Updated II: Ramsay the next coach, deals done

NOTE: SINCE I POSTED THIS FINAL VERSION WITH TONS OF NEWS AFTER 2 A.M., I’M GOING TO LEAVE THIS BLOG UP TODAY FOR ALL THOSE WHO WANT TO COMMENT ON THE BIG DAY. I WILL POST NEW BLOG AFTER TALKING TO RAMSAY.

The Thrashers will officially name Craig Ramsay as the francishe’s fifth head coach on Thursday. The announcement will come later this afternoon. The 59-year-old Ramsay has served as assistant coach with the Boston Bruins the past three seasons.

In a conference call to discuss the two trades the Thrashers made early Thursday morning, general manager Rick Dudley said he “won’t tip our hand” about the new coach. However, he did acknowledge that he has spoken to Ramsay “quite a bit.” He said the two had coffee in Los Angeles on Wednesday morning and Ramsay had dinner with team president Don Waddell Wednesday night.

There is a report from TSN that John Torchetti, the Chicago Blackhawks assistant who was the other leading candidate for the head coach job, would join the Thrashers as an associate head coach. I have not confirmed that. I do know that when the deal is announced today, Torchetti won’t be involved. Just Ramsay.

Ramsay interviewed with the Thrashers several weeks ago. The 59-year old has served stints as head coach for Buffalo and Philadelphia.  He has also served as an assistant with Florida, Ottawa, Tampa Bay and, most recently, Boston. He was an assistant with the Bruins for the past three seasons.

Ramsay played 14 NHL seasons with the Sabres, where he was a teammate and linemate of Thrashers general manager Rick Dudley. He retired in 1985 with 672 points (252 goals, 420 assists) in 1,070 games. He won the Selke Award as the league’s top defensive forward in 1984-85. He played in 776 consecutive games between 1973-83.

By now you know the old news. The Thrashers acquired Dustin Byfuglien, Brent Sopel, Ben Eager and Akim Aliu from Chicago for Marty Reasoner, Joey Crabb, Jeremy Morin and a first- and second-round draft pick in this year’s draft.

In order to make that deal work, the Thrashers also made a trade with San Jose, sending Mike Vernace, Brett Sterling and a seventh-round pick in this year’s draft for future considerations.

Here are some of the highlights from Dudley’s after 1 a.m. conference call:

* He thinks Byfuglien is a 20-30 goal scorer and that he is every bit the player that excelled in the playoffs.

*He called Sopel a “character guy” that will “block as many shots as he takes.”

*Praised Eager’s forechecking and his “pugilistic side.”

*Called Aliu “a bit of a wildcard” that just needs to mature into an NHL player.

*Now that he traded his second-round pick, Dudley would like to try to replace it. The team will pick No. 8 and then not again until 87th as it stands now.

*He said he would continue to talk to UFAs such as Colby Armstrong and Pavel Kubina but admitted they have “pieces in place that make it easier to move on without them.” He also said, in regards to talks with Kubina, that they are a “little ways apart right now.”

*He said he’s not done dealing and would like to trade for a 20-goal scorer and maybe a defenseman.

*Team will focus on restricted free agents after the draft.They have deadline of June 28th to make qualifying offers.

Back to the deals: I talked to Reasoner about the trade. He said he talked to his agent early Wednesday and heard rumblings that something might be happening.  Here is some of what he said.

“You can’t beat going to a team that just won the Stanley Cup. I’m pretty excited.”

“It’s always a little shocking to be traded, but we’ve been through it before.”

“I would have liked to have stayed in Atlanta another year and help that team build, but it’s a new chapter. It will be exciting. You can tell from watching the playoffs that the Blackhawks have taken over the city.”

“[My time in Atlanta] was good. I met a lot of great people. … I think you learn a lot about yourself when you are in different situations and I definitely learned a lot about myself there. I will always have fond memories. My daughter was born there. … You become part of the community even if it’s a short amount of time. But we signed up for this.”

I also spoke with Ron Hainsey about the deal. He said he was not surprised that Dudley made a deal with Chicago, considering his relationship with the franchise.

“We added some great pieces today,” Hainsey said. “We hate to see Marty go but we got a lot back. We got a player who was a huge part of their playoff run, a veteran right-handed shooting defenseman. Another good player and a prospect. Those are some pretty big pieces.”

174 comments Add your comment

brandon

June 23rd, 2010
6:24 pm

thumbs up. pulled a good’n duds.

eddie

June 23rd, 2010
6:24 pm

Don (Not That One)

June 23rd, 2010
6:24 pm

I Love it. So with Evander Kane and Byfuglien, now we have the Bruise Bros.

