Goaltending decison coming soon

My apologies for not putting up a blog yesterday. I got to the office after morning skate and got caught up in a bunch of little things and totally forgot. I didn’t realize it until I was driving home after the game.

Enough excuses.

I did get some time with Don Waddell before the game, talking about a variety of issues with colleague Jeff Schultz. He’s not talking about the Ilya Kovalchuk situation in an effort to stop rumors and keep the negotiations betwen himself and Kovalchuk’s agent.

One of the issues I did raise was the pending move concerning the goaltending. With Kari Lehtonen due back from AHL Chicago next week (he starts again tonight) the Thrashers will be back to three. Does this sound familiar?

Waddell said the team will not carry three goaltenders. It’s too many, he said, to get everyone enough practice time. So expect a move, preferably a trade, Waddell said. One of the three – Lehtonen, Johan Hedberg or Ondrej Pavelec will be on the block.

Zach Bogosian only healthy player not at Wednesday’s practice.

Here are the line combinations:

Blue: Kovalchuk-Antropov-Little

Gray: White/Kozlov-Peverley-Afinogenov

Orange: Kane-Slater-Armstrong

Red: Boulton-Reasoner-Thorburn

Off to Philadelphia after practice for tomorrow’s game. Each game keeps getting bigger as the Eastern Conference race is so tight. A single point separates six teams from sixth to 11th place.

I will post this now and update from the airport.

56 comments Add your comment

Always Hoping

January 27th, 2010
11:19 am

Always Hoping

January 27th, 2010
11:27 am

Please ask DW if he expects to be discussing the goalie situation past December of 2010

TheFan79

January 27th, 2010
11:34 am

Huge game against Flyers.Have to win to keep playoffs hope alive.

Stevo

January 27th, 2010
11:40 am

I hope Lehtonen is the one to go. Moose is playing great right now and is a great veteran presence. Pavs has been up and down all year, but he has shown when he is playing well he deserves to be a number 1 goaltender.

Dwayne

January 27th, 2010
11:51 am

Everyone want a chance at the playoffs this year??? Raise your hand if you do. Then you better hope Kari is in a Atl. uniform and HEALTHY. I do not think Moose can carry us, Opie is unreliable. HEALTHY being the key.

Good Riddance, Kovy!

January 27th, 2010
11:54 am

How soon can we ship “17 The Slacker” out of here, regardless of the return?

I may not have the most-expensive season tickets, but I’m sick of helping subsidizing self-centered Divas who don’t even care or WANT to be here.

EA

January 27th, 2010
11:57 am

I hope it is Pavs and Moose. I wish Kari well, but I don’t think I can take another injury/re-lapse.

[...] source [...]

MooseBob SquarePants

January 27th, 2010
12:04 pm

Chris, if you get a chance ask Moose why he switched masks I was quite disappointed last night. Oh and Kovy was really dogging it last night!

GaVaHokie

January 27th, 2010
12:14 pm

Hedberg is the most valuable trade option at this point in the season… he’s the right guy to go to Montreal if the Canadians decide to move Price or Halak.

It puts us at what we wanted last summer… Lehtonen starting with Pavalec as back-up… why does that not feel as good as it did last summer? :)

That gives us the rest of this year to decide who, if anyone, is our franchise goalie going forward.

… Hedberg being traded… book it!

Mooseberg

January 27th, 2010
12:14 pm

No way…you had a conversion with Teflon Don about what he is going to do about having 3 goalie’s and he told you yes we will have 3 goalie’s and need to do something. Amazing insight to the genius of Don Waddell

Not Blind

January 27th, 2010
12:15 pm

You only think Kotton Kandy was dogging it against the Ducks. Wait till the Flyers run over him a couple of times and he will be trying to hide.

J.B.

January 27th, 2010
12:30 pm

Moose broke the spongebob mask in Tampa according to rawhide. the one he was wearing last night was from the playoff season.

Jarndyce

January 27th, 2010
12:45 pm

Anyone else thinking that Kozlov’s recent scratches are prelude to trade?

Jarndyce

January 27th, 2010
12:47 pm

Oh, and you have to move Hedberg, here. His value right now is as high as it’s ever going to be. Trading Pavelec might be an option, but his value is probably increased next year, while it’s difficult to see a scenario where the return for Lehtonen is positive at all.

J.B.

