Final day of prospect camp … Lehtonen signs

Kari Lehtonen accepted his one-year qualifying offer from the Thrashers on Wednesday, the deadline for him to accept the deal.
Lehtonen, the Thrashers No. 1 goaltender, is a restricted free agent. He joins Jim Slater as Thrashers RFAs to accept their qualifying offer.
Colby Armstrong did not accept his offer and will go to arbitration later this month.

The six-day run is prospect camp is over. I will let Rawhide moderate your conversation about the schedule coming out. Tough start. Tampa Bay at home, five road games, and then Washington, San Jose and Washington.

Just finished the final 4-on-4 scrimmage. White Team finally won, 6-2.

The goal scorers:

White: Eric O’Dell, Jimmy Bubnick (2), Levko Koper, Daultan Leveille and Evander Kane

Blue: Doug Jones and Carl Klingberg

I have gathered some information for blogs later in the month. Also, had a sitdown with John Anderson, so I will have that soon.

98 comments Add your comment

Brendan

July 15th, 2009
5:17 pm

Well, it’s good to know Kari is under contract, and won’t be a holdout. Now, let’s see if he winds up traded at some point this season. If the organization is going to retain him beyond this season, I’d look for negotiations to start sometime in January for a contract extension. I know. “Waddell doesn’t negotiate contracts during the season.” Perhaps, he’d make an exception?

LAC

July 15th, 2009
5:28 pm

Barry Trotz Nashville coach, had some NICE comments about the Thrashers in the Nashville website…. This in connection with the schedule
released today where we again, as we should every year, play home & home against Nashville…

Sage of Blueland

July 15th, 2009
5:58 pm

Looks like Donny has mailed it in by signing Letemin. I’m sure stendec is pleased, along with the other sheep-humpers.

Brendan

July 15th, 2009
6:02 pm

Vivlamore, did you happen to catch the dollar value of the contract?

Jared

July 15th, 2009
6:08 pm

Stendec isn’t around yet? Ok… umm, in a nutshell: Contract, caps lock, untalanted Finn, caps lock caps lock, loser, caps lock, Letemin, Caps lock, caps lock, more caps lock.

Adam

July 15th, 2009
6:30 pm

What’s Pavelec going to do first? Give up 5 easy goals in a game? Or ask for a trade?

GaVaHokie

July 15th, 2009
8:21 pm

Still means nothing… we qualified him to retain his rights, today was the deadline… he accepted the one-year offer. He can still be traded.

This is the point where trade speculation should be even BIGGER, because he’s not a hold out… he’s not going to arbitration… he’s under contract… no drama for whoever gets him.

I’m still hoping he stays… I don’t want to see any of the goalies delt…just saying… Kari accepting his qualifying offer means nothing.

Tom

July 15th, 2009
9:10 pm

Sources told ESPN.com’s Scott Burnside that the one-year deal is worth $3 million.

Now lets play lets make a deal with one of our Goalies.

World Be Free

July 15th, 2009
10:41 pm

Pavs gotta go-I have not seen him have a difference at the NHL level. Maybe someone will buy into his potential.

Back folks, went to Cooperstown on Monday for some baseball royalty. Great weather, in the low 70’s, sunny and breezy.

Back to hockey

TheFan79

July 16th, 2009
8:23 am

Well you have to take a look at last season.Kari was facing over 30+ shots every night.I have to say that i enjoy watching Kari playing for the ATL.I hope they sign him long term .

Toby

July 16th, 2009
8:59 am

I hope Moose is the odd man out…His play really deteriorated last year.

Hurry up and sign Kovy!!!!!!!!!!

Toby

July 16th, 2009
9:34 am

Looks like we can take Army off that to-do list…

1 yr/ $2.4

http://hfboards.com/showthread.php?t=664093

Brendan

July 16th, 2009
9:34 am

I do wonder if Waddell wants to wait. Yeah, I know, I criticize Waddell over proscrination like no other. But hear me out. Let’s say it’s Halloween. And a really good team has a goaltender injury, or injuries, plural. And the injuries will keep their starter, or tandem, out for 3-5 months. Such that they need immediate help. Translation: They’re willing to act desperately. With a surplus of goalies, in theory, Waddell says, “Pick whichever one you want. But each one carries a different set of price tags.” So, why not wait? See how the season is shaping up, first. You’ve the Thrashers “health report” on goalies since the CBA. If any team needs to have depth in goal, it’s Atlanta. If you’re of the persuasion that you’re just to itchy not to pull the trigger NOW, read on.