Love to see Dustin in their crease reeking havoc during the power play.

nickz

June 23rd, 2010
6:26 pm

Nice! I kept wondering when I would hear something about what the Thrashers were doing this offseason besides not hiring a coach.

Bring in Torchetti as well and this is a very good start!

Russian

June 23rd, 2010
6:26 pm

Not bad. Good move. Dudly rules.

ThrasherTim

June 23rd, 2010
6:26 pm

At first blush, I don’t understand this deal. We get 2 guys with only 1 year left on the deal (one who already gave the media the dreaded “it is what it is” quote, deal 2 of this year’s draft picks, a top prospect (reportedly) in Morin and trade one of the only guys lately to sign a multi-year deal with the Thrashers over the last few years in Marty Reasoner — also one of the guys with heart on the team who everyone respects.

I am sure more dealing is fortcoming and maybe some info. on RFA/UFA signings. Will be interested in the rest of the take from Thrash Nation.

ash

June 23rd, 2010
6:32 pm

Okay trade. Hate to see my former teamate and great guy Marty Reasoner leave. Just last week Dudley was saying how great Morin would be. I think we gave up a lot of potential for 1 guy that had 1 great playoff run. I wonder if Torchetti will be the coach based on this as he would know the players best. Although Dudley wants a guy that coaches them up.

The AJC needs to get updated on the Thrashers. This trade had rumblings very early today and was reported well before 6:00 on other sites.

dj

June 23rd, 2010
6:33 pm

I think it’s a good trade for both teams. I think Sopel and Byuf will see how the season goes before they decided to resign or take on the free agent market. I know a lot of people think that Atlanta gave up the future but if we don’t make some sort of playoff run in the next two years there will not be a future. And for the first time in my life, I’m happy ASG allowed this to happen.

Thrashers27

June 23rd, 2010
6:34 pm

Yeah, Tim, but I remember Oduya saying the same thing after he was traded here and I got the feeling he felt differently after he’d spent some time here. After thinking about it, I think we might regret seeing Morin go…but I suppose you gotta give something to get something.

This team is headed toward big, mean and ugly. As long as we can do it without adding Avery, Hartnell, or Carcillo, I’ll be fine with it.

Jack

June 23rd, 2010
6:36 pm

Rock on I like it. Kovalchuk trade gave us some leverage to give up a 1st rounder. Sorry Reasoner good luck in Chicago

Flagstaff

June 23rd, 2010
6:39 pm

I felt the same way after the Exelby deal– good guys leaving, but also a great return (but, as for Kubina, that’s another story). Good job Duds!

bigdawg`

June 23rd, 2010
6:48 pm

I’d love to give the Thrash the benefit of the doubt, but as long as the Atlanta Spirit “owns” the team, I believe it’s just rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic!
Do any of you see the AS opening up the purse and spending big bucks on a free-agent when they wouldn’t even sign Kovie?

brandon

June 23rd, 2010
6:48 pm

Giving away jeremy morin will prove to be a huge mistake. Especially for a team trying to build through youth. Not so happy about this one.

4 jacks

June 23rd, 2010
6:50 pm

If I am Dustin, Ben or Brent, I am absolutely sick. The trade will be determined by the attitude these guys bring from being with a big winner this year, to a team that has very poor ownership and leadership, but as Marty says “we sighed on for this”. On the surface, seems like somewhat of a 50/50 trade depending on how Morin turns out, that could weigh it to either teams advantage. Personally I only go to 7 or 8 games per year, as my money comes hard, so I am not a big player. I still will not go back until I start seeing some results and commitment from ownership to bring in some leaders, as in coaching staff, players, and be willing to spend some money to field a winner. Who knows, maybe this is a start, but it has been alot of years. I want to see some real improvement from top to bottom. Good luck Atlanta fans.

Stat Man

June 23rd, 2010
6:52 pm

No way to know how it will play out – but one things for certain – this trade was made for the URGENCY to get the team kickstarted.

You can’t keep staying pat like we have in years past and expect fans to get excited over “youngsters developing”.

I think this brings the franchise’s off season good trade tote board to:

Dudley (GM for 2 months) – 1
Waddell (GM for 10 years) – 0

World Be Free

June 23rd, 2010
6:52 pm

Guys, get real and get excited for one. This is a great deal for NOW and a chance to show what Dudley is capable of doing. The Hawks’ players knew there was the possibility of getting traded, it comes with the territory. they just won the Cup for crying out loud!

