Updated: Thrashers sign Stapleton, joins team in Colorado

The Thrashers signed unrestricted free agent center Tim Stapleton from the AHL’s San Antonio Rampage and called him up the NHL Tuesday. He joined the team in Denver for Tuesday’s game against the Avalanche.

Stapleton played six games with the Thrashers last season and scored two goals. He was a free agent following the season and not re-signed. The 5-foot-9, 160 pound Stapleton played 20 games for the Rampage with eight goals and seven assists this season. He was on a 25-game tryout with the rampage.

Stapleton signed a two-year deal with the Thrashers. It will be a two-way contract this season, paying him $525,000 in the NHL and $105,000 in the AHL. However, the second year of the deal is an NHL contract worth $525,000.

“I’ve never had that,” Stapleton said of an NHL contract. “It’s something you strive for your whole career. I’ve been playing since I was three years old so I’m really excited about it. It hasn’t really hit me yet. I was in San Antonio 48 hours ago. To be here now, it’s been so surreal.”

With Fredrik Modin (ribs) out and Alexander Burmistrov sore after he took a boarding penalty Sunday against Boston, the Thrashers added Stapleton as a precaution.

Burmistrov did not practice Monday before the team departed on a three-game road trip. The rookie made the trip with the team and Thrashers coach Craig Ramsay said there was a good chance Burmistrov would be able to play.

Burmistrov took part in the morning skate and will play Tuesday.

“I guess he’s going to be OK,” Thrashers coach Craig Ramsay said. ” He gave me the big grin ‘Hey, I can do it.’ He looks ready to go.”

Stapleton, 28, had 30 goals and 29 assists in 70 games at AHL Chicago last season. In four AHL seasons, with Portland, Toronto, Chicago and San Antonio, Stapleton had 158 points (66 goals, 92 assists). He also had one goal in four games for the NHL’s Maple Leafs.

In other news, Patrice Cormier was officially activated from injured reserve and assigned to AHL Chicago. Cormier has been with the team for more than a week and now officially begins his return from a broken right foot suffered on the eve of Thrashers training camp in September.

Cormier could play Tuesday when the Wolves host Manitoba.

37 comments Add your comment

Derrick

November 30th, 2010
10:25 am

Interesting call up. I know he played a few games with the Thrashers last year but I assumed we would be calling someone up from Chicago such as Jared Ross or Spencer Machacek since they went through training camp with Coach Ramsay and I assume would know his system better than Stapleton but hopefully it’s just a moot point and Burmistrov is healthy enough to play.

GaVaHokie

November 30th, 2010
10:29 am

mmmkay… seems odd… I’m sure Deveaux and Holzapfel are scratching their heads a little bit.

GaVaHokie

November 30th, 2010
10:31 am

This is one of those times where I’d let Buff play RW a game or two and put Meyer in… Antro or Kane fills in at Center.

Telfo

November 30th, 2010
10:42 am

i like the signing. we need depth at center anyway in case of future injuries. Stapleton proved he can play in the NHL last year

Mike

November 30th, 2010
10:45 am

I completely agree with GaVaHokie

phantom9

November 30th, 2010
10:52 am

Telfo is right. Stapleton is a great fit for Ramsay’s system and proved that he can play (and succeed) at the NHL level. I hope Burmy gets back soon, but if someone is gonna fill in, Stapleton is an awesome choice.

Smoothie

November 30th, 2010
10:53 am

“we would be calling someone up from Chicago such as Jared Ross or Spencer Machacek since they went through training camp with Coach Ramsay”

Derrick – you said it, this move is perplexing at best. Stapleton is a serviceable call-up but he doesn’t have the benefit of training camp like the others. Weird.

Alan R.

November 30th, 2010
11:00 am

this move is perplexing at best. Stapleton is a serviceable call-up but he doesn’t have the benefit of training camp like the others. Weird.

It’s ok for a depth signing. Bring in some guy who played for us a little last year, give him a game or two if necessary, then send him to Chicago. While it’s nice to have one of our guys called up, if all he’s doing is riding pine, what benefit is it to us?

AW

November 30th, 2010
11:01 am

stapleton has some connection with Colorado…

J(Z)

November 30th, 2010
11:02 am

Also seems strange that we signed him to a 2 year deal, where 2011-2012 is “one way”

Alan R.

November 30th, 2010
11:12 am

All that means is he gets paid the same, whether he’s in the NHL or AHL. It’s cap hit, assuming he doesn’t make the team out of camp. We could use some extra cap hit.

Jimbo

November 30th, 2010
11:32 am

I liked what I saw of Stapleton last year. He was a speedy, get in your face sort of a gnat. He is a proven scorer in the AHL and the Wolves are thin at scoring in the middle so this makes sense. I hope that Burmy plays and Tim is just a contingency. Antropov is definitely a wing and not a center. He’s better off with a playmaker like Burmy to create opportunities.