Which goalie brings forth the highest return? I’ll go ahead and take Moose off the list. Though, I’ll say this for Hedberg. If Moose’s trade nets us a 3rd or 4th line player, that’s a higher yield than had Waddell traded him at the draft for a 6th or 7th round pick. I’d chalk that up as a win. But I digress. Pavelec, and his potential, or Lehtonen, and his mental and groin deficiencies?

It’s not really an easy call. I’m not asking which one you like better. I’m asking you … which one will bring a better trade for Atlanta? Follow up question, if the return is “too low,” why trade either one? Especially if this really turns out to be Year Three of a Four Year building project?

Brendan

July 16th, 2009
9:41 am

If that Armstrong deal really is finalized, why didn’t the organization press for more years? Does Armstrong want out? He’s a UFA next year. He’s another guy … that potentially … we’d have to move at the trade deadline if things aren’t going well. Grabbing the calculator, that makes our pending 2010 UFA list … Kovalchuk, Lehtonen, Armstrong, Kozlov. Hmmn. Better be a terrific year at Blueland. Or Don might have to be the most wheelingest, dealingest GM at the deadline. (”Well, Kozlov will re-sign as a UFA.” Fine! RENT ‘IM!, if that’s the case.)

Alan

July 16th, 2009
9:43 am

Looks like Armstrong accepted the QO. I assume that has to be the case, because I can’t see us just negotiating a one year deal for him.

Ice Dog

July 16th, 2009
10:16 am

If I had to pick, I would want Lehtonen to go. Pavelec has the upside and Lehtonen spends too much time in the trainer’s room. I don’t think anyone will want Hedberg. But with the glut of goalies out there unsigned it will be hard to move any of our three. Glad to see Armstrong resigned. Perfect on the 3rd line and can sub for a few games here or there on the 2nd line if need be.

ThrasherNY

July 16th, 2009
10:34 am

I dont see moving a goalie as a good move at this point in time. If you trade Pavs you are counting on Lehts to be healthy which has failed us before. If you move Lehts you are counting on an unproven goalie to carry a make or break season. Say what you may about Lehts but I do look at his performance as above average in light of the defense played in front of him. Three goalies isn’t one to many if you look at our history it is two to little. I know that was doomsday season but still it gives me nightmares.

I think Brendan has this nailed. You keep all three to start the season which has all of them pushing each other to higher performance. Kari’s history says his injuries show themselves early in the season and so if you make it 25 games in and then someone is offering a better return maybe you move one to bring in a custom fit asset to where we have discovered we are weak. I dont think anyone thinks we are moving them in a trade for a top liner and we have a multitude of pieces on the 3rd and 4th line to assess in the first part of the season. That being said my comments would be different if trading either could get a top line talent but I just dont see it in this UFA market.

Ice Dog

July 16th, 2009
10:56 am

“Well you have to take a look at last season.Kari was facing over 30+ shots every night.”

Time to debunk this cliche. If you take the 44 NHL goalies who played at least 1,500 minutes last season, yes Lehtonen faced over 30 shots per game played. But 13 out of those 44 of the goalies faced over 30 shots per game played. 25 out of 44 faced over 28 shots per game played. 42 out of 44 faced 26 shots per game played. 44 out of 44 faced 25 shots per game played. So Lehtonen isn’t that far off from the rest of the league (are we going to cry over 2-4 shots per game?)

Instead of crying for Lehtonen because he faced 32.5 shots per game and had a .911 sv%, let’s appreciate the 7 goalies who faced 31+ shots per game and had a sv% between .915 to .933

Or, the 3 goalies who faced 29.5 to 30.1 shots per game and had a sv% better than Lehtonen. Or the 6 goalies who faced 28+ shots per game and had a better sv% than Lehtonen. That’s 16 goalies who faced the same or only 4 less shots per game than Lehtonen but had a better sv%.

Sorry to go Stendec on you but let’s look at ALL the stats instead of just quoting one stat.

NASCAR Dave

July 16th, 2009
12:11 pm

@ Ice Dog (10:56)
THANKS!!! Good post!!!

dwayne

July 16th, 2009
12:11 pm

good point icedog, but I do not know what the quality was like of the shots faced by other goalies. I do, however know the quality of shots that were fired at KL nite after nite after nite. I did see the passive, ole’ style of D that helped cause some of those shots too. I’d like to watch more hockey, but I really do not care to watch anyone else. Stats do not tell the real story. I’m just hoping that our WHOLE team steps up this year and we have someone else to blame for losses.

