Waddell Ready To Test The Water In The UFA Talent Pool

The buzz surrounding last weekend’s entry draft has barely subsided, but Don Waddell and the rest of the NHL general managers are preparing to dive head-first into unrestricted free agent pool of talent today. Soon, after weeks of speculation and rumors, we’ll be able to see just how the Thrashers roster…and others… will take form for the upcoming 2009-10 NHL season.

As we did this time last summer, we gather poolside to watch and observe the events as each team attempts to procure that big-name player needed to help shape their lineups for this fall’s campaign. Our friend Five_Hole has agreed to DJ the pool party…playing an assortment of tunes from the Beach Boys, Jimmy Buffet, Bob Marley and others. And please feel free to stop by the open bar to partake of a wide assortment of adult beverages complete with little umbrellas as we take in the day’s festivities. Tending the bar is the lovely and talented Joyel from TJ’s Bar and Grill!

Hey…and it’s all on the AJC’s tab!

But before we begin…looking around scoldingly….I want to be very clear in the fact that I do NOT want another incident like the one that happened during last year’s UFA pool party happening again today. So I’ll thank everyone for keeping any and all Baby Ruth bars away from the pool…got it!

Oh…and Trixie has informed me that she has been adequitely covered in tanning lotion…so there will be no need for the long line of willing assistants this time.

Now then… as we begin our day, last night it seemed as though a deal as been worked out between the Senators and Oilers that would send former Thrasher…and soon-to-be former Senator…Dany Heatley from Ottawa to Edmonton. Heading back east would be Andrew Cogliano, Dustin Penner and Ladislov Smid. All Heater had to do is agree to waive his no-trade clause and he’d be able to once again force the team he’s under contract with to deal him elsewhere. But this morning…we find out he didn’t do it.

Also, one big name player who has been yanked from the pool recently is Jay Bouwmeester. Just yesterday Cal-GARY was successful in inking him to a 5-year contract worth $6.6 million per season. So he’ll be sunning himself from the deck today.

However, one player who’s been officially tossed into the pool is Nik Antropov… given the Rangers have conceded that they cannot afford the 5-years at $5.25 mil per season price tag he had placed upon himself. So…where does he eventually wind up?

And, who will come away with Marion Hossa? Will Detroit re-sign the winger? If not, where then might he end up?

Speaking of Detroit…don’t expect the Red Wings to make a big splash in the UFA pool this summer, per Ken Holland.

What about the Sedin twins? Are they going to stay in Vancouver or is there a team out there…say Toronto…that will be willing to invest in both of their services? Canucks GM Mike Gillis recently visited with them and left with an offer on the table.

Do the recent rumors surrounding Atlanta’s interest in Mike Cammalleri have any basis in reality and we will see the 27-year old playing on the top line with Ilya Kovalchuk?

What of the future destination Thrasher…or is that, former Thrasher…Eric Perrin?

Will Don Waddell actually be able to emerge from the waters with a big-name, top-four blueliner that will help anchor this defensive corps or highly coveted top-six forward to play alongside of Kovy…or will his swim trunks remain dry until the most coveted among them are already snatched up?

And, though I guess he’s not technically a UFA, The Monster will be making a decision on where he’ll be playing this fall sometime as well. teams like Dallas, Colorado, Toronto and San Jose are currently in the market for his services.

Many of these questions and issues will be answered over the course of the next several hours. So stick around…grab a drink and some sun tan lotion…it’s sure to be quite a day here at the UFA Pool Party!

UPDATE - 7/1 11:28 am: Sedins twins will stay in Vancouver…signing 5-year $6.1 million deals.

UPDATE – 7/1 12:52 pm: Kovalev re-signs with Habs $8.8 mil over 2 years per 990 AM in Montreal.

UPDATE – 7/1 2:12 pm: Hossa signs with Chicago. 12 years, $62.4 million. Holy crap…that will take him to the age of 42!

UPDATE – 7/1 2:32 pm: There is a buzz going around about the Thrashers trading for Kubina of the Maple Leafs. We would send Armstrong and a 2nd round pick to Toronto.

UPDATE – 7/1 2:59 pm: Per Craig Custance…”Colby Armstrong is not part of the Kubina deal. Thrashers not interested in trading Colby”.

UPDATE – 7/1 4:10 pm: The Oilers have signed goalie Nikulia Khabibulin to a 4-year, $15 mil. deal.