January 27th, 2010
12:51 pm

Kozlov has a no trade clause I’m nearly certain he has no intention of waiving. He got scratched because he was playing poorly and was a liability when benched. Now, the thrashers look much better, but JA isn’t going to switch things up and risk messing with what’s working.

GaVaHokie

January 27th, 2010
12:53 pm

Jarndyce… Kozlov would have to waive his No Trade Clause.

Perhaps, Chris, you could ask Waddell next time you see him if it’s been discussed or thought about.

… doubtful that it has been.

Schroeder

January 27th, 2010
1:06 pm

I personally believe that you will see,Moose,Slava and Army gone before the deadline through trades,and I pray White via waivers.I can only hope #17 by way of a sign and trade for a group of NHL ready players and the others above for some quality players or picks or a combo of all 3. I personally like the way Moose has been playing,but the future of this team is in quality of goaltending for the future,unfortunately the future is not in a 37 yr old netminder.

Bob

January 27th, 2010
1:43 pm

Moose is odd man out, don’t know that we’ll get much for him but we need a #1 goalie going forward and that is going to be either Kari or Pavs.

Only chance we have at playoffs this year is Kari coming back hot as can be, he does it every year for the first 5 or 6 games, mabye now that he’s “finally healthy” he can keep it up for more than 5 or 6 games (quit laughing!).

Jimbo

January 27th, 2010
2:23 pm

Isn’t Kari a UFA at the end of this season? Given the health and signing risk, it seems likely that he’d be the one that would be offered up. Not sure how takers will step up given his past few years.

Jarndyce

January 27th, 2010
2:26 pm

Oh, yeah. Forgot about that pesky ntc. Nevermind…

Andy S

January 27th, 2010
2:27 pm

My guesses:
*Slava will stay due to his NTC and the value of experience that he brings, especially if he comes out of the press box on fire in the next week.
*Waddell has done it before, so I bet White will get bought out, per the Falconer’s prediction.
*Army gets traded for prospects or picks
*Kovy gets traded for player+prospect+pick(s). There won’t be any sign and trade I bet.
*Moose will be traded because he’s valuable now – the odds are stacked against him being valuable next year, plus he’s a UFA. If you can get something for him now, even if it’s 2nd round picks, I would do it.
*With Kari back and theoretically healthy, we have two #1.5 goalies that can lead us into the future. Both have shown streakiness, and JA has shown a tendency to ride the hot goalie, so they will push each other to be better and better.

Stevo

January 27th, 2010
3:27 pm

Kari is an UFA at the end of the season. If Pavelec really is the goaltender of the Thrashers future then Kari will likely not be resigned anyway, especially not for $3+ million/year. You might as well trade Lehtonen to someone who needs goaltending help and get what you can for him.

Diego from Lilburn

January 27th, 2010
3:41 pm

Did anybody else hear Darren Elliot calling Kovy out last night during the broadcast? At one point he said something like “…and Kovy was skating around at the top of the circle with no interest whatsoever in playing defense…”. I’m paraphrasing but that is pretty close I think. I laughed out loud.

If Darren is calling him out on it….

Former Manitoba Moose Ice Girl

January 27th, 2010
3:41 pm

Vivy: I’d like to hear more about Philips trying to squeeze out of the arena naming rights deal. Was it you that mentioned Waddell saying this? If this is true, it certainly affects the relocation rumors…

Former Manitoba Moose Ice Girl

January 27th, 2010
3:45 pm

MooseBob SquarePants: Even Darren Elliot mentioned Kovy being “totally uninterested on defense!” I couldn’t believe he’d say it outright! Anyone else catch this? (Anyone else surprised? No. Haha!)

Former Manitoba Moose Ice Girl

January 27th, 2010
3:46 pm

Diego beat me to it. Good call!

J-man

January 27th, 2010
3:55 pm

Jimbo and Stevo – Lehtonen is an RFA at the end of the season. He has neither the age (27) nor the seasons played in the NHL (7 are required and this will be his 6th) and you have to meet one requirement of the two to be a UFA. He could be a UFA at the end of the 2010-11 season if he plays this season and next, but he won’t be one after this season for sure. No offense intended, but it’s really easy to check this stuff. Go to the NHLnumbers website.

GaVaHokie

January 27th, 2010
6:36 pm

Ice Girl… it was Jeff Schultz that mentioned it…

Philips is the highest paid naming rights in the country at $9 million a year. It runs until 2018… I’d ask out of it too. It’s not really a surprise.

