Waddell speaks … on the draft

I hear you folks. I haven’t gone anywhere. Just jumping between different stories during the offseason. Covered the Braves, covered Tom Glavine’s rehab start and I’ll be at the Falcons OTAs this week.

That doesn’t mean there isn’t any Thrashers coverage. Been keeping track of the Reasoner situation. Also I had a story on the draft in Tuesday’s paper from my interview with Don Waddell. I don’t see that it got posted here, so I’ll include it below.

I’ll have another story on Waddell coming soon, just not sure of the run date yet.

But in the meantime, here’s the draft story:

With the No. 4 overall pick, the Atlanta Thrashers select …
If the Thrashers keep that selection in June’s draft they will likely take one of three players: Matthew Duchene, Brayden Schenn or Evander Kane. That player may well be NHL-ready by next season.
General manager Don Waddell told the Journal-Constitution that he will take the best player available and it will likely be one of those three centers.
[Center John] Tavares and [defenseman Victor] Hedman, will go 1 through 3. They say 1 through 2 but I’m not so sure it’s not 1 through 3. Then you have Matthew Duchene, Brayden Schenn, Evander Kane. Those five guys are just a step above,” Waddell said last week. “… For our pick we are looking at one of those top five guys.”
In the first round, the Thrashers pick behind the New York Islanders, Tampa Bay and Colorado. Waddell mentioned defenseman Jared Cowan, who tore a knee ligament in February, and Swedish winger Magnus Paajarvi-Svensson as “wildcards,” but said his focus is on his list of top five players.
While most draftees are several years away from playing in the NHL, the Thrashers selected 18-year-old Zach Bogosian last year with the No. 3 overall pick. The defenseman made the Thrashers roster out of training camp and played in 47 games, missing time with a broken leg.
“I going to say picking at four, we are going to pick the best player there,” Waddell said. “As you get further in the draft, I think you start thinking more about needs. Right now we are not so deep at any position – although right now I can tell you we are not taking a goalie – where we can pass up the best player available for a player at another position. Most players in the draft … take time. Even when we drafted [Dany] Heatley, he went back to school for a year. This year there is a chance that the player we take at four could come here and make our team in training camp, but we’re not counting on that.”
This year’s draft, which Waddell labeled “great,” may include another NHL-ready player like Bogosian.
“Bogosian is off the charts with his maturity physically,” Waddell said. “He was ready to play. But if [the draftee] shows a sign that they can hold their own in this league, my tendency would be the way our team is right now, a younger team, I would let him come to our team and build with him.”
Four of the possible picks are junior players and one (Hedman) is European. By rule, all could play up to 10 games with the Thrashers at the start of the NHL season before a decision was made to send him to the minor leagues.
The Thrashers also have two second-round picks. They have the 34th overall pick and a conditional pick from Montreal obtained in the Mathieu Schneider trade. According to Waddell, the Thrashers will fill needs with those picks. He is specifically looking for big wingers.
The seven-round draft will be held June 26-27 in Montreal.

Thanks folks!

107 comments Add your comment

Andrew

May 26th, 2009
8:15 pm

First?
Take Kane.

kracker

May 26th, 2009
8:28 pm

I saw this this morning, this is great for a blog. MP-S looks out of the plans unless DW is muddying the water. I’ve been toying with dropping to 7th for Schenn and drafting Schenn.

PB

May 26th, 2009
8:33 pm

Why is Don Waddell the GM of the Thrashers? He has never demonstrated he can build/rebuild a team yet the pitiful owners continue allowing him to try. Hey Thrashers, instead of worrying about the draft pick worry about who is making the pick.

Hijacker

May 26th, 2009
8:41 pm

Stay the hell away from Schenn!!! I don’t want a player with such medicore upside.

Sage of Bluesland

May 26th, 2009
9:12 pm

Here’s to hoping that buffoonish fraud of a GM (Waddell) doesn’t keep trading down in the draft–only to bluster about “getting the player he wanted all along”…We’ve heard that song a couple of times before (with the glass-groined wunderkind Lehtonen and the overweight Bourret) all to miserable results…

But, what would you expect as we begin the tenth year of our “Five-Year Plan”–as we attempt to “build through the draft!”…

As some still continue to, inexplicably, subsidize the utter incompetence…

Wayne from AL

May 26th, 2009
9:35 pm

The guy that SHOULD be our new GM was just named new coach of the Edmonton Oilers…

LAC

May 26th, 2009
9:58 pm

waddell has no clue who to draft, he’s likely to draft RAWHIDE for goodness sake, that is how informed waddell is… HE IS NOT !

waddell is an out of control IDIOT who is intent on destroying NHL hockey in Atlanta once and for all. He is a career LOSER and if he worked for me he’d have been gone after season three,because he does NOT know what he is doing !

Why in GOD’S name is he still ruining the Atlanta Thrashers, He Needs to be FIRED asap ! OH WELL !

scottbravesfan

May 26th, 2009
11:05 pm

FIRE WADDELL!!!!!!

nfieldr

May 26th, 2009
11:31 pm

When I saw the headline “Waddell Speaks…”, my immediate thought was “Yeah but did he SAY anything?”. I haven’t read one interesting “tidbit” of information from a recent DW interview. Oh well… at least you AJC guys keep trying. :-)

Backchecking Fact Checker

May 26th, 2009
11:35 pm

Hey, Sage, (speaking of buffoonery and incompetence) we’ve traded down in the first round exactly once, and that was to pick Bourret. Lehtonen was picked exactly where we were slotted: second. Keep posting so I can keep laughing!

Brendan

May 27th, 2009
12:57 am

I think what Sage meant was that Lehtonen was slated 3rd, but Atlanta accepted the 30th pick in the 2002 draft as inducement not to take Bouwmeester 2nd overall, who was actually the “consensus” #1 overall pick. But Florida swapped draft positions with Columbus, so that the Blue Jackets could take Rick Nash 1st overall.

That’s not really ‘moving back.’ Atlanta still picked 2nd. But it didn’t go with the projected 1st or 2nd overall prospects. At that time, 2002, the Thrashers did need EVERYTHING. Really, truly. Even a goalie. But the trouble with drafting a goalie, even a high pedigree one, is the investment of time it takes to develop them.

Let’s see if the Thrashers re-sign Lehtonen or trade him. Let’s see if the Thrashers re-sign Pavelec, or trade him. If either is traded, Atlanta would be giving up a player it paid a hefty price to acquire. And with the trade market “soft” for goaltenders, I’d hope they don’t trade either one. We’ll just have to wait and see.

All we can do is hope for the best. If it’s Kane #4, that seems fairly “consensus.” If it’s Duchene, it’s a coup. If it’s MPS, I’d be surprised. But that could still work out. But if it’s MPS, Cowen, or Schenn, I think the Thrashers could have moved back a position or two and still had one of those players, to go pick up another 2nd round pick. If Waddell doesn’t hear a good enough offer at #4, he should just pick the best available player. It’s not rocket science. And if it takes a year before said player can join the team, that’s fairly “normal.” I won’t cry over that.

Justin

May 27th, 2009
2:55 am

If Duchene is on the board by the 4th which he wont be then he is a no brainer. Since the Thrashers are looking for more of a center-man I think that they will have Evander Kane in their lineup by next season.

Sage of Bluesland

May 27th, 2009
8:06 am

Is that ALL you’ve got?! Talk about humorous.

Waddell blustered about “getting the player he wanted all along” in 2002 with the glass-groined teen goalie–and made a deal with Florida to not select their prized defenseman (as Brendan elaborates on).

I wanted Nash. Our “deal” allowed Florida to deal out of the first pick and trade it to Columbus, who coveted him. Instead, our blustering idiot of a GM makes a deal with a division-rival, no less, and gets hosed in the process.

Our buffoonish GM proved to me that the “Legends of Blueland” (our allegedly ‘loaded’ minor leagues) were a mere pipedream with that very pick–as it was well known that it would be YEARS before he was up at the NHL level (remember, he had a military commitment in his home country to face, as well).

