Updated: Dudley speaks to Torchetti about head coaching position

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Thrashers general manager has met with Chicago Blackhawks assistant coach John Torchetti to discuss the team’s vacant head coach position.

Torchetti is considered one of two leading candidates for the position, along with Boston Bruins assistant Craig Ramsay. Torchetti is the fourth person Dudley has spoken to about the job – along with Scott Arniel (Columbus), Don Lever and Ramsay.

My understanding is that a hire is not imminent as Dudley is preparing for the NHL draft and will soon leave for Los Angeles, where the draft will be held Friday and Saturday.

I’m preparing some stories for the upcoming NHL draft and, as promised, said would share some more excerpts from my wide-ranging interview with Dudley last week.

Here is what he said about some of the young players in the organization that might not be so far away from the NHL.

“We love people like [Carl] Klingberg and [Jeremy] Morin — within the next couple of years,” Dudley said. “Morin is a miserable SOB who is a pure goal scorer. They don’t come along easily. Klingberg is a guy that we really, really like. [Patrice] Cormier is the player that everybody wants because he’s a big guy and he’s nasty and he can play. Those things fit in really well.”

Morin had 83 points (47 goals, 36 assists) in 58 games for the Kitchener Rangers of the OHL last season. He missed several games will competing for Team USA at the World Junior Championships. Dudley told me that the Thrashers are having Morin work with a skating instructor.

“Jeremy is not an efficient skater,” Dudley said. “He’s got speed but he’s not an efficient skater so if he plays back-to-back games, he gets tired. If he improves that just a little bit, he could play pretty soon.”

According to Dudley, Arturs Kulda and Paul Postma are not far away either.

“Look at the defense,” he said. “You have a guy like Kulda who played well when he came up last year. He’s a strong kid. Postma he’s got 80-some points in junior as a defenseman. He scored 15 goals last year in the American Hockey League and he’s a kid. It’s not beyond the realm of possibility that he could help us in the near future. I think we have a lot of assets.

“And we have two first-round picks this year. The first-round picks you can’t really count on to help us this year.”

However, it appears Cormier is the closest. Dudley said it’s not a stretch that he could be in a Thrashers uniform next season.

“If Cormier plays they way he’s capable of playing, and you never know where a kid’s career is headed after junior hockey, my guess he becomes the second- or third-line center that everyone wants,” Dudley said. “He’s mean. He’s mean and I’m not saying that because of the elbow he threw. [Cormier was suspended for an elbow this season and faces criminal chargers] He was the captain of the World Junior team, he can score and he’s a [pain] to play against.”

Let me know if you have thoughts — and I’m sure you do — about whom the Thrashers will pick at No. 8.

UPDATE: Just got the list of home openers for the NHL’s 2010-11 season. The Thrashers will open at home on Friday, Oct. 8th against Washington. From the rest of the team’s home openers we can piece together that the Thrashers will play in Tampa Bay on Saturday, Oct. 9, in Los Angeles on Tuesday, Oct. 12 and in San Jose on Saturday, Oct. 16.

Entire NHL schedule is released on noon Tuesday.

Here’s the list of each team’s home opener:

ANAHEIM – Wednesday, Oct. 13, Vancouver.
ATLANTA – Friday, Oct. 8, Washington.
BOSTON – Thursday, Oct. 21, Washington.
BUFFALO – Saturday, Oct. 9, NY Rangers.
CALGARY – Sunday, Oct. 10, Los Angeles.
CAROLINA – Wednesday, Oct. 27, Washington.
CHICAGO – Saturday, Oct. 9, Detroit.
COLORADO – Thursday, Oct. 7, Chicago.
COLUMBUS – Friday, Oct. 15, Chicago.
DALLAS – Thursday, Oct. 14, Detroit.
DETROIT – Friday, Oct. 8, Anaheim.
EDMONTON – Thursday, Oct. 7, Calgary.
FLORIDA – Saturday, Oct. 16, Tampa Bay.
LOS ANGELES – Tuesday, Oct. 12, Atlanta.
MINNESOTA – Thursday, Oct. 14, Edmonton.
MONTREAL – Wednesday, Oct. 13, Tampa Bay.
NASHVILLE – Saturday, Oct. 9, Anaheim.
NEW JERSEY – Friday, Oct. 8, Dallas.
NY ISLANDERS – Saturday, Oct. 9, Dallas.
NY RANGERS – Friday, Oct. 15, Toronto.
OTTAWA – Friday, Oct. 8, Buffalo.
PHILADELPHIA – Monday, Oct. 11, Colorado.
PHOENIX – Saturday, Oct. 16, Detroit.
PITTSBURGH – Thursday, Oct. 7, Philadelphia.
ST. LOUIS – Saturday, Oct. 9, Philadelphia.
SAN JOSE – Saturday, Oct. 16, Atlanta.
TAMPA BAY – Saturday, Oct. 9, Atlanta.
TORONTO – Thursday, Oct. 7, Montreal.
VANCOUVER – Saturday, Oct. 9, Los Angeles.
WASHINGTON – Saturday, Oct. 9, New Jersey.

