Thrashers add Afinogenov for tryout

The Thrashers will bring Maxim Afinogenov, who played in Buffalo last season, into training camp for a pro tryout. He is expected to arrive Thursday night.

Afinogenov was injured much of last season, but the 6-foot-1, 191-pound Russian forward led the Sabres in scoring in 2005-06 with 73 points.

“He’s a high-end guy, a skill guy,” Thrashers general manager Don Waddell said. “It doesn’t hurt. We’ll see what happens.”

Afinogenov had 20 points (6 goals, 14 assists) last season for the Sabres.

He was a third-round draft pick in 1997.

What are your thoughts?

106 comments Add your comment

World Be Free

September 17th, 2009
2:32 pm

Ranallo – not sure if Sabres’ fans are rude or there’s just so many of them.

Alex

September 17th, 2009
2:38 pm

Guys…. on a side note, there’s 50% Off NHL Center Ice on DirecTV ($81.90 after discount) [May be YMMV]
Due to DirecTV’s ongoing contract negotaitions with Comcast over the pricing on the Versus network, DirecTV has removed Versus from its lineup. Since I am a huge hockey fan, I contacted DirecTV to express my displeasure. The rep stated that DirecTV is offering an unadvertised 50% discount on their NHL Center Ice package

1. Contact DirecTV and inquire about channel listings (sometime under “Add / Remove a Channel”).
2. Express your displeasure with DirecTV’s decision to drop Versus from its lineup. Ask if there are any promos to compensate you for your dissatisfaction.
3. Receive a 50% discount on the package. Normally the package is 1 payment of $163.80, but after 50% off, you’ll get it for 1 payment of $81.90.

Alan

September 17th, 2009
2:47 pm

I like this move.

Bob

September 17th, 2009
3:02 pm

“Waddell and Group didn’t want to sign Zherdev so they would allow Kane every chance to earn that spot, so why bring over Afinogenov???”

No suprise to me. Zherdev wasn’t about leaving room for Kane, it was about money. They’re not going to burn a year of Kane’s rookie contract, he’ll see some action and then go back to junior and keep Kane’s 3 year rookie contract eligibility intact . If Afinogenov doesn’t work out, they’ll continue dumpster divin on the waiver wire to fill out our top 6.

TrueBlue

September 17th, 2009
3:12 pm

Why does everyone overlook Thorburn? It’s either Thorburn or Slater that could be on the block. They are energy guys…sure. But are they a “threatening” line? No way.

I say that Slater, White, or Thorburn are dropped. White via Trade + a goalie. Thorburn or Slater via waivers. neither of them make enough to make a huge financial impact.

Darkhorse

September 17th, 2009
3:13 pm

I just called Directv, bitched about VS, asked for a better deal on my Center Ice and they said there wasn’t any discount. Could that be because they have me in the system as a renewal already?

lee

September 17th, 2009
3:14 pm

holy crow!!!! dude, man, just like waddy said, it doesn’t hurt!!! glad he’s here, i know, he’s a sabre, but maybe that will change! i think any player is welcome to try out, but max!!!! heck ya! hes not the best player in the world but y not give it a go??!!!

lee

September 17th, 2009
3:15 pm

darkhorse-prob, i know it sucks.

ranallo10 (in AT)

September 17th, 2009
3:18 pm

not sure if Sabres’ fans are rude or there’s just so many of them.

WBF — I’m talking about the “so many rude fans”, not all of them. The funny thing is that most people think the statement “rude Buffalo fans” is all-inclusive. Many non-Buffalo fans think it is, which is why the polite Buffalo fans are so quick to defend the masses that get noticed at Philips Arena with a Sabres uniform on (who in my experiences have always been rude).

Yes, Atlanta also has rude fans. They’re utterly embarrassing to me as a fellow Thrasher’s fan but I cannot stop them from being that way.

ranallo10 (in AT)

September 17th, 2009
3:25 pm

I agree with Bob’s skepticism regarding Kane’s purpose on this team. I also think they’ll let him learn the skill level during a 9 game stint and then send him back to the minors to save on his contract in the long term.