Dwayne

November 30th, 2010
11:40 am

GaVa, altho the temptation is great to let Buff “play” forward a game or two, wouldn’t his minutes be less on the ice? He is on a roll now, I wouldn’t change it.

five hole

November 30th, 2010
12:08 pm

I agree with Dwayne. Buff is a stud defenseman right now. Why would we want to tinker with that? I’d rather bring Valabik up and let him play wing (not that I’m advocating that).

I also agree with Jimbo calling Stapleton a gnat. I’d rather have a bigger body up (why not call up Machacek?).

But, final analysis, given the way they’re playing now (compared to the way I expected them to play), I’m willing to give Dudley and Ramsay the benefit of the doubt.

AW

November 30th, 2010
12:17 pm

Nice of you to give Duds and Rammer the benefit 5 hole
you must be a car salesman .. jerking everyone around.
your the expert…

cousin Eddie

November 30th, 2010
12:37 pm

Kevin Weekes, on NHL Live, was asked his opion of Atlanta Thrashers, and he went from top to bottom talking about all the positives in the club. He talked about Dudley being the hardest working GM and Ramsay’s impact on so many players from Boston and especially from Tampa. (Kevin played in Tampa). He talked about 8-10 individual Thrashers and the impact Ramsay is having on them and their game and he talked to a few playeres and they said they love coming to the rink because they feel like they learning something new everyday. Great to hear on a national broadcast!

Smoothie

November 30th, 2010
1:00 pm

CE – that’s great to hear. I’ve been going back and forth with Weekesie on twitter and he is a BIG advocate of Rammer, Duds and sees the stock of the Thrashers rising up, up and AWAY! I hope he’s right!!

Alan – but can Stapleton play for the Wolves? He signed a deal with the Rampage of the AHL so don’t they get to keep him even though his NHL rights are held by Atlanta? I’m confused by this, but perhaps there was a clause in his AHL deal with S.A. that allows him to nullify that deal if and when he signs a 2-way deal with an NHL club?

lordstan57

November 30th, 2010
1:31 pm

Simply put…… why in the hell don’t ‘we’ just ASK Dud’s what his thinking is on this matter????

Or has that already been done, and I’ve not seen it yet.
Regardless, I have complete faith in Dud’s instincts, and Coach’s ability to extract “hidden talents”.

Get off your ass, and take in a game.

Furious George

November 30th, 2010
1:47 pm

This was completely unexpected but I have to believe that this is purely a stop gap move with this road trip in mind. Burmi’s only a little sore so Stapleton may not even get to play after all. If there was a longer term injury I’d bet my bottom dollar we’d see Machacek or Pettersson called up. You don’t want to needlessly use up one of their options only to send them back a few days later….Also I’m eagerly anticipating what Cormier’s gonna do in Chicago. He’s a Dudley guy so I know we’ll be seeing him in Thrasher blue sometime before season’s end.

Gwinnett Fred

November 30th, 2010
1:55 pm

Count me in with the folks voting “leave Big Buff alone”!!!

BTW – who is the goalie coach this year? Not still Weeks is it? And if that’s the case, we should have heard more about whatever it is he’s doing with Opie!

Jimbo

November 30th, 2010
2:02 pm

Does anyone have an answer for Smoothie about Stapleton’s contractual obligation to San Antonio? With Modin still out, I suspect that Duds and Rammer wanted the extra forward available for situations such as this one. Wasn’t Stapleton also used on the PK for us? Like Curious George, I too want to see how Cormier goes in Chicago. Duds really talked him up over the summer.

The Thrash

November 30th, 2010
2:24 pm

The rumor is that the Thrashers are taking a hard look at a front line centerman. There are so many teams over the cap and the Thrash have money to spend as long as the “no Sprit” group will allow it.

Smoothie

November 30th, 2010
2:35 pm

The Thrash – does the name Brad Richards do anything for you? Played for Rammer in Tampa and had one of his few plus seasons en route to a Stanley Cup I believe. I could see him as the targeted rental if Dallas fades out of contention. Pray for Kari’s groin to explode!! ;-) I’m sorry, that’s terrible, I shouldn’t wish him any ill-will, but he does need to stop being such a gloomy Gus!

Smoothie

November 30th, 2010
2:36 pm

Jimbo – good point on Stapleton being a guy who can play the PK. Very important for shizzle!

lemon drop the gloves

November 30th, 2010
2:41 pm

duds should have rewarded someone from chicago with a trip to colorado even if it was to only sit in the press box. build from within and give a taste to those worthy. would have helped esprit d’ corps. one who deserved a shot imo is mach as he is on pace for 30+ goals and one of team leaders in plus/dash. has been doing all the reponsible things in own end, banging and crashing with purpose, playing pp and pk, and winning the fights that he always picks a good situation to “go”. lets see some more call ups than last year.

cousin Eddie

November 30th, 2010
3:08 pm

how about Ryan Kesler, Matt Stajan, or Travis Zajac. They seem like good players with good characteristics. The kind we are looking for on our team.

