3:19 pm July 7, 2009, by Chris Vivlamore
This just in: The Thrashers re-signed defenseman Nathan Oystrick and forward Joey Crabb on Tuesday.
I’ll get more details as they become available. Again, just wanted you to know first.
July 7th, 20093:34 pm
Good moves. Maybe Oystrick becomes the 7th D (instead of Kiwi). Crabb provides more competition for that 3rd line spot or a 4th line spot. (Please do not put Boulton and Thorburn in the same game..that should be one spot for the two of them.)
I can’t remember, how is Crabb’s PK skills? I like the make-up of the team. I like the depth. I like the youthful promise. I like still having that extra goalie. I UN-like the PK.
July 7th, 20094:18 pm
Crabb I get, but I was under the impression that they were going to let Oystrick find a starting job on someones third pairing.
July 7th, 20094:25 pm
I was suprised that Oystrick wasn’t re-signed earlier. He played at Don Waddell’s alma mater, Western Michigan. Darren Eliot called Oystrick “a revelation.” To which Don Waddell then opined, “I know Nathan Oystrick real well. I’m not surprised, at all, that he’d play well for us, if he got the chance.” That was November 2008, from a 2nd period intermission report during a game with Nashville, I think.
In any event, I’m glad to see it. I won’t claim Waddell showed favoritism to a fellow Michigander or alma mater, as I feel Oystrick legitimately deserves a spot, even if it’s 7th man. We need blueline depth. And Kiwi probably isn’t the best choice for 7th man.
I also like Crabb returning, since we lost Colin Stuart, with Exelby, in the Kubina trade, with Toronto.
July 7th, 20094:28 pm
I have to say it, DW’s offseason moves haven’t been disasterous. But, are they still enough to keep Kovalchuk? I have always contended that the time to appease/keep Kovalchuk was 2007, after the Rangers swept the Thrashers out of the playoffs. That was the time to clean house and retool. Two lottery draft finishes, at 76-points each, have netted us at least Evander Kane and Zach Bogosian. Probably more, in the form of Nicklaus Lasu, Daultan Leveille, and Zach Redmond, down the road. We also have a prospect named Eric O’Dell that is noteworthy, a 2nd rounder from 2008, acquired via trade with Anaheim for Erik Christensen.
July 7th, 20094:36 pm
I don’t get the Oystrick and Kiwi signings. Maybe one but not both.
I’m ok w/ Crabb as long as he plays 100% everytime out. At the tailend of his callup in midseason, he slacked off bigtime. I remember the last game he played and JA said before hand that his line was going to be a “checking line” and they ended up not having a single hit among the 3 of them. And we lost bigtime. Stuart played his heart out everytime out and the team responded because of it. Hopefully Crabb learned his lesson.
July 7th, 20095:23 pm
Yeah I can’t see why a guy (Crabb) not hustle every shift, especially since he was undrafted and is a borderline NHL’er so far. Given the current 12 forwards on the roster (not including the AHL’ers and rookies like Kane, Esposito, etc.), who do you think make up the 2-3 PK forward pairings. This is still a concern to me.
July 7th, 20095:40 pm
PK will be more about a new system than it will be the players. But with that being said, right now, I will say Reasoner/Pevs and Slater/White are the top. I know I just put all 4 centers as PK and I think Little will be used more on the PK this year. His presence on the first unit PP in the middle will be Antropov’s area this year. I don’t like Army on the PK and would use Slava sparingly. So that last forward spot will be crucial for the PK and I hope Crabb can deliver if he makes the team. I also predict seeing Kovy more on the PK in situations. He can do it if he puts his mind to it.
And it is my opinion, our dmen are much improved for PK this year. X was a liability and Kubina will be quite good if healthy on the PK. Boris will be much improved and I like Anssi a lot.
ranallo10 (in AT)
July 7th, 20095:43 pm
MashaPlayer7 — Crabb was drafted in the 7th round in 2002, by the New York Rangers. I know it’s not very different than going undrafted, but technically it is. Krog was undrafted, maybe that’s who you’re thinking of?