:!: UPDATE – 7/1 6:55 pm: ATLANTA TRADES GARNET EXELBY AND COLIN STUART TO TORONTO IN EXCHANGE FOR PAVEL KUBINA AND THE RIGHTS TO TIM STAPLETON!!!

506 comments Add your comment

GaVaHokie

July 1st, 2009
7:25 pm

Exelby hasn’t been the same since his concussion… and his mono…

World Be Free

July 1st, 2009
7:25 pm

Leafs’ blog off TSN is raking Burke over the coals for making the deal. Of course, they are Leafs’ fanes, they’re never happy!

Hate to see Ex and Stuart go, but we can fill their roles. ubina may like it here and want to stick around.

Denny

July 1st, 2009
7:42 pm

The FACTS don’t lie. Forget the anti-GM and Thrasher bashing spin on todays trade. Here are two key players average annual stats for the past three years:

Kubina = 69 games played; 7 goals, 25 assists, 33 points and ZERO +/- as a top line defensemen FOR
Exelby = 70 games played; 1 goal, 7 assists, 9 points and -2 +/- as a third line defensemen.

IF YOUR A THRASHER FAN, what is not to like about this trade!

GaVaHokie

July 1st, 2009
7:44 pm

Now the Leafs might be adding Chris Neil… what the hell are they doing?!

Antropov is down to 3 teams… I’ll say Atlanta, the Rangers and Washington.

I wish Dudley would call Havlat.

Sara

July 1st, 2009
7:48 pm

Hokie – the Wild are one of the teams in contention for Antro

DB

July 1st, 2009
7:49 pm

Funny that X and Hollweg are now on the same team. Wonder if there will be heated practices in Toronto.

Mike G.

July 1st, 2009
7:57 pm

Both X & Kubina have only one year left,but to throw in Stuart made no sense. I just do not know why we cannot attract top level UFA’s. The owners are cheap as hell and do not care about Thrashers hockey except how much $ they are losing. I hate to think, but Ilya said at the end of last season,We need to spend some $ and get some good UFA’s in here.
It would appear that will not happen, I hate to spell doom & gloom, but next July 1, who will # 17 sign with… It sure will not be Atlanta,
he wants to win and this team is not commited to winning in any respect.

Hockey Biltong

July 1st, 2009
8:00 pm

Arthropod, come on down…

Denny

July 1st, 2009
8:09 pm

Mike G – ARE YOU KIDDING ME? X straight up for Kubina = IMPOSSIBLE for any knowledgeable GM, nuch less Burke!

Toby

July 1st, 2009
8:17 pm

So far…REALLY good. Great trade. We still are going to trade a goalie. I’m now thinking it will be Lehts because he’ll be due at least $3.5. Especially if we get Antro

five_hole

July 1st, 2009
8:18 pm

I’m liking the deal. No one would have considered X a top-4 d-man. Kubina definitely is. If the salaries had been equal, there’s no way Toronto would have made this trade. Both have 1 year left on their contracts before becoming UFA’s. X has scored 6 goals in his career. In 357 games he is a career -20. Kubina has 97. In 746 games, he is a career -102 which is disturbing.

We had to throw Stuart in to the deal. Sorry to see him go but I don’t think he was really special. He has speed. That’s all I saw. I’d rather see Crabb on the checking line than Stuart. Stapelton seems to be a “throw-in”. If he blossoms into anything, that’s a bonus as far as I’m concerned.

I call this a winner for Waddell.

On the downside, I think the loss of X means that Valabik will be our 5th-6th d-man.

And, we still have a surplus of Goaltending, to parlay into a top-6 forward.

kracker

July 1st, 2009
8:28 pm

Eklund: Heatley Accepts Trade to Edmonton
Gaborik to NYR

LAC

July 1st, 2009
8:30 pm

Well Gaborik to NYR for $5.75 per, we COULD Have done that, This cheap act asg is pulling is just stupid, they do not want to WIN and I bet
$1,000 right now next year at this time we will be looking at where Ilya K. ends up, he wants to WIN and you DO NOT WIN in Atlanta.

This is sick to watch, no reason, this guy would have fit here,
sure he has had injury issues, but here is a top line player, we have plenty of room for and we can’t get it done.

Will asg PLEASE sell the team to someone who wants to WIN Please ??!!

