A little crazy here folks as I write this from the Turner Field press box. I have to do a story from the Braves game tonight.
However, first I had one-on-one sit downs with new coach Craig Ramsay and GM Rick Dudley. I will have a story on Ramsay later today and then a bigger profile on Tuesday. I also sat down with Dudley to discuss the free-agent news. I’ll have a story previewing July 1 coming up.
Here’s the updates:
As at tweeted earlier (from my cellphone), the Thrashers made qualifying offers to Niclas Bergfors, Bryan Little, Ondrej Pavelec, Clarke MacArthur, Ben Eager, Peter Mannino and Anthony Stewart. The following players were not qualified: Chad Denny, Rylan Kaip, Scott Lehman and Matt Siddall.
Dudley and I went over each player that will become a restricted free agent on July 1. Here is what he told me.
Pavel Kubina: “We’ve talked to Pavel. I’ve got to talk to him today. He’s talked to [Don Waddell] a couple of times. We are a little ways apart. Ramsay did say he hopes Kubina takes a “hometown discount.”
Update: I just talked to Kubina. He told me, as he did in April, that he would like to come back but he’s looking for a fair deal. He said he has not spoken to Dudley and last spoke to Waddell at the end of May (Kubina did go to Europe). “We can always talk. Like I said, I hope to come back. I like the direction of the team and I really like Rammer. He’s a great teacher.”
Max Afinogenov: “We’ve talked to Afinogenov, although it would see now that Max is going to test the free-agent market. We’ve made him an offer.”
Colby Armstrong: “My guess is he’s going to enter the free-agent market.”
Christoph Schubert: “He’s a guy that it’s not inconceivable could come back here. We like the way he played for us. Right now, I think he’d like to see what’s out there. I think he liked it here.”
Eric Boulton: “We made an offer earlier to Bolts.”
Johan Hedberg: “We are a little ways apart. Not insurmountable but a little way.”
Evgeny Artyukhin: “We will probably allow him to go to the free-agent market.”
Mark Popovic: “He’s looking for a one-way contract. I think we feel more comfortable with what we’ve done having him on a two-way contract.”
As a little forshadowing, Dudley told me he’s still in the market for a 15-goal scorer. However, don’t be so sure it has to come with a free-agent signing. A trade is a very real possibility and, maybe, the most likely.
Thanks for bearing with me folks.
Look for those other stories a bit later.