Open The Door And Let In A Draft

OK kids, now that the fun and excitement of the Stanley Cup Playoffs are over, it’s time once again to turn our attention towards offseason activities…starting with the NHL entry draft on the 26th of this month.

But before we jump into the discussion, I want to take this opportunity to recall last summer when the Thrashers had the third overall pick in the draft. Do you remember how you felt when… just after Tampa Bay and Los Angeles were finished with their respective turns and we were sitting on the edges of our seats ready to hear that Zach Bogosian was indeed a Thrasher…Gary Bettman took to the podium and proclaimed that there was a trade to be announced?

A collective “Whiskey Tango Foxtrot” type of atmosphere permiated throughout the masses that had gathered at Philips Arena for the draft party. Certainly Don Waddell didn’t just blow it…did he?

Turns out it was the deal that sent Olli Jokinen from Florida to Phoenix…whew

Now, barring any trades that might occur between now and then that would shuffle the top of the draft order, I would expect that what I’ll watch from TJs party room next Friday night is the Islanders selecting John Tavares, the Lightning then picking Victor Hedman and the Avalanche then taking Matt Duchene…leading up the the Thrashers and the fourth pick. The safe bet is that Don Waddell will then be standing on the podium shaking the hand of Evander Kane…maybe Magnus Paajarvi-Svensson.

But, as I said, that’s unless their is some sort of deal between now an then.

One general manager that could make an attempt to work his way up the draft order is Toronto’s Brian Burke, who would love nothing more that to climb his way from the seventh pick toward Tavares. Of course, my suggestion to Charles Wang is to send Garth Snow on a long vacation…without his cell phone… not to return until June 26th. If I were in the Islanders position, I wouldn’t make any deals that would deny the organization the talent that comes with John Tavares.

As for the Bolts, I’d be surprised if they were involved in some sort of deal that would send their second overall elsewhere. Tampa Bay is need of help on the blueline and Hedman could be for them what Bogosian was for us during last year’s draft.

Colorado is looking to bring in a starting goalie and it’s been speculated by some that maybe that #3 overall pick could land one. Personally I think they’re better suited to sign one during UFA signing season next month. Certainly if the Thrashers had that pick, I’d want them to take Duchene.

That brings us to Atlanta’s draft position. Personally, I don’t want him dealing away his number four pick. Either Kane or MP-S would look just fine in our system, IMHO. But I’ll leave the question to you. Got any deals up your sleaves that you’d play if you were in Waddell’s position…or are you like me and would sit on the pick and use it yourself?

145 comments Add your comment

World Be Free

June 15th, 2009
8:38 am

Kane for sure, since Duchene will go to the Avs. He’ll be a great player and a drawing cards to all hockey fans.

I wonder what Kovy thinks!?

Big Risk

June 15th, 2009
9:27 am

Trade Pavelec to Colorado for the 3rd pick. Then trade the 3rd and 4th picks for the Islanders 1st pick and another pick late in the draft. Then we turned Pavelec into a player ready to contribute. And free agency can be used to focus on a top 4 defense man.

Bob

June 15th, 2009
9:30 am

I saw some analyst on the NHL Network give his Top 10 and he left Kane out of it. The other guy asked him why and he said that Kane will be a solid checking line player in the NHL, but he didn’t see him as a top 10 guy. Take that for what it’s worth.

The Thrashers need an established top line center and an established top line RW, as well as an established top 4 dman for this next year. If the pick can be moved to bring one of those in, not a short term older guy plugin fix, but someone in their late 20s under contract, then move the pick as my general impression of this draft is that beyond the top 3, there’s no show stoppers here.

Supes

June 15th, 2009
9:47 am

Big Risk, that sounds more like fantasy hockey to me.

I’d love to see someone of Tavarez’s ability in a Thrashers jersey but it’s highly unlikely.

We need a play making center. End of story. I’ll be happy with a defensive pick as well, but center is the number one need. Someone has to be Kovy’s center for the future. Can’t win without a playmaking center.