GaVaHokie

July 16th, 2009
12:12 pm

The wording seems different on Armstrong versus Lehtonen… “Lehtonen resigns with Thrashes”… “Thrashers come to terms with Armstrong”

It would sound like there was some negotiating in the Armstrong deal, but I guess we’ll have to wait “per team policy” until nhlnumbers.com finds out what the deal is.

GaVaHokie

July 16th, 2009
12:46 pm

Okay… Vivlamore’s article says it’s a one-year deal but it was not the qualifying offer.

Perhaps they see Armstrong leaving next summer to make room for guys like Espo and Machachek

World Be Free

July 16th, 2009
12:46 pm

I am warming to the idea of keeping all 3 goalies to start the season. Not sure how much The Moose has left in the tank. Let Kari and Pavs fight it out for No. 1 and let the best goalie win.

ranallo10 (in AT)

July 16th, 2009
12:47 pm

Hokie — The wording seems accurate. Lehtonen accepted the qualifying offer, wher as Armstrong apparently negotiated this current contract (the deadline to accept the qualifying offer was yesterday).

dwayne

July 16th, 2009
1:09 pm

With KL and CA signed, who’s gonna be the first to throw out the opening night lines?

ThrasherNY

July 16th, 2009
1:19 pm

*Ice Dog — You are saying that a 8%-15% increase in shot volume is not material to a goalies stats? I think goalies everywhere would beg to differ. I would agree that Kari’s 32.5 with a .911 sv% likely isnt a .920%+ effort even if magically adjusted for but to marginalize up to 4 extra shots per night EVERY night just doesnt jive for me.

I would also challenge that having one of the highest SOGs in the league is surely an indication of more than just generic shot volume. I dont think it is a stretch to infer from this telling sign of a lack of defense that a higher percentage of the 32.5 were “quality shots” like dwayne points out. Also this is an average across 46 games and I dont have the stats but my gut (from watching lots of the games) tells me that a greater percentage of his GA occurred when he was seeing the high end of this curve and sometimes getting no support while being exhausted.

Barring Kari’s injury history he is a quality goaltender and a valuable asset to the franchise. Is he a top five guy if you move him into a better defensive system, likely not, but my gut tells me his save % would increase and he would start to look a lot like the Ryan Miller’s and Henrik Lundqvist’s who are seen as prized assets to there respective teams.

Ice Dog

July 16th, 2009
1:24 pm

“good point icedog, but I do not know what the quality was like of the shots faced by other goalies. I do, however know the quality of shots that were fired at KL nite after nite after nite.”

Dwayne, I really don’t think Lehtonen had it that much harder while guys like MacDonald, Anderson, Vokoun, Smith, Roloson, Gerber, Bryzgalov, Danis and Miller all faced over 30 shots per game and played for teams that didn’t qualify for the playoffs. Of those 9 goalies, all had a sv% over .900 and only 3 were under .910 (Lehtonen was .911).

And if you are going to play the subjective card of “he faced tougher shots” then you also have to find a way to measure “who let in more softies” or “who let in more goals at crucial points in the game”. I’m sure Stendec will be on here with that analysis.

Ice Dog

July 16th, 2009
1:33 pm

ThrasherNY, explain this for me. Lehtonen faced 32.5 shots per game over a span of 46 games and yes he is at the top of the list. But one of those other 44 goalies was Johan Hedberg. But he only faced 26.5 shots per game played over a span of 33 games and was at the bottom of the list (#39 out of 44).

So why are we blaming the system or the team in front of Lehtonen? Hedberg in his 33 games faced 6 less shots per game behind the same team that Lehtonen played behind in his 46 games.

dwayne

July 16th, 2009
1:42 pm

Go Thrashers!!!! Don and Rick for GM’s of the Year!!!

kracker

July 16th, 2009
2:03 pm

Somebody w/ the time (I’m at work) and the inclination can run the sog faced by Lehtonen in the games he played in the first two thirds of the season vs when the team raised their level of play in mid-February on the West Coast trip. I think he still faced plenty of shots but not as many as earlier in the year, averaging 32.5 for his whole season. Keeping the puck in the other end for an extra minute or two helps your goalie a lot.