Waddell keeps mentioning the players that “may become available” but I also agree he’ll go cheap (waiver wire or Chicago-level player) if Kane doesn’t prove he can stay at the NHL level.

I’m assuming either Fritsche or Stewart will be the final roster spot.

Troy

September 17th, 2009
3:25 pm

Alex thanks for the scoop, I got the discount as well, though it took some prodding and I actually had to ask, “Is there a promotion or discount on Center Ice?” after threatening to switch to Comcast (little do they know I’m actually in a Charter area not Comcast).

World Be Free

September 17th, 2009
3:42 pm

Ranallo-Leodis McKelvin would certainly agree with your assessment!
We need to get more Thrashers fans to the “Phil” to ensure we outnumber everyone.

pomd scum

September 17th, 2009
3:52 pm

Very interesting indeed. In my honest opinion, I feel Max would actually help and be an upgrade to the team overall.

He’s not too old and he does seem to catch the injury bugs alittle more than normal. BUT, as has already been touched on earlier,a change in scenery would probably help him immensly. I think(don’t really know forsure) that he’s played his entire career with the Sabres. That’s one positive forsure. That alone can work wonders for a player as we all know.

Another is,IF he does ok in this tryout,DW should only offer a 1 year deal. He’s in a contract year and hoping to get a good deal next summer…. so there’s more motivation there. Money and terms are probably what has kept him from already signing elsewhere. I feel both sides also see how playing with quite a few of his fellow countrymen also would benefit both sides,especially his captain.

As for what his role and/or what line he skates really shouldn’t have any bearing on Pevs or White. Why do some of you still wanna see White gone? And Pevs didn’t cost us nothing to pick up,averaged nearly a point a game with the team last season and can play either center or wing,and has more upside/potential than most give him credit for. White has shown he is very capable of playing in either top centerman spots and getting out of the old mode of “defense first” which he was in with the Wild took a season for him to get it out of him,while also learning a brand new system under Coach Anderson and Pevs reminds me alot of when we picked up Savard years ago from Calgary.Max could easily play on the 3rd line and provide real depth at forward in case we aren’t blessed with great health all season.

Kane has lit it up versus other “youngsters”, but let’s see how he does versus the big boys on a consistent basis.We’ve got plenty of time and shoving him to far to fast may not be the best thing to do.I still worry about his size,considering that he wants to play the power forward role. He’s gotta be able to withstand the beatings in front of the net, along the boards and corners. Some guys can make the jump rite away(Bogosian) while others do need more time down on the farm(Little). I love Kane and think he’s gonna be a great one for us for years to come,but there is no need in rushing him into the lineup.It can be more harmful than good.

Another thing to think about is,when we take on teams that have more depth and can roll good potent 3rd-4th lines,scratching Boulton or Thorburn and putting more offensive pop in the lineup would be alot better in matching up vs. that opponent.

So we have 2 pro tryouts at forward now with Fritche the other.( he also may make the team and provide PK help and depth as well). I like Crabb,Spence…. but they are young and we do have other options available for them IF they get beat out FAIR and Square by the vet tryouts.

Another thing to keep in mind that,IF Max does workout and shows up alot in the score sheets,avoids the injury bugs….. he could than be a very VALUABLE asset to trade for help in another area after about the first 20-25 games into the season. That would be great and keeps DW from dealing away picks and prospects.

As for Zherdev, I felt he would’ve been a good addition also, considering his relationship with Kovy…. but he still wanted to much cash and has been so far,to inconsistent season to seaosn to make them kind of demands.