Bob

June 15th, 2009
10:19 am

Oh, quick question for the group, so as we sit here today, finals over, horn on the last Thrashers’ game a distant memory, who would gladly give back a few of those meaningless wins so we could be sitting here drooling over the prospect of getting either Tavares or Hedman?

Thomas Magnum

June 15th, 2009
10:24 am

I would draft Kane or Schenn…only way I would move down in the draft is if we had a very solid young player coming to atlanta in exchange for our #4

h

June 15th, 2009
10:32 am

Nope. Wouldn’t give the wins up, cause if we did, I probably wouldn’t be reading here or caring about the draft for a number of reasons. I like Kane, but if we can make a trade where we can get a proven top 6 forward who is in 20’s in such a trade, I say we do it. I’m not sure a trade makes sense to move up one pick, unless we trade something of minimal value like Exelby or something. Seems to me that a deal with Boston, Detroit or Philly is very do-able as they all have some serious cap issues.

Darkhorse

June 15th, 2009
10:35 am

Big Risk-There’s no way the Avs would trade the third pick for a goalie. Now maaaaaybe they would if it came with the fourth pick. Not sure I would do that if I was the Thrashers, unless they thought that much about Duchene.

I don’t want to see Waddell f this fourth pick up, but I won’t be suprised if a deal of some sorts is done. Maybe the Thrashers can get in on these Heatley, Pronger, cap challenged team type trades as a third trading partner. If you could somehow land a Phaneuf, Frolov, or another top line player with assets such as the fourth pick, or a goalie, or expiring contracts(Exelby), or later round picks, you would have to seriously consider it.

Alan

June 15th, 2009
10:45 am

Well, rumor has it that Boston is looking to trade Kessel. They’re a ways apart as far as striking a deal is concerned, not to mention they just signed Krejci.. What would the thoughts be on trading the number 4 and a prospect for him and Boston’s first? If not the draft pick, what could we trade away for Kessel?

Note that I firmly believe we should keep our pick. This is just a scenario people should think about, since after all, we do have D-Wad behind the wheel of the out-of-control sedan whose brake lines have apparently been severed.

roadtrip

June 15th, 2009
10:48 am

How about Kessel from the Bruins if they can’t sign him?

Darkhorse

June 15th, 2009
10:55 am

I hear what you’re saying Bob and I don’t entirely disagree, but in this paticular case i’m glad we saw the success and chemistry finally starting to develop. If we were closer to the bottom two I would say yes, but they were quite a ways back from us. If nothing good started happening for the team on the ice, and we did land one the the top two picks, that would be the only real positive thing to talk about over the last few months.

I’m glad we picked up Pevs and he played great for us. I’m glad for Kovy taking his captainship very seriously and elevated his game after that. I’m glad roles on lines started to develop and produce, like Reasoner, Stuart on the PK, Bogo and Enstrom, and so forth.

Now I still admit I have no idea what the right choice is for the goalie situation. The fact that Kari played very well down the stretch, winning some “meaningless” games, and Pavs didn’t play very well when called up this year, just clouded my opinion of the best thing to do in goal here.

Dwayne

June 15th, 2009
11:37 am

Kari is the answer, I hope I don’t eat my words. I’m sure we will here from Stendec if he signs again, regardless of how long the contract is for. Its going to be intresting to see what Donnie boy and the ASG do with the pick and free agents. You just got to wonder if every top center’s agent out there that Atl. has contacted said “not coming to Atl.” period…Cap space questions, UFA’s, its one big crap shoot. When will we get a clearer picture of things? After the draft? Will the ball start rolling, sorry, will the puck start sliding after Marion Hossa signs?? How much has his value dropped, or did it? I wanna know! I’m ready for pucks, Braves sucks and boobie COX must go. Have a nice day!

