Looks like Thrashers close to deals with Little, Zubarev

Stopped by the Thrashers practice facility in Duluth on Friday to watch a little of an informal skate and talk to a few players about their offseason. It will be enough material for some fresh blogs after the weekend (more on that later).

I talked to Bryan Little and one of the things we talked spoke about was his contract. The Thrashers made him a qualifying offer this offseason and I’ve been told that re-signing him, and Niclas Bergfors, were next on the team’s priority list. It sounds like they are close on a deal with Little. This is what he told me: “I’m letting my agent handle that, like everyone else does, I’m just worried about the season. It’s looking like it hopefully is going to be done pretty soon and I can start concentrating on this year. It would be nice to have it done as soon as possible. No matter how much you want to concentrate on the season its still in the back of your head that it’s not taken care of. I know it’s going to be pretty soon so I’m not worried about it. I’m just concentrating on getting ready for the year.”

Defenseman Andrei Zubarev was one of the players taking part in the informal skate. The Thrashers have been in talks with him for a few weeks, but I would expect an official announcement of a signing in the next few days.

Couple other items of interest:

* I talked to Boris Valabik and he said he would be 100 percent healthy by training camp. The defenseman underwent surgery last season to repair a torn ACL in his left knee. Valabik said he is looking forward to the season and especially a physical style of play.

* In addition to Little, Zubarev and Valabik, other players taking part in the informal skate were Eric Boulton, Chris Thorburn, Chris Mason, Ondrej Pavelec, Patrice Cormier, Alexander Burmistrov, Vinny Saponari and former Thrasher Eric Perrin.

* I also talked with new strength and conditioning coach Barry Brennan so I will have a profile of him soon.

* As for this weekend, I am chaperoning my daughter and three of her friends at Maroon 5 concert at Verizon Amphitheatre Saturday. Wish me luck.

37 comments Add your comment

Flagstaff

August 20th, 2010
4:00 pm

Very interesting. The big question, though, is the length of Little’s contract. Please, not just a one-year deal!

Tom Lysiak

August 20th, 2010
4:21 pm

Long term deals for both Little and Bergie!!!

Chris, two things:

1) Are they not close with Bergie or did you just not ask him the same question?

2) Good luck tomorrow night. You will survive. Years ago I had to take my daughter to see Vanilla Ice. If I survived that, you definitely have nothing to fear…..

J.B.

August 20th, 2010
4:22 pm

Should we infer that Bergfors is NOT close then? That’s a little unsettling this late in the game….

Jack

August 20th, 2010
4:27 pm

I think the only reason we dont know about bergie is he wasnt at the skate! Im sure when he comes back to ATL something will be done!

Darkhorse

August 20th, 2010
4:29 pm

Doesn’t sound like Bergfors or Dudley were there for Chris to even ask about the current contract status, so I wouldn’t overthink where they are in the process. Hopefully longterm deals for both in the next week or so.

Good luck with the concert Chris. Looks to be a rainy weekend, so prepare for that, especially w/girls in tow.

GaVaHokie

August 20th, 2010
4:36 pm

Viv is going to pass out wine coolers to young ladies in the parking lot. :)

Jack

August 20th, 2010
4:46 pm

It appears we have 2 JACKS

BMF

August 20th, 2010
5:38 pm

I actually met Don Waddell for the first time last week at a company meet & greet function. Very nice man. I specifically asked him about Bergfors and he instantly perked up and said that Thrashers folks were currently in talks with the agents for Bergfors and Little about 3 year contracts, seeing as both are RFA’s. But then again, that’s just talk…and it was 10 days ago so I don’t know what’s happened since. We also bemoaned the fact that Max bolted for Russia, but hey, whatcha gonna do?

Sean Grace

August 20th, 2010
6:00 pm

Sorry to hear about the Maroon 5 job Chris. Bring ear plugs! The high pierced screaming could leave you impaired.

Little needs to score a significant amount of goals this year. If not the Thrashers are two Goal Scorers short. Max leaving hurts more than most have mentioned.