Joey M

June 23rd, 2010
6:54 pm

Maybe we can sign Evgeni Nabokov and at least try to put a winner out there again.

William Satterwhite

June 23rd, 2010
6:54 pm

“I Love it. So with Evander Kane and Byfuglien, now we have the Bruise Bros.”

For what it’s worth, the prospect in the deal Akim Aliu could also be a “Bruise Bros”.

ChitownTransplant

June 23rd, 2010
6:55 pm

As a die-hard Hawks fan and part-time Thrashers fan (when the Hawks aren’t in town), I’m elated to see three great former Blackhawks players here in Atlanta. Hopefully, they can rub off on a team that needs more than a step in the right direction.

I hope these guys know that Atlanta may not be home for very long. That is, if this lousy management fiasco leads the team elsewhere. Let’s enjoy it while we can! Welcome to Atlanta: Big Buff, Eager and Sopel we need you guys!! Can’t wait for Pre-Season to start!!

Dave

June 23rd, 2010
7:01 pm

throw in torchetti as head coach , dudley n we got the mini blackhawks of the nhl eastern conference!

BlueSpark

June 23rd, 2010
7:03 pm

Show me your lines!

Antro – Little – Bergfors
MacArthur – Peverly – Byfuglien
Kane – Slater – Thorburn
Boulton – Cormier – Artyukhin

White rides the pine.

rob

June 23rd, 2010
7:04 pm

To all those who have sit and B!TCHED about how awful and behind we are. This isn’t business as usual. Give Duds a year of your time as the GM and THEN let’s evaluate. Get us a goalie and things might get interesting. Might want to get your jerseys back out of the closet because it looks as though hockey may be entertaining here again! Could the slogan for the year be “New Team, New Attitude!” ? Goalie concerns me still but I will trust that Duds knows what he is doing, for now. BAH!!! BAH!!!

BlueSpark

June 23rd, 2010
7:04 pm

I guess maybe Eager could replace Boulton, though he’s a sentimental favorite (of mine, anyway).

Rogie

June 23rd, 2010
7:04 pm

Very similar to what the Washington Caps did right before the 1982 season. They had never made the playoffs in their 8 years in the league (despite only 5 teams not making the playoffs). They acquired Rod Langway, Doug Jarvis, Brian Engblom, and Craig Laughlin from the Canadiens for Ryan Walter and Rick Green. It saved the franchise. It was not only an infusion of talent, but it brought players from a franchise with a winning tradition who had won Stanley Cups. These guys are just that. They will instill that sort of winning expectation and work ethic to the younger players on the franchise. And….supposing that the Thrashers are not playoff bound next season —- Byfuglien will be like Kovalchuk — teams will covet him and we will get a significant return in any trade deadline deal.

Dave

June 23rd, 2010
7:05 pm

i wouldn’t call this a block-buster trade because the thrash did not get sharp from the hawks considering we gave them a talented young prospect in morin.

dre

June 23rd, 2010
7:06 pm

“It is what it is,” Byfuglien told “The Afternoon Saloon” on WMVP-AM 1000. “It’s part of the job. You’re not going to stick in one spot the whole time so I’ve got to go.” – Thrasher fans, greet your newest player. Welcome to Atlanta Buff. You’re right, Atlanta is what it is, a mediocre sports town at best.

Dave

June 23rd, 2010
7:07 pm

pavelec better step up this year. If he does not improve by leaps-and-bounds i cannot see the thrash going to the playoffs. However if pavelec steps up i can see a good run in the playoffs.

Brendan

June 23rd, 2010
7:09 pm

At first glance, I am LOVIN’ this. I didn’t think there was ANY chance we’d get Byfuglien. Now, we add three players with Cups on their resumes, plus look what this does to our defense!

1. Enstrom & Sopel
2. Hainsey & Bogosian
3. Oduya & Valabik
Spares: UFA’s Popovic, Schubert, Kubina. Plus there’s Arturs Kulda as a prospect.

That’s the makings of a defense. Imagine if we could get Kubina back? Of course, you can’t put it past the Thrashers to re-sign Chelios, either.

On Offense, Kane, Antropov, and Buffy. And then Eager, Peverley, and Bergfors. Thorburn, Little, and Slater, and then Artyukhin, Todd White, and Boulton rounds it out, assuming R2Kin and Boulton re-sign, as pending UFA’s. Maybe Max Afinogenov gives that 1-year offer another glance??

