Contract talks with UFAs continue

I have a couple of small contract updates to report after last weekend’s Braves games and a father/son trip to Springfield, Illinois to visit some Abraham Lincoln historic sites.

USA Today had a report last week that the Thrashers were unlikely to re-sign forward Colby Armstrong due to contract differences. After talking to both sides, it doesn’t quite appear a deal is dead, but they are not close.

“Colby has been a solid contributor to our club and we do have interest in him as a player, but after some initial discussions with the agent and our understanding of what he would be looking for we’re too far apart at this time,” Thrashers GM Rick Dudley told the AJC.

Armstrong said he was letting his agent handle negotiations.

Armstrong made $2.4 million last season and is looking for a raise.

There have also been more contract talks with defenseman Pavel Kubina,  but at this time nothing is  imminent.

There is nothing new to report on a coaching search. I suspect that Chicago assistant John Torchetti is still a leading candidate. Dudley has said he won’t talk to potential candidates until their season is over. With the Blackhawks on the verge of the Stanley Cup Finals, it could talk another two weeks before he is available to interview. I will stay on it.

Thanks to those who had kind words on my Rick Dudley feature – on the blog and by e-mail. They are very much appreciated. It was quite a fascinating story. His path to NHL management was just as interesting as his road to NHL player. I plan to put up a blog on that journey next week. I’m still trying to collect on some off days from the season and I will be at the Braves’ upcoming  weekend series.

I will keep you posted with any news.

86 comments Add your comment

GaVaHokie

May 25th, 2010
12:38 pm

… but I can’t think of any time where the Assitant was hired, or announced before the Head Coach. (to finish my thought)

rob

May 25th, 2010
12:41 pm

GVH,
3.8 per for Max?!?!?! I like the guy but he was a walk-on. He had a good season under JA and his all-offense style, but didn’t like the defense system in Buffalo and may not want to work as hard under a defense oriented coach here. I don’t know, hope it isn’t so, but I don’t think we should throw big money at him just yet. 1.5-2 tops.
As for Colby, he can go play in the KHL with Ilya since he likes him so much. Something wrong with a guy that’s living the dream and can’t stay focused enough to play hard consistently. Maybe Duds offered him what he SHOULD be making instead of what he actually stole from us last year and he got upset for being called out. He should be happy getting 1M per with the heart he showed this year.

GaVaHokie

May 25th, 2010
1:15 pm

rob… Max was making 3.5 per year in Buffalo and had to sign cheap last season to prove he is healthy and still worth that kind of money. I think he easily gets $3 million offers from around the league… it might take $3.5-3.8 to keep him… just my opinion.

Spud Webb

May 25th, 2010
1:42 pm

Hokie, you maybe right about Max, I don’t dispute that. I just hope that somebody isn’t the Thrashers! 1 mill, maybe 1.2 a season, Colby should be asking for the same price, even though much less goal production. I don’t wanna hear that colby is gritty or an agitator, because he simple isn’t. He’s no avery, carcillo, kaletta, or any other agitator out there. I’m not saying I want him to be a goon or dirty, I just want him to get folks riled up and get guys to take dump penalties.

rob

May 25th, 2010
1:45 pm

I know, and this season was a good proving year for him, just not sure it warrants quite that much money. And he seems to like it here so that should at least be a part of the equation I would hope, since we gave him the chance to play here this season, in much the same way as Pevs did

Jack

May 25th, 2010
1:50 pm

Ted M. He was wearing his mouth piece

Smoothie

May 25th, 2010
1:53 pm

I predict Max takes $2.8 M to stay in Atlanta as long as he gets 3 years or more. I think Max is genuinely thankful that ATL, the only team to do so, gave him a chance to try-out and walk-on at the 11th hour. Max seems like a loyal guy and I don’t see him being as selfish as some of the other Russian stars. Hell, every season he accepts a diminished 4th line role in the Worlds, kills penalties and still scores clutch goals.

On the open market, someone might be willing to give him in upwards of $3.5 M, but I honestly see us taking Kozzie’s money and using it to re-sign Max ($2 M) and sign a veteran replacement for Colby Armstrong such as Dominic Moore ($1.6 – 1.75 M) or someone of his ilk.

Yes, Cormier and perhaps even Klingberg will get a chance to make the team, but I still think we’ll look for a veteran as insurance for the checking line. My gut tells me Clarke Mac is going to get a look at second line RW minutes with Pevs and Kane.