Darkhorse

November 30th, 2010
3:17 pm

Just don’t get why you sign a role playing, undersized center to a two year deal based off the fact your rookie got a little banged up. If someone like him or Slater went down for a while, ok, but would have prefered a Chicago call up for a few games.

Darkhorse

November 30th, 2010
3:21 pm

If the team is trying to deal for a #1 center, then it needs to be a legit #1. Richards may could fill that role for the rest of the season, but I don’t see some of the others mentioned being much of an upgrade over what we currently have.

Who/what do we have to give up to get that kind of center? No one is going to want our trash, and I would not do another Colburn deal just to make a run this year.

Spud Webb

November 30th, 2010
4:10 pm

Agreed I’d love a stud number 1 center, but see no reason why the spirit would approve anything right now that involves taking salary.
Move Pevs down a line with a new number 1 and I’m falling madly in love with this team.

Dwayne

November 30th, 2010
4:23 pm

I often thought of the tinkering with the team to get a number 1 center, I’m not an expert, in case yall didn’t know, but I would hate to mess with the team now, 5 game win streak, but i guess if they lost 5 straight, I’d de ready to make a deal too, but if we were sucking, who would want any of our sucking players? Dont you have to give something good to get something good? AHHHHHH…Duds is at the helm now, let’s poach a number 1 from somebody, or a number 2 from someone that will be a number 1 under Rammer’s teachings. So the next thought is TEAM chemistry, I guess a number 1 or 2 would have no issue with TEAM chemistry????

Brendan

November 30th, 2010
5:24 pm

I tell you, I remember reading good things about him last year. Was this the guy that was part of the Exelby trade, to Toronto? Anywho … I’m not upset about this. Or even that his contract is “NHL pay” no matter where he plays in 2011-12. For a franchise that cannot seem to get above the floor of the salary cap, this isn’t a concern for us. Moreover, he can be used as “sweetener” in any trade deadline move. So, I don’t really see how this move hurts us. If we keep him, or stash him in the minors, it’s only gonna cost $525,000. That’s league minimum stuff, folks. If we wind up throwing him in, to sweeten up a deal, then that’s good, too. Provided we aren’t fleeced in that deal, which is what we’d hope to avoid in any deal, anyway. I think there’s upside to this player. I like and support the move. My only concern is … how close are we to the league maximum 54 or so contracts, between the NHL and AHL, for the Atlanta Thrashers? Remember, we traded players to San Jose for “future considerations” because we were over our limit of permissible contracts. If I am recalling correctly.

I’m sure some people are sitting there thinking, “this isn’t a Tier I player, who is going to push us into the playoffs, and into the 2nd round.” Well, is that what you were really expecting? At this juncture? From the Octocluster? If so, you haven’t kept up with the past few years of the Atlanta Thrashers and their ownership.

Sara

November 30th, 2010
7:07 pm

San Antonio was only giving Stapleton a tryout – he was never contractually obligated to them.

@GwinnettFred the Thrashers brought in Clint Malarchuk during the off-season as a goalie consultant. Weekes was canned with the rest of the coaching staff.

Hockey Biltong

November 30th, 2010
8:40 pm

They know something we don’t…viz. Stapleton….
btw.TSN has us fourth in the power rankings.I have never seen the Thrashers ranked this high!!!!
I’m gettin’ the vapours!!!

Tony

November 30th, 2010
10:02 pm

LOL Hockey Biltong! Those kooky Canadians…..so fickle. All it’s gonna take is a two game losing streak and we are “the same old losers” we’ve always been. It’s scary that everyone is jumping on the bandwagon and anointing the Thrashers cup contenders (or at least playoff bound). I’m excited about the new found success, but nervous about when the carriage turns back into a pumpkin. I do think that the idea of standing around and waiting for one superstar to carry the team (Kovalchuk) mentality has finally purged itself from the mindset of this club. That is primarily due to all of the personnel changes over the last 10 months and a team concept conveyed by Coach Ramsay. I love the two way play by the whole team. FearDaBeak!

Tom

November 30th, 2010
10:45 pm

Fast 1st period. 1-0 Thrashers but could easily have been 3-2.

Thrashers outshooting the Avs 15-8 in the first period.

Pinball34

December 1st, 2010
12:12 am

Can we get an update on Kane’s injury? DE and MM left us hanging…

AngryRedMarsWoman

December 1st, 2010
12:43 am

YAY….WOW…..nuff said.