UPDATE II: Lehtonen traded to Dallas

Here is my story on the Lehtonen trade:

Kari Lehtonen will play another NHL game – it just won’t be for the Thrashers.

The Thrashers traded the goaltender, recovering from two off-season back surgeries, to Dallas on Tuesday for defensive prospect Ivan Vishnevskiy and a fourth-round draft pick this year.

Lehtonen, 26, is the franchise’s all-time leader in games played (204), wins (94), save percentage (.912) and shutouts (14). He is also the single-season record holder for games (68), minutes (3,934), wins (34), shutouts (4) – all set in 2006-07 – and save percentage (.916, 2007-08). He finished his Thrashers career with a 94-83-17 record and a 2.87 goals-against average.

After returning from a two-week conditioning stint at AHL Chicago on Sunday, Lehtonen practiced with the team on Monday and Tuesday. He was scheduled to accompany the team to Denver for Wednesday’s game against the Avalanche, but did not make the trip.

With the Thrashers carrying three goaltenders, the play of Johan Hedberg and Ondrej Pavelec made Lehtonen the odd man out, according to Thrashers general manager Don Waddell.

“As the season went on, we had two guys that proved they were capable of carrying the load,” Waddell said. “ … One hundred percent (Hedberg and Pavelec) are doing a good job for us.”

Lehtonen required surgery to repair a herniated disc in his back in July. In October, he had a second surgery to remove edges of bone that were applying pressure to nerve roots in two locations in his back. He has not played an NHL game since April 11, 2009.

For his part, Lehtonen said he believed he was NHL-ready after this minor-league stint. He went 1-2-2 with a .899 save percentage and 2.67 goals-against average in four starts for Chicago.

“The first couple of games over there were pretty tough,” Lehtonen said. “They got a lot better and I feel really good. We got what we needed from it. … [Playing an NHL game] is going to be different, but I think I’m ready to take that next step.”

Waddell said several teams scouted Lehtonen during his AHL stint, wanting to see if the goaltender was fully recovered. In the end, he said, Dallas made the best offer.

Getting Lehtonen into NHL games, while the team is in a playoff race, was also a reason the deal. The trade comes before Friday’s NHL roster freeze for the two-week Olympic break.

“We were obviously in a situation where we had three goaltenders,” Waddell said. “We were afraid if we went into the Olympic break it was going to be hard to get Kari back in [to play games]. This was something that made the most sense.”

Lehtonen can become a restricted free agent on July 1.

The trade for Lehtonen, a first-round pick in 2002 (No. 2 overall), comes five days after the Thrashers traded Ilya Kovalchuk, a first-round pick in 2001 (No. 1 overall).

“Kari Lehtonen is a proven elite goaltender,” Dallas GM Joe Nieuwendyk told the team’s Web site. “We are very excited to add him to our hockey club.”

Vishnevskiy currently plays for the AHL’s Texas Stars and is considered a top prospect. The first-round pick in 2006 by Dallas (No. 27 overall), turns 22 in eight days. He made his NHL debut last season, appearing in three games with two assists. He played two December games with the Stars this season and has appeared in 51 AHL games for Texas with 24 points (eight goals, 16 assists).

The 6-foot, 195-pounder is a native of Barnaul, Russia. He played most of last season with AHL Peoria, scoring 19 points (six goals, 13 assists). The three previous seasons he played for Rouyn-Noranda of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. Vishnevskiy led all QMJHL rookie defensemen in scoring in 2005-06 with 48 points (13 goals, 35 assists). Vishnevskiy was assigned to AHL Chicago following the trade.

“He’s got great upside, plus we have another draft pick in the basket,” Waddell said.

Original blog:

This blog comes to you from the plane before departing for Denver.

Only real news to come out of this morning’s practice is that defenseman Boris Valabik did indeed suffer a torn ACL in his left knee. He was placed on injured reserve today. The plan is wait several days for the swelling to go down before scheduling surgery.

At practice today, Niclas Bergfors and Evander Kane were working with the power-play unit. Coach John Anderson said he would like them to get a little more practice before getting into a game on the special team but “if I see we need a little spark, I will put them in.”