Bergie / Antro / Max
Kane / Pevs / C-Mac
Slates / Moore or Lits / Lits
Machacek / Reasy / Thor (Cormier & Stewart??)

Ted M

May 25th, 2010
2:19 pm

Dave

May 25th, 2010
2:23 pm

I think cormier is a dirty player. He does not deserve to be on a fair-playing team like the thrashers. We should trade him to the flyers or canadiens where he can play cheap and dirty hockey there. Look on youtube “patrice cormier”. The first thing that comes up is his dirty and cheap hit on another player. He is a thug and should go to a dirty city like philadelphia!

GaVaHokie

May 25th, 2010
2:27 pm

Let me clarify… I don’t WANT to pay him $3.8 million. Just thinking he might be looking at the $3 million mark this summer.

Max is coming off a great performance at the World’s too… he got MVP for the Russia v. Canada game (side note).

Smoothie… I’d be pretty happy with that deal. I’d be even happier putting that Kozlov money to a legit 2nd Center and went with Little and Bergs at RW.

Kane/Antro/Bergs
Pevs/Sharp/Little
Kling/Cormier/Slater
Thorsy/Reason/White/Machacek

Tony C.

May 25th, 2010
2:29 pm

Dave-I don’t know if you’ve been watching Le Thrash get pushed around the ice and disresepected for the past 10 years, but I sure do….I also would say that if all you’ve seen of Cormier is that hit he was suspended for (which I agree was as dirty as dirty gets!), then you’re missing the bigger picture. I see the guy as a Top-9 center….(probably 3rd)… but I wouldn’t call him a “dirty” player…a la’ Matt Cooke or Ruutu

GaVaHokie

May 25th, 2010
2:32 pm

Pretty nice that both teams in salary cap trouble are in the Stanley Cup final… should guarantee that one of them will blow up the roster this summer when they win.

I’m cheering for Chicago… should make it easier to get Patrick Sharp or Versteeg… they won’t have to come here thinking they got cheated out of a Cup.

Tony C.

May 25th, 2010
2:33 pm

Sorry I left out a huge piece of that paragraph-basically, I’m ok with having guys that are going to hit you after the whistle sometimes-tired of seeing our guys have liberties taken with them and rarely did anyone not name Boulton try to send ‘em a bill for it….

GaVaHokie

May 25th, 2010
2:34 pm

Smoothie… when making your line combo’s, you have to account for White. Until he’s bought out or traded, you have to use him. Sorry, those are the rules. :)

Spud Webb

May 25th, 2010
2:43 pm

GD Hokie, just ruined my day bringing up White!!!!!!!!!! ugh. thud, makes me sick to my stomach!

Smoothie

May 25th, 2010
3:19 pm

GVH, true, I did leave White out…ha, get it! ;-)

White will be bought out if not waived and claimed off re-entry waivers, which would be best case scenario.

He used to have the game to play 2nd line C, but no more. And if he can’t be more physical, which he really can’t, he has no business clogging up our bottom 6.

Sianorah to the “Accountant”…someone else can account for him.

Jock itch

May 25th, 2010
3:40 pm

Colby, are you kidding me, I can’t believe anyone would give you 1 million let alone 2.4. You sucked this year, I have a 20 yr old with more skill than you. Don’t let the door hit your arse on the way out. Good riddance.

KLS1

May 25th, 2010
3:46 pm

I’ve never seen so many people whine about Cormier throwing an elbow. I get it, its a dirty play, but if the guys doens’t go into spasms its 4 minutes.

He was an 18 year old kid that made a mistake and now everyone wants to kill him, give me a break. That same stuff goes on every game and usually worse. And I dare not even mention the Heatley example or Roethilisberger…but keep cheering for them because they are clean players.

This team needs to do more than play fair. Get over it, let the kid get on with his life and play hockey.

rob

May 25th, 2010
4:26 pm

If he can play the game I am OK with Cormier here. If he is straight goon, which I don’t see, then sayonara. That being said a tough guy who can play isn’t a bad thing, and Bolts, much as I like him, is a wasted spot until we need a fight because he does little else for us.

On a separate note, no one is saying anything about Artyukin….did I miss something? I thought he looked good and had some welcome size for us and would like to see him stay in Thrasher blue.