FormerIslesFan

June 15th, 2009
11:39 am

I was browsing TSN.ca’s mock draft and here is what they had to say about the projected Thrasher’s Pick. How can you not like this?

. Atlanta Thrashers – Evander Kane – 6-0/185 – Left Wing – (Vancouver/WHL)

Do not let the outside package or his statistics fool you, as Kane is just as competitive and nasty as he is talented. Once on the ice, Kane wants the puck in all situations and is capable of breaking open a game with his ability to score goals and create offence. The feisty winger plays a fearless game and drives to the net with a reckless abandon. He loves the challenge of facing the top defensive pair every night forces them to be at their best. He owns all world puck skills when it comes to stickhandling and is perhaps the most dangerous sniper coming off the wing. Although he can make some pretty passes, he has a tendency to hold and shoot the puck and could use his linemates a little more. It is hard to knock him since he pays the price to score and is not afraid to take a high level of punishment. His overall skating is excellent, as he shows the two-step quickness to create separation and the high-end gear to break away. What gives him an edge is that his crossovers are flawless and he can produce a tremendous amount of speed in turns. His physical edge is a bonus, considering he is only 6 foot 0 and 185 pounds, so once he matures and gets stronger he will be a handful. He will hit you with everything he has and will stick on you if you try to take any liberties with him. From a defensive standpoint, Kane has been well coached in the value of being responsible in all three zones without the puck. He supports his teammates well and hustles to break up passing lanes and opportunities while keeping good body position. His addition to the U20 WJC team at the age of 17 says something about his accountability. Overall, he is the arguably the best clutch goal scorer in this year’s draft.

http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/story/?id=281920

Rawhide

June 15th, 2009
11:40 am

Bob – You know how I feel about that. Much as I this Tavares, Hedman and Duchene will be great players, nothing beats Ws. This is especially true given the fact that next years team will look a lot like the one that finished the year off. The confidence gained with playing well is priceless.

Smoothie

June 15th, 2009
11:51 am

My prediction: KANE (said with menacing, stank-eyed growl)

jackman

June 15th, 2009
12:16 pm

If I were in Don’s position, I would resign for the good of the club.

Ogie Ogelthorpe

June 15th, 2009
12:22 pm

The top 3 ranking all year has been Tavaras, Hedman and Duchene in various positions. To get one of them would have an immediate impact on our club.

Kane is 4th on most books. The TSN rankings are probably most dependable. EJ McGuire is head of central scouting; EJ is usually right on with his rankings. I would not trade this pick for anything but a young, signed 1st line center on the right side of 20.

There are some rumors on Briere and van Remsdyk heading to Atlanta. Briere has his health issues; van Remsdyk is having difficulties adapring to the pro game at the AHL level (per Philly sources).

Keep the pick and draft Kane.

Don Waddell

June 15th, 2009
12:33 pm

I’m in control here. Have faith, I’m sure to screw up somehow.

GaVaHokie

June 15th, 2009
12:42 pm

Oh, quick question for the group, so as we sit here today, finals over, horn on the last Thrashers’ game a distant memory, who would gladly give back a few of those meaningless wins so we could be sitting here drooling over the prospect of getting either Tavares or Hedman?

Not me… I’ll take the W’s… we’d be talking about Kovalchuk trade options right now. That winning stretch was the saving grace in any Kovalchuk negotiations this summer.

GaVaHokie

June 15th, 2009
12:47 pm

There are some rumors on Briere and van Remsdyk heading to Atlanta. Briere has his health issues; van Remsdyk is having difficulties adapring to the pro game at the AHL level (per Philly sources).

Van Reimsdyk just graduated college?! What difficulties adapting to the AHL?!

Are they talking about the 7 games he played during the AHL playoffs on a team he wasn’t familiar with?

All questions aside… this is a possibility I believe… so RAWHIDE, get ready for the Bettman walk to the podium again… “There’s been a trade” :)

Two trades I’d take… #4 pick to Philly for Briere and Van Reimsdyk… or… #4 to Boston for Kessel and M. Stuart.