Dave

June 23rd, 2010
7:10 pm

championships start with good offense great defense and good goaltending. I think the thrash have a decent offense decent defense poor goaltending. If pavelec is not doing good before the trade deadline we should make him a backup and trade for a solid goaltender.

rob

June 23rd, 2010
7:14 pm

Blue Spark,
I see White waived, Boults riding the bench or unsigned, and a free for all to fill in 2nd-4th lines. The prospects, including our picks, should push hard for a spot this year. Now is the time to start something and it doesn’t look like business as usual for us this year, at the least we won’t be a team others are “happy” to play against now. Anymore word on Artyukin signing here or going over to KHL?

Brendan

June 23rd, 2010
7:19 pm

Here are the pending RFAs: Ben Eager, Clarke MacArthur, Bryan Little, Nick Bergfors, Ondrej Pavelec, and Peter Mannino (Goalie). The UFA’s are: Max Afinogenov, Colby Armstrong, Slava Kozlov, Artyukhin, Boulton, and Kubina.

Kubina may be the key. If we retain him, we can move some others, maybe even Hainsey and Valabik.

Gotta be honest, I did hope, last season, that if we pulled off a trade with Chicago, that the return might include Cam Barker. But Barker was moved prior to the trade deadline. If not Barker, then I had designes on Versteeg, Byfuglien, and Sharp. I don’t mind Ben Eager. But man, Versteeg would have been better. Oh well, I still say we did well. Three players are coming with recent proven playoff success. At least we’re not saddled with a cap hit contract of $7.14 million for player who’ll be 36 years old when it’s over.

Jack

June 23rd, 2010
7:20 pm

now that Byfug has been playing forward, it will be interesting how we use him.

World Be Free

June 23rd, 2010
7:21 pm

Rogie-I see some similarities to the 1982 trade between Montreal and Washington, though I can’t say we are sending that much back to Chicago. They needed the cap relief. I know Florida would not be in play with Chicago, too many people in Chicago are too pissed at Tallon for signing those stupid Huet and Campbell contracts. Dudley was a much better trading partner.

Dickie Dunn

June 23rd, 2010
7:22 pm

I tried to capture the spirit of the thing…..

Fan from Carolina

June 23rd, 2010
7:23 pm

Wow! Now to sign everyone for the long term. I’m surprised that Buff was traded. Such a key ingredient that can’t be replaced. May I be the first one to say ‘no repeat’ for Chicago next year.

Telfo

June 23rd, 2010
7:23 pm

Kovalchuk is gonna turn into something like the Lindros trade… it will be traced to moves for years to come

i like the deal. we didnt give up much that can help us now and got a lot tougher

Andrew

June 23rd, 2010
7:23 pm

Byfuglien is highly overrated. Sopel is a piece of garbage who is grossly overpaid. Eager is a dime-a-dozen 4th liner. Can’t believe the Thrashers gave a first and a second plus a prospect for these guys.

Sara

June 23rd, 2010
7:33 pm

I LOVE this deal. The number one pressing need for the Atlanta Thrashers is to win – which comes faster with warm bodies on the ice and not prospects that will take 2-3 years to pan out.

Also – what’s with the comments about Buff maybe deciding to sign after a season or being a trade deadline piece next year?? Did y’all miss that whole RFA thing?

Smoothie

June 23rd, 2010
7:33 pm

Buf is only 25 so even though he is a RFA next season, we still have a good shot at extending him as he won’t be a UFA till he’s 27. Look on the bright side people! He is a great piece to add not only for even-strength muscle, but on the power play. This takes the pressure off of Antropov and big Nik doesn’t have to do all the dirty work. Nik is a play-maker and now he can excel even more thanks to the presence of Big Buf. Not to mention Reasoner, God bless him cuz I love him to death, is a UFA next season as well. His skills are diminishing and there’s no guarantee he will be extension-worthy beyond this season. The NHL is a young man’s game and while we lost Morin, we still have Klingberg, Cormier, Postma, Vish, Kulda and the 8th pick, which I doubt we’ll trade. Eager will be a very nice complement to Cormier and Thorburn on the 4th line and can even log some 3rd line minutes on occasion. I’m not a huge fan of Sopel, but we’ll be looking for him to stay at home and block a lot of shots while Bogosian spreads his wings. I’m thinking Bogo / Sopel as the 3rd pair, 3rd pair in name only, with a fairly even distribution of ES minutes. Hainsey / Oduya and Enstrom / Kulda gives us the balance we need on each pairing. The PK pairings will be different I reckon. The one thing we need to replace is Marty’s stellar PK, but there is plenty of time to make more moves that make sense.