I know,there is some “IF’s” there…. but if MAX doesn’t pan out we lose nothing at all!

jared

September 17th, 2009
4:10 pm

lets review the IFs and MAYBEs
IF max shows up and looks good in camp
MAYBE he will get a contract
IF he gets a contract maybe he will stay healthy
IF he stays healthy which he hasnt dont lately
MAYBE he will produce
IF he breaks how he has played as of the last few seasons

i would rather take the kane route and develop

Toby

September 17th, 2009
4:13 pm

Jared…Who says Kane can’t develop in the juniors?

mid-ga-hockey fan

September 17th, 2009
4:20 pm

If this is the only way that Ddub will actually get a clue every year,I propose that we sign Kovy to a series of 1yr contracts so that every off season Waddell wil have to scramble to field the best team possible.I nominate Kovy to be assistant GM for the next 12 years.Way to go!!!!!!! MAX will kick ass this year!!!!!!

Tom

September 17th, 2009
4:32 pm

I like the idea of Maxi coming into camp. Watching him in Buffalo he is a dynamic offensive player. If we can get him on the cheap, put him up in the pressbox as insurance against a Top 6 injury. Or as a motivator.

I would have loved to have had him chomping at the bit early last season as Christianson and Williams were going through the motions.

One thing the Thrashers have NEVER had is depth. With depth you have competition, no one can slide, they are all fighting for their jobs every day.

Maxi may not be the ideal player, but he has the skills and the tools to make this team, even if it is in the pressbox as insurance against injury. He always acted as if his sh$t did not stink. Well, training camps are opened and he did not have a contract in the NHL or the KHL. So now he knows that if he is going to get one more big paycheck he will have to have a great season, so he will be fighting with everything that he has.

I have to give Waddell full marks for this move.

GaVaHokie

September 17th, 2009
4:37 pm

As for what his role and/or what line he skates really shouldn’t have any bearing on Pevs or White.

Uh, yes it does… and Armstrong as well.

If Afinogenov makes this roster, you can suspect it will look something like this.

Kovalchuk Antropov Little
Kozlov White Afinogenov
Peverley Reasoner Armstrong
Boulton Slater Thorburn

R. Stroz

September 17th, 2009
4:52 pm

GaVaHockie – I wouldn’t give the fourth line a free pass.

Alan

September 17th, 2009
5:24 pm

Whoever used my name above to express their feelings on this move which are a direct opposite to my own feelings is a douchebag.

Thank you.

Waffleboy

September 17th, 2009
5:35 pm

If it’s a borderline call between Afinogenov and Kane, you have to give Kane the shot. He’s showed up and busted his ass every time he’s stepped on the ice. To reward all that hard work with a trip back to the juniors to give a spot to an aging veteran with SERIOUS injury problems since the wrong message to the entire organization.

But if its a question of keeping Afinogenov, on the cheap, as an insurance policy, why not?

polskidawg

September 17th, 2009
6:25 pm

No thanks. His best days are WAY past him.

Speed to burn, but can’t finish. Can’t be on the PK. Rarely plays a full 60 minutes (effort). Doesn’t prove anything that one of the younger guys can’t do.

If Kovy must have another Russian, at least Z still has potential.

Chris

September 17th, 2009
6:32 pm

If we’re gonna give anybody coming off an injury a shot to maybe make a 3rd or 4th line spot, Esposito’s gotta be the guy (if it’s not Kane.) He’s younger, hungrier, already knows the system, and showed that he can play on a checking line for Canada in the WJCs.

Alan

September 17th, 2009
6:49 pm

Kovalchuk Antropov Little
Kozlov White Afinogenov
Peverley Reasoner Armstrong
Boulton Slater Thorburn

That looks decent, but methinks the 4th line could be better utilized with some of the kids from Chicago.

Papaduke

September 17th, 2009
7:11 pm

I am a Buffalo fan and a 78 games a season Thrasher fan. Max had a permanent suite in Lindy Ruff’s dog house following the 06-07 season. He was relagated to 3rd and 4th line duty which is like taking a Ferrari out mud bogging. Sad that Lindy would keep Jochen Fists of Stone Hecht on the 2nd line while Max spent what playing time he got playing with Adam Mair and Matt Ellis. Yes Max missed significant time last season but the Sabres kept him on IR at least 2 weeks after he was ready to go. Max has not lost a step as some have said, if he was the only Thrasher on the ice he could keep the puck away from the other team, His issue is what he does when it is time to get rid of the puck, his shot selections are not great and he sometimes makes passes to no where and just when you think why is this guy on the ice, he pulls something off that makes you forget all the negatives. I hope Max does well and sticks with the club. My wife is a huge fan of his and it would make her uber happy.