NASTY NEST

June 15th, 2009
12:48 pm

OSGOOD, OSGOOD, YOU SUCK!!!!!!!!!

GaVaHokie

June 15th, 2009
12:48 pm

However… doesn’t Briere have a no trade clause?

R. Stroz

June 15th, 2009
12:59 pm

Briere has a NTC.

Richard Holusha

June 15th, 2009
1:23 pm

I was talking with Misty May – and she felt that the Isles will take Tavares – and that ATL will take Kane. Sharin Rosefoo agreed.

NASTY NEST

June 15th, 2009
1:27 pm

OSGOOD, OSGOOD, YOU SUCK!!!!!!!

Russian

June 15th, 2009
1:40 pm

Colorado is very interesting for Kessel regarding Thourthperiod. I like to see Kessel is playina as Center #1

GaVaHokie

June 15th, 2009
1:55 pm

It’s a buyers market this year… teams with Salary Cap room will rule the roost.

If teams are really desperate, I’m hoping we can stay put and draft Kane and move our two 2nd round picks for quality players.

If Boston really wants to keep Kessel… than give them a 2nd Rd. pick for M. Ryder.
If Philly wants to make room for Bouwmeester… give them a 2nd Rd. pick for J. Lupul.

I would love to see Waddell trade a 2nd Rd pick for a player that was “speculated” to be worth a first round pick.

GaVaHokie

June 15th, 2009
2:33 pm

Here’s a cool mock draft I found on Ben Wright’s blog… it gives player comparisons to each of the prospects.

http://www.heatedskates.com/the-ultimate-2009-nhl-draft-preview-mock-draft-quick-scouting-reports-and-nhl-comparable/

polskidawg

June 15th, 2009
2:33 pm

I think you’ll see a trade on day 1 involving the Thrasher (PAV going somewhere for a player and/or a pick) – AFTER they select Kane.

Brendan

June 15th, 2009
2:37 pm

I’d pick the best available player at #4. But I’d listen to offers to move back one spot to pick up a 2nd rounder. I wouldn’t accept another team’s roster player UNLESS I knew that player WANTED to play in Atlanta. Does Briere WANT to play in Atlanta? I highly doubt that. And his contract is an albatross. James vanRiemsdyk is, at least, still a prospect, who cannot complain about where he breaks into the league. But, uhh … why is Philly so willing to part with him?? Is there an undisclosed injury?? Is there an undisclosed character flaw they’d prefer not to deal with? I’d say, pick at #4. How much difference is there between prospects slated 4th – 7th?

If Toronto offered Luc Schenn for Atlanta’s pick #4, I’d do that deal. Toronto drafts 7th, I believe. That’d give the Leafs two shots in the top seven. Toronto GM Brian Burke said he is trying to move up and that no player, even Schenn, is safe from a trade. I don’t think Toronto is looking at us. Though, Burke and Waddell will be working together on the Olympics in 2010 and consummated the trade that sent Eric O’Dell here for Erik Christensen, at last year’s trade deadline.

Rawhide

June 15th, 2009
2:39 pm

HokieIt’s a buyers market this year… teams with Salary Cap room will rule the roost.

Yes, that’s true…IF the team that has the cap room also has an ownership that will allow the GM to actually spend any above the cap floor. Otherwise, all the cap space in the world is useless.

Brendan

June 15th, 2009
2:50 pm

Terms you should take with a grain of salt as a draft approaches. The prospect is a “swift skater.” He’s a good “puck mover.” He “passes well.” He’s “an intelligent playmaker, with a good shot.”