GaVaHokie

July 1st, 2009
8:31 pm

Gaborik to the Rangers, 5 years, $7.5 million per year.

goose

July 1st, 2009
8:32 pm

goose

July 1st, 2009
8:36 pm

Heatly to the Kansas City Scouts for Michael Vick

A27

July 1st, 2009
8:37 pm

Can’t believe I’m saying this, but DW did a good job on this trade. Kubina is a good upgrade over X and Stuart can be easily replaced in the line up. I’m pretty happy right now, but more work needs to be done in the coming days/weeks. Oh and also Rawhide you are one of the best things to happen to Thrashers fans in a longtime your work today on here and Hockeybuzz was great. I don’t post often but read your blog all the time. Just wanted to say thanks and you rock. GO THRASH!!!

Buzilla in CT

July 1st, 2009
8:44 pm

Maybe this deal was why DW got that new associate GM. He has obviously been working on this deal and maybe wants to deflect some of the heat he will be getting. He will be getting none from me. F X.

I liked the guy. Dressed like a goof. He was fun to watch when he made a hit, but he doesn’t fit into Anderson’s system. He is not the same player he was after he got knocked out by Holwig.

He is 28…4 years younger than Pavel…not a huge difference to me other than experience… X is starting to get hurt each year.

Toronto probably wanted him to do the same thing to Sundin the next time they play

Tom

July 1st, 2009
8:46 pm

This deal is a great one. Sure it could have been better, but they can always be better. Kubina can play Anderson’s game. X could not. Salmela showed that he can play in the system and also that an offensive minded defenseman can excel in the system. A good offensive defenseman in a contract year should have a great season.
We all will miss X, but the reality is that he was being phased out.

Toby

July 1st, 2009
8:53 pm

Sather is not smart.

LAC

July 1st, 2009
8:54 pm

Brian Gionta to Montreal five years… Way to get it done don, there will be no good forwards left after Thursday night most likely.

Best to deal Ilya now while we can still get something, because after saying what he said at the end of last season and this do nothing crap… The writing is on the wall… Then I bet they will be lucky to draw crowds of 2,500 per game… after he is gone. Good old CHEAP asg losers in every aspect of life… Thanks guys for nothing !

Buzilla in CT

July 1st, 2009
8:56 pm

Does the sun ever shine in your world LAC?

Sara

July 1st, 2009
9:01 pm

Is LAC seriously complaining that Don did not sign a 30 year old 5′7″ winger to a five year $5M/yr contract? wow….

In other wow stuff….congrats Rawhide – 472 comments when I came back in here – that’s AWESOME!

Tom

July 1st, 2009
9:03 pm

I’m looking at the signings and am not upset with Waddell. Gianta at 5 million would not compliment Ilya and there are few that could. He probably can do better in a trade. The one move he made was a good fit for the team.

I have not been a fan of Waddells but I must say if he can bring us a Top 3 forward via a trade and get a Top 6 via free agency and keep the Spirit folks happy on the bottom line he has done well. A tall order, but still do-able.

Russ

July 1st, 2009
9:08 pm

I wouldn’t have minded signing Gaborik if it was at a reasonable price considering his injury history. There’s a good chance the Rangers will get about 100 games out of him the next 5 years for their $37.5 mil. They can have him at that price.

Sage of Bluesland

July 1st, 2009
9:12 pm

Losing Exelby is no great loss…I think he’s been part of more problems than solutions…

Kubina is an apparent upgrade, so that’s good.

I don’t get that excited over free agency, as hasn’t it been proven over time that this is not how to build a team?

(It’s the DRAFT, stupid! The reason we suck is the talent-pipeline has slowed to a mere trickle over the years…)

kracker

July 1st, 2009
9:13 pm

With all this traffic, we’re gonna have to chip in and buy RH a hat several sizes bigger :) jk, big guy, buy your own hat. You know, even lame jokes are pretty funny when DW makes a good trade…tho Ron Burgandy will be missed. Stuart will be missed as well, although I look at it as an opportunity for both these guys.

Tom

July 1st, 2009
9:14 pm

ranallo10 (in AT)

July 1st, 2009
9:19 pm

LAC, Gaborik signed a contract making him higher paid than Kovalchuk…do you really think this ownership group could afford two contracts that large plus the other 19 players that are needed to fill the roster?

Gaborik was never in our price bracket. He’s a used Ferrari, and we’re shopping for Volvo’s (unfortunately).

However, Gionta’s contract is a fine one, and it’s too bad it couldn’t be in Atlanta.

Bob

July 1st, 2009
9:35 pm

“Gianta at 5 million would not compliment Ilya and there are few that could. He probably can do better in a trade.”

