Q and A with Don Waddell prior to NHL trade deadline

Here is the transcript on an interview I did with Thrashers general manager Don Waddell Monday about the NHL trade deadline at 3 p.m. on Wednesday. The interview came prior to Monday night’s acquisition of Anaheim forward Evgeny Artyukhin for AHL defenseman Nathan Oystrick and a 2011 conditional draft pick

Q. Is your phone ringing? Or are you making phone calls?

A. It’s a combination.

Q. Is a major deal likely?

A. I can’t say that. There are so many teams that are still in [the playoff race]. So the amount of players being shopped is pretty limited. It works kind of the opposite way. When you have limited players, the values go up quite high. Right now, I can’t say whether we will do something or not. Certainly we will pursue every angle and see if there is something out there. Remember we made trades prior to every one else (Ilya Kovalchuk, Kari Lehtonen). The changes that we’ve made, I think, have been very positive for our hockey team. You want to make sure you don’t mess up the chemistry of your team either.

Q. Would you categorize yourself as a buyer or a seller?

A. More a buyer than a seller.

Q. What areas are you looking to improve?

A. If we could add a little size up front that would be my wish list. You’d like to get a little bigger. I like our skill level but with a lot of our guys, [Bryan] Little, [Niclas] Bergfors, [Rich] Peverley we are not real big up front there. If we could add some size up that would be a wish.

Q. Are you trying to find someone to pick up some of the scoring with Kovalchuk gone?

A. That’s your home run, if you ever did that. I have a list of players that are available and I’ve talked to about 15 teams, there are not a lot of them out there. There are just not that many teams that are out of it. There is just not a lot. … We like our team and we are not going to overpay drastically to fit a square peg into a round hole and pay for it later.

Q. How much do you worry about chemistry?

A. You’ve got to make sure you know the person you are bringing in. If you are going to bring in another player or two, there are two phases: 1. Bring in good people that you feel will fit in your [locker] room. 2. What are you subtracting from your locker room? You want to be careful that way too. It could be a double whammy. If you subtract the wrong piece of the puzzle and add somebody that doesn’t fit in, it could work against you. That’s why you’ve got to be very careful this time of year.

Q. Are your unrestricted free agents the most coveted by other teams?

A. Those are the guys that you get phone calls about, but I can tell you that we are not just looking to sell off players. We have the one exception we are dealing with with the [Slava] Kozlov situation, which is much different than any of our other unrestricted players. If there are hockey trades out there to make, we are certainly going to look at them. If you are asking if we are going to trade Pavel Kubina for a second-round pick, like all these people are speculating, that’s not going to happen.

Q. If your two trades you have accumulated “chips” in prospects and draft picks. Do you use them now or during the offseason?

A. If you are doing anything now you are trying to help yourself finish as strong as you can this year. In the summer, it’s a different tool because you are looking at something long term. If you are looking to add someone now, it’s how gives us the best chance to get where we want to go and that’s the playoffs. Now you might be trading for a guy that’s unrestricted at the end of the year for that short term. It’s two different mindsets.

Q. Any movement trying to trade Kozlov?

A. I’ve had a few conversations with a few teams, but nothing really new. A couple of teams I have reached out to. People know he’s available now, thanks to the media.

Q. With Kozlov, is it as much about you trying to grant his wish for what he’s done for the organization?

A. Yes. The asset value back is minimal versus how much he’s done for this franchise. If I can find him a home, I’m happy to do it.

Q. How likely is it that you will be able to trade him?

A. I don’t know. It’s too early to say. I’ve had some feelers, but now much more than that.

76 comments Add your comment

GaVaHokie

March 1st, 2010
3:04 pm

Matt

March 1st, 2010
3:06 pm

Well, Chris, unfortunately I think everything Waddell says is a LIE.

Fire Waddell!!

GaVaHokie

March 1st, 2010
3:10 pm

Thanks Viv… appreciate the info!

Thrasher_Ed

March 1st, 2010
3:11 pm

How many picks to we have for this year? Any idea? any we dealt away from previous seasons?

Tale of Woe

March 1st, 2010
3:12 pm

Did Waddell say anything?

Smoothie

March 1st, 2010
3:29 pm

He said that we wouldn’t trade Kubina for a 2nd round pick.

So expect an older, washed-up D-man + a 3rd round pick!! LOL

I kid, I kid.

I will go out on a limb: Kubina WILL NOT BE TRADED.

The Real Thrash

March 1st, 2010
3:33 pm

Lips are moving, watch out!

J.B.

March 1st, 2010
3:34 pm

if he speaks the truth it sounds as if he learned a lesson from the trade which will no longer be spoken of…

Chris Vivlamore

March 1st, 2010
3:35 pm

All: Thanks for those who brought to my attention the games in hand mistake in the story in today’s paper and online yesterday. It should have read the Thrashers played less games than those teams, not more. I’m afraid it was changed (not by me) before being posted. I fixed it early this morning, but it was wrong for awhile. Thanks to all for your attention.