Here is Anderson on the importance of this road trip:

“We were just talking to the team, our goal on this trip is to get into the playoffs (position) before the break That’s going to be our goal. I think it’s pretty realistic. I think we’ll need four or five points. We’ve got some tough teams to play but if we play as a team … we are moving in the right direction and I think we can do it.

“If you don’t set goals, you end up wandering around. I’m trying to set bars for us. We’ve got to make the playoffs. That’s the bottom line.”

Line combinations remained the same. Slava Kozlov skated on the line with Marty Reasoner, Chris Thorburn and Eric Boulton.

I shall report in from Denver at tomorrow morning’s sate.

118 comments Add your comment

Mike

February 9th, 2010
9:02 pm

Also…everyone is yelling that DW needs to once again be fired after this move but come on…if Dudley blessed this trade, half of you wouldn’t be adding this to a list of DW dumb moves just yet.

Mike

February 9th, 2010
9:04 pm

Bob McKenzie tweets: The deal is Kari Lehtonen to Dallas for defenceman Ivan Vishnevsky and a fourth-round draft choice.

Alan R.

February 9th, 2010
9:04 pm

Atlanta got back far more than I thought they would. Dallas’ top prospect *AND* a 4th? Lehtonen was only worth the 4th!

Donnie W still blows

February 9th, 2010
9:08 pm

Ever notice that Donnie W loves undersized European players? We’ve picked up three more in less than a week now. Teams with undersized European players tend to get their asses kicked. Compare to Detroit, for example, which does have a fair number of Europeans, to include some big ass-kicking Europeans. Are you paying attention Donnie W? A blueline with teenie Europeans might work in the KHL, but not the NHL.

Somaatl95 (Atlanta Native!)

February 9th, 2010
9:19 pm

Lots of people complaining here about the pending/possible Kari trade – look around – I have seen a lot of Dallas fans livid that they are giving so much for a goalie who is prone to injury and hasn’t acted like he has given a squat in his rehab assignment. Plus a lot of people are thinking there may be a deal for Turco in Atlanta coming in the offseason, since the folks in Dallas seem to think Turco is not sticking around. Before you get pissed see what the other teams fans say about the trade – if they are pissed Atlanta got a oood deal, right?

Zulu

February 9th, 2010
9:20 pm

Buyers or sellers at the trading deadline? No question that the Thrash should not be buyers. Previous TD trades with the Flyers and Blues confirm it.

R. Stroz

February 9th, 2010
9:25 pm

Wow, your new Atlanta Thrasher!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KDBGetIsg_4

The Cup is Ours.

Raider Fan

February 9th, 2010
9:28 pm

Wow. Don Waddell makes a fan-freaking-tastic trade. That’s a first.

Somaatl95 (Atlanta Native!)

February 9th, 2010
9:30 pm

Stroz, it was one messed up play. How many times have we suffered under stupid mistakes? I’m sure the kid learned from it. Its not like he is a Zhitnik or anything….

Alan R.

February 9th, 2010
9:36 pm

Stroz, at least it wasn’t something like this.

R. Stroz

February 9th, 2010
9:42 pm

Look guys, just think of the irony. Patrick Stefan, our former first 1st round pick, couldn’t put the puck in an empty net from 6 inches away for Dallas and the new guy, who we just traded a second overall pick for, scores on his own net for Dallas.

That’s funny…I don’t care who you are!

czechmate

February 9th, 2010
9:44 pm

And to think, Štefan used to play for us…

FJ

February 9th, 2010
9:50 pm

Stroz, at least it wasn’t something like this.

…or this

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pgLNPsHG9nc

czechmate

February 9th, 2010
9:54 pm

Stroz, it would be one thing if he’d have intentionally shot at his own net and scored. But what you’re picking on was a fluke. The game is full of flukes. Bound to happen when you’re dealing with dealing with a 3″ piece of rubber on a sheet of ice. Sometimes they’re in your favor, sometimes they’re not. Unfortunately, that was a really obvious, really bad fluke for Vish. Don’t get too hung up on it!

