Good Trade Though XLB Will Be Missed

Don Waddell has yet to make a splash in the UFA pool as of yet, but he has indeed done something to alter the shape of the team’s makeup. Wednesday afternoon, he pulled the trigger on a deal that sent defenseman Garnet Exelby and forward Colin Stuart to the Toronto Maple Leaf in exchange for defender  Pavel Kubina and the rights to forward Tim Stapleton.

Kubina is 32-years old and has played for the past three seasons with the Leafs. Last year he played in all 82 games and scored 14 goals, 26 assists and was a -15. He was a seventh round draft pick, (179th overall), by Tampa Bay back in 1996. During his time in Tampa, he played in 531 games, score 65 goals and 144 assists. In the playoffs he accounted for a goal and five helpers in 38 games played. He was also a part of Tampa Bay’s 2004 Stanley Cup championship.

He’s played in 746 NHL regular season games in 11 seasons during his career and has a total of 97 goals, 213 assists and is a -102.

Tim Stapleton was signed by Toronto last year and has played in 4 games, scoring one goal on 9 shots and is a -3. He’s a product of the University of Minnesota-Duluth and in four years there he played in 162 games scoring 63 goals and 89 assists. His 42 points as a freshman led the team in scoring during the 2002-02 season. After that he had 41 points as a sophomore, 29 as a junior and 30 as a senior. He has also spend time with the Green Bay Gamblers of the USHL, Portland Pirates and Toronto Marlies of the AHL as well as two season with Jokerit of the Finnish SM-liiga.

Departing Atlanta, of course, is a player who has been with the organization since it’s very first days. Exelby was selected in the Thrashers’ first ever draft in 1999 and was taken with the 217th overall pick that year. In 357 regular season games with the team, he accounted for 6 goals and 40 assists and was a -20. Last season he had seven assist and was a -2.

Exelbys presence was felt on and off the ice in Atlanta

Exelby's presence was felt on and off the ice in Atlanta (AP Photo)

In the four playoff games in 2007, he had no points and was a -1 in the four games against the Rangers and got away three shots on goal.

However, to many, XLB was more than just another player in the lineup…more than just stats on a sheet. He was a favorite by many and he involved himself in quite a number of community events in the metro Atlanta area. I know several fans…myself included…who are going to miss him in on the team and in the community, regardless of whether or not what is thought of the deal.

I wish X nothing but the best of luck in Toronto.

Same with Stuart…the 5th round Thrashers pick back in 2001. He’s has gotten to know the route between Atlanta and Chicago very well over the past couple of seasons as he’s shuttled between the Thrashers and Wolves. He played in 33 games last season…18 the year before…and has netted a total of 8 goals and 13 points on 73 SOG . He leaves Atlanta with a +5 rating.

As for the trade itself, I have to give it a thumbs up. Kubina is not “old” but he becomes the senior member of the Thrashers blueline corps. Also, he’ll join Hainsey, Bogosian and Enstrom as the top four players on defense. If the Thrashers had acquired another defender of similar talent via free agency, or another trade, Exelby would have been relegated to the bottom line with Valabik…leaving Salmela sitting in the pressbox. So, in essence, a bottom two defender was replaced by a top-four. Now, Valabik and Salmela probably round out the starting six…pending any further moves.

As for Stuart, his best hope was to be a third-line winger here. His roster spot can now belong to Evander Kane.

Now, About Yesterday’s Pool Party…

Quite an incredible turnout for this summer’s UFA pool party, I’d say. As of the posting of this blog, 500 comments had been thrown up on yesterday’s entry…far exceeding the previous all-time best of 317 that was reached on the July 1, 2008 blog last summer.

500 comments posted in about 24 hours…not too shabby folks. Reach around and give yourselves a big pat on the back.

Happy Independence Day!

I want to wish each and every one of you a happy and safe 4th of July holiday weekend. Go out and celebrate the 233rd anniversary of our nation’s birth to the fullest. The Divine Mrs. R will motor our way down to the lake house in north Florida where the tax exemption and I will commence in launching multiple rounds of explosive ordinances across the lake

In the meantime, if you haven’t treated yourself lately to the greatest “shove it” letter ever written, please do yourself a favor and enjoy it now.

God bless you, God bless our brave men and women who serve here and abroad and may God bless the United States of America!

263 comments Add your comment

Zoomo

July 2nd, 2009
7:38 am

I’ll miss X’s personality and community involvement too. But, I think we got a great fit for Anderson’s system and a great fit for a big team need. Kubina may be just creeping over the hill, but he can pass, shoot, and skate…AND he’s a big guy. Size on the blueline is a big need, we need a presence in fron of the net, and we filled it nicely.

Now we need to get a forward with skill and size. I was hoping we had an eye on Havlat. No dice.