GaVaHokie

January 27th, 2010
6:39 pm

According to Craig Custance… Exelby is requesting a trade…

http://www.sportingnews.com/blog/The_Grinder/entry/view/53533

Also interesting, which could lead to Atlanta getting Carey Price? ;) I’m sure this is blown out of proportion, but it doesn’t help rumors that Montreal wants to trade either Price or Halak.

http://tsn.ca/nhl/story/?id=307852

Barry

January 27th, 2010
6:42 pm

Hmm…I got home from work in time to watch the second half of last night’s game against the Ducks and I didn’t see Kovy dogging it at all. I actually saw him…wait for it…backchecking! Yes that’s right I saw him rush back and back check to stop a potential 2 on 1 at one point in the game. I saw all forwards including Kovy be a lot more aggressive on defense. I do think I remember reading something about Kovy not really playing D at the last minute of the game when Ducks had Miller pulled, so maybe that’s what you guys are referring to? If you look at the standings now there are like 7 teams all within ONE point of each other. The playoff race is going to be a dog fight until the end unless one or two teams get really hot and put some distance between themselves and other teams. Thrashers need to win tomorrow night and as much as they can. If they want to make the playoffs I want them to have secured a spot before the last game of the season. April schedule is going to be HARD with like two games against Washington and Pittsburg. Ewww. April is not going to be easy at all.

Jimbo

January 27th, 2010
7:29 pm

Thanks J-Man for the clarification. Since Kari has another year, Moose is the goalie with current trade value so it logical to suspect that he will be the one offered around. I’d like to see him stick with us. He plays with the passion that Kari and OP never show. Different subject, Kulda is +30 with the Wolves. Why isn’t he here? And, Sterling continues to score but has never really gotten more than a brief cup of coffee with us. He deserves a shot.

rob

January 27th, 2010
7:53 pm

Moose will be the goalie to go, and rightly so. Someone needs a great backup for a solid stretch run, and he is the man for that. Kari – Pavs fight over the number 1 going the rest of the year, and what a great thing to have one of them to offer up for trade next year if needed, but they need to stay to boost their trade or potential to the franchise for the future.

ThrasherTim

January 27th, 2010
8:09 pm

Why is Waddell so anxious to trade one of our goalies? Send Pavs down and set the table for next year b/t Kari and Pavs
a) Hedberg is playing the best of the 2 goalies right now – no matter who we trade away, there is still a chance we could make the playoffs within the weak Eastern Conference
b) who knows how Kari will play coming back after 10 months off — also, there can’t be much trade value for him today, especially versus the investment the Thrashers have made in him
c) Pavs – he has played brilliantly and awful in spurts – he cannot be coveted by any team right now fighting for a playoff spot because of the bad games and has no playoff experience. Plus, he is still only 21 or 22 and has shown an ability to battle – don’t give up on him now

What can you really get for any of these guys right now? To me, Moose is the odd man out despite all the locker room presence and the good play, but why?

Let me continue…I am pissed off at Wadell and the ASG. I know a lot of you have said as much but what the hell has been going on with the Kovvy “lack of” negotiations. I mean, the day Waddell came out and said there was a ’snag’ in negotiations, I about fell out of my chair. What was the surprise Donny? You thought Kovvy was going to give a hometown discount on his best chance to cash in at age 26? He wants to see the franchise COMMIT to him – and winning. By trying to sign him at below market value, he sees that you and the ownership are NOT committed. Committed to a budget, sure, but that is not what wins. If Kovvy leaves for picks, prospects, whatever, how are you going to get A-listers to want to come here despite the stable of youth we have in Kane, Bogosian and Enstrom? You won’t. I’ll give you a pass on Hossa since he was traded to Atlanta after he signed a deal with Ottawa. He was blind-sided…probably really ticked off. But Kovvy – he said he WANTED to stay here. He wants to win. Antropov seemingly signed here to play with him. He came out this year and played well – he came back early from injury. And then…negotiations stalled…he stopped playing D…it’s painful and sad to watch.

Donny – This kind of talent does not come along – check out your own drafting record. You got 2-3 picks right (I include Kovvy, Heatly and for now, Kane) despite all your chances. This guys has passion…he needs a commitment, a full building to play in…I can’t commit to the team either was all this uncertainty. Make it happen. It looks bleak. I know Kovvy will play hard if a team believes in him. You need to be fired if you let this guy walk – seriously, you have to know it now too.