GAY4SLAVA

March 1st, 2010
4:00 pm

I don’t want you to go, Slava!

You are LOVED here.

Joyaman

March 1st, 2010
4:11 pm

“More a buyer than a seller” tells us nothing. Pure posturing to keep the ruse going. If you are serious about a playoff run you are a “buyer.” If you are realistic about your team’s chances you are a “seller.” If you are neither, you are Don Waddell.

In any other NHL market such double speak would have the fans and press screaming “BS! you have no fricking plan – do you?” Here, for some inexplicable reason, Teflon Don gets away with this crap on an ongoing basis.

holton

March 1st, 2010
4:29 pm

We need an ownership group that can support two successful teams, not just one at a time. When the thrashers were good, that one season, the hawks were down, now that the hawks are up, the thrashers are an after thought. Sell one of the teams so you can focus.

When i arrived in ATL a few years back everyone was pretty pumped about the thrashers, but with no confidence in an ownership group that they will spend money to make money no one wants to poney up to the table.

Lee

March 1st, 2010
4:29 pm

I hope the thrashers make some trades….that’s the best part of the season!

Sage of Bluesland

March 1st, 2010
4:54 pm

What “plan” are we on now?

(that’s a serious question, too)

What’s worse than a blustering little fraud of a GM in charge of a team? (Answer: uncaring ownership).

Yet some of you still put your hard-earned money in their pockets?! (well, I’m assuming it’s ‘your’ money, which is an assumption on my part).

Wow. Maybe one day some of you will listen…some have and benefited…some haven’t and continue to dweam…

ASHEVILLE DAWG

March 1st, 2010
5:07 pm

didn’t pass yet. FIRE WADDELL, until then WHO CARES ABOUT THE THRASHERS

Mary Ann Hossa

March 1st, 2010
5:41 pm

Need to get Hossa back here LMAO

Matt the Brave

March 1st, 2010
5:46 pm

So, by trading your franchise player and who was to be your franchise goalie, you’re buying?! What a load of crap! Really?! How delusional can Waddell be? Does no one on the Atlanta Spirit have the cojones to fire him?

kevin

March 1st, 2010
5:47 pm

Don waddell his 12 year plan….Very little u sure gave tough question u should ask why u still GM..why did u funny bob hartley why have a armstong on u strings….he say anythin bad like u a jerk in trades good players u reel him in fire him….well here my Trade Fire Don Waddell for a idea and get Hitchock be are New GM…are u waitin for 2012 say this is are last year n will be in winnipeg as the Jets…But of course u never ask him comment on kovachuck who is in NJ now sayin its great to be with Class orgs. now!

tom

March 1st, 2010
5:58 pm

Why waste your time interviewing this loser. Thrashers will not make the playoffs while he is in charge. I will never attend another game while he is in charge. They do not deserve my money or support. If this club had a normal ownership he would have been gone three years ago.

mike

March 1st, 2010
6:02 pm

Very well said kevin

Don Waddell

March 1st, 2010
6:08 pm

I’m 100% buying in this trade market. At least until someone finds Alexei Zhitnik and Uwe Krupp and offers them in trade for Pavel Kubina and Zach Bogosian. That would put our blueline in shape for a playoff run.

That and I hear Andy Sutton is available, #25 is much lower than #44 Aturs Kulda. All those blocked shots will come in handy once I trade all the UFA forwards and we never get out of our own zone.

Here’s to year 10 of my 15 year plan to win a playoff game in Atlanta.

kracker

March 1st, 2010
6:32 pm

Why some people bother posting on Viv’s blog is beyond me. He’s trying to provide us with information and perspective about the Thrashers as a credentialed team blogger/ AJC writer. [You're doing a fine job, Chris, all things considered, and I appreciate your work.]

If you screamers can’t say something informative, why post here? If you can’t offer constructive criticism, why post here? The AJC provides a place to vent your spleen. It’s called, appropriately, “The Vent.” Try it, you might like it. :)

Then again, it’s so nice to have “Don Waddell” stopping by to post. [roll eyes] …As Terry Bradshaw said about Jimmy Kimmel’s comic skits: “Not funny!”

Not Blind

March 1st, 2010
7:10 pm

Kozlov would like to continue his career several more seasons ???? Hello ! Play hard ! Womens hockey is the only place there is no hitting. Watching him duck out to avoid contact makes me want to puke. That’s how you end up minus 16.

Not Blind

March 1st, 2010
7:11 pm

IMO, the only UFA that really makes any sense for the Thrashers is Ray Whitney. I wonder if he would come to Atlanta and add some scoring and enthusiasm.