BAF — Oystrick and Kwiatkowski are known commodities that want to play in Atlanta, and should be of the understanding coming in that they have little chance of making the starting six coming out of camp. They’re depth, and one of them will be playing in Chicago at the beginning of the season. By signing both it allows an injury callup who has NHL experience with this club, but is still suited for 7th defender duties during that callup.
I know there are much better depth signings that could be made, but looking at this roster would you rather Scott Lehman be called up to replace an injured defender, or Joel Kwiatkowski? Personally I’d prefer Kwiatkowski between the two, unless the injury is a long term one at which time I’d prefer seeing Kulda or Lewis get a long NHL look (i.e. ice time, not press box time).
July 7th, 20095:46 pm
Sorry to be a downer but I’m not sure why there’s so much optimism regarding Kubina improving the PK. As the healthiest defender for a rather poor defensive team he was the 5th or 6th defender in shorthanded time on ice. If Toronto didn’t entrust much PK time to one of their best three defenders (Kaberle, Schenn, Kubina), what should make me think he’ll play that role admirably in Atlanta?
July 7th, 20095:47 pm
Did they sign two way contracts?
Your logic makes sense but I like using the 7th spot as developing a youngster and has been one of the big problems with the Thrashers in the past. We haven’t developed our players properly. Last year was the first time with Boris and I think we will see it payoff big time this year.
July 7th, 20095:49 pm
I’m totally disregarding anyone and everyone playing on that horrendous mess of a team the Maple Leaf’s put on the ice last year.
Going back to TB, I recall Kubina being quite good on the PK in Tort’s system. I’m hoping it will be the same but you are right. The proof will be in the pudding.
July 7th, 20096:02 pm
BRENDAN – Just to set the record straight. Waddell and Oystrick attended NORTHERN Michigan University in Marquette in the Upper Pennisula of Michigan, not Western Michigan in Kalamazoo.
July 7th, 20096:13 pm
Happy with both of these signings. I thought Oystrick played better than most fans gave him credit for, and look forward to him battling for a spot in the third pairing (though I won’t be too upset if Salmella and Boris beat him out).
BAF, I’m surprised to hear about Crabb coasting. I only remember him going all out, though I’m sure I missed a few games here and there. I agree with the general sentiment, though, that someone in his position doesn’t have the luxury to take off any shifts.
I’ll be interested to see if Antropov gets any PK time. I’ve seen comments that he’s quite good in that role, though I can’t say I’ve noticed him playing on the PK during our games against TOR. Oh, and I would like to see us play more aggressively on the PK. We were far too passive last season (and seasons past), basically sitting back while the other team ran their system, with us hoping the puck would bounce our way so we could get a clear. The better units seem to pressure the puck and force turnovers, though it’s also a case of having the talent to do so.
July 7th, 20096:17 pm
I’m so glad to hear this news, especially for Oystrick. He showed so much guts and heart last season. He had improved play and I thought he played very well in all situations. Even if he’s a 7th dman thats alright. I really liked Crabb too, but he’s got to bring it 110% every game. You could tell a couple of games he kinda backed off his intensity and hustle and was sat down for it.
July 7th, 20096:25 pm
Some good signings here to back up and deepen the squad,
but not nearly enough to get to the playoffs. We need more scoring and there are still a few decent UFA’s out there.
July 7th, 20096:50 pm
Happy as hell to see Crabb and “Rocky Mtn” Oystrick back on the Thrashers roster menu! Hopefully, Crabb got the message from JA about how hard he needs to work in order to stay up with the big club. I still think he is a better option than both Boulton and Thorburn when it comes to lower line “energy” players as he seems to have more skill. I don’t think we’ll see Crabb fighting too much though.
As for Oystrick, I was beginning to wonder what was happening with him. Very happy to see him back with the club as he seemed to play much better after he wasn’t “saddled” with the free-lancing Schneider on his pairing. He obviously understands JA’s system quite well and brings a bit of an edge to the blueline; I recall at least 2 instances were he dropped gloves and fought admirably on the ice.
Good luck Joey and Nate! We’re gonna need ya!