58 comments Add your comment

Telfo

June 21st, 2010
10:30 am

we will pick Neidereitter or Johansen.

the Torch is hired by friday morning

BOOK IT

Smoothie

June 21st, 2010
10:39 am

“Morin is a miserable SOB”!!! Ha, love it!

Wonder how Jeremy feels about being a miserable SOB. ;-)

Duds is one quirky dude, but I can’t help but like him.

Don’t see why we can’t have a coach by Friday. Draft prep doesn’t need to take place in LA. Duds can fly out Thursday night. Get ‘er done!!

Thomas Magnum

June 21st, 2010
10:43 am

I would like to see the Thrashers take either Neidereitter, Connolly, or Johansen…in that order.

Jack

June 21st, 2010
10:47 am

That must a great compliment for a Hockey GM to describe you as a miserable SOB. If Jeremy is a SOB then what category is Cormier in, Dudley is definetly holding his word that he is not in a rush to hire a coach, but my guess is we will have one before the 4th. Sounds like we finally have a gm that has grit and his word is trustworthy

GaVaHokie

June 21st, 2010
10:48 am

I’m starting to feel like Jeff Skinner could be the pick… it should create a lot of buzz for Atlanta at the draft.

I don’t feel that it’s Neiderreiter based on his poor Combine showing… Dudley said that the Combine confirmed what he already knew about players… putting two and two together doesn’t sound like a vote of confidence for Nino.

Etem, Skinner and McFarland all had great Combines… we could really speed up the youth development by having Morin and Skinner coming up together from Kitchener.

mutton

June 21st, 2010
11:03 am

“They don’t come along easily.” Meaning his skating is more of an uphill battle than was originally thought? I’m hoping he means that the pure goal scorers like Morin are hard to find (which makes more sense to me since the organization seems pretty high on him) and if Dudley is saying that Morin has a mean streak and won’t effing quit, I like that. Otherwise, it looks like Morin might be the leading goal scorer for the Wolves for the foreseeable future…

But honestly, the more I think about it the more it looks to me that Dudley is just saying that Morin is a beast. Which suits me just fine.

Pittsburgh Pirate Fan

June 21st, 2010
11:06 am

“Miserable SOB”
Shows you what Dudley LIKES in a player.

Jack

June 21st, 2010
11:06 am

any word on goalie in draft. I am afraid we are about to loose Moose, and Pav is like a Madador and lets everything pass him. No playoffs for us if Pav is in the net.

Smoothie

June 21st, 2010
11:07 am

Not to make unfair comparisons, but I don’t think anyone has ever accused Brett Hull of being a very good skater…he certainly wasn’t as “efficient” as you would hope. But goal scorers score, period.

Let’s hope that’s the case with Jeremy “Scorin” Morin.

Hokie – I too am very intrigued by Jeff Skinner. Unlike Morin, he has a very good skating stride as he used to figure skate with his sisters growing up. Not sure if his profile fits the “mean SOB” criteria that Dudley seems to fancy. But we need playmakers also.

Chris Vivlamore

June 21st, 2010
11:08 am

Mutton: That is what Dudley meant about Morin. Pure goal scorers don’t come around often. Perhaps I should have clarified. And believe me, calling Morin a “miserable SOB” is a compliment.