Brendan

March 1st, 2010
7:20 pm

Q: Any movement trying to trade Kozlov?

I’ve had a few conversations with a few teams, but nothing really new. A couple of teams I have reached out to. People know he’s available now, thanks to the media.

Was that a “shot” at the AJC? As in, it’s the AJC’s fault we can’t get such a good return on Kozlov? I hardly think that’s true. If anything, teams that want him should be forced to bid against each other. As in, “this team offered me, ‘this, this, and this’ so to land Kozzie, you’ve got to match or surpass that offer.” Now, I hear ya. Finding one suitor might be trouble enough. But whether the media made it know that Kozlov is available or not really shouldn’t have hurt negotiations any. Bottom line. If there’s a team that wanted Kozlov … the price is essentially unaffected by the disclosure of a waiving of the NTC. Kozlov is “sweetener” on any deal, at this point. He’s not the CENTERPIECE of it.

kracker

March 1st, 2010
7:38 pm

BenThrashers twitter: Expect the Thrashers to be active over the next few days

I like the sound of that!!! Now if the players/coaches can come through and win a few games…..I’m not going to jinx then again by posting what I think should happen over the next several games.

Brendan

March 1st, 2010
7:41 pm

Was it just me, or did this Waddell interview have all the hallmarks of the movie, “Being There,” starring Peter Sellers.

Seriously, if you’ve never seen that movie, rent it. Shoot, you can probably buy it for $1.50. In it, Peter Sellers plays an imbecilic gardner, who inexplicably find himself befriended by the President of the United States, after a car wreck involving the First Lady, played by Shirly MacLaine. In it, Chauncy Gardner speaks vaguely about complex issues, always using gardening references.

Like?

Well, the bumbling idiot goes on TV on something the equivalent of the “Today” Show … and speaks about how, “There will be growth in the Spring. So we must plant now.” The reporter’s question? “Chauncy, what’s your outlook on the President’s economic strategy?”

I can’t help it, people. When I hear Don Waddell actually say things like, “We’ve got to be careful not to upset our team chemistry. We don’t want to acquire a round peg for a square hole, while at the same time moving the wrong piece of the puzzle out of the lockerroom,” all I can hear is Peter Seller’s voice, as Chauncy Gardner, in way over his head, trying to explain things … in GARDENING terms.

Here’s a link. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Being_There. The highlights of which are this gem: “His simplistic, serious-sounding utterances, which mostly concern the garden, are interpreted as allegorical statements of deep wisdom and knowledge regarding business matters and the current state of the economy in America.”

After the President dies, the ballbears, in whispered discussions, debate who should replace the President on the ticket for the next election. Seeing Chauncey as a person who has no past to haunt him, and America’s high approval ratings of his allegorical speeches, they unanymously agree that this wandering, bumbling idiot is the perfect patsy to be the “figurehead” President.

Gawd, the pallbearers even sound like the Atlanta Spirit, LLC.

kracker

March 1st, 2010
7:46 pm

Yeah, Brendan, it’s not the AJC’s fault, no fault for anyone. Actually, it’s a plus. They – ‘they’ being the team and Kozlov – had to make it known that Kozlov is on the market, that his NTC is a non-factor. Waddell could have shopped him on the QT but the available trading window is short – and getting shorter. League GMs needed to know last week that Kozlov is available so they could factor him into their thinking on who is available at what price.

[...] more [...]

kracker

March 1st, 2010
8:13 pm

C Viv’s twitter: ajcthrashers Thrashers may make minor move tonight.

Well, that’s interesting. What constitutes a ‘minor move’? Sounds to me like an depth move for the Wolves, not a current Thrashers player or big pick movement. Though I suppose that could be part of a later, bigger trade.

Want My Floor Seats?

March 1st, 2010
8:46 pm

Most of you guys would get taken to the cleaners if you ever were a GM of any team in ANY sport and you went out to the media and specifically stated who you were trying to get and who you were putting on the market before a trading deadline…..That’s why you post your sophomoric comments here instead.

Imagine a big poker table and every GM is dealt a hand. Then a reporter comes in and asks each one to show him their cards. The idiots who do LOSE before the betting even begins. Get it?

This is NOT something that’s for public consumption…Let the guy do his job and then comment on the RESULTS. He (and Dudley) just did two huge trades before the freeze. So far I’m happy with those and if we don’t make another move, that’s OK. This team has played like a TEAM post-Kovy and Wads sounds like he’s smart enough this go round to not screw up the chemistry just for the sake of making a deadline deal…..But I would be surprised if Koz isn’t dealt.

Come out and SUPPORT OUR TEAM!! Leave the bitter hate-mongers like Sage of Bluesland behind and ENJOY the push for the playoffs. We’re likely to see some of the best NHL hockey in this town that we have in years. Don’t miss it!