World Be Free

September 17th, 2009
9:30 pm

This has been a nice lively subject. Best way to get this group going is mention Sabres, Sabres’ fans or Jim Slater. Slater is still a Thrasher, right?

R. Stroz

September 17th, 2009
9:38 pm

WBF – You left out Zherdev, Lehtonen, Levenson, and Waddell’s promises.

World Be Free

September 17th, 2009
9:46 pm

Stroz-the hate for the Sabres’ fans and the love for Slater are silly.
Hopefully we can get back to hockey tomorrow.

LAC

September 17th, 2009
10:14 pm

After tonights COMPLETE FLOP, mind you a lot of kids were playing, but this is NO WAY to start off any season, pre-season or not.

I honestly believe all the hype is all hype about us this season.
We will be lucky to reach 80 points, again no playoffs yet again.

Looks like a mistake, I’d rather have a proven NHL’er Zherdev, that
rookie Kane who needs another year in junior’s for sure…

Great Start tonight, albeit preseason, but to get thumped like this SOMEONE is NOT doing their job, looks like another losing season under
Career Loser don waddell… Gee why is this nutcase still here,
ny grandson could field a better team than this.

Brendan

September 17th, 2009
10:20 pm

If Max makes the roster, I hope it’s to play 4th line minutes.

Sara

September 18th, 2009
12:02 am

But on the bright side, the penalty kill was awesome…..

I dunno – it’s hard to really stress over it when 90% of our roster tonight is guys fighting for a spot on the 3rd line/4th line/3rd pairing at best while Nashville rolls out their starting goaltender and top line. Now if they get spanked like that next week when it’s at least half our starters, then maybe I’d be a tad concerned.

Lee

September 18th, 2009
6:41 am

man, that game was,well,dissapointing, but it dont really matter because just think of the lions! lest beat tampa today!

j nes

September 18th, 2009
7:08 am

FYI-I called Direct TV to cancel my NFL sunday ticket and they quickly offered me a discount and the superfan package for free. Maybe the same would work with Center Ice.

[...] -The Thrashers have brought in former Sabres forward Maxim Afinogenov on a tryout basis. [...]

RobertsGloria

September 18th, 2009
9:00 am

Don’t put Max on the 4th line. To be effective he should at least be on the 2nd line with fast skaters. On the plus side, he’s good on the pp and has always had top sales in merchandise and fills seats, something you really need.

Vitamin Z

September 18th, 2009
9:20 am

I got Center Ice for free after bitching at Direct TV for 15 min and talking to their cancellation department.

Spud Webb

September 18th, 2009
9:37 am

Bad idea number 798. Max hasn’t lost a step, the guy is lightning. That said…defensive liability, the words two way player mean NOTHING to him. And as a sabres fan I mean NOTHING. He can single handidly (spelling?) bring your offense to a CRAWL. It goes like this…max gathers the puck, left, right, up, crosses the blue, around the back of the net, around, CRUSHED by someone, loses the puck as every other player on the team is standing there wondering WTF is he DOING??????????? ahahahahah, years of watching this!!!! He would make Kovy look like the most responsable 2 way player in the league!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

atlbuf

September 18th, 2009
9:54 am

Being an ex bufffalonian, Max has some great speed but stones for hands. Maybe he could change his game around and become a great fore-checker???

Darkhorse

September 18th, 2009
10:07 am

Nice Vitamin Z!-I called Directv again yesterday and finally got them to give me $170.00 in straight credit after speaking to a specialist above the standard customer service person. So, pretty much got Center Ice for free this year. But to be fair, I have been having a few other issues with Directv besides the VS issue, so my conversation with him was about various things.