The drafting of Lehtonen was nothing but a much-needed play for time. See, we were on the other side of Donny’s first “Five-Year Plan”–and the results were incrementally pitiful.

People laughed at me then, too. I laughed when I was proven right time and again.

I’m still laughing, too. Pay attention and maybe you’ll learn something important…

GaVaHokie

May 27th, 2009
8:34 am

Oh please, Sage give me a break… go toot your horn somewhere else.

When you have the chance to draft a 6′3″ Butterfly goalie carrying these accolades, it’s hardly a stretch to draft him over a dime-a-dozen defenseman.

# Named SM-Liiga (Finland) Player of the Year, 2001-02.
# Named SM-Liiga (Finland) Goaltender of the Year, 2001-02.
# Named SM-Liiga (Finland) Playoff Most Valuable Player, 2001-02.

There are top rated defenseman in every draft class. Just in the last decade, Bouwmeester, Phaneuf, Coburn, Suter, Jack Johnson, Erik Johnson, Ryan Whitney, Cam Barker… should I go on? There are probably ten more… should I go through and count the goaltenders, or do you get my point?

Kari was supposed to be groomed in the AHL, he was thrust into the starting position with the freakish injury to Pasi Nurminen. Groin pulls set him even further back in development.

We didn’t need to sign Rick Nash… we had Heatley and Kovalchuk… we needed a defenseman and a goalie at the time… Lehtonen was an off the charts prospect in the Finnish league.

GaVaHokie

May 27th, 2009
8:47 am

I think what Sage meant was that Lehtonen was slated 3rd, but Atlanta accepted the 30th pick in the 2002 draft as inducement not to take Bouwmeester 2nd overall, who was actually the “consensus” #1 overall pick. But Florida swapped draft positions with Columbus, so that the Blue Jackets could take Rick Nash 1st overall.

Who knows who he would have really picked… I’d say he would have taken Nash, but if teams want to give you MORE draft picks when you’re already at #2 than that’s hardly a stupid deal to make… hindsight is 20-20, but that was a stupid move for Florida at the time considering Bouwmeester would never see a playoff game.

http://www.usatoday.com/sports/hockey/draft02/trades.htm

Rick Nash and Jay Bouwmeester have the same number of playoff wins as Kari Lehtonen, so what’s the argument?

GaVaHokie

May 27th, 2009
8:50 am

Let’s venture back to the 2002 draft, shall we… since Waddell is such an idiot.

http://www.usatoday.com/sports/hockey/draft02/2002-06-22-nhl-draft-side.htm

GaVaHokie

May 27th, 2009
9:03 am

Here’s some more reading for all the revisionist history writers…

http://www.usatoday.com/sports/hockey/fla/2002-06-20-draft.htm

Then there’s Lehtonen, who has shown good quickness and excellent timing. But the Panthers already have a franchise goaltender in Roberto Luongo, so there is much less of a need at that position.

Playing his first full year with Jokerit of the Finnish League, Lehtonen went 13-5-2 with four shutouts in 23 games last season. He also led all goaltenders with a 1.17 goals against average and .943 save percentage during the 2002 World Junior Championships.

“He’s a big goalie, a butterfly goalie who is 6-3 and moves like he’s 5-8,” Murray said. “And he’s so poised for his age. Nothing bothers him at all. I’ve liked a lot of goalies in my nine years of scouting, and he’s right behind Luongo as my No. 1 goalie. I think he could play next year.”

Hijacker

May 27th, 2009
9:59 am

“We didn’t need to sign Rick Nash… we had Heatley and Kovalchuk… we needed a defenseman and a goalie at the time… Lehtonen was an off the charts prospect in the Finnish league.”
———————-
That’s not a good argument. You take the best player available, regardless of current needs. Did it hurt the Habs when they took Price in 2005? Theodore was star goalie at the time, Garon was a fine backup, Halak was a top talent + Danis was another talented youngster in the system? Did it hurt the Penguins when they took Staal 2nd overall in 2006? Crosby and Malkin were already in the system. Today, the 1-2-3 punch of these three is one of the best in the league.

Back to the Thrashers and the 2002 draft, when you draft Nash, then there’s no need to acquire a LW like Kozlov.

Smoothie

May 27th, 2009
10:06 am

@ Chris Viv:

Any information regarding the supposed signing of Anssi Salmela to a 2 year extension? Still no press release but we know the Thrashers are notoriously slow on the trigger when it comes to posting actual news.

Got any scoop?

Smoothie

May 27th, 2009
10:11 am

http://tsn.ca/nhl/story/?id=280075

In other news, the Habs are out of their minds. I hope to God they do sign Komisarek to a contract worth $6 M + per season. He is a liability with his reckless play and his playoff performance proved it.

I’m also scratching my head over their decision to let Koivu dangle in the wind like this. A 37 y/o sniper over a 34 y/o centre who has been your captain for 9 years??? Huh?

I’d love to have Saku Koivu join this franchise if the price was right.

GaVaHokie

May 27th, 2009
10:33 am

Hijacker… I agree… like I said, we probably would have drafted Nash if Florida stayed put and took Bouwmeester #1… but my point was that it wasn’t a horrible choice to pick up extra picks and draft Lehtonen… the naysayers are acting like it was the worst decision in the world.

LAC

May 27th, 2009
10:43 am

Does waddell even know when and where the draft is this year ?

Darkhorse

May 27th, 2009
10:46 am

I thought Komisarek was one of the few UFA worth pursuing. The Thrashers are gonna have to overpay to get a legit top four dman or top six forward in UFA. Beyond him, I don’t see any dmen worth going after, maybe Oduya?

So Smoothie-I take it you would be against bringing him in here at something like a four year 24mil deal? I just throw that number out there because that’s around what I think it would take to get him to consider us.

Koivu would be great, but I don’t think he would give us the time of day at this point. Plus, not the young, big and tough forward DW seems to be preaching about bringing in these days.

GaVaHokie

May 27th, 2009
10:47 am

Hijacker… to further the evidence… I don’t think Columbus would have been so eager to jump ahead of us if they thought we were going to stay put with Lehtonen at #2.

Yes, it would be nice to add the best player available with Nash… but you can’t argue for making the moves Waddell did and still end up with something at a position of NEED.

Smoothie… wow, $6 million… he’s crazy.

I also don’t understand the Kovalev/Koivu situation either. I thought Kovalev would be done in Montreal after all the drama, but now they’re offering him captain?!

GaVaHokie

May 27th, 2009
10:58 am

Darkhorse… it’s a tough call, I do think Komisarek is the right guy for what we’re looking for… however, we can get 9 goals and cheap hits out of Nick Boynton for half the price. ;)

Hopefully, an offer of 4 years $20 million might be enough to get Komisarek and keep him out of reach of the cap-strapped teams.

Spud Webb

May 27th, 2009
11:02 am

Another day and another headline I hate to see! I will continue to wait to see the “Waddell FIRED”. Now would be the perfect time to do this! Almost a month till the draft, this would give a real GM some time to get things in order and actually, get this, DECIDE on a DIRECTION!!! ahahhahahah, what a concept!!!!!
PS, I hate the Penguins more than Detriot right now. UGH, Canes LAID AN EGG.

Waddel speaks ... on his resignation

May 27th, 2009
11:09 am

Give us news that we wanna hear, and we’ll line your pockets with gold.

Carolina Hurricanes' Butts

May 27th, 2009
11:11 am

Smoothie

May 27th, 2009
11:14 am

@ Darkhorse:

I would definitely pass on Komisarek no matter what the price tag to tell you the truth. After watching his dismal performance at the end of the year and in the playoffs, I think he might be the most overrated defenseman in all of hockey. And at even $4 M / year I would have a tough time welcoming him to Atlanta. I would rather we add a D-man who won’t cost more than $3 – 3.5 M per year. Let’s face it, with Hainsey tied up for 3 more years at $4.5 M, Toby’s extension and Bogey’s eventual raise to $4 – 5 M / year, we can’t afford to bring in a guy like Komisarek for even $4 M / year. Having said that, who do I like as a value player in the right age-range (26 – 30)?