Sean Grace

August 20th, 2010
6:00 pm

That’s high pitched screaming. Damn the quick submit finger.

george

August 20th, 2010
6:42 pm

Great news, I have a feeling Little will step up this year, a 20-30 goal season, him upping his 13 goals and the addition of Buf and Ladd will help the loss of Max and Army, I feel the team we have right now is just as good as the team we finished the year with that got us 5 points from the playoffs, but we are tougher, which is great! A lot of if’s and maybe’s, another 20 goal scorer would be great insurance.

Swami

August 20th, 2010
7:30 pm

Thrashers putting together scrappy team. Maybe compete for Southeast title. No Kovy, but maybe that good thing, like Mariners with no A-Rod in 2001.

Dwayne

August 20th, 2010
8:14 pm

Good luck at the concert Chris……I believe they are working one contract at a time. Little then Berfors, Where is Bergfors now? Might be taking there time on a Berfors deal inase Kovalpuke signs with Jersey and Devils need to dump salary, might throw Bergfors in a deal.

Dwayne

August 20th, 2010
8:14 pm

darn, I can not type….

george

August 20th, 2010
10:30 pm

Probably just waiting for Bergie to arrive in Atlanta before a deal is done. Atlanta will not trade him guaranteed. Little is already here that is probably why his deal is almost done.

carl

August 20th, 2010
10:32 pm

Enter your comments here

Sage of Bluesland

August 20th, 2010
11:15 pm

If the Thrashers sign Zubarev, I swear I’ll stop being such an unsufferable cod-swallower!!

I promise you, Mr. Vivlamore, I will be a changed man…er, woman!!

[...] Looks like Thrashers close to deals with Little, Zubarev – Atlanta Journal Constitution (blog… August 20th, 2010 | Author: admin [...]

Sara

August 21st, 2010
8:31 am

Chris, you’ll be fine. I managed to survive Justin Bieber with my girls (at least with most of my hearing intact). Compared to that, Maroon 5 would be a walk in the park. ;)

kracker

August 21st, 2010
10:02 am

Chris, that’s some good news on Little and Zubarev. When do you expect Bergfors back in-country?

With the (presumed) Zubarev signing and the newly signed Meyer plus counting Kulda, the Thrash have nine NHL capable defensemen. That includes Valabik as being rehabbed and ready to go. I realize that Meyer, Zubarev and Kulda will/would be on two-ways. But still, do you hear anything on trading a defenseman, Chris? Care to speculate?

Chris Vivlamore

August 21st, 2010
10:04 am

All: Don’t read too much into what’s going on with Bergfors negotiations. He, and Rick Dudley, were not at the rink on Friday. Players are there on their own. Little was there so I talked to him. As I mentioned above, I’ve been told that signing both is the currently priority.

Thanks for the well wishes on the concert this evening. Sara, you are correct on that one!

Chris Vivlamore

August 21st, 2010
10:10 am

kracker: My gut tells me that the defense is pretty close to being set. However, I think the Thrashers are still looking for some scoring. I believe Lee Stempniak is still available? That could be a possibility.

kracker

August 21st, 2010
10:57 am

Yes, Chris, Lee Stempniak is a player I would like to sign. I don’t know if the current budget allows for his sallary. You probably have a better idea on that but you also probably can’t say anything about that sort of thing with any specificity. There are not many FA top six forwards still available. Perhaps Duds can do a trade. Rumors say Kovalchuk will be done by the first half of next week but who knows….

I suppose we can throw Buff into the mix as a possible d-man. However, the Hawks fans say no, that he can’t skate backwards all that well (for the NHL.) Buff could always be counted on for spot duty as a defenseman, maybe, allowing the Thrashers to keep an extra forward.

R. Stroz

August 21st, 2010
11:36 am

C-Viv – While taking the kids to Maroon 5, make sure you play Journey, Foreigner, Styx, Bad Company, Grand Funk Railroad, and Skynyrd for the youngsters to develop some taste.

Ryan

August 21st, 2010
12:23 pm

WTF! :@ Dudley in july said, that Kulda will play at Thrashers this season, but, now, after signing Meyer’s, Kulda with Valabik must fight for 7.- 8. defensemen position. I think, that Valabik must trade out, becouse Archie is drafted by Atlanta, and he is very, very good “stay at home” def.