Smoothie: I think you had a question in an earlier blog about deadline to offer RFAs. It’s June 28th. That’s after the draft. Hope that helps.

Smoothie

June 21st, 2010
11:22 am

From Ben Wright over at atlantathrashers.com: “Keep in mind that qualifying offers are due out shortly as well and the CBA doesn’t allow for QO’s to put a team over the cap”

Does July 28th count as “due out shortly”? Don’t you mean June 28th? Thought the CBA said June 25th was the deadline, but perhaps it is a few days after the draft. Thought it happend before the draft last year. I’ll have to go and check.

GaVaHokie

June 21st, 2010
11:25 am

I just worry that Johansen and Neids aren’t “intense” enough… if Dudley is looking for miserable SOB’s, I would think McFarland or Etem would be the targets. Even Jack Campbell is a pretty intense guy.

Neiderreiter and Johansen
http://video.nhl.com/videocenter/console?catid=635&id=71090

McFarland
http://video.nhl.com/videocenter/console?catid=635&id=69829

Dwayne

June 21st, 2010
11:39 am

Would having a bunch of miserable SOB’s on the team make for bad chemistry?

Chris Vivlamore

June 21st, 2010
11:44 am

Smoothie: I’m an idiot. June 28th at 5 p.m. is the qualifying offer deadline. Sorry. I will fix that comment. Five minutes for bad typing.

Smoothie

June 21st, 2010
11:51 am

C-Viv – don’t sweat it man. As hot as it has been, I can’t blame you for wanting it to be late July and not late June! I’m already ready for fall and training camp. I used to love summer, now I dread it!

World Be Free

June 21st, 2010
12:08 pm

Smoothie-skating was exactly the reason why Brett Hull lasted to the 6th round, 117th overall in the 1984 draft. He had the scoring touch but lacked the foot quickness to be a full time NHLer, or so they thought. Whatever he lacked in foot quickness was made up in hand quickness.

Smoothie

June 21st, 2010
12:27 pm

WBF – thanks for stepping up and making me look smarter than usual!!

rob

June 21st, 2010
12:30 pm

Now that the interviews are done, then comes the contracts and other personnel and blah blah blah. It can all be hashed out after the draft. Duds has already said the coach won’t have input, and I’m OK with that. Duds is showing us he is running the team and he hasn’t gone back on his words, so kudos for him for that….except he said Pavs/Moose was good combo….but hey, he’s calling it so he is in charge. I for one, will remain optimistic about the future here.

Hockey Steve

June 21st, 2010
1:01 pm

So if I call my boss a “miserable SOB” today – it will be a complitment, right??

Bob

June 21st, 2010
1:02 pm

I expect to see Dudley make some trades. I think he shows he’s been talking by saying “cormier is the guy everyone wants”.

I expect a lot of trades as a whole at the draft this year, more than normal.

I think Torchetti will be named head coach before the end of the week and they’ll fly him out to sit at the table.

Joe Friday

June 21st, 2010
1:02 pm

of course that’s me above!

rob

June 21st, 2010
1:47 pm

HS,
I think the “miserable SOB” is a one way street there, coming from the top to the bottom. Reversing the flow may cause one to also become a miserable SOB while waiting in line at the unemployment office :)

Jack

June 21st, 2010
1:50 pm

Dwayne, that would just make the thrashers a good old family of SOB. I am sure we will get a couple of good trades coming our way.

Brendan

June 21st, 2010
2:18 pm

I want the U-18 defenseman at #8.

kracker

June 21st, 2010
2:33 pm

Could be a draft day announcement on the hiring of Torchetti or/and Ramsay. Isn’t that what they tried to do w/ Anderson but the news leaked out a day ahead of time?

WSPthrasher

June 21st, 2010
2:44 pm

Ryan Johansen is the most obvious choice for the 8th pick. Size, Skill, 2-way game; Atlanta finally gets the 1st line Center they have lacked for their history.

Nino wouldn’t be bad at all either, neither would campbell.

However a future top line of Kane and Johansen , complimented by young talent in Morin, Little, Klingberg and Bergfors, would make the Thrashers alot more competitive than we have been recently.