World Be Free

July 2nd, 2009
7:47 am

It’s kinda disappointing that we have not signed anybody as of this morning. I believe we are finding how tough it is to draw players to a 76 point team. Most of the other lower teams are having a tough time too, unless you want to overpay or overextend someone (Ohlund in Tampa).

Today is a new day; hope Don and Duds are working the phones.

Hip Czech

July 2nd, 2009
7:56 am

Thumbs up indeed for the Kubina trade…I like XLB, but I like him more on the video screen doing skits than as a top 6 defenseman. Great guy, hope he comes back to be the Thrashers TV or radio analyst in a few years.

Here is an Ottawa blog talking about the Heatley situation:

http://www.hockeybuzz.com/blog.php?post_id=21933

How many teams can Dany-boy pi$$ off? Let’s see Atlanta (though somewhat understandable), Ottawa, Edmonton…not going to be an easy year for the Heater. Ridiculous, issue a ‘trade me; ultimatum and then refuse to waive the no-trade. Either Heatley or his agent (or both) have serious problems.

Also, here is an example of Toronto media…Brian Burke is god…how can you put a positive spin on coming away with Orr, XLB, and Komisarik? Here’s how.

http://www.hockeybuzz.com/blog.php?post_id=21932

Carolina observer

July 2nd, 2009
8:00 am

If the NHL was still playing under the old rules when Kubina was one of the very best defensemen in the league (see 2004 Cup year highlights) this would be the trade of the century. Unfortunately the league took away the very special talents that Kubina had in front of the net. His offense is still fine but the D is just average at best. There is a reason the Leafs unloaded him besides the money issue. A good trade but not great.

Sage of Bluesland

July 2nd, 2009
8:04 am

I didn’t realize how truly pitiful Exelby’s “numbers” were until quoted above…Man, those are in Per Svartvadet territory for their humor…Added to the sieve-like performance on defense, I say good-riddance. You’re either part of the problem or part of the solution; “Ex” was the former.

But, then some of the sheep will wail, moan, stomp their wittle feet, and threaten to stop supporting the team because their favorite player is now gone…Emotional rot and drivel.

Good riddance there, too.

Good trade, Don! No matter what happens, I won’t gripe as the theory behind this one is good…I hope Kubina stays around longer than one year, but we’ll see…

Toby

July 2nd, 2009
8:07 am

Great trade. Good way to start a busy off season. We didn’t snag a huge name, but if it was going to cost $7.5 mil or be 12 years long, I’m OK with that. I’m now predicting Lehts is the goalie we trade. I would think we need to drop that potential $3.5/year after picking up $5 mil for next year, and we still need a top 6 and sign Kovy. My guess for potential trade partner would be Edmonton. We’ll see….

Sage of Bluesland

July 2nd, 2009
8:07 am

I’ll take a has-been over a never-was any day…It’ll mess up Don’s current-players-who-were-drafted-by-bumbling-GM spweadsheet, but hey-ho, you’ve got to break a few eggs to attempt to make a cake…

(For that reason alone, I’m surprised the deal was done–a remnant of the first-ever draft and a fan-favorite as well? Either way, I’ll take it)

Sean

July 2nd, 2009
8:24 am

Edmonton signed Khabibulin so I doubt they’d want another expensive goalie.

Looking forward to picking up a forward via trade. Looks like we’ll have to keep giving to get.

Toby

July 2nd, 2009
8:35 am

Carolina…Kubina may not be the all star he was in 2004, but look at what we gave up to get him. XLB, who was our 3rd pairing D-man and hasn’t been nearly the same player over the last 2 seasons, and a 26 year old 3rd/4th line PK who has been back and forth between the minors a million times.

Good call Sean…forgot about Khabibulin. If Dallas doesn’t get the monster…maybe them?

ranallo10 (in AT)

July 2nd, 2009
8:42 am

Toby — First, the Thrashers need every dollar available to reach the cap floor. Right now the team does not need to jettison contracts due to the cap.

Also, as Sean said, Edmonton has no need for an expensive starting goalie due to their signing of Khabibulin.

sisu

July 2nd, 2009
8:51 am

The giant is still out there and when he signs it will weaken the goalie trading in my opinion. A lot of goalies were moving yesterday so it will be interesting to see what one might fetch now?

Sara

July 2nd, 2009
8:52 am

I wouldn’t bank on Waddell getting a thing for a goalie at this point – at least not enough to be worth the trade. Biron and Fernandez are both still available as far as I know, the Monster still has his decision to make, and Giggy is supposedly in play. There’s also Nittymaki running around someone. In other words, there are enough options at goalie available that no one in their right mind is going to give up a top-6 guy for one.

five_hole

July 2nd, 2009
9:01 am

ranallo10 (in AT) Courtesy of NHLNUMBERS.com. As of now, our total cap is 33.667.