July 7th, 20096:53 pm
What makes you think the team needs more scoring? They scored about 2 points less than San Jose did last season…scoring wasn’t the problem, but rather keeping the opponents from scoring was. That’s why I don’t disagree with claims that the PK needs improvement. The PK was one of the glaring deficiencies this team had last season, along with poor defending in general (for defenders and forwards).
July 7th, 20097:10 pm
Even Ben Wright on the BlueLand Blog discusses Crabb’s effort consistency. And if I recall, the second time he was called up he was interviewed between periods and spoke about wearing down a little and not going all out.
July 7th, 20097:48 pm
Touchy as usual ranallo ???? Surprised you cannot see it…
Sage of Blueland
July 7th, 20097:49 pm
Has Sage showed up to whine yet?
World Be Free
July 7th, 20098:05 pm
I have to agree with LAC-I like the depth signings, but we need more NHL caliber players. Sorry to be a broken record here folks, but we need depth to get through the dog days on winter. January, February when guys get tired and the nagging injuring take hold.
I kept pushing for Todd Marchant; T-M resigned with the Ducks today, I guess they believed in him.
Sage, you have been quiet; and that’s a good thing…….
Glad to see Woody hit the road.
July 7th, 20098:10 pm
Very upset, damn Michael Jackson memorial was on today; I was looking for the Billy Mays memorial. I miss Billy more than I will ever miss that little girl Michelle Jackson.
He should play for the Leafs.
It was a question LAC, usually I ask them because I’d like to know more about one’s opinion…not everything directed at you is confrontational.
I’d really like to know why you think the team needs MORE offense, considering how we both have noticed their NHL ranking last season (especially in comparison to playoff bound teams).
July 7th, 20099:55 pm
I like both these signings as well. Crabb did look as though he was worn down,which shouldn’t be a surprise being a rookie.
I too was hoping for Marchant to play LW on the 3rd line,as he is very flexible and could’ve been a real “utility” forward for us. I think (could be wrong),but Belanger might be available still. Another “utility” forward who can play C/Winger and help the PK. I don’t wanna see ALL our centers out there killing penalties,draining them from the offensive end when they need it most. O, and someone else for that LW 3RD LINE spot… Afinogenov?
Oystrick, would’ve liked Woywitka as a stay at home d-man who plays a good physical game but Oystrick is a better puck mover forsure(with his stick and skates). I wouldn’t mind him being that 6th-7th d-man at all though. He had some pretty good games last year with us and can scrap,play physical.
LAC- sorry brother but scoring shouldn’t be a problem this season. Take into account Bogo missing so much time and Kubina can also score from the blueline(unlike X). Then throw in Antropov and a full season with decent icetime for Pevs…… we are looking pretty good. What we need the most is the “team” defense they played more consistently of down the stretch last seaosn after Kovy was named captain.
July 7th, 200910:28 pm
But Kalamazoo sounds much cooler. Just like Nantucket. Everything rhymes better with it.
July 7th, 200911:45 pm
Just to be clear what would the waiver rule for Crabb and Oystric be if they did not make the team or got sent down once the season starts.
And could they end up having to send down Boris or Little so they did not have to place Crabb or Oystric on waivers
July 8th, 20091:15 am
It`s going to be interesting to see how the roster unfolds. Keeping Oystrick sounds good, but my prediction is JA/DW will see that Boris and Salmela will be given the best shot to be the 5&6 Defense pairing. It`s really theirs to lose. However, a training camp injury, or a last minute waiver pick-up could figure in the mix as well. Also, we are very left-handed on the D and could use a righty if another Dman is added. (Somebody with a disposition of a Ty Domi)?
July 8th, 20093:39 am
Bogosian and Kubina are righties and will both be on the powerplay. I’m not sure why another rightie is necessary.
July 8th, 20096:25 am
Got to remember that the Chicago Wolves is not a Thrasher owned subsidiary. Competing as the low cost alternative when the Black Hawks sucked was easy, but now that they have caught the eye of the city, the Wolves have to have a top level AHL product or will suffer. The depth is both for the Thrashers and also to make sure the Wolves are ultra competitive, otherwise their management will stop focusing on developing the Thrashers players and will focus on their own needs.
Waddell is just feeding the beast right now.