Smoothie

July 16th, 2009
2:07 pm

Ice Dog, Hedberg’s rebound control could overall be better than Lehtonen’s on average. However, before his “injury” in March against the Rangers, Lehtonen seemed to be doing a better job of battling when he was out of position and seemed more comfortable coming out to the top of the paint to challenge shooters.

He probably still needs to work on rebound control, but I think there is credence to the theory that he faces a higher percentage of quality shots than Hedberg (and other starters for that matter) as the team seems to take more chances offensively knowing that Kari is typically very good in odd-man rush situations.

Also, don’t discount the value of Hedberg’s stick-handling as he prevents a lot of pucks getting pinned in the corner thus leading to extended possession, cycling and eventually scoring chances.

There are so many factors going into these stats, but the fact remains, Kari has the potential to be an elite goaltender in this league. The onus is now on him once again to prove it once and for all that he can be a consistent force night in and night out that can “steal” wins when the team is outplayed.

kracker

July 16th, 2009
2:10 pm

A lot of teams fall into the ‘backup goalie syndrome’ where they almost inevitably feel they are sort of fortunate to be facing the backup goalie – often a past-prime vet or an untested youngster. Frequently it goes the other way (it sure does for the Thrashers!) where the other team covers for their backup with some extra effort, especially if he is of the young kid variety.

Viking

July 16th, 2009
2:17 pm

Ice Dog, while I strongly believe we need to keep Kari (and the other two goalies), my immediate reaction to “the Hedberg/ Lehtonen shot discrepancy” would be rebound control.

Without too much thought behind my belief, I think Hedberg is good at capturing or otherwise getting the puck out of harms way, which is Lehtonen’s weakest side.

Since I am a stat freak in some ways and if possible would like to base my thoughts on them, where did you get the stats?

By the way, I am a gambling lifetime winner, using stats as the foundation for my thoughts. In Sweden, you can go to the grocery store and gamble!

Ice Dog

July 16th, 2009
2:20 pm

Thanks Smoothie, I was leading up to the rebound control. Anyone watching this team knows that Lehtonen gives up way too many rebounds which is actually why his totals are higher than most the league. Some of the other things offered up by you and Kracker make sense but don’t explain a 6 shot difference. We also get into that subjective area.

All in all, I hope we can stop with the “but Kari faces 30+ shots” posts after looking at the rest of the facts. Also, I don’t deny his ability but it would be great if he can stay healthy.

LAC

July 16th, 2009
2:22 pm

Armstrong was the final of the Thrashers’ unrestricted free agents.
Quote from AJC…

Armstrong was a Restricted Free Agent, as were slater and Lethonen,
so need to correct that Chris…

ThrasherNY

July 16th, 2009
2:25 pm

Ice Dog — I was not aware of that stat and it does make a material difference in my train of thought. I am trying to cull back through my memory to think if Kari played more “A” teams vs Moose as he is our #1; that kinda feels right but the magnitude of that difference tells me it cant be the entire story. Rebound control is the logical answer and that seems to make sense from watching the two in action but still I wouldnt have thought 6+ shots difference.

I will be the first to admit that I dont have a definitive read on Kari as our D has been lacking every season and he is often injured. Maybe I am letting my Thrasher pride cloud my judgement? My gut still tells me this kid could be .915%+ goalie with a better defense in front of him. Since I see this seasons blueline unit as being a big upgrade and at the very least a par unit I guess I can look forward to the season to prove me right or wrong. God willing Kari stays healthy and of course assuming he is not traded.

Ice Dog

July 16th, 2009
2:26 pm

Viking, any sports website will have the stats, you just need to be able to dump them into a modeling table to get the results so you spend 5 minutes on it and not all afternoon.

Ice Dog

July 16th, 2009
2:35 pm

ThrasherNY, I’ll say it again. Outside of Stendec I don’t think anyone doubts Lehtonen’s ability. But he does us no good in the trainer’s room for half the season. Given his stats in Chicago are roughly equal to Pavelec’s stats in Chicago, it creates the perfect storm to take a more serious look at Pavelec. I would take a decent return for him in a heartbeat and go with Pavelec/Moose for this year. Heck, I would even consider signing Biron with Pavelec (let’s face it, Moose is done after this year). Whoever had the “wait and see” approach by keeping all 3 and then taking whatever offer comes between now and the trade deadline seems to be a good strategy. And once the season starts we may have a whole new set of opinions based on the latest lineup and one of these goalies may skyrocket out of the gate.

Alan

July 16th, 2009
2:40 pm

LAC, actually, Armstrong was a restricted free agent signing. He will be unrestricted next off-season.

