalo and Detroit. I guess you and your “friends” sold your tickets because you were out of town.

Do you want to see who can urinate higher on the wall?

Would you like some beach front property in Waycross Georgia to invest in?


May 17th, 2009
1:52 pm

Bob (other) is a shill for the club and a disgrace to our good name.

Remember the nonsense he wrote about everyone renewing in 116 last year, but they were just on “business trips and couldn’t make the games”. lol

He rivals Hokie for the most nonsensical stuff written on this blog over the years.