Brendan

August 21st, 2010
5:10 pm

Ummn, did you say Eric Perrin?

Alan R.

August 21st, 2010
7:37 pm

Perrin still has a house here. They let him skate there. It’s not an indication that he’ll be back. He wanted out, remember?

Brendan

August 21st, 2010
10:49 pm

My recollection is that Perrin wanted to be moved to a contender at the trade deadline. Who can blame him for that? He wanted a shot to be in the playoffs. But the guy doesn’t have a job for next year. I didn’t know he still had a house here. He might be hopeful for a roster spot next season. But who really knows. It takes two to re-sign. It takes the UFA to want to be here and it takes a GM to likewise want to be here.

Brendan

August 21st, 2010
10:54 pm

Make that want him to be here.

EB

August 22nd, 2010
10:08 am

So thrilled to see this tougher squad on the ice soon and hope Little turns his play around, the last thing we need is to sign him to a long term deal and he continue to struggle! It’s a must we sign Ice Berg, so I pray that deal gets done more than the Little deal! I don’t think we need another small guy like Perrin even if he can play some PK minutes. We need to stay with the more physical style players Duds has put together, besides we have enough small guys still on the team anyway. Zubarev could be a decent addition as well.

World Be Free

August 22nd, 2010
6:25 pm

Stroz-good selection of old-guy bands. Toss KISS in there too!
I don’t see Stepniak getting a big, long term deal from anyone. He may re-up with the Yotes for one more season and prove he’s finally a consistent scorer. I’d rather have Guerin here, more leadership and grit cuz you never have enough. Rumor has him to the Flyers, probably to take asham’s place on the roster.

Smoothie

August 23rd, 2010
9:22 am

Nick Kypreos is tweeting that Bryan’s contract has been completed and filed with the NHL, probably awaiting approval. $7.15 M over 3 years.

Good deal for both parties! Congrats and good luck Bryan!

J-man

August 23rd, 2010
10:00 am

I think it could be a very big mistake to sign Little to a 3 year deal. He may simply be another Patrick Eaves who never lives up to the promise he showed early in his career. Because he is young, Little will get cut some slack, but if he scores 10-15 goals this season and next, I don’t think it’s going to look like a good deal.

Brendan – Perrin was a malcontent. He has an elevated ego. He sees himself as a top 6 talent when he is a bottom 6 player. Instead of just being glad to be an NHL regular, he chafed at not being given top 6 minutes. Perrin was given opportunities in both Tampa and Atlanta to be a top 6 player and he failed. He was put on waivers where anyone could have claimed for half his salary and there were no takers during his final season here. His NHL career is over. He put up poor numbers with Omsk (Jagr’s team) in the KHL last year. With his bad attitude, declining skills and unrealistic view of himself, no NHL team will want him. Perrin didn’t want to go to a contender per se, he wanted out of Atlanta because he thought he was a top 6 player and the Thrashers had given up on letting him be one here.

Sara

August 23rd, 2010
11:21 am

Perhaps Perrin has been humbled a bit. He and Reasoner have similar skill sets, particularly when it comes to face-off percentages and PK time. If Perrin remains unsigned and in the Atlanta area, Dudley should at least invite him to a camp tryout this year.

Zombie Steve

August 23rd, 2010
2:26 pm

Reasoner was a bit more gritty and hard nosed than Perrin…

ranallo10 (in AT)

August 23rd, 2010
7:37 pm

“No Kovy, but maybe that good thing, like Mariners with no A-Rod in 2001.”

Unfortunately that Mariners team hasn’t been back to the playoffs since their great season in 2001. I’m hoping the Thrashers qualify for the playoffs more than just one time over the next 10 years.

Brendan

August 27th, 2010
10:43 pm

I doubt we’ll see Perrin return to the Thrashers. But, my philosophy is … any player who walks into camp and earns a roster spot … deserves to be here.

Ranallo, welcome back. I, too, hope the Thrashers will be be the 2002-2010 Seattle Mariners. I suspect the Thrashers will be back in the playoffs by 2012.