Ward

January 27th, 2010
10:06 pm

Watching the highlights of the win over the Ducks….many players played hard, Moose was, again, verrrry good, and at the end of the game (with Duck’s announcers describing what happened)Andropov is seen breaking his stick over the crossbar after the Duck’s last shot clanged off the post…a shot fired from in front where Kovy can be seen circling waiting for the rebound and/or pass for his potential empty net chance. That action by Andropov (in front of his teammates and despite a winning night) speaks loudly about “chemistry” issues with our captain!Anyone have a reaction to that moment?

Darkhorse

January 27th, 2010
11:21 pm

If Kovy’s teammates think he’s dogging it, and they(some) continue to play hard and try, I am surprised we have not heard whispers of any calling out of the Kaptain.

KLS1

January 27th, 2010
11:37 pm

Kovy is a great scorer and can thump people when he sets his mind to it, but he really is half a player. Which wouldn’t be a bad thing on a good team, but this team needs less flash and more subsance at every position.

Anderson can coach guys up, but with an unresponsive captain…it undermines everybody buying into JA’s system.

If they trade Kovy and Lehtonen, all those years of sucking to get #1 draft picks will come to a sad and non-constructive end.

kig

January 28th, 2010
7:31 am

trade letemin, he is just like rhodes

Jd

January 28th, 2010
7:46 am

D-Wad should come to a decision and then do the opposite. Sounds like the best approach to me.
LOL at all the people slamming KOVY. He single handedly won the last 4 games. LOL you idiots piss me off.

Chris Vivlamore

January 28th, 2010
8:32 am

Lehtonen had 25 saves in a 5-2 win last night for AHL Chicago.

JSR

January 28th, 2010
9:44 am

JSR

January 28th, 2010
9:46 am

rob

January 28th, 2010
9:58 am

Wish I had seen the Kovy that jd saw take over the last four games and single handedly win for us LMAO what a joke

[...] Chris Vivlamore of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution: Thrashers goalie Kari Lehtonen is due to return from his AHL conditioning stint next week. That will give the Thrashers 3 goalies (Lehtonen, Johan Hedberg and Ondrej Pavelec), and most likely a new home for one of them. Lehtonen is the most likely to go, but his back issues may scare some teams off. [...]

Mary Ann Hossa

January 28th, 2010
11:00 am

Budweiser needs to do a “real men of genious” regarding the sports blogs. Kovy would punch you morons in the face and you would be on the ground calling for your momma.

Stat Man

January 28th, 2010
11:06 am

Not sure why we have to trade anybody.

If we trade either Hedberg or Opie, then we put ourselves in position of needing to re-sign unrestricted FA Kari next year at $3+ million. No thanks.

I say send Opie back to the minors & play out this year with Kari & Moose, then use the $3-4 million saved with Kari gone to bolster the roster at other positions next year.

This plan would not negatively affect this years play and would open money up (assuming the Spirit-less owners would spend it) to help next years roster.

Diego from Lilburn

January 28th, 2010
11:17 am

Jd not sure which Kovalchuk you have been watching. No player single-handedly wins a hockey game. Especially one who is a notorious cherry-picker, who consistently doesn’t play defense. He’s not skating Figure 8’s at the blue line so he’ll be in position for his next big defensive moment!

Even if someone gets a game winning goal it doesn’t mean they single-handedly won the game.

Attend a few games and watch Kovalchuk whenever he is on the ice. On TV all you see is when he has the puck because that’s when they put the camera on him. Believe me that if Darren is calling him out from the press box then he sees it, too. He doesn’t just make the stuff up.

I still want him here because he is great sniper. It would just be better if he consistently played some defense.

buldog/52

January 28th, 2010
11:20 am

Kari looked unsure of himself for the first 39 min last nite then stoped 5 shots in the last 1 min of 2nd period then looked real good the last 20 min. He was making saves that were of NHL level goal tending. Will see wht he looks like after next game he plays. The word in Chicago is Kovi to come to blackhawks for some of the hawks 3rd and 4th line players. .

Diego from Lilburn

January 28th, 2010
11:49 am

Jd – oh, yeah. Kovy didn’t even score the game winner against the Ducks. It was Max. I’m not sure what team you are even watching.

Check your facts please

January 28th, 2010
11:57 am

Goodness gracious people, Kari Lehtonen is a RFA…he’s only 26.

We tendered him for one year for a reason. He will likely get a cheaper deal this spring if he demonstrates that he can stay healthy. A 2 or 3 year deal worth reasonable money ($2.5 M or so) should be expected.