Rockem Sockem Thrasher

February 9th, 2010
9:54 pm

Here’s the link from CBS Sports:

http://tsn.ca/nhl/story/?id=309569

ben

February 9th, 2010
9:57 pm

Rejoice! The cup is ours!

Waddels is BRILLIANT! Jeeze! Iliya who?

In case you’re interested, the Devs are playing a game wednesday night.

stendec

February 9th, 2010
9:57 pm

God does answer prayers. Amen. ++STENDEC++ WAHOOOO!!!!!!! Dr Feelgood just informed me that Thrashers are now cancer free.

ben

February 9th, 2010
9:58 pm

BTW, are there deals with Center Ice at the start of a season?

R. Stroz

February 9th, 2010
10:01 pm

Colby Armstrong is the next to go.

http://twitter.com/kausatoday

ben

February 9th, 2010
10:02 pm

Wads is preparing to sell this team. Either that, or he has well and truly lost his mind.

Not Blind

February 9th, 2010
10:15 pm

Lehtonen is about the last remnant of the old Kovalchuk era. DW is cleaning out the cobwebs.

R. Stroz

February 9th, 2010
10:21 pm

Waddell is cleaning out the payroll, Armstrong and Kubina are next.

David

February 9th, 2010
10:36 pm

Best deal we’ve made in a while. Lehts is a career fragile crapshoot who plays 3 games and pulls his groin. We just picked up one of the best young defenseman out there. Everybody in Dallas raves, raves, and raves about this guy. Good job Mgmnt.

The Real Thrash

February 9th, 2010
10:39 pm

So we trade the 2nd overall pick in the draft for a prospect and a 4th rounder and this is called a good trade? This is why Wadell will never be gone!

StateBird

February 9th, 2010
10:40 pm

If you want to see what is going on with the ASG/Thrashers simply watch Major League. I hope the guys in the locker room can similarly rally around each other.

kracker

February 9th, 2010
10:43 pm

David, agree. Tho I’m looking for another move or two, one to be a goalie, maybe w/ Montreal…they are cap strapped and have two top-tier goalies. Could be Vish goes to Habs.

jonathan

February 9th, 2010
10:45 pm

i think thrashers are crazy trade Lehtonen i just don’t see pavs being top goaltender

kracker

February 9th, 2010
10:46 pm

hmmm…Maybe not another g move. Chris Viv tweeted: Waddell said play of Hedberg and Pavelec made Lehtonen the odd man out. “They have proved to be capable of carrying the load.”

I’m not sold at all on Pavs.

Albert

February 9th, 2010
10:56 pm

I really thought we would get more for Lehtonen. If Wad was serious about making the playoffs couldn’t he have gotten us an NHL level player who could add depth to a forward line and perhaps score a few?

Telfo

February 9th, 2010
11:10 pm

great deal for an extreme injury risk

Chris Vivlamore

February 9th, 2010
11:12 pm

I have updated the blog above with my final Lehtonen trade story.

fes

February 9th, 2010
11:22 pm

Fantastic. Another d-man. First, he won’t go after any d-men and now he won’t stop. We have no goalies signed beyond this year and just traded away an RFA. Lehts will mature sooner or later, at which point Don will say “See, I told ya he would be good”.

*facepalm*

StateBird

February 9th, 2010
11:35 pm

Just watched the end of the Stars-Hawks game and Stars Live afterwards. The DAL crew likes the trade and said they were giving up little for a potential game changer.

For what its worth another ATL franchise traded (gave) away a very talented but young and immature player at a key position … Brett Favre.

CrazyDiamond

February 9th, 2010
11:48 pm

We are so screwed. Game Over.. The Thrashers have never had a goalie that could carry the team to / through the playoff – and we still don’t. What’s up with that? Bad luck? Injury ridden? Bad judge of talent? Lack of payroll dollars?

On with the rebuilding project! We are so screwed.