I beg to differ there, Gionta would’ve looked great with Kovy and he’s a hell of a player.

The Kubina for X deal is an upgrade for us, but too bad it’s only for one year, sounds like Burkie just needed to clear space and Don accomodated him.

Toby

July 1st, 2009
9:46 pm

If we do end up with Antropov for a few years, we would have also added Kane, Kubina, and Klineberg. Add them to Valabik, Army and Boulton and thats a pretty rough/big line up

Sara

July 1st, 2009
9:57 pm

Wild are rumored to be close to a deal w/ Havlat. Wonder if that will take them out of the Antropov running?

World Be Free

July 1st, 2009
10:02 pm

LAC, I can agree with you sometimes. But a bad deal is something you are stuck with for a long time. Most of the tier 1 and 2 guys signed today were overpaid. Spacek, Paulson, Gaborik and his Daniel Briere-type body, the list goes on. There’s talent left, I hope we get some.

And let’s not all think Kovy is going to walk just because we don’t overpay for a bum. Some of these teams who spent like idiots today are going to have to dump salary to get under the cap. We said this before. Remember, Montreal had 10 UFAs this year, they had money because that had nobody under contract!

Some of you people just have to relax a bit.

Hockey Biltong

July 1st, 2009
10:03 pm

Seems like the Wild and Thrash are after the same pieces…Havlat and Arthropod…

goose

July 1st, 2009
10:08 pm

You know I wouldn’t trade Lehts at this point for much less than a number 1 line right wing. I wouldn’t make too many big changes at this point remember are last three months of the season where winning months and I wouldn’t want to change up the team too much. If we sign Antrapov put him with Kovy and keep white on the line or switch him with peverly and reunite the little white Kozzie line
Then you have army reasoner and kane on the third and crabb slater and bolton/whoever makes it out of camp. Then on d you have toby-bogo kubina-boris hainsey-salmella/oystrick or who ever makes it pout of camp

So the lines would look like this: Kovy-Peverly/white-antrapov

Kozlov-peverly/white-little

Kane-reasoner-army

bolts-slater-crabb
then on defense:
Toby-bogo

Kubina-boris

hainsey-salmella/oystrick or if postma,kulda,wilson,make it out of camp one of them
Then if you look at are team this way with Lehts n goal and moose as back up I think we may just have are selves a hockey team

goose

July 1st, 2009
10:12 pm

and with antrapov being 6′6 230 and Kubina being 6′4 245 We add a lot of size to are team and don’t have to worry as much about kane getting roughed up at 175 or whatever he turns out to be at the beginning of the season

Tom

July 1st, 2009
10:19 pm

Gianta may have skill, Bob, but he is too small. We have all bitched about Waddell playing undersized players. Now the team is looking for both speed and size and that is a better combination. Signing a Gianta would not be the answer for 15 percent of our payroll. He is not a bad deal for Montreal at 8 percent of their payroll.

Just saying.

goose

July 1st, 2009
10:19 pm

actually scratch that on the defensive pairings change it to:
toby-bogo

hainsey-kubina

boris-samella/ who ever makes it out of camp be it oystrick postma kuldam or wilso

World Be Free

July 1st, 2009
10:25 pm

You wanna guy that’s available that plays his ass off every shift-Travis Moen from San Jose-he’s available. Throw Mike Grier from SJO in the there too. Todd Marchant (I talked about him weeks ago) he’s out there.

You want hockey players, they are out there.

Hockey Biltong

July 1st, 2009
10:28 pm

Havlat verbally agrees to go to Wild.

Hockey Biltong

July 1st, 2009
10:33 pm

WBF you are spot on. It also meshes with my philosophy of a coach who breathes new life into a team, a.k.a. Anderson. He has a solid approach that works. The players finally figured it out and they will really run with it this year upcoming.

fes

July 1st, 2009
11:53 pm

Havlat gets $30m over 6 years. They replaced one injury with another.

Brian Burke

July 2nd, 2009
12:28 am

I’d like to welcome all you new guys to the NEW Maple Leafs. We will no longer be considered the pansy @$$es of the league.

For our first practice, everyone go stand in front of the goal. Now start beating the crap out of each other and stuff each other in the net. The remaining five outside the net will be our starters.

Kaberle asks, “don’t we need to practice scoring?”

No, you idiot, we are here to entertain. Put a stick in um and letum know you’re there. There is a NEW sheriff in Toronto boys.