We have 9 forwards signed, including Sterling & Machacek, who may or may not make the team. We still have to sign Army, Slater, Thorburn & Crabb, all of whom should make the team. Excluding Sterling & Machacek, that’s only 11 forwards.

We have 5 defensemen signed (including Kubina) but still have to sign Oystrick, Valabik, Lehman, Lewis & Wilson.

We also have to resign Kari.

Not sure what the floor is, but I expect that signing all of the above will be at least 10 million, which should raise us above that figure. And as I already pointed out, we’re at least 1 forward short.

Viking

July 2nd, 2009
9:11 am

Penalty Killing forward(s) needed badly!!!

I was very disappointed to see that Sjöström was picked up by Calgary last night.

“TSN has reported that Sjostrom signed a two-year deal worth $1.5 million, averaging $750,000 per year. The Rangers lose a solid fourth liner in Sjostrom, but will surely miss him most when it comes to the penalty kill. Sjostrom did a great job blocking shots and plugging up the passing lanes on the penalty kill, as well as pressuring the opposition and clearing the zone. Both Sjostrom and Blair Betts were the two most consistent penalty killers for the Rangers.”

As I have mentioned before, he was a part of the best Penalty Killing team in the league (reg. season). And he was had for only $750 000 per year. I really hope Don & Dud is planning on improving the chances of not ending up being 29th rated in the PK column next season.

Bob

July 2nd, 2009
9:25 am

I agree that we shouldn’t expect to see a goalie traded, there’s no demand out there that would give us a return worth moving anyone beyond Hedberg.

So, we don’t have anyone to trade, who’s left that’s still UFA at center or RW?

Tony C.

July 2nd, 2009
9:26 am

Although I think yall have covered the pros and cons of this move stats-wise as well as community aspects-I think you guys are also missing something here- Kubina is one of Dudley’s guys. He specifically mentioned Kubina during a recent interview where they asked how he felt about assembling the majority of a Cup Champion, but didn’t get his name engraved.

h

July 2nd, 2009
9:27 am

This trade was exactly what you call “a good hockey trade”. We gave up a little and got what we really needed. I hope that when the dust clears that DW signs Kubina to a 2 year extension (or 3 if we really have to). I agree with others about Stuart…I really liked what he brought to the team, but he was NEVER going to be better than a 3rd liner at best, so although I’ll miss his PK work, I certainly hope we can replace him with relative ease. As for X, he was the odd man out all along. It stinks to lose a “good guy” but with my apologies to all the X lovers, I don’t pay for my season tix to watch “good guys” play crappy hockey. X showed that he will never be a top 4 D-man, and with his age vs. others on the team and in the system, he really needed to go. Getting a top 6 guy is crucial right now and hopefully not via trade. Antro will be a great fit….even at 5M a year. There are still a few top 6 guys left but not that many. DW’s offseason may hinge on Antro, unless we have a shot at Tanguay….otherwise you drop to the 2nd-3rd line possibles such as Moore, Samuelsson and Comrie. It may be worth considering making a big offer to a few RFAs on teams with salary cap issues…..as long as it is someone you really want…….I hope something happens today……I love this time of year and hate it all the same……

GaVaHokie

July 2nd, 2009
9:29 am

Funny that Heatley thinks that Murray is trying to screw him over by not making the best trade scenario.

Reminds me of a scene from Team America (warning, strong language)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5aYtHDlAkN0&feature=related

Toby

July 2nd, 2009
9:33 am

ranallo10 (in AT)

Get to the cap floor?? We picked up over $3mil yesterday. We still have about 5 RFA’s to sign and a top 6 to pick up. Without another trade, I project us around $43 mil after the RFA’s sign now.

And yes…as I stated already, Sean was right.

Bob

July 2nd, 2009
9:43 am

“Funny that Heatley thinks that Murray is trying to screw him over by not making the best trade scenario”

Heatley is a world class dick.

Toby

July 2nd, 2009
9:45 am

I agree Sara…I don’t see us getting much back for a goalie. Best case now, IMO, is we get Antropov (I know Tanguay is still left, but keep dreaming) for around $4 mil and have Lehts start in net with Pavs as the backup. Not sure what to do with Moose. I know this is more $$ than ASG might be willing to spend, but we do lose over $10mil in cap after this year with Kozzy, Kubina, and Zhitnik’s contracts all expiring. Antro might convince Kovy to sign too…another Russian?

Alan

July 2nd, 2009
9:47 am

I hope the good folks in Hell, Michigan are breaking out their parkas, because it’s truly a cold day: I actually agree with something Sage said.

Alan

July 2nd, 2009
9:50 am

Viking, our goal is to sign a top-6 forward, though. Help from forwards on the PK can come later or from within. Sjostrom would have been a great addition, but I’m not displeased Calgary picked him up.

Bob

July 2nd, 2009
10:05 am

“Best case now, IMO, is we get Antropov”

I agree, I think