1) Scuderi…31 y/o next season, but has proven his mettle, toughness and shot-blocking ability these last two SC playoff runs. While he is due for a raise, he is only making about $725 K this year!! Gasp.

2) Oduya…27 y/o Swede who would probably be a great compliment to Toby Enstrom not to mention the two could communicate easily in Swedish if necc. I love Toby and Zach together, but I’m not sure they will stay together. However, the pairings will depend on whether Ron H takes his game to a new level and challenge for top pairing minutes.

3) Seidenberg…(27 y/o) was really impressed with what I saw from him in the playoffs. Did not think he would excel like he has, but I think playing with Corvo has really helped him concentrate on what he does best. He might be a great fit with Hainsey as Ron would take on the majority of the puck handling duties. But Seidenberg can hold his own as a passer as well.

4) Montador…will be 30 y/o next year, but could be a great value pick up at $1.25 – 1.5 M / year. He will likely be a casualty of Boston’s cap issues and could be a nice insurance policy if Valabik continues to struggle in his development. Could even be a replacement for XLB if we can pick up Monty in addition to a Seidenberg or Scuderi.

5) Koistinen, Ville (27 y/o)…speaking of darkhorses, this guy could be an interesting FA signing as he was the pairing-mate of our own Anssi Salmela during the World Championships. Apparently they had good chemistry and perhaps an all Finnish pairing of Salmela and Koistinen is our 3rd pairing of the future??

Bogey / Tobbe

Hainsey / Scuderi

Salmela / Koistinen

Montador

Trade XLB for depth on our 3rd or 4th lines…a forward who can augment our PK since we are thin there.

What does everyone else think about UFA D-men. Who’s your top 5?

Backchecking Fact Checker

May 27th, 2009
11:30 am

Brendan,

Two things:

First, Lehtonen was considered to be the #2 pick by most in that draft. The Red Line Report and Hockey News among others both had him second behind Bouwmeester.

Second, if a know-it-all can’t get the simplest of facts right, it renders his credibility as … a know-it-all. There’s nothing funnier than a blowhard tooting his horn loudly and wrongly. In fact it’s usually the one tooting the loudest that’s the wrongest. Sage does little to undermine that rule of thumb in this thread.

GaVaHokie

May 27th, 2009
11:56 am

Smoothie… I like your list. Scuderi is an interesting choice, be it a boring one, but that’s good right? It means he does his job. ;)

If we’re throwing out $6 million contracts for guys like Komisarek… I’d rather see that offer go to Mattias Ohlund.

I still don’t see how NJ could let Oduya walk away, with only $39 million on the books… gotta think he’s staying in NJ.

Montador could have been had last summer and not a blurb of Thrasher interest… don’t see that changing this summer. But he is a solid, dependable defender.

One of Koistinen or Zanon is going to land somewhere else this summer… wouldn’t mind either, but not sure they’re Top 4 guys yet.

Smoothie

May 27th, 2009
12:18 pm

GVH, very true. Nothing wrong with boring if it means a D-man is getting the job done quietly and effectively. He even adds a bit of offensive pop with 16 pts in the reg season. I love his +23 though.

Here are the stat comparisons for those guys and Komisarek for the last three seasons (numbers are avgs):

1) Scuderi….77 games; 10-11 pts; +10; avg 19 mins last 2 seasons

2) Oduya…..77 games; 22 pts; +14; avg of 21 mins last 2 years

3) Seidenberg…56 games; 17-18 pts; -2 (-9 this year); 19-20 min

4) Montador….74 games; 17-18 pts; +6; avgs 15-16 mins / g

5) Koistinen….43 games (2 yrs); 14 pts; +6-7; 15 min / g…not bad for a guy who only played in half of a season; perhaps we can make Nashville pay once again for under-utilizing a guy with skill!

6) Komisarek….74 g; 16 pts; + 5; 21 min avg…he only had 11 pts this season and a +/- rating of E…certainly not worth $4-6 M in my book!

I don’t see NJ letting Oduya get away either, but who knows, perhaps Toby will give him a call and try to recruit him…that is if he can talk by now…anyone hear of any updates on our beloved Swede BTW?

Montador would be great value, but who knows why we didn’t show any interest in him last season. Perhaps DWad really thought we were deep enough defensively with Oystrick, Valabik, Kulda, Lewis & Postma in the fold. So having said that, we’ll probably be lucky to see one signing this off-season. Let’s just hope it’s a rugged, consistent Scuderi type of D-man.

Smoothie

May 27th, 2009
12:20 pm

@ Viking:

Perhaps our good Scandanavian friend can find us and translate an update on Tobbe in one of the Swedish papers. Viking, do you have anything of interest to report for us?

Brendan

May 27th, 2009
12:21 pm

Spud Webb, why do you hate the Penguins more than Detroit right now? Is this still the lingering memory of the Crosby hit on Valabik? Hossa’s not there anymore, which is the other thing I think might cause Atlanta fans to root against Pittsburgh.

I must credit Pittsburgh for playing its finest hockey at the most critically important time of the year. I wish them much luck, moving forward.

Hokie, thanks for the link to the 2002 draft day trades. I’ve been wanting to check that out for a long time. I had forgotten about NJ’s deal for Langenbrunner and Nieunwendyk at that draft. A few years later, Lamoriello pulled off a coup to move up and get Zack Parise. I like Lou. The Devils nearly won that series with Carolina. It’ll be interesting to see what NJ’s plan is at the draft.

In regards to Lehtonen, I certainly think he was the top-rated goalie prospect of the 2002 draft. But I wouldn’t, necessarily, look at the number of playoff wins a player has. Hockey is a team game. And the player certainly can’t control the mismanagement of the team that drafts him. I don’t blame Rick Nash for the Blue Jackets not making the playoff until 2009. I don’t blame Bouwmeester for Florida never making the playoffs. Bouwmeester didn’t trade Luongo. And so forth. Instead, I look at the player for who they are and what they contribute to their team. Rick Nash has had his fair share of injuries, same as Lehtonen. But there’s no doubt in my mind that Nash is a quality power forward. Let’s see if Columbus GM Scott Howson can lock him up this Summer, or face the consequences of a “dark cloud of uncertainty” hanging over what should otherwise be another playoff season for Columbus. If they can’t re-sign Nash, it might derail their efforts to get back to the playoffs.

I don’t blame Bouwmeester for wanting out of Florida. Though, I’ll say that the team is better now than it’s ever been. They tied with Montreal for 8th spot, identical record, but lost out on the tie-breaker. Bummer for them. On multiple levels. I’m sure they’d rather re-sign Bouwmeester than merely to reclaim his cap hit, to go spend in free agency.