Stat Man

June 23rd, 2010
7:45 pm

For all the haters out there talking about giving up picks & prospects, I ask 2 questions:

1) When we ACQUIRED picks and prospects, where were you then? Probably bitching about trading away known players for a pig in a poke!

2) Don’t you realize that you don’t BUILD a winner in the NHL thru the minor leagues – you SUSTAIN a winner? That is unless you are willing to go thru a 15 year building plan.

Rod Blagojevich

June 23rd, 2010
7:46 pm

Did we get Torchetti in the trade as well? It’s starting to feel like home for me here now. Don’t tell the Feds you saw this.

GaVaHokie

June 23rd, 2010
7:48 pm

I can draw a few conclusions from this…
1) Kubina is gone
2) Torchetti will be Coach
3) Eager replaces Boulton
4) Chicago didn’t want White
5) Dudley is concerned about Morin’s skating.

East Point Bob

June 23rd, 2010
7:49 pm

Bad Trade… Morin should not have been traded Period !

Brendan

June 23rd, 2010
7:54 pm

I’m liking the Dudley Administration so far. We’re getting bigger and tougher. I’d even support bringing Artyukin back, if he’s amenable. This team needed grit. Now, it’s got Oduya, Bergfors, Byfuglien, and Bogosian and Kane. It’s starting to come together. But we’re by no means done. We must get a goalie.

Stop. We can’t get Nabokov. Forget about it. But in realistic terms, maybe Biron can be had. Maybe trades for Harding or Deslauriers. What’s the Kings goaltending situation? They going with Quick and Bernier? Anyone like Ersberg? He’d only cost $750,000, if ya do. Then he hits the open market in 2011. We certainly can’t beat Niittymaki, why not make a play for him? Has Leighton’s agent declared an ‘asking price?’ If so, how horrible is it. Tim Thomas, 35 years old, is under contract for 3 more years, and Boston would likely part with him, if anyone’s seriously interested. It’s one of those “decreasing contracts,” that pays him $6 million this year, then $5 next year, and $3 million in 2012-13. Anyone want to take a shot at Vesa Toskala?? Chicago might be willing to give us Cristobal Huet, who is under contract for two more years at $5.625 million cap hit.

Mike

June 23rd, 2010
7:54 pm

I don’t know how I feel about this trade. First, I hate to see Marty go. Good luck in Chicago Marty.

I think the winner of this trade will be determined if the Thrash do some serious winning in the next two or three years and by how good Morin turns out to be. If Morin turns out to be great and the Thrash don’t win much, Chicago wins the deal.

Buff stats are similar to Armstrong. I think Buff is an upgrade over Colby.

Eager is just another fourth liner. NOTHING special.

Sopel might be a good stay at home D-man, but he’s not going to put up points.

I hope Eager and Sopel are parts to a future deal.

We’ll see how this trade looks, but I’m not overly thrilled like I was last year when DW sent Exelby and Stuart to Toronto for Kubina and Stapleton. *Stat man*, you forgot about that one in your Dudley versus Waddell off season trade score sheet.

World Be Free

June 23rd, 2010
7:57 pm

Eager is an energy guy. I agree that he is a 4th liner, but he hits alot at times when his team needs it. Actually, I was just as enthused to ger Eager as I was Buff cause if his energy. Sopel means maybe one of the other blueliners may be expendable, especially with the kids in Chicago.

the TRUTH

June 23rd, 2010
7:58 pm

What year are we on as far as THE PLAN?

GaVaHokie

June 23rd, 2010
7:58 pm

First glance, it seems like we over spent… take Morin out of the equation, and I would be happy. I’ll say at the moment I’m just content. The finesse days are over… this team is going to drop the hammer next year.

Stat Man

June 23rd, 2010
7:59 pm

Mike – I’ll concede that one to you, but I was more scoring it on an URGENCY basis. This trade beat the X trade along those lines.

Look folks, the team ain’t heading to Winnipeg this year or next (hopefully) – but don’t fool yourselves that the Thrashers fly north not too long from now unless we get things turned around pretty darn fast – so again – time to build with youngsters is over – URGENCY.

P.S. – You’ll be amazed the ability to lure free agents here should we actually string a couple winning seasons together I bet!

Mike

June 23rd, 2010
8:05 pm

Stat Man, I agree with your point on the urgency.