James Brown

February 10th, 2010
12:17 am

Last two trades have Dudley`s imprint………The Thrashers are young and talented……………wait and see!!!

Brendan

February 10th, 2010
12:20 am

Don’t worry. Don Waddell will talk Curtis Joseph out of retirement.

2025

February 10th, 2010
12:40 am

After breaking every goaltending record in the NHL, Kari Lehtonen is retiring. Lehtonen, who was initially pressed into service too early in his career by a struggling Atlanta hockey franchise, really turned things around after successful back surgery and a trade to the Dallas Stars. With the Stars, Lehtonen broke Marty Brodeur’s all time win record and once posted an unbelievable eighteen game shutout streak. Lehtonen led the Stars to six Stanley Cup titles in his fifteen year tenure. He will surely be remembered as the best goalie in NHL history.

David

February 10th, 2010
12:41 am

I honestly think this trade kills 2 birds with one stone. 1) rid the franchise of 3 goalies and we traded the one with the highest salary, the most injury problems, and the one who hasn’t been in the locker room all year….good…..2) In all likelihood Kubina is gone one way or the other for next year. He was acquired in a trade. Whether he leaves via trade or free agency, building depth on the D line for the future is probably our biggest priority in my opinion.

Think about the young talent we now have at the D position….it’s actually something i look at and am impressed by.

Enstrom 25
Bogo 19 (can he really only be 19????)
Oduya 28
Vish 21
Valabik 23
Popovic 27
Hainsey 28
Schubert 28

That’s fantastic. I look at this trade as getting rid of a cancer (in a way)

Jack

February 10th, 2010
12:48 am

Vish is awesome. You guys will love him. He can shoot the puck and skate like zubov. We just traded for a fat drunk cripple. Dallas is ready to scalp Joe neiwendyk. Maybe we can trade GMs.

David

February 10th, 2010
12:48 am

As for the rest of the trade season……

We have a lot of centers, and not a lot of wingers……good for faceoffs, bad for scoring.

Judging by Waddell’s past of being active during the trade deadline period, you’d have to assume there are at least a couple more moves coming. Kubina possibly, White (hopefully), I wouldn’t be surprised to see Army or Reasoner go as well.

scottbravesfan

February 10th, 2010
2:23 am

I posted this on bleacher report and I thought it would be good to post it on here for those who think that the Thrashers should move.

Look Atlanta is a transient town. Only how people are going to go to the games is if the team wins and the team has not won in 11 years. They do not care about one player nor should they. The Thrashers are horrible. I’ve been a fan since 2000 and watching this team play this season and seeing they are actually battling for a playoff spot is laughable and shows just how awful the eastern conference is in the NHL. If you want to compare Atlanta to other cities the two obvious ones are Washington DC and Dallas. Atlanta and DC are very similar. Both have a ton of transplants and both have terrible traffic. Their fan support is also very similar. Remember when the Capitals had Jagr? They didn’t draw flies and yet they made the playoffs. I remember watching a playoff games a few years ago when they had Jagr and there was an announced crowd of 15,000 fans for a playoff game. So what happen to the Caps? They drafted Ovechkin, changed their jerseys to red, and started winning games and the fans came in droves. The Washington Nationals and Wizards can’t draw flies and even the Redskins have a ton of empty seats at their games. Atlanta is the same way. If the Thrashers started winning and were one of the best teams in the east they would start to draw. Hell they set an expansion attendance record their first year and the year they made the playoffs they averaged around 17,000 fans a game and Philips Arena was packed and loud during that one playoff series, when they were swept by the Rangers. The Hawks are drawing well now that they are winning. The Falcons started drawing well when Arthur Blank bought the team and the Braves drew 3 million fans 6 times in the 1990’s and have drawn over 2 million fans 19 straight years. All it takes for the Thrashers to succeed off the ice is to win on the ice. Simple as that. Then the bandwagon fans would jump on and hopefully if the Thrashers can have five or six years of sustained success of making the playoffs every year then those fans would convert over to real fans.

But right now the Atlanta Thrashers are the Pittsburgh Pirates of the NHL.