For some, the best goaltender of the 2002 Draft is Cam Ward, the 2006 Conn Smythe Trophy winner. But, in fairness, did Cam Ward manage the ‘Canes roster? Or did Jim Rutherford do that? That’s why he has more playoff wins than Lehtonen. I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again. Kari is NOT a bad goalie. Like ANY goalie, he’d benefit from a better defensive corps in front of him. If Kari played for the Red Wings, he’d win 45 games a year, I’m guessing. He doesn’t suck, in my opinion. But his selection with that #2 overall pick means, “we’ll sink or swim with Kari Lehtonen.” And there it’s been. It is rather unfortunate about the recurring groin injuries and back problems. I’m sure its a sore subject with him, as well. I don’t think Pavelec is ready yet. So, ifffffffff the ‘real plan’ is to make the playoff this year, and not sayyyyy, be YEAR THREE of the ‘4-year building project,’ then Kari must stay and Pavelec be the one who is dealt–that is if a goalie trade is imminent. If the ‘building project’ is still on, then Kari can be dealt while the team takes its lumps with Pavelec. I don’t advocate that approach, at all. If Pavelec isn’t ready, (he’s only 21 or 22,) then he should remain in the AHL, to be properly developed, like any goalie should. Folks, goalies take TIME to develop. Maybe moreso than any other position. It’s a mistake to rush them into the NHL before they’re ready. Which is why I harp on the 2002 draft. It’s not so much that they took Lehtonen, as opposed to say, Cam Ward, it’s that investment of time that I so veheminently opposed. Truthfully, and I said this thennnn, we could pluck a goaltender from Free Agency in 2002 or 2003. Plenty were available. Yes, at a PREMIUM COST. Well, things cost what they do. You can’t walk into Porsche Dealership with $19,000 and think you’re walking out with a brand new car. That’s more like the downpayment. Khabibulin, Curtis Joseph, Ed Belfour, Dominik Hasek, Arturs Irbe, and Miikka Kiprussoff were all available about that time frame. I won’t list Evgeni Nabokov, as that summons the “no he wasn’t available” crowd from out from the shadows. Fiiine. The point is, for the ‘market value,’ one of those goalies could have and probably would have been signed by Atlanta. In the case of Curtis Joseph, his team, the Red Wings, put him on waivers. Atlanta could have claimed him, and unfortunately his $8 million salary at the time, for nothing but the cost of his contract, which still had two more years left on it. Would Cujo have been ’stoked’ to play in Atlanta??? Uhhh, probably not. But hey, he was waived by Detroit. Thems the breaks. In 2002, Atlanta still had Heatley and Kovalchuk and Kozlov and Ferraro. It might not have been so bad with Cujo in net. I think Joseph was still in the league this season, in some capacity or other. Atlanta might have even re-signed him. But let’s not focus on Joseph. He was only an example of what was out there, instead of putting all our eggs in the Lehtonen basket, at the 2002 Draft.

Look folks, I’m sorry if this subject is an unpleasant one. It can’t be undone. And Kari really isn’t a bad goalie. I hope we keep him, especially after the investment we made in him. It’d be niiiiice, after all this time, to see it bear fruit. Waddell told us that Kari was the kind of goaltender who could steal a playoff series. Answering truthfully now, would the 2007 roster of the Atlanta Thrashers really have given Lehtonen the chance to “steal” that series? This is where there will be debate. Some will say, “yes,” and others, “no.”

GaVaHokie

May 27th, 2009
12:37 pm

Waddell speaks even more about the draft… here is the latest article on the Scouting Combine from NHL.com… Waddell on Victor Hedman.

http://www.nhl.com/ice/news.htm?id=423887

Darkhorse

May 27th, 2009
12:44 pm

Decent list Smoothie, but that’s the problem, what’s out there is just OK. Is the price of the few who are worth longer contract offers gonna see their value skyrocket because of a bidding war between teams? I have no problem seeing Oduya here at the right price. Would he fit well into Anderson’s type of system? Koistinen is a quality idea, but agree with Hokie he’s not shown top 4 worthy minutes yet. Maybe he and Salmela will develop into top 4 guys, but that’s too hard to predict at this point. I do agree it’s time to trade Ex as part of a deal just to part ways and open up a roster spot for a solid 5,6, or 7 stay at home type vet to bring here, in addition to trying to find a legit top 4.

I get the feeling DW will try a similar tactic to last season. The UFA list, both dmen and forwards, is not overwhelmingly great. There are a few guys that fit the top tier bill for what we are looking for. I think DW will try to sign one big contract, ala Campbell, starting July 1st. Now whether that’s a forward or dman I’m not sure. I see him trying to address one of those through a trade around the draft. Whatever he accomplishes, if anything, through trade, he’ll spend his budget money on the other need come July 1st.

Not trying to sway from the dman and draft talk, but do you guys think DW would try to go after the Sedins IF he’s able to address the D around the draft? Would cost alot of loonies to pry them out of Canuckville, but it seemingly addresses the top center and RW on paper.

GaVaHokie

May 27th, 2009
12:47 pm

Brendan… in 2005, when Lehtonen came back in December from his groin injury, he played great and the team stormed into 1st in the Southeast by February. He can be a very impactful player when healthy and playing at the top of his game… I’d be nervous about letting him go at just age 25.

GaVaHokie

May 27th, 2009
12:54 pm

Let’s go back to something else we glossed over from yesterday… the Satellite Hot Stove segment… if Waddell did indeed meet with Kovalchuk last week and the “meeting went well”… what exactly was shared? Certainly Waddell had to let Kovy in on his strategy for this summer.

I gotta think there is something more concrete than “we’re gonna go after Cammalleri” or “we’re gonna pursue Havlat”. Could there be something more substantial like “we’re going to trade the #1 pick to Ottawa for Jason Spezza, it’s all but certain. What do you think of that Kovy?”

or…

“We talked to Antropov’s agent and he seems pretty gung-ho about playing on a top line with you.”

GaVaHokie

May 27th, 2009
1:08 pm

Oh, nevermind… according to Eklund’s latest rumor, Kovalchuk is going to Washington to play with Ovechkin. ;)

Frosty the snowman

May 27th, 2009
1:24 pm

*** in 2005, when Lehtonen came back in December from his groin injury, he played great and the team stormed into 1st in the Southeast by February. He can be a very impactful player when healthy and playing at the top of his game… I’d be nervous about letting him go at just age 25.***

He can also be one of the softest goalies, and implode for several games. Not mentally tough. I would say Kari is average, not a franchise goaltender.

Frosty the snowman

May 27th, 2009
1:30 pm

***Let’s go back to something else we glossed over from yesterday… the Satellite Hot Stove segment… if Waddell did indeed meet with Kovalchuk last week and the “meeting went well”… what exactly was shared? Certainly Waddell had to let Kovy in on his strategy for this summer.***

Wadell stated several times that the talks with Hossa were going well, we know how that ended! You can’t believe what Wadell say’s, he is trying to keep everthing under a blanket. When Kovy leaves Wadell will blast him and blame Kovy for bieng some sort of problem

polskidawg

May 27th, 2009
1:37 pm

Personally, if he’s a player, I think Kane would be an excellent choice for several reasons – 1) power forward who crashes the net, 2) physical player who can help with offensive zone time, 3) seems mature, like Bogosian, thus less likely to be overwhelmed by the NHL, 4) has the desire to be a role model for other young, black hockey players, especially in a “non-traditional” hockey market like Atlanta, and 5) would provide obvious marketing benefits for the Thrashers.

Smoothie – interesting possibilities, but I’d love to see Grant Lewis make the jump and secure a top 4 spot this season. Let’s get young and mediocre rather than middle-aged and mediocre. Better upside.

Brendan

May 27th, 2009
1:44 pm

See, I agree with you, Hokie. When Kari is healthy, and the team is playing well in front of him, he’s a very good goalie. That’s why I advocate keeping him, as opposed to trading him. Bob Hartley played Kari a lot of games in a row. I have no doubt, physically, that Kari can handle that. It’s his “mental state” that I worry about. his 34 wins in 2006 speak to what Kari is capable of.

Again, I think a lot of Kari’s “focus issues” could be improved with a better defensive corps and a rotation that actually works for him. I like the idea of having Pavelec be the backup. I like Lethonen-Pavelec as a “1-2 punch” moving forward. But, if Ondrej isn’t ready yet, then he isn’t ready yet. And if you’re a trading partner, why do you want to part with something good to get a goalie who isn’t ready yet? Okay, thinking towards the future, I suppose. I just don’t think that goalie trade market is something to write home about. If we must lose a goalie, I vote for Hedberg, for the return of a 6th round pick. I just don’t think that a goalie should be traded. The truth is, our team, historically, has unhealthy goalies. And there it is. We need them all.