Chris Vivlamore

June 21st, 2010
3:00 pm

Here are the five I’m suggesting – that’s just me speaking – will be available and the pick at No. 8: Nino Niederreiter, Ryan Johansen, Brett Connolly, Jeff Skinner and Alexander Burmistrov.

World Be Free

June 21st, 2010
3:42 pm

I am leaning towards Connolly

Jimbo

June 21st, 2010
3:44 pm

Love it- SOB, nasty, mean. Will we finally get a really gritty team? Sure hope so.

the TRUTH

June 21st, 2010
3:47 pm

Dudley said had the pieces to make a run last year…sounds like he has already been wrong once.

rob

June 21st, 2010
4:10 pm

TRUTH,
I seem to remember them making a run at the playoffs last year. Fell short because of some ill timed losing streaks but they had a chance to make the playoffs. Not saying I liked the chances because of the way we were being led, but there was still a shot. The core of the D comes back, with more youth coming in, along with some needed grit up front. The glass is half full dude, don’t let 10 years of futility make you bitter :) My question is, will we get the Regular Season Caps, or the Playoff CRAPS for season opener?!?!?!?

Flames

June 21st, 2010
4:10 pm

Counter offers to the UFA will start this week. We should see some signings soon….

Jack

June 21st, 2010
4:31 pm

maybe just me but it seems like our home opener seems to always be the caps.

Duds

June 21st, 2010
6:04 pm

I think we’ve finally turned the corner and we have a GM who is trying to get this team an identity. If “character” had ever entered the mind of our previous GM, there’d be a lot Thrashers who would have never played here, because they didn’t have any character other than being soft or completely delusional like Eric “I’m a tough hard nosed player” Perrin. I still remember when he said he brought ‘grit’ to the team. No.

It’s no secret the Thrashers have been a notoriously SOFT team to play against and Duds is at least praising players who don’t play the “don’t touch me I’m Ron Hainsey” style of ice soccer, so it’s a positive and I’m excited with him at the helm making the personnel decisions. Did any of you see Duds play/fight ? If we have a team that mirrors his style of play, we won’t “quit” like we did so many times last season. That guy could fight, not many guys fought the Big Bad Bruins and lived to tell about it, but he did. He gave as good as he got every time. Re-sign Boults! !

Pittsburgh Pirate Fan

June 21st, 2010
6:21 pm

the TRUTH-you are giving up way too early my friend.

Stat Man

June 21st, 2010
6:37 pm

For God’s sake, be sure to NOT have a coach in place come draft day – WHY WOULD THEY NEED HIS INPUT.

Pathetic.

Flagstaff

June 21st, 2010
6:45 pm

Personally, I would love to have Connolly, but odds are that he’ll go earlier. I’m guessing 6th. If not him, Niederreiter.

Jack

June 21st, 2010
6:52 pm

Stat man you may want to read Dudley’s explanation on why he is taken his time. He wants the coach to coach and not care who is on the team.

KLS1

June 21st, 2010
8:55 pm

Thrashers are the home opener for 3 teams on the road?

Commissioner must be trying to get home opener wins for the west coast teams, would have been nice if the league fed us FL so we could win our home opener.

[...] to the Atlanta Journal Constitution, Atlanta Thrashers general manager met with Blackhawks assistant coach John Torchetti to discuss [...]

alex

June 21st, 2010
9:10 pm

we wan’t have head coach by friday because asg run out of money, even hawks went cheap way for head coach, some folks on basketball blog suggesting new hawks coach drew also take part time position on coaching thrashers, second option come back to don “born to lose”, at least it going to save for asg his presidental salary. don’t underestimate asg they are really smart.

Smitty

June 21st, 2010
10:20 pm

Dudley will get it done. I think you can see his fingerprints on the Blackhawks. A bunch of gritty players even the superstars. I think that trade with the Devils is going to pay some good dividends for the Thrashers. Oduya is a top 4 defensemen and Cormier along with Bergfors are going to be top 6 forwards. Looks like we might be a tough physical team real soon.

Brendan

June 21st, 2010
11:26 pm

Chris, can you rescue my post from the SPAM filters?