July 8th, 20097:15 am
Eh…yawn. I guess that’s what you get for an exciting FA with extra spending…
July 8th, 200910:35 am
Ranallo – thanks for the correction re: Crabb draft status. I was thinking about that error last night. Got to give credit where it’s due – being drafted 7th is still better than not being drafted at all. I am rooting for the guy–he may be the perfect candidate on that 3rd line..so long as he can play the off-wing.
July 8th, 200910:54 am
July 8th, 200911:08 am
In no system is the AHL team strictly a prospect development vehicle, and last year Chicago suffered a lot from their development role relative to Atlanta. I’m assuming that Krog and Kiwi were signed with the expectation of returning there. They’re both very good players at that level, and inadequate to spend whole seasons in the NHL. Plus they provide stability to that team.
As for Oystrick and Crabb, I am very glad we resigned Oystrick.Crabb is ok, as well — he can play very well when he’s on, but needs to work on his consistency and speed. Oystrick is a very physical player with good hands and speed (for his position). He fights, and his instincts are solid. I doubt he’d ever be a top pairing guy, but he’s already a solid third-pairing guy and could improve a little. He’s very dependable, which is a great quality in a unit that is shifting rookies and unknown quantities in and out. Incidentally, he was only a -1 over the last season, in which he played 40 games. He doesn’t have much scoring ability, but is a solid, non-flashy choice.
July 8th, 200911:14 am
Both of those players suck though. We need Scoring.
July 8th, 200911:16 am
“I have to agree with LAC-I like the depth signings, but we need more NHL caliber players. Sorry to be a broken record here folks, but we need depth to get through the dog days on winter. January, February when guys get tired and the nagging injuring take hold.”
July 8th, 200911:17 am
Waddell signs 2 guys, and he’s already back to his old tricks. Sigh.
July 8th, 200911:33 am
P.S. Crabb’s great on the PK. Oystrick is o.k. on the PK.
And we don’t need scoring as much as we need D and PK.
That’s great DW but where are the top tier linemates for Kovy??!!
Does Waddell realize that if he does not get anyone and Kovy leaves the Thrashers then that will be his legacy in Atlanta?
July 8th, 200911:45 am
Mike M., that’s a good question. I wish I knew remember the answer. My “feeling” is that both Crabb and Oystrick can be claimed off waivers, if demoted to Chicago. My guess is that they’re not protected. I don’t even think Bryan Little could be demoted without being subjected to a waiver claim, unless it’s to recover from an injury, for conditioning purposes. But I could be wrong. He might have one more year of waiver-claim protection. What year did we draft him? Wasn’t it 2006?
July 8th, 200911:46 am
I’m just saying, I don’t think Don has done enough to get Kovy to stay. Kubina leaves after this season anyways.
July 8th, 200911:47 am
Signing Kiwi, Crabb, and Thornburn are not gonna get Kovy to stay. Sorry, it’s just totally obvious. Who does he think he is kidding?
July 8th, 200911:54 am
gcs, I don’t think Waddell cares about his legacy anymore. It’s already at 7 of 9 in the bottom third of the Conference, with no CF berths after six trips to the lottery draft and owning 8 Top Ten overall picks. He’s just hanging on to a job. And his defense will be, “I’d like to see you, or anyone, do better with the budgets I’ve had.” And if Kovalchuk leaves, the pundits will opine, “If you were Kovalchuk, wouldn’t you leave? Look how the team is run. They don’t spend money. They don’t have accountability over results. They don’t have an identity, more than a decade into their existence. Same scouts. Same GM. Coming up on the sixth year of the same owners. Head Coach is the one position that seems to have some turnover.
Aren’t excuses wonderful? They’re like leaves on a tree, and every tree’s got ‘em. Some more than others.
July 8th, 200912:29 pm
Brendan — And what will the pundits say if Kovalchuk re-signs? I’m guessing they’ll give Dudley all of the credit.
July 8th, 200912:34 pm
Don Waddell’s is alumni of Northern Michigan Unversity so is Nathan Oystrick.
July 8th, 20091:16 pm
I think we’ve cleared up where Don’s alumni is. And thank goodness for that. Because it changed virtually every aspect of the organization and its offseason machinations. Had it been Western Michigan, in Kalamazoo, well … I can’t even begin to tell you how radically altering it would be. Whew. Dodged that bullet. And now, I see a bluebird out the window. Let’s all look at it. Oh, it flew away. Of all the luck.