Also look at the Avalanche. They moved to Denver and immediately won a Stanley Cup and then won one again 5 years later. Now that they don’t have Sakic how well are they drawing this year? They are barely outdrawing the Thrashers and they are battling for their division. Same thing with Dallas. The Stars moved to Dallas and won immediately and they sold out every game. Now they haven’t made the playoffs in a couple of years and are battling this year to even make the playoffs and their attendance has dropped off quite a bit. If Atlanta had gotten the Avalanche or Stars and won immediately we would not be having this conversation about the Thrashers moving.

Lee

February 10th, 2010
6:47 am

IDIOTS!!!!!!!!!

DWTOO

February 10th, 2010
7:53 am

IMHO we received more than I expected for Lets – was expecting only a second rounder at best. From HF he appears to have potential. Now we need address a goalie for next year. The free agent market over the summer always has many available.

And if the Dallas commentators were raving about Kari and the trade think of McConnell and Eliot. They wouldn’t pan a trade by the Thrahsers?

Old Time Hockey

February 10th, 2010
7:55 am

Buy stock in Dallas area Cinnabon’s! What’s the over under on how many games till the Michelin goalie sustains a season ending groin injury? You can draft a talent, but how can you know his work ethic (or lack thereof)? I would seriously look into the trainer for this team. Muscle injuries should never happen in this day and age. It’s all training and nutrition. Dunkin’ Donuts and a steam don’t get it done. The goalie history is interesting. Sort of like the drummer for Spinal Tap. Damian Rhodes still icing his groin. Who can forget Norm Maracle (foreshadowing for Kari)? Poor Pasi…What do you think Moose’s secret to health is? Could it be work ethic? Diet? Nahhh
The post about short circuiting Kari’s career by forcing him into service before he was ready was a hoot. He’s STILL not ready.

ww5

February 10th, 2010
8:11 am

looks like management finally listened to me and got rid of the dynamic duo

moe

February 10th, 2010
8:29 am

will these trades raise or lower the value of their bobbleheads on ebay?

J.B.

February 10th, 2010
8:33 am

y’all are crazy. this had to happen ASAP. We’re having one of the best seasons in franchise history with Moose & Pavs in net. It’s highly unlikely Kari will ever realize the potential he had after so many injuries and surgeries. But, these points are moot… He HAD to be traded. DW himself said the team does not play as hard for Kari as they do for Pavs & Moose; it wouldn’t have mattered how injured he was or what his stats were if that was true. Of course I would have liked to get something more for him but it wasn’t going to happen; he’s been tagged as chronically injured and poorly conditioned. Honestly I’m surprised we got a prospect and a pick for him. If anything Ivan’s presence in Chicago will push Kulda up to Atlanta when there’s room for him, likely next season. The best part of this is the salary dump. It almost seems like now that Kovygate is over, the thrashers are banking as much cash as possible to make some enticing offers in free agency.

Get The Puck Out

February 10th, 2010
8:37 am

The Thrashers still need a # 1 goalie. Pavs isn’t ready and Moose is not a #1 starter. If you want to make it to the playoffs you better make a trade for a goalie. And this guy we traded for may be a good puck moving defensive player, but he is 5′ 11″ tall and 180 pounds. He will be pushed around like the guy who got sand kicked in his face by the bully. Hopefully he is trade materal for a goalie. We shall see. Oh yea, FIRE WADDELL.

Mike

February 10th, 2010
9:46 am

Get the Puck Out…how tall is Enstrom? He seems to compensate for his lack of size pretty well. Who is to say Ivan can’t do the same.

Pavs will be better next season and who is to say the Thrashers don’t get a different backup goalie in the offseason as there are going to be many available. I’m still hoping this move was intended to get Dallas’ top prospect to be used in another trade.

J.B.

February 10th, 2010
9:52 am

Here’s a thought… If moose leaves for some reason or retires, would we make an offer to antero niittymaki? He’s a good goal tender but more importantly, we wouldn’t have to play against him anymore. Pretty sure he’s UFA this year…