Flames

June 22nd, 2010
12:35 am

Duds- I’m for resigning Boults as well. He is a tough SOB and has a lot of grit. He will not make a huge dent on the cap space at around 500K. He is a leader in the locker room. Bogo, Slater and Thorburn look up to him. I expect him and a few others to sign in the next 7-10 days. Bogo and Slater are leaving in a few weeks to go to Iraq on behalf of the Thrashers to visit the troops. I wish them well. The NHL wanted two American Players from each team to go. I’m still hearing the echos of a trade draft day with Chicago…Please let it be # 10.

Acer

June 22nd, 2010
4:17 am

The Stefan and Lehtonen experience was enough for me. I’m strongly opposed to the idea of drafting a player with injury concerns.

GaVaHokie, which of the potential Top15 prospects played in the WC in Germany this year? Only Nino Niederreiter IIRC. Are you also voting against Hall at #1 because he didn’t participated in all tests at the combine?

The combine isn’t that super important in evaluating the prospects. It’s part of the overall process but please don’t take it to serious.

- Johansen will be the Thrashers man
- Torchetti or Ramsay are fine by me
- 24th overall not traded for an established NHL’er talent

GaVaHokie

June 22nd, 2010
8:00 am

Acer… no, I’m basing it on the fact that Dudley was “impressed” by what he saw at the Combine. So, I naturally think that the players he’s been interested in BEFORE the Combine, performed well AT the Combine.

I’m trying to use a process of elimination… I don’t think Neiderreiter and Johansen are bad players. They are excellent players… I just don’t think they’re our targets.

Could I be wrong?… Absolutely!

GaVaHokie

June 22nd, 2010
8:11 am

Acer… How many points did Nino get at the IIHF this year?

J.K. SOCKEY

June 22nd, 2010
9:29 am

Any of you femail hockey fans out there want to participate in my Sockey On Hockey podcasts? Contact me at gmail or facebook/twitter.

sisu

June 22nd, 2010
9:35 am

I think one name being left off is Mikael Granlund, he could be drafted by the team…

Tyler

June 22nd, 2010
10:36 am

Torch has to be hired by this week!

What about Niederreiter/Connolly and Pivard/Sheahan?

Chris Vivlamore

June 22nd, 2010
10:58 am

Brendan: I don’t see a post from you in spam filter.

Chris Vivlamore

June 22nd, 2010
10:59 am

sisu: I considered Granlund, but I think he will be gone by No. 8.

Jameson

June 22nd, 2010
11:35 am

I’m leaning toward Ryan Johansen for our first pick.

Iceman

June 22nd, 2010
3:30 pm

Torchetti would be a great hire

J.K. SOCKEY

June 22nd, 2010
6:15 pm

Why would Torchetti be a great hire? Because he stood on a bench and watched the Blackhawks win the cup? He coached at Florida and at LA. He’s so good that nobody wants him!

Other than Hartley, this team only hires coaches it can push around and who don’t push back. When you push back, like Hartley did, you get shown the door.
What’s Larry Robinson doing? Michel Therrien? Brian Sutter? What’s that fat walrus looking guy from Dallas/Philly/Columbus doing? These are all coaches who have turned around terrible teams and made them successful.

NHL Ready

June 22nd, 2010
9:41 pm

I read these blogs now and then. But Jacks blog makes the most since to me and I have also said it before. No matter what we do for players if we do not have a anchor in the net we are dreaming about playoffs. Pav’s is not the answer and Tiny Big stick Enstrom is also a weak link on this team. Some of you like him but he sucks in my opinion and has cost us many games last year. He is to small for a D-man to log in so much Ice time (OK on the PK). So I like what I hear about the Bigger D-man possibilities. Spend the money on a good Goalie and build your team then. Look at all the good playoff teams this year it was good Goaltending that got them there. Atlanta has never had a good year in net we had outstanding players but never a good net. That has to change before we can do anything.

DZ

June 23rd, 2010
12:25 am

What do you Hawks and Thrashers fans feel about having a protest demonstration outside ASG headquarters at 101 Marietta Street NW, Atlanta, GA 30303-2771?

Tyler

June 23rd, 2010
5:34 pm

when and where?