Thanks to Alex for the original heads-up.

Adam

September 18th, 2009
10:37 am

I don’t understand the talk of sending Kane back to juniors. 1st of all can he be called up from juniors? Secondly this is a top 5 pick in a strong draft, he might have gone 2nd or 3rd last year. If the kid has the skill set and earns a spot why not let him play? If he doesn’t earn it that is another story. Is the 1yr of the rookie contract that important? Hell we have another CBA coming up in a year, two if the players take the extension. This is about putting the best group you can on the ice right?

Alan

September 18th, 2009
11:12 am

a. Kane cannot be “called up” from Juniors. Once he’s there, he’s there and he cannot come here until next season.

b. We’re in agreement, Adam. Kane should be given an opportunity to play should he earn a roster spot.

c. The concern about the first year of a rookie contract is that’s just one less year we can keep him before he becomes eligible for UFA status. That’s years ahead of now, but it’s still a concern to people. Take, for instance, all the talk about Bogosian last year.

Smitty

September 18th, 2009
12:20 pm

Enter your comments here

Kane will learn from his mistakes. Max has not.

Rob

September 18th, 2009
12:32 pm

In this age, it is very difficult to get value. This guy in the right environment could be a first line player. He has first line skill, he plays hard. You will have to live with the odd turnover, but you want a guy who can gain the zone on the power play, who can thread a pass in traffic, and one who can create space for his teammates, there are few better. Lindy hated him and it’s good that he is out of Buffalo.

I imagine he’ll sign for next to nothing. No downside to this move…none at all.

J.B.

September 18th, 2009
12:47 pm

Per Ben’s twitter feed, after this morning’s practice activities, only two players remain in the Thrashers gym right now… Kovalchuk & Afinogenov.

Sara

September 18th, 2009
1:40 pm

Ben also said Kovy thinks Max would be a good fit for Kozlov’s line. Ahem…well, now that we have *that* cleared up…

J.B.

September 18th, 2009
1:43 pm

hmmmm… Did Kovy essentially just put White on the trading block?

Alan

September 18th, 2009
2:22 pm

I would keep White over Slater.

Sara

September 18th, 2009
2:39 pm

Alan that would be pointless. White isn’t a 4th line kind of guy – not unless we intend to completely retool the roster and just run 4 scoring lines, in which case Don better get Zherdev back on the phone.

Brendan

September 18th, 2009
3:45 pm

I don’t think Todd White will be traded. (1) Kovalchuk likes him and has said so. Trading away a player Kovy likes might not be a good idea, at least until Kovy is re-signed. (2) Todd White had a career-best last season, and seems like a perfect fit with Kozlov and/or Little. (3) He’s not really that much salary relief, at $2.3-ish million in cap hit. For example, Colby Armstrong is due $2.4 million this season, and isn’t signed beyond this season. (And he may NOT choose to re-sign with Atlanta, as a UFA, next Summer.) I don’t think Colby has a no trade clause, unlike Slava Kozlov, in case anyone is thinking that route. Todd White is one of the more defensively-responsible forwards on the Thrashers rosters. And when he was first signed by Atlanta, right after the 2007 playoff debacle, White spoke of his fondness for playing both sides of the puck, and excelling defensively. There is one more year after this season left on Todd White’s contract. The thing to remember about Todd White is this: “He signed with Atlanta AFTER the wheels fell off, and without a double-barreled, sawed-off shotgun lodged in his short ribs.” That makes him, “a good guy.” And I think Waddell knows that, too. White can always bounce between the 2nd and 3rd lines for this club. I don’t think Todd White is the problem in Atlanta. He’s just a “depth player.” And appropriately paid, too.

If Max makes the roster, I see him as a 3rd or 4th line player. But he has to EARRRRRRN it. First, the roster spot. Second, to be a Top Six forward. He is a player who has a lot to prove.

R. Stroz

September 18th, 2009
3:48 pm