Stop. What player, who is a Top 10 prospect, doesn’t have these attributes? For example, would a slow-footed, out of position, poorly conditioned, weak-minded forward or defender likely to be a Top 10 pick? No. Terms to pay closer attention to are “intelligent, on and off the ice,” “hard, accurate shot,” or “sniper,” coupled with “fastest skater in his draft year and/or league he currently plays in.” People downplay it, but “good character guy” is an important attribute. Otherwise, you wind up with a Heatley or Eric Lindros-type. The kind who says, “I’ll only play where I want to.” Another thing to hone in on is this phrase, “plays well through pain.” That’s good. That’s very good. Come playoff time, you can’t have enough of those types. Also, “excellent conditioning” is a nice thing to hear. (Think Kari Lehtonen, showing up to came 35-pounds overweight, if that helps any.)

Smoothie

June 15th, 2009
2:50 pm

Brendan, re: Luc Schenn: that’s an interesting idea as it would give us the additional Top 4 depth we so desperately desire. However, giving up a chance at a potential Top 6 forward (either Kane, MPS or the other Schenn, which is doubtful) may be too costly as the FA pool for Top 4 blueliners seems deeper and more reasonably priced than the pool of FA wingers and centers especially. I’m certainly not keen on trading for either Briere or Gomez so I hope Don Waddell will do the smart thing and actually use the # 4 pick to draft a forward. We must think ahead as Kozlov may retire and either White could regress (trade-bait??) or Peverley may not work out (however I think he will) or God forbid, Kovy may decide to say “sianorah”.

Smoothie

June 15th, 2009
2:52 pm

Brendan, per the results of the draft combine, conditioning, attitude and potential grit quotient should not be a problem for Mr. Kane.

Brendan

June 15th, 2009
2:54 pm

Smoothie, Kane’s a fine pick at #4. I’d go so far as to say he’s a “consensus” pick at #4. Either everyone is right about that, even Waddell, if Kane is his pick. Or everyone is wrong, including Central Scouting.

GaVaHokie

June 15th, 2009
3:06 pm

Yes, that’s true…IF the team that has the cap room also has an ownership that will allow the GM to actually spend any above the cap floor. Otherwise, all the cap space in the world is useless.

Well, IF that team so happens to be the Thrashers ;) … then we still have $17 million to get back to last year’s season-starting salary.

A lot of teams are still way off their imposed salary limits… us being one of them.

Rawhide

June 15th, 2009
3:29 pm

HokieRight now the Thrashers 2009-10 salary cap hit is right at $33,368,427 counting all players that are currently under contract next season. This includes Reasoner…does not include Army, Slater, Valabik, Kari or Thorburn.

If those players are re-signed simply at the same salary they made last season, that number comes to $39,711,760. That’s only a couple million below the cap floor, (based on last year’s criteria).

The Spirit Clowns are not going to let DW spend much more over the cap floor. So really, the Thrashers are looking at about $2 – $4 million in their spending budget, IMHO.

Smoothie

June 15th, 2009
3:35 pm

Rawhide, where are you getting your number from? I have them just a shade under $30 M for signed players including Reasoner and a guess of $725 K per year for Salmonella. Even if your number is actual payroll (as opposed to salary cap hit), it seems a bit high.

Tony C.

June 15th, 2009
3:41 pm

Why not try and poach a KHL guy Sergei Olegovich Zinovjev???? Kovalchuk said he’s “my favorite center I’ve played with [sic]“…um, I know we’re not paying rock-star salaries, but the team does need to be over the floor, and #17’s given him his stamp of approval…. why not take a shot?

LAC

June 15th, 2009
3:53 pm

Hello Brenden….. Brian Burke is in Toronto NOT Anaheim where Christensen went for O’dell, that was done with GM Bob Murray,
of Anaheim.

GaVaHokie

June 15th, 2009
3:58 pm

Waddell said they spent $46 million last year and he was expecting to spend about the same this year… there was also some mention he was requesting an additional $5 million on top of that… am I wrong?!