Ranallo (in AT), the pundits would probably say Kovalchuk made a mistake, unless the contract is 4 years or less. Or they’ll say Atlanta overpaid. Which again, if fiiiine, because of its market situation. That’s “situation as expected.” Kovalchuk’s stated objective is to win the Stanley Cup. My $0.02 on that, I honestly believe Kovalchuk wants to win that Stanley Cup in Atlanta, where he can be paid fantastically and remain relatively anonymous. But he may find that the resources just aren’t there for a prolonged run at a Cup, and opt for a richer market. Shrugs. I don’t know. I’ve never spoken to Kovalchuk. Ever. Therefore, I cannot know his intentions, outside of media outlets. If Atlanta showed him a serious commitment towards winning the Cup, from now going forward, for the rest of his career, I think Kovalchuk would be happy with that. Is that “likely?” Where’s the budget right now? And where’s it headed? Is it going past $48 million? Will it ever be within $3 million of $56.8 million, the very limit permitted? Spending, CLEARLY, doesn’t guarantee success. Everyone’s got their favorite BIG SPENDER FAILURE to reference at moments like these. Take your pick of them. But budget does speak to INTENT. It does. What’s Kovalchuk supposed to think of $48 million? $8 million under the cap, on Opening Night? Is that gunning for the Cup? Is that fielding best roster that is able to be assembled? Time will tell. The ball is still in their court. And there are STILL un-signed UFA’s that could help us. But are any of them Kovalchuk’s personal choice? If so, I think the ownership and Waddell/Dudley knows what it has to do.
July 8th, 20091:22 pm
Speaking of Waddell’s supposed Michigan bias, he missed out on David Booth in the 2004 draft class (2nd round pick from Michigan State; Atlanta picked Grant Lewis 13 picks prior). Watching him in Florida makes me like the kid but hate that he’s on a division rival.
Same old whining here
July 8th, 20091:24 pm
So far our top 6 forwards look like:
That looks pretty darn good. With Reasoner and Army on the checking line where is a high quality FA going to be put other than that open spot on the checking line? Peverly and White are probably the 2 weakest ones of those top 6 and White showed he can play in JA’s system and Peverley was a point-per-game player with us. A big name free agent won’t come here or any other team to play on the 3rd line. Who are we going to get that is going to be worth an extra $4 million/year to play over any of our current top six?
July 8th, 20091:35 pm
Crabb gets a lot of ink for a 4th liner who isn’t tough at all. People act like he has a skill by throwing some hits, and he did tail off as expected. It’s the same mediocrity people are used to here, it’s accepted because that’s all the fans here have been treated to. Joey Crabb, hustle or not does not make many NHL rosters other than this one, yet people here are happy he he is re-signed. I’d rather have a player that’s better. Then again people here like Slater in the same way, and he sucks also. Mediocrity.
Oyster is a solid fill in, he’ll push Valabik for that 7th spot and is there in case of injuries. Keep Kiwi on the Wolves, I didn’t see anything special from him last year.
July 8th, 20091:55 pm
I think Oystrick is a legit signing, for 7th man on defense. Didn’t Booth just get a new contract with Florida? I like him. Grant Lewis could still turn into something decent down the road.
Most of the big name free agents are gone. Well, it is July 8th overall. Who thinks that July 8th is the “Frenzy?” All right then. There are names still out there … that are a gamble. You’ll see comment by their name, “Risky, but if healthy, could still contribute. Or be an excellent mentor.” Or you’ll these comments, “For the right price, this could be a fine addition to the bottom six.” Again, this is where a savvy GM knows when and where to gamble vs. standing pat. GM’s don’t want to pay for crap. It’s RIGHT not to pay … for crap. Is “crap” all that’s left? I wouldn’t say so. There are still secondary players worth having.
July 8th, 20092:04 pm
Koivu is Duck now. One year – $3.25.
AJC hockey beat writer Chris Vivlamore\'s perspective on the Atlanta Thrashers
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