Mary Ann Hossa

March 1st, 2010
8:54 pm

Someone give me some kool aid. Make it a double. I just don’t see the playoffs this year.

Joyaman

March 1st, 2010
8:55 pm

Did I just see Waddell’s name and “smart” in the same sentence? I think that his 10-year record of failure is sufficient for the freaking e-Trade babies to question his moves.

I’m not bailing on the Thrasher players. I’ll root for them to win and qualify for the playoffs, but please don’t confuse loyalty to your home town team with tolerence for the total incompetence of a GM and the slumlord policies of dysfunctional ownership.

Go Thrash!

kracker

March 1st, 2010
9:00 pm

Want My Floor Seats? – you posted “Come out and SUPPORT OUR TEAM!!” I agree and I hope you see reasoon to keep your floor seats. I’m largely happy with the moves made by mgmt in recent years and they need to do well these next couple of days to keep it going.

Chris Vivlamore

March 1st, 2010
9:04 pm

Thrashers acquire Evgeny Artykhin from Anaheim for Nathan Oystrick and conditional pick in 2011.

Chris Vivlamore

March 1st, 2010
9:07 pm

That’s Artyukhin.

Joyaman

March 1st, 2010
9:27 pm

Artyukhin is a 26-year-old, 6′-4″, 254-pound Russian goon with three suspensions and a history of throwing contract hissy fits. Should be a good fit for the Wolves. Career NHL stat line = 145-gp 10-g 23-a 33-pts 241-pim

Russian

March 1st, 2010
9:27 pm

What’s Happend! Don likes Russians!
He wants to build a Russian NHL Club. :-)

Joyaman

March 1st, 2010
9:28 pm

Joyaman

March 1st, 2010
9:31 pm

good role model for Cormier

Smoothie

March 1st, 2010
9:31 pm

Curious move, but D-Wads DID say he wanted to get bigger and beefier up front. Well, he did. He didn’t lie. At least not at first blush. But not sure why we need more size on the 4th line!

Perhaps Evgeny is Armstrong’s temporary replacement on the 3rd line. He could certainly open up more ice for Kane and Slater I suppose.

This move only makes sense if we’re also going after a scorer like Poni, Versteeg or similar using Colby as a negotiating chip.

kracker

March 1st, 2010
9:37 pm

CBS Sportsline: “Artyukhin has only played six times in January, but he already has six points and a plus-4 rating.”

Potential for sure.

GaVaHokie

March 1st, 2010
9:37 pm

Smoothie… I was thinking the same thing… or atleast a complete change of pace from the skilled finesse wingers we have in Kozlov and Afinogenov.

Waddell said they wanted to add size up front.

Sage of Bluesland

March 1st, 2010
9:43 pm

I don’t know which is more humorous–the sheep who continue to make excuses for this abomination or the abomination of an organization itself?

Tough choice on that one.

Oh well, be sure to be here with the Kool-Aid when we embark on yet another rebuilding project…Now if we could just click our heels twice and make a wish…

Smoothie

March 1st, 2010
10:21 pm

Who the eff is making excuses sage of your own kingdom?! Goodness gracious you are irritating.

If that’s what you’re going for, I guess you’re good at what you set out to do.

Why do you post here? What is your raison d’etre? Do you care about the future of hockey in ATL?

If so, you wouldn’t advocate everyone boycotting a team that is already in financial distress. Do you want to see ATL lose hockey a 2nd time? Are you David McDavid??

Piss off jerk.

Get The Puck Out

March 1st, 2010
10:37 pm

Amen Smoothie. If you dislike it GET THE PUCK OUT!

Somaatl95

March 1st, 2010
10:37 pm

Fellas, c’mon! We all come here to bitch and complain, however lets not be violent towards each other. That being said we may not like ownership or management but we love the team, and that is what is important. We all want the Thrash to do well and stay here in Atlanta.

In the words of Rodney King “Can’t we all just get along?”

JR

March 1st, 2010
10:37 pm

YES KEVIN, WELL SAID!

Smoothie

March 1st, 2010
10:56 pm

Who is being violent? I’m just being emphatic…there’s a difference.

Name me one positive contribution Sage has made on either blog in over 2 years.

I’m fine with people bitching and moaning when warranted, but beating the dead horse of all dead horses is just pure silliness.

It’s documented in a circuit court in Md that this team is bleeding red ink. I don’t see how pulling open that wound even further by “not subsidizing the incompetence” is going to help matters. They haven’t fired DWad yet and they’re probably not going to anytime soon. Look how long it took them to get rid of Billy Knight! Knight makes Waddell look like a genius.

Russian – btw, what’s going on buddy?! Haven’t seen you on the blogs in a while…you done mourning the Russians loss to Canada? ;-)

Somaatl95

March 1st, 2010
11:49 pm

ok, so i poured my heart out about a lot of stuff and it didn’t post. I give up.