Don Waddell

July 2nd, 2009
12:39 am

Why are these teams paying so much money for these players?

I was told it was free agent day and no one wants to play for free.

And I just finished telling Levenson I could get a great deal on some players but the free players were only available for one day.

R. Stroz

July 2nd, 2009
12:57 am

The Nesters will throw Waddell in the bonfire for trading Exelby.

R. Stroz

July 2nd, 2009
1:21 am

To those of you who are fan club members:

Somehow, some way get contact information for Exelby, create a well written thank you letter to Exelby for his years of service to the team and community, post it on your site for ALL THRASHER FANS to sign, and forward the letter with the list of names attached to Exelby.

I would be willing to bet all of the independent Thrashers blog sites would be willing to set up a link so their readers could sign the letter.

Brendan

July 2nd, 2009
1:43 am

496th?

Congrats, Rawhide. Ahh, well. I like the Exelby trade. It prevents us from having to buy him out. Just kidding. I tease. I kid. I do that, sometimes. Sorry to see Colin Stuart leave, but he didn’t set the world on fire. And, truthfully, that shouldn’t be expected from a 5th round draft pick (2001). Now, as for Kubina, I welcome him here. And, I hope DW/Dudley get a lot of interest in him at the trade deadline. Waddell got a “net gain” 2nd round pick in the Schneider deal last year. Can Kubina fetch more than that? Shrugs. I don’t know.

Now, I hear some of you saying, “Trade him, RIGHT NOW, for a 2nd round pick!” It uhh, doesn’t work that way. First off, Atlanta needs to reach the floor of the cap. And secondly, Kubina’s 2010 salary hasn’t been pro-rated down enough to be palatable for another GM in the playoff hunt. Point of fact, no team knows where it’ll be in Feb/March. Okay, yes! The Red Wings know. Point taken. Segue to Hossa.

Wow. 12-years. What prompted that? Did his agent really say, “Marian, you can’t underperform in the playoffs and still get $8 million-a-year, every year. Let’s take the money while it’s still being offered.” The thing is … didn’t someone offer Hossa $80-plus million last year, on a 9-year deal? He’s left money on the table. But hey, I commend those who follow their dreams. If someone offered me $21 million to surrender my hopes and dreams, I think I could find some boiler plate contracts lying around here, and whip up some fine print, and establish a Swiss Bank account. Or, perhaps something in Seychelles. ‘Cuz we’d have a sale.

Now, I am “hearing” that the cap hit on Hossa is $5.22 million, or something resembling this figure. I assume that’s FRONT LOADED, and that when Hossa turns 38, 39, his actual salary is far, far less than $5.22 million. That would make him easier to trade, for a team with cap room. I’m a little bit surprised that Detroit didn’t make him this sort of offer. When you stop to think who’s on the clock, officially, the answer is: (drumroll, please) the Chicago Blackhawks. 1961. Maybe Hossa is playing percentages? Aren’t the Blackhawks due???? And, certainly, they are headed in that general direction. Toewz, Kane, Sharpe, Keith, Seabrooke, Campbell, Byfuglien, Huet, and now Hossa, maybe even Cam Barker? And this has every outward appearance of a future Stanley Cup Champion. Couple that with Chicago being an “Original Six” market, now with better ownership, and it could all work out. Now, if Hossa, 3-4 years later asks for a release or a trade out, he’ll still attract suitors. The front loaded portion of the contract would be out of the way. The remaining issue would be years on the deal and the cap hit. I bear Hossa no ill will. So, I hope the Blackhawks do win the Stanley Cup. Hockey fans in Chicago have suffered for decades. The sun finally rose on the NY Rangers, after 54 years, in 1994. Why can’t it happen in Chicago? They’re doing things right. They need to find a backup goalie. What would they give us for Pavelec?

LAC

July 2nd, 2009
5:34 am

Great job by waddell getting a TOP forward in here for # 17, bet he’s licking his chops, asg will never do a long term deal with him, so next year we will watch him leave for a winner.

No top forward = Upsets Ilya = will not resign = signs after 7/1/10
with another team = mad as hell fan base – declining attendence due to bad product on ice – team sold – team moved… It has started folks.

World Be Free

July 2nd, 2009
6:17 am

Hockey Biltong – thanks, you too realize that thhis day is not determined by overpaying some schmuck. A good coach and coachable players-that’s what we need!

JC

July 2nd, 2009
6:29 am

LAC, what a troll you are.