Smoothie

May 25th, 2010
4:34 pm

rob – there was a rumor floated by a Russian journalist (a la Dimitri Chesnokov) on twitter who said Arty was a likely candidate to go to the KHL because he has a much higher value and top 6 potential there.

GaVaHokie

May 25th, 2010
4:45 pm

Arty and Bolts will be a tough decision… I’m thinking one or none, and I don’t think either are willing to battle it out in a camp tryout. Dudley will have to make a judgment call.

Arty gives you size and scoring but didn’t give us any ‘fight’… Boulton gives you ‘fight’ and ‘energy’ but not much in scoring and size.

GaVaHokie

May 25th, 2010
4:46 pm

Smoothie… agreed.

He’ll probably be facing two-way offers in the NHL, which will make him more likely to go to the KHL.

Smoothie

May 25th, 2010
5:10 pm

Yeah, too bad we can’t combine the two and create a droid called Ergheny Boultyukhin!! That would be one bad-azz mofo!! :cool:

rob

May 25th, 2010
6:06 pm

Dam! well that is too bad but if he wants to play top line minutes against inferior players that is his call. Maybe Duds can sway him LOL still don’t see Bolts here again. The importance of having a 4th line that can play may be his undoing IMO

Jack

May 25th, 2010
6:17 pm

We need another enforcer, especially if Bolton leaves. So let Cormier play. Besides an elbow a day keeps the oponent goals away.

ex-STH

May 25th, 2010
9:57 pm

Its safe to say Armstrong is gone. I preached to trade him at the deadline! You can’t depend on a kid (Cormier) to step in his place, though. Not sure who could fill those skates. Would like to see Artuykin back. His size and skill is awesome. Hey, what about all you bloggers last offseason saying that Antro couldn’t play center??? He is a big bodied STUD!!! Hope to keep Max for at least 3 years (to play on Antro’s line). Bring in Ponikorvarsky (spelling?) and let those 3 play the first line!

Dave

May 25th, 2010
10:00 pm

@ Tony- i totally agree with you on the amount of disrespect the thrash have received but i don’t want a thrashers player on NHL Headlines in a negative way. I think he’s OK he’s no sidney crosby but i don’t want him to ruin the career or life of another player. If he plays hearty, fair hockey my level of respect for him will go up but rite now its low. Again, he’s no sidney crosby so don’t expect instant impact from him…

fanfan

May 26th, 2010
9:05 am

Wow, look at all these frustrated fans. I admire you guys who still believe that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. I have lost my interest long time ago. The ownership, poor choices, the issues of Teflon Don, low budget, etc… Just sell this team, and perhaps we can concentrate on NBA (providing different approach, attitude, and desire). But at this point – no way…

Smoothie

May 26th, 2010
9:33 am

Fanfan – if b’ball were only as good as hockey eh? And if my aunt had balls! Screw the lame-ass NBA. It has even managed to ruin college basketball.

Bill

May 26th, 2010
10:24 am

If anything Army should be giving back some of his money from the past year. No way did he earn $2.6 Million with his on-ice results, never mind feeling as though he deserves a raise. He’s a guy who, if he’s willing to play for about $1.5 a year, would be a good guy to have on the roster. If someone else is willing to pay him what he wants, then good luck to him!

Lee

May 26th, 2010
11:06 am

Smoothie – Like the combo. ;)

Hockey Biltong

May 26th, 2010
11:20 am

I’ve never seen Pronger throw an elbow!!!

Lee

May 26th, 2010
12:59 pm

Understanding what Colby is asking for, what is Colby promising to us? Is he asking for a raise because he deserves it? If so, I wouldn’t pay a cent more. But on the other hand, he could be saying: “Look, I had a horrible year this year, give me one last chance and I will really try my best.” Then, I would give him a REASONABLE raise and see what he can do.

Thrashers27

May 26th, 2010
1:06 pm

Smoothie, I really hope C-mac isn’t our second line RW next season. I really didn’t see anything from him that I was impressed with. He’s a third liner.

Eugene

May 28th, 2010
12:12 pm

Armstrong and his agent have been smoking some serious crack. The Thrashers are better off tanking the next 5 seasons and drafting high draft picks. That strategy paid off for the Blackhawks, the Penguins, the Capitals, etc.

Hockey Steve

June 10th, 2010
1:08 pm

Peace out, Army.