NASCAR Dave

July 16th, 2009
2:48 pm

Thats what LAC is saying Alan… The writer guy wrote it wrong (snicker)

Viking

July 16th, 2009
2:51 pm

Ice Dog, “Given his stats in Chicago are roughly equal to Pavelec’s stats in Chicago”;

Since NHL forwards should be considered better at scoring, wouldn’t this talk in favor of Lehtonen?

Viking

July 16th, 2009
2:53 pm

Keep all three!

Ice Dog

July 16th, 2009
3:02 pm

Viking, I saw a comparison once of Lehtonen’s stats while he was in Chicago (I would guess somewhere between the years 2002-2005) versus Pavelec’s stats in Chicago from say 2006 to now and they were quite similar. Before you ask I don’t know where to get AHL stats, somebody else dug this up.

So you are comparing them both against AHL forwards while they were both in their early 20’s. Not comparing them against each other right now, one in the NHL and one in the AHL. Sorry for that confusion. But the point being is that you have to think that Pavelec would have just as much “potential” as Lehtonen does in that respect and he is not as injury prone nor do you have the fear that he might not peak as Lehtonen has already played in the NHL for a few years and yet to hit his full stride.

I hope that makes it more clearer, I can see how I didn’t spell that out easy enough. And it’s also a very debatable argument. But something we can chew on while waiting for the first puck to drop, eh, waiting for camp to start.

Alan

July 16th, 2009
3:28 pm

Thats what LAC is saying Alan

I’ve been knee-deep in some stuff here at work, so I probably should have paid more attention.

Sara

July 16th, 2009
3:40 pm

Re: Kari – his SV% has been above .910 the last two seasons – .916 the season before and .912 in 2006-2007. Two years ago Kari ranked 15th in SV% out of all goalies on a team that finished 28th in the League. There is zero question he has the ability. True his rebound control needs some work but few goalies are perfect and I don’t think he gets the calibre of one-on-one coaching that he should either.

As for the impact of the team…I can tell you from looking at the ESPN game stats last season a lot that the Thrashers give up crap-loads of chances down low – bottom of the face-off circles, right in the slot. Those are going to be much harder to deal with than primarily perimeter shots. I can’t say that other teams *didn’t* give up lots and lots of prime scoring chances either, but I know this one did and at a pace much higher than any team with play-off aspirations should dare. Perhaps he doesn’t cope as well as other goalies do, but there is no question Kari *has* been hung out to dry a lot by this team.

Ice Dog

July 16th, 2009
3:55 pm

“As for the impact of the team…I can tell you from looking at the ESPN game stats last season a lot that the Thrashers give up crap-loads of chances down low – bottom of the face-off circles, right in the slot.”

Sarah, bottom of the face-off circles, right in the slot, aren’t those the same spots where a rebounds wind up?

kracker

July 16th, 2009
4:12 pm

Following a rebound, our guys look about average at clearing the puck. Maybe that’s one that just the luck of the bounce but I’m betting the sucessful teams do it better.

Bottom line is that protecting your goal is a team responsibility with the goalie being the last line of defense, not the only one.

Smoothie

July 16th, 2009
4:14 pm

In 96 GP as a prospect in CHI, Kari had the following stats:

GAA – 2.33
58 W (60.4%)
SV% – .928
Avg Shots Faced – 31.08
Calder Cup finalist in 2005 (lost to Antero’s Phantoms right?)

Ondrej Pavelec’s stats over 92 games played:

GAA – 2.69
51 W (55.4%)
SV% – .929
Avg Shots – 30.14
Calder Cup Champion in 2008

I would give Kari the edge in the AHL as he faced more shots, maintained a comparable save % and had a GAA that was .36 pts lower.

Tim

July 16th, 2009
4:20 pm

Falconer did a nice article on shot analysis face by KL and other NHL goalies. Here is the artice..

http://www.birdwatchersanonymous.com/2009/4/27/855489/lehtonen-undervalued-by

In shot, KL do face a high number of shots and a lot of those shots have high % scoring chance attach to it. Under those circumstance, he perform above average.

Ice Dog

July 16th, 2009
4:21 pm

Nice Smoothie. While the edge might be towards Lehtonen, it certainly isn’t a landslide or even a technical knockout. So one would have to think that by looking at those stats Pavelec can do anything that Lehtonen can do except he won’t be as injury-prone. Again a debatable argument but that’s why we post.