Rawhide

June 15th, 2009
3:59 pm

Smoothie – Got the numbers via Hockeybuzz’s site…there is a link posted to it. Basically, all the players signed at this time to contracts for next season, (including Reasoner’s $1.2 mil and Salmela’s $612,500)…plus the $1.16 mil were are paying Zhitnik to not play for us, adds to the $33.3 mil-plus figure. Then, as I said, if you simply add the salaries that Kari, Thorburn, Army, Slater and valabik made last season, you get to right at $39.7 mil.

Now, it’s reasonable to think those players will get some kind of salary increase when they re-sign. But, if they get a 10% raise on the average, that brings the cap hit to $40.34 mil.

Guess what…that’s almost the cap floor.

Hokie – Waddell said he “hoped” he would get $5 mil more to spend.

Smoothie

June 15th, 2009
4:00 pm

RH – I see a couple of problems with that cap number list of salaries.

1st) It factors in a full season of O. Pavelec at $1.433 M (doubtful)

2nd) A full bonus payout for Bogosian which is uncertain at best

3rd) The bonus compensation for Bogosian is too high as the CBA — and I could be wrong on this — limits bonus comp at $1.85 M for a rookie contract. nhlnumbers.com has his total potential at $2.725 M

Obviously this is picking nits as we know we’ll be paying at least $1.433 M to either Pavelec or a newly signed Lehtonen who will probably stand to make $3.5 M per season in his next deal. However, with the “bonus cushion” provision, we may not be as high as you suggest (yet). Either way, let’s hope the ASG is willing to spend at least $46-47 M cuz if they aren’t, we are screwed (in my humble opinion).

World Be Free

June 15th, 2009
4:01 pm

van Remsdyk-has been rumoed out of Philly in a number of different scenarios. scouting reports on the kid have not been favorable so far. The belief is that he is still a ways away from being NHL ready. Similar problems that Bobby Ryan had in Anahiem, but Ryan came alive this year. The feeling is that JVR may never meet the expectations of a 2nd overall pick. The feeling is that Philly reached when they took hin 2nd.

Briere does have a NTC, but could be approached to remove the clause, since he’s no longer wanted in Philly. Already talk of buying him out.
Carter and Richards make Briere expendable in Philly.

Another option-trade Briere (with his consent) to the Thrashers for a bag of pucks and get Philly to pony up $2M of Briere’s contract for the next 3 years. The Thrashers get a 1st line playmaker for Kovy at a reduced price. Philly gets most of Briere’s contract off their books, creating cap room for them to pursue a UFA, which is what they want.

Far fetched, but soable for each side. JVR is not ready and we do not have time to wait for him to come around.

Brendan

June 15th, 2009
4:01 pm

I stand corrected, LAC. But my larger point is that Burke, of Toronto, is wanting to move up and seems to have a positive working relationship with him. Of course, I think Burke is targeting Tavares. If I were the Isles, I’d make it known that Tavares is not an option, but that they’re subsequent round picks are negotiable.

Brendan

June 15th, 2009
4:02 pm

Their, even. Me speaky English.

Rawhide

June 15th, 2009
4:04 pm

Smoothinator – I would be surprised if the Spirit Clowns allow Waddell to go a dime over $43.5 mil. Happily surprised…but surprised nonetheless.

Smoothie

June 15th, 2009
4:16 pm

Well Rawhide, in that case, here’s to you being surprised!! I’ll even sacrifice a few chickens to Jobu if it means the ASG will pony up $47M!

Rawhide

June 15th, 2009
4:25 pm

Der Smoothenhoffer – I could actually see them going to $44.5, maybe $45 mil…maybe, seeing that they need to give D-Dub something to shop with in order to bring in a player that might help him re-sign Kovy.

GaVaHokie

June 15th, 2009
4:25 pm

Rawhide… wow, that means you expect them to spend LESS than last year? That would infuriate me! That would mean no upgrades and the team operates with the same exact roster with pay raises to it’s RFA’s.

That’s unacceptable, especially after making public statements that they would “go after key pieces” and “knock on doors” the first day of free agency and “put all resources” towards improving the team.

I’ll give them a little credit and say $48.5 million.