If Kovalchuk had a “good meeting” with Waddell, my guess is Don said, “We know what your demands are. Recognize them. And will do our utmost to meet them.” What that actually means is anyone’s guess. Those are words, not signed contracts. Kovalchuk, if he truly wanted to toss this team a bone, would sign a 1-year deal just to end the speculation about a trade at the draft or the 2010 trade deadline. It would buy the team another year, no questions asked. It would also help lure free agents here, knowing that #17 will still be here for the 2010-11 season, at a minimum.

Spud Webb

May 27th, 2009
2:00 pm

Smoothie, great information, good job.

Brendan, I just hate that they cry so much, which is why I hate them more than the wings. At this point I really don’t want either team to win!!! Cmon Hawks, do the improbable!!!! ahahhahaha

GaVaHokie

May 27th, 2009
2:08 pm

Brendan…

Those are words, not signed contracts. Kovalchuk, if he truly wanted to toss this team a bone, would sign a 1-year deal just to end the speculation about a trade at the draft or the 2010 trade deadline.

Which is why I think there is something more concrete… why would Cammalleri or Havlat sign with Atlanta with no Kovalchuk under contract? It’s a “cart before the horse” situation… “I’ll sign if you get me better players”… well, no better players are gonna sign if YOU’RE not under contract… if you want Kovalchuk, you’re almost forced to make a hockey trade for a contract player, because you’re not going to lure any UFA’s with Kovy on a “wait and see” basis.

I think Waddell has a pretty substantial list of things that “could happen” that he shared with Kovalchuk, wither it’s discussions he had with European players during the World’s or early Draft Day options that are lining up… or even revisiting the trade offers he got for Lehtonen and Pavelec at the deadline.

I think it’s plausible that he sat down with Kovalchuk… his Captain… and said, which of these options do you think are good for the team, and what would make you want to stay?

Smoothie

May 27th, 2009
2:11 pm

@ darkhorse & GVH: I couldn’t agree more about the UFA talent pool being just okay. I would love to have Oduya, but I don’t think he really fits our greatest need on the blueline. If he were to sign and our pairs were say, Bogey & Tobbe and a 2nd pair of Ronsey & Oduya, then we would still be a bit undersized although we would certainly be quite dynamic. Especially with a 3rd pairing of say Salmela and Lewis. Talk about a very capable group of puck-movers.

But alas, we need toughness and grit and shot-blocking. Where can we get it without over-spending on the free-agent market? If you recall, DWad said in his last interview (by Ben Wright) that the UFA pool was only going to get deeper and deeper as things cycle forward. If you read between the lines, he may very well be thinking his best option is to pry loose a top line forward with a trade of a draft pick (one of the 2nd rounders?) and a D-man like XLB who could fill a void on a salary cap strapped team needing 3rd pairing minutes. I would hate to see DWad trade that #4 pick (unless he could turn it into Spezza or someone of that ilk) as I think Kane could be the type of player we need here going forward.

My guess is that he will explore trade possibilities, but likely draft Kane # 4 to bolster our Top 9 for 2010-11. Then he’ll likely use one of the 2nd round picks, a prospect and perhaps one of our D-men like XLB or Valabik or a goaltender as trade bait to get a Top 6 forward from a team like Philly, Boston, Calgary or even Detroit. Problem is I don’t think we have enough return value to get a bona fide Top 6 guy.

I would prefer we keep both goalies, try to trade Valabik, XLB or Wilson for depth on the 3rd and 4th lines, go after Havlat to play with Kovy (if we’re going to throw money at someone, that’s my top choice), sign a guy like Mikeal Samuelsson or even a Jiri Hudler to augment your 2nd and 3rd lines, and then sign one of the D-men I listed above if you can get one for less than $3 M / season.

Kovy — Peverley — Havlat

Kozzy — White — Little

Stuart — Reasy — Hudler

Depth guy via trade — Slater — Crabber

Z-Bo & Enstromboli

Hainsey & Seidenberg

Salmela & Valabik

Lehts / Pavy / Moose

I think we could do this for $46-47 M and stay right where the ASG wants to be going into this season. It could be enough to entice Kovy to sign a 2 year deal with the promise of more transactions to come when Kozzy’s money comes off the books and one of our goalies, ahem Pavelec, has more trade value the following season. Kane should be ready and you’ll know if Peverley is worth keeping as a Top 6 guy. The problem could be what to do with Todd White if his production really drops off from his career high next season.

GaVaHokie

May 27th, 2009
2:11 pm

Brendan… I just don’t think Waddell would drag Kovalchuk away from the French Riviera for a pep talk.

GaVaHokie

May 27th, 2009
2:15 pm

Smoothie… don’t you hate it when you put a list like that together and forget Colby Armstrong? ;)

Smoothie

May 27th, 2009
2:19 pm

@ polkisdawg: I liked what I saw from Lewis a lot when he was called up. However, didn’t he have his knee-cap shattered by a puck when he went back to CHI? Not sure if he’ll be ready in time to make a serious run at a job at training camp. But I can see him as a 7th or 8th D-man who gets called up when someone gets injured.

@ Spud Webb: thanks man! As you can tell, I sometimes have too much time on my hands. I’m working on compiling a Top 15 or 20 UFA’s in a spreadsheet. When I’m done, I’ll share my rankings based on area of need, which are Top 4 D-man, Top 6 W and a depth forward.

Smoothie

May 27th, 2009
2:21 pm

Oh Jeebus Crabapples!! Wooops! And I love Army to death. Makes that 3rd line look even better if you move Hudler over to LW and put Army back on it. Then you can move Stewie down as your 4th line PK specialist along with Crabber or Boulton depending on the opponent.

I thought it felt like I was overlooking somebody!! Thanks!

GaVaHokie

May 27th, 2009
2:21 pm

Brendan… I think the smartest thing in the world would be to trade Moose for whatever you get for him… don’t worry about what you COULD have gotten by trading Lehts and Pavs… why would we want to trade Pavelec to keep Moose happy so he’ll stick around and be a goalie coach for us someday? I love the guy, but that’s assinine… if he wants to come back some day and be goalie coach, fantastic! But don’t trade away assets.

Smoothie

May 27th, 2009
2:48 pm

GVH is right, we can’t hold onto anyone, including Moose, simply because he is such a good guy, hard-working team-mate or because he might want to be a coach someday. It’s still a business and DWad needs to make the decisions that make the best business sense for the sake of the franchise this season and beyond. I personally think it’s too early to trade Pavy unless some other GM is desperate enough to unload a Top 6 forward for him at the draft.

Hijacker

May 27th, 2009
3:45 pm

I hope that Waddell sticks to his plan in the second round. Adding big wingers like Budish, Werek or Klingberg would be huge for the Thrashers.

Brendan

May 27th, 2009
3:49 pm

I said I support trading Moose, if a goalie is to be traded. We won’t get much. But we are freeing up some cap space that can be applied to a free agent contract, potentially. I’m not worried about appeasing Hedberg. For all I know, he’ll retire. If he’s interested in the goalie coach position, I’m all ears!

Kovy’s on the French Riviera? Shoot, I wouldn’t have come home unless Waddell told me, “You might be traded at the draft. I want to explore options.” That would bring me quickly to discuss options. For clarity, I’m not saying that’s what happened. In fact, I don’t think that’s what happened. I think Kovalchuk is very interested in what happens in the offseason, and if he felt he could influence what the team does in the offseason, then yes, he’d return home to discuss options. Again, I think the organization should accept Kovalchuk’s generous offer to help recruit players. Part of his “hypothetical” recruiting would sure include, “Because you’ll be playing with me.” That is, I don’t think he’d try to lure players to Atlanta, just to bolt on them.

GaVaHokie

May 27th, 2009
4:04 pm

Kovy has a vacation home on the Riviera where he spends his summers… I can’t shake an image in my head of him walking around on the beach with a leopard speedo and a gold chain around his neck.

http://www.funnypictures.net.au/userimages/user1680_1163474829.jpg

Darkhorse

May 27th, 2009
4:10 pm

I’m starting to be more curious what Kovy thinks the roster needs. I wonder what specific type of players exactly Kovy has envisioned the team needs to get in order to satisfy his contract extension requirements? Is he expecting a Savard or Spezza up front and a Pronger on D and a new goalie? Or are his “expectations” more attainable and reasonable? Would love to have been a fly on the wall in his meeting with Waddell last week.

Vivlamore-Maybe you could track Kovy down and get a phone interview with him? He’s in Miami supposedly. Try to get him to spill who specifically he would like to see brought in. And ask him what’s the deal with Nukilin not giving us a shot at least for one measly season.

Darkhorse

May 27th, 2009
4:11 pm

Okay, French Riviera. I was off by a little on his whereabouts.

Smoothie

May 27th, 2009
4:12 pm

GVH, I don’t think you’ll see him in any neon-colored bathing suit thongs, but you might see him sporting a sweet kilt on his way to the beach from his vaca home. Check this out:

http://www.kiltmen.com/celeb-ilya_kovalchuk1.JPG

I wonder how IVK feels about these pictures in retrospect.

frosty the snowman

May 27th, 2009
4:38 pm

I doubt seriously Kovy came home from the French riviera. Wadell probably had a meeting with him before he leaves to got the French Riviera.

Viking

May 27th, 2009
6:09 pm

Smoothie, Swedish newspapers are quiet about Tobbe (Toby) Enström’s injury. Maybe old news, but I found out that he has this thing about no haircut during the season. Hopefully he will be really longhaired next year….

Other news: Mattias öhlund is done with Vancouver for sure. He is in the mood for “something new”, which also has to please his family.

ranallo10 (in AT)

May 27th, 2009
6:42 pm

Just a thought: There’s an IKEA within a 10 minute drive from Philips Arena…perhaps that’ll help entice Ohlund to move his family to Atlanta.

Viking

May 27th, 2009
7:06 pm

I believe IKEA has a store in Vancouver too, so I would not count on that one. But believe me, I really appreciate the overall Atlanta weather.

12345

May 27th, 2009
9:09 pm

I must say Don Waddell is the worst thing to ever happen to professional sports in the city of Atlanta, He is just flatout a loser and he is not an honest person. We deserve much better here, we have suffered at the hands of Waddell for far too long.

Why won’t the owners make a change ?

World Be Free

May 27th, 2009
10:14 pm

Guys need to understand Don is the GM and that is not going to change anytime soon. Next subject…..

Brendan

May 27th, 2009
10:15 pm

Blackhawks and Red Wings are in overtime of Game 5 — RIGHT NOW!!
Chicago got to OT on the strength of a late Patrick Kane goal and a spectacular save on Johan Franzen, by Cristobal Huet. It was a “mule kick” save with 0:19 left in regulation time. Chicago must win, of course, to force Game Six. I sure hope they do. It would help kill the lag time until the Finals start on June 5th.

Chicago, along with Columbus, were my two “adopted” Western Conference teams this year. My “adoptions” change every year. Last year, it was Los Angeles and Phoenix.

Brendan

May 27th, 2009
10:22 pm

The Finals are set! Detroit, on a goal by Helm, who had a TREMENDOUS game from what I saw, has won the Clarence S. Campbell Bowl. Final score: Detroit 2, Chicago 1.

The rematch is set. Penguins travel to Hockeytown for Game One.

Brendan

May 27th, 2009
11:14 pm

Sorry. The Finals aren’t starting June 5th. My bad. This start this weekend. I had read on TSN that there was a proposal to start June 5th. But really, was there any chance you’d miss the Finals?

kracker

May 28th, 2009
8:35 am

Good job, Chris, in your new article! As much or more than any hockey thing about the team, a spotlight needs to constantly illuminate the foolish squabbling by these dysfunctional owners. Until they stop wasting time and money suing each other, how could the team even attract another GM to replave Waddell? Or attract top-tier players, for that matter.

Sara

May 28th, 2009
9:56 am

Actually Kovy is still stateside, per this interview with Ovechkin late last week over in Moscow.

Why didn’t you go to Miami? Your whole “gang” is there now – Kovalchuk, Semin, Kozlov, Fedorov probably, even Morozov promised to come…

Entire interview here: http://sports.yahoo.com/nhl/blog/puck_daddy/post/Ovechkin-talks-recovery-from-playoff-loss-prepa?urn=nhl,165376#remaining-content

GaVaHokie

May 28th, 2009
10:53 am

Ah, thanks Sara… I figured he’d be on the Riviera since he mentioned it in his SportsSouth special.

GaVaHokie

May 28th, 2009
12:39 pm

Eklund has a pretty interesting take on the Islanders #1 pick that I happen to agree with.

http://www.hockeybuzz.com/blog/Eklund/WWGD-What-Will-Garth-Do-Everyone-says-Victor-Hedman/1/21360

But Seriously. This is Tavares. This stretches beyond Garth Snow. This has GOT to be a Charles Wang decision. This is a VERY real chance to save his franchise. Don’t think for a second that Charles hasn’t noticed that they are building a building in Pittsburgh right now that should have an 87 on the side of it. We have seen this play before.

As great as it to get the next Pronger, as much as Pronger may be a top ten “Playoff Series Factor,” still the Isle MUST look Macro here. They must.

His Pronger statement is in reference to Victor Hedman, obviously.

I can’t help but feel the same way about Evander Kane for Atlanta… all things being equal, you gotta go “macro” on this choice. What does it do for hockey in Atlanta to have the AJC Sports page read “Thrashers draft swedish phenom Magnus Paajarvi-Svensson”?

There’s only one guy in that Top 5 that “plays to your market”, and it also happens to be a great “hockey” choice too. The fact that he was named for Evander Holyfield and the team is picking 4th is like all the stars aligning in the heavens.

How could any AJC reader skip past an article with a photo of Evander Kane shaking hands with Evander Holyfield with “Welcome to Atlanta, Evander” as the headline?

GaVaHokie

May 28th, 2009
12:48 pm

That is, unless, the AJC decides to be unsupportive and run a more controversial piece… “Thrashers draft African American, Hoping to draw African American interest”.

Tony C.

May 28th, 2009
4:37 pm

And guess which one would sell the most papers?

Hint: it ain’t “Evander Welcomes Evander”

kracker

May 28th, 2009
5:18 pm

Well, it’s not an either-or deal on those headlines above. Do the pic w/ ‘Evander Welcomes Evander’ below it, do the ‘Thrashers draft African American…’ headline for the article. Anyway, that’s a two ot three article story. Work it, AJC.

Thrashers27

May 28th, 2009
5:57 pm

I think it would be great if Kane was just recognized as a good hockey player and his ethnicity was ignored. I don’t care if the kid is a one eyed, one horned, flying, purple people eater. Hockey is not and I hope it never becomes about individual recognition, so let’s keep it that way.

World Be Free

May 28th, 2009
6:02 pm

It would have given Terrance Moore something to write about-for a month!

Alan

May 28th, 2009
6:23 pm

It would have given Terrance Moore something to write about-for a month!

I hate to say this about people who’ve lost their jobs, for whatever reason, but I’m making an exception here:

Good riddance.

MB

May 28th, 2009
7:22 pm

Sorry guys, but OF COURSE the Thrashers drafting a black player would be big news here. I think there are about 20 black players in the whole league, less than one per team, so it’s notable in almost any market. It’s exponentially more significant here, a city with one of the most dynamic black populations in the country and birthplace of MLK. And if it helps to draw new fans to the team and to the sport, all the better.

The fact is, the kid IS recognized for his play…you don’t get to be considered a consensus top 5 prospect just on looks and charm. But to pretend that his race is not important is disingenuous. Consider how big a story it was that Nik Lidstrom was the first European captain to lead his team to the Cup…along with asides intimating surprise that, basically, a non-Canadian had the goods to lead his team to the promised land.

A story about a good player coming to the Thrashers is a good story for the AJC. A story about a good player coming to the Thrashers who also happens to be black is a better story for them. Just the way it is.

kracker

May 28th, 2009
9:00 pm

(Cheap) food for thought. Blogger Eklund has posted Havlat on his Rumor Chart.
Caps 25%
Thrash and Isles 20%
Habs and Hawks 15%
Slugs get the remaining nickel.

Buy one-get one night on Khabibulin.
(Who I include only because a trade involving Lehtonen is conceivable)
Avs 40%
Flyers 30%
Isles 15%
Kings 10%
Hawks 10%
(Yes, I know that’s 105%)

kracker

May 28th, 2009
9:03 pm

Good reasoning, MB. ANY positive ink the Thrash can get from local media and the NHL or from anybody is a good thing.

World Be Free

May 28th, 2009
9:51 pm

MB-no doubt he’s a good player and worthy of the #4 pick. But I thik some of us are caught by the irony of the loss of a writer that would have talked about everything but his playing abilities.

I hope they pick Kane; I know he will do well for all the right reasons.

Hijacker

May 28th, 2009
10:01 pm

Havlat’s productive season and his injury scare me. I really love this guy as a player, he’s to watch. The problem is that he’ll likely command $6+ million and a mulit-year contract.

Anne

May 29th, 2009
3:02 am

Smoothie – Salmela and Koistinen together…no no no no…they were not good match in WC. Head coach had to split them up.

I hope we resign Lehtonen. Pavelec really hasnt earn his place to be No.1 goalie in Atlanta. He’s just not ready. He needs one more year in Chicago or to be traded. Lehtonen is great goalie.

World Be Free

May 29th, 2009
6:04 am

Anne-totally agree on your assessment of our goalie situation. That’s why we have to resign Kari.

15 year plan

May 29th, 2009
7:55 am

As the Thrashers embark on the next segment of what appears to be their 15 year building plan, one can only think that given the number of Don Waddell apologists on this site, that Atlanta has the caliber of NHL team it deserves. The Thrashers are building through the draft. Only problem is that they are building other teams through the Thrashers draft. The Thrashers are, for all prcatical puposes, an IHL feeder team. Draft, develop the player and then trade him for other ‘prospects’. After Kovy leaves at the end of next season, the Thrashers won’t be far behind. At least an AHL team in Atlanta will have reasonable ticket prices. And, the same chance of winning the Stanley Cup that the Thrashers have under Waddell.

GaVaHokie

May 29th, 2009
8:15 am

A story about a good player coming to the Thrashers is a good story for the AJC. A story about a good player coming to the Thrashers who also happens to be black is a better story for them. Just the way it is.

… A story about a good player coming to the Thrashers who also happens to be black, AND is named after a local sports hero… is even better. It makes way too much sense.

GaVaHokie

May 29th, 2009
8:30 am

World be Free… I completely agree with your stance about pandering to African Americans, but at some point (like myself) you have to stand back and say “you know, this actually does make a little bit of sense”. And there is a right way to go about it, and I think the Evander Holyfield angle is the right one.

It’s completely different if you throw Evander Kane up on the billboards and say “Come get Jiggy with the Thrashers.” That’s insulting to the community AND the player.

I don’t think anything EVER has to be said about his color in any local newspaper article… people aren’t blind and stupid. They can see that he’s black and understand the significance. The only question that should be asked is “is he any good?” And the answer is “yes”.

Tim Ecclestone and Cliff Fletcher would want a big physical, fighting team in Atlanta? Well, how about a big black guy named Evander who scores goals and knocks people on their arses? I think that would play well to Atlanta audiences.

15 year plan

May 29th, 2009
8:31 am

Yep, building a team based on race and how a name sounds. Well, I guess that’s as good a plan as they’ve have since they came into the league.

GaVaHokie

May 29th, 2009
9:17 am

Yep, building a team based on race and how a name sounds. Well, I guess that’s as good a plan as they’ve have since they came into the league.

He’s a Top 5 prospect… it’s a matter of choosing one guy over another.

Both of your posts today are pretty weak.

Only problem is that they are building other teams through the Thrashers draft. The Thrashers are, for all prcatical puposes, an IHL feeder team. Draft, develop the player and then trade him for other ‘prospects’.

That doesn’t even make sense… like who?!

David

May 29th, 2009
10:52 am

Maybe waddell will show Kovalchuk how he needs that there are no better deals in the NHL!
like he did with Andrew Brunnette
or Marc Savard
or Marion Hossa

You Suck Don please quit now!

15 year plan

May 29th, 2009
12:38 pm

remember that Heatley and Coburn have also passed through ATL. Lucky for Waddell that he is a GM in one of these southeastern markets. Old time hockey towns would not have put up with 10 years of this misery. I guess to Waddell the idea of ‘let’s draft a black guy with a good name.’ probably sounds like a plan. Let’s just all forget about Savard, Heatley, Hossa, Coburn, Brunnette, on and on and on…. The rest of the league requests the Thrashers draft prudently (note: prudently is not a players name)…because if their draft pick is any good, he’ll be playing on a different team in a few years.

Brendan

May 29th, 2009
1:39 pm

The “CBA” problem I see is the elimination of the RFA contract for true draft phenoms. It used to be, a Top 5 prospect came into the league, on the capped rookie contract, three (3) years in length. Then he’s re-sign a 4-5 year deal, called his “RFA contract.” This is, precisely, what happened with respect to Kovalchuk. (Drafted in 2001. Re-signed in 2005, on a 5-year deal.) And then, 8-9 years after being drafted, the player would sign his first of potentially MANY UFA contracts.

Today, I’m not so sure that’s really the case anymore. When Bryan Little becomes an RFA on July 1, 2010, Atlanta must weigh how badly they want to retain Little beyond his regularly scheduled RFA status. What does that mean? Well, with something like 4 years of NHL experience and the age of 27, or six years of NHL experience, and the age of 25, a player can become UNRESTRICTED. Well, it’s something like this, anyway. I might not have that precisely correct, but you get the gist of it. The point is, players aren’t hitting that UFA contract status at 31 years of age anymore. They can become UNRESTRICTED as early at 25-26 years old.

So????

So, if you want to keep your “lottery draft pick phenom” beyond the age of 25-26, you’d better lock ‘im up when that 3-year capped rookie contract expires. PROACTIVELY, I might add. If you don’t, you’re likely remedy is the draft pick compensation from the team that offered that player an RFA offersheet. In the case of a $6-7 million-a-year offer, that’s four (4) 1st round draft picks. It’s a legal move, by poaching team. And if they successfully poach the player, they’d better hope they earn that desired success, because if they don’t, and wind up back in the lottery draft, the team they STOLE from gets to make that Top 5 draft pick. Ideally, the team that poached a player wins the Cup (with some frequency) with the coveted player, and only has to cough up pick #30 in the draft. And, really, who wouldn’t give up picks #25-30 for a proven commodity, can’t miss player, before he even hits his PRIME?

Allright then. Heatley was traded for a substitute player, and a throw-in defender, that Jeff Schultz told us would never re-sign here in Atlanta, back in 2005. Schultz turned out to be right. At the time, I’m not sure how much people would have really liked getting draft picks over a 40G, 40A, 80-points GUARANTEED-PER-YEAR Player. But I would have UNDERSTOOD IT.

What do I ALWAYS SAY?? C’mon now, you know this one. Don’t trade for players who DON’T WANT TO BE HERE. Take prospects and draft picks instead. Prospects and draft picks have to play for the team that drafts them or trades for them, just to ESTABLISH THEMSELVES at the NHL level. They will be properly motivated to play.

Anywho … I don’t like to watch Thrasher draft picks get away (Coburn, Heatley), unless they suck (Bourret), or fail to deliver as expected (Stefan). If Kari and Kovy did actually leave in 2010, I think it would embarrassing to the organization and would reflect a serious setback in terms of how to develop a franchise.

What are lottery draft picks for, if not to pour the FOUNDATION (Heatley) and cover the ROOF (Kovalchuk) of the House (Thrashers organization)? Mitigating circumstances occured. I understand that, as a “reasonable” person. But I never absolve accountability over results. If we allow “excuses” to enable poor results, then we deserve to fail. Everyone has an excuse. Excuses are like leaves on a tree. Some trees have lots of leaves. But few trees grow Hossas, Heatleys, and Kovalchuks. Which means losing them hurts a lot.

I think that was the point 15 year plan was making. If it’s any comfort, 15 year plan, from 1999-2002, Atlanta didn’t exactly stock the shelves of the NHL’s ranks with its drafting, beyond Heatley. Who else got away? Darcy Hordichuk … Tommi Santala … Simon Gamache … Jeff Dwyer? … I’m pretty nearing the end of the list. And these players didn’t set the world on fire. So, in the beginning, Atlanta wasn’t even good enough to be the NHL’s “farm system.” But it’s improving. If other teams successfully poach or trade for Pavelec, Little, Bogosian, Valabik, Enstrom, and whomever the Thrashers take 4th overall, those teams will be a little better off for having done it.

Viking

May 29th, 2009
3:12 pm

I believe the ethnic angle as something to consider for the draft is highly overvalued. While picking Kane would create some positive goodwill among african americans in the Atlanta area, I doubt that his presence on the team is enough to turn many in this market segment into hockey fans. In my opinion Kane’s skin color and his first name should be a non factor for the draft.

If we end up with someone else in the draft and to you who still think it is such a plus for the team to have a black guy in the line-up potentially causing more AJC coverage and less empty seats at Phillips:

While not being an “Evander” and only Swedish/Kenyan, Johnny Oduya is really worth going after for hockey reasons. He is a still young free agent defenseman that was paid only $600 000 by the Devils. So even with a substantial raise, he should not break the bank.

ranallo10 (in AT)

May 29th, 2009
3:32 pm

I’ll be surprised if New Jersey doesn’t lock up Oduya…but he’s obviously a valuable addition to any blueline. He was everywhere during the World Cup, very fun to watch.

Brendan

May 29th, 2009
3:41 pm

Oduya is one of my favorite NHL names, along with Dustin Byfuglien, T.J. Oshie, Kris Versteeg, Jonathan Toews, and Chris Campoli. Oh wait, I forgot another of my favorites, Brett Festerling. Gotta love that name! Tomas Vokoun is a classic name, too. Jim Vandemeer is another. Almost forgot Travis Zajac!! Then there’s the ever confusing Vitali Vishnevski and Lubomir Visnovsky. And Ben Guite. Sounds like something sophisticated. What is it? It’s a “guite,” didn’t you know? Oh riight. I knew that, on some level. Daymond Langkow. Great hockey name. And finally, Milan Lucic. Ya have to say it a few times, first. It’ll grow on you.

World Be Free

May 29th, 2009
9:08 pm

This team proved it was pretty good the second half of the year. If we can land a free and and draft Kane, we will be better.

Also, we have to lock up Kari for a long time. Make a commitment to a very good goaltender who was lights out the last 2 mos. of the season.

Kane is the 4th rated player and we have the 4th pick. I have to admit I did not know be was black until a few weeks ago. He climbed the ratings latter from the start of the season, which is a very good sign.

World Be Free

May 29th, 2009
9:16 pm

GAVaHokie-as much as we don’t want to admit it-

If the Thrashers draft Kane, the media will play up Kane for non-hockey reasons. Most of the media in Atlanta know so little about hockey, they simply will have nothing else to talk about.

We also have to consider that if Kane is drafted 4th, he will be the highest drafted African American ever. Iginla was an early first round pick of Dallas, but not 4th. I hope they draft him and he plays great so we can ceoncetrate oon what a great player he is.

Enough said, now let’s watch the pathetic Braves. Frank Wren needs to take as much heat as Thrash mngmt.

Tiago

May 30th, 2009
10:51 pm

Hello guys….

I’ve been thinking why thrashers follow gaborik. I know, it’s too much but it’s worth. Pick Kane up!

Kovalchuk – Kane – Gaborik
Kozlov – White – Little
Stuart – Reasoner – Parrish
Via trade – Peverley – Armstrong

Bogosian – Enstrom
Hainsey – Valabik
Salmela – Montador/Exelby

I like Lehtonen. he is not bad as many people think he are. He needs get two solid defense to help avoid goals and he can get his job well but he have to be healthy.

Ice Meister

May 31st, 2009
1:35 pm

Looks good Tiago, but I am concerned about putting an 18 year old center on the #1 line.

Gabby and Kovy would scare the heck out of the rest of the league.

Hijacker

May 31st, 2009
2:32 pm

1. I want no part of either glass-man, Havlat or Gaborik. Both are injury-prone and demand HUGE salaries.

2. Evander Kane is a winger.

Tiago

May 31st, 2009
5:22 pm

Hijacker
I know about Gaborik. My friend from Slovak told me before World Championship start that Gaborik is not 100% yet. The doctors told him to rest and he’ll grat for next season. There is no reason about worrying!

Ice Meister
It’s that why I would like to watch Kane playing in first line. He’s so young and Kovy and Gaborik can help him to develop so fast and it would be a great step for his career and thrashers of course.

Tiago

May 31st, 2009
5:40 pm

Hjacker

No, he is not. Kane is a center. Where did you see that?

Ice Meister

June 1st, 2009
6:42 pm

Tiago-any way you cut it, the Thrashers will be much better with Gabby and Kane on board. I still think he’s young, but the heck, give him a shot.

zakk

June 3rd, 2009
2:50 am

I think Schenn is the best pick. They’ve said they wanted to build a more physical team and kovy wants someone to play with i think schenn would be great he feeds the puck well. He also brings a physical aspect, maybe not right away but in the future when he bulks up he could do some damage. Kanes a great goal scorer but i think we have that with Kovy, little, kozlov, and Army. We need someone who can move the puck around and open up the ice, a good two way player. And so what if you could pick him up at 5,6, or 7. I don’t think it’s about the best player I think it’s about the best player for the Thrashers.

zakk

June 3rd, 2009
2:56 am

Hey Tiago

I was looking at those line up there you wouldn’t throw Boulton, Slater, or Thorburn in there. some guys who really can mix it up and get physical? why put a Slash on Ex?

Perrin asked for a trade last season has anyone heard anything about it, i know kovy asked them to trade around. And is all this talk about gaborik real I haven’t heard anything?

Tiago

June 5th, 2009
11:11 am

Hello Zakk

I don’t like much these guys, actually. Thrashers will get more physical game but it’s a huge problem for a team who were the worst in penalty killing situation. They won’t add more offense play, maybe Thorburn instead Parrish that he wants to go back for Dallas.

I don’t know anything about Thrashers offer a contract for perrin. Where would he play?

Thrashers need a guy who makes a huge impact in the team. Gaborik is perfect for that. He won’t come back to Minnesota. It’s a 100% thing. Thrashers intend to re-sign with Koby but he’ll just do that if Thrashers make the playoffs and I’m just not saying next season, it’s for a long time. Kovy wants to stay but they need a guarantee. So, Gaborik would help in that process.

Gaborik and Kovy would help Kane to develop faster.

Kane is a tremendous center. He plays agressively. He is a scorer. And he has a great physical play.

As Ice Meister said “Gabby and Kovy would scare the heck out of the rest of the league.”

What about Exelby? I said he can play along with Salmela. He can be useful against teams who are offensive strong and you can give a opportunity for montador who are better than exelby in offensive play and agains teams who are not offensive good (islanders, panthers, lightning, rangers, hurricanes and some western teams).

Other huge transation would be get a top defense like Boumeester but I think it’s really hard.

zakk

June 9th, 2009
2:22 am

You know I don’t think you would even have to go as big bouwmeester, but if we could grab someone like a Dustin Byfuglien not him exactly but a player similar it would up the physical play. and if we could possibly add a player like gaborik one more big physical player could round us out nicely esecially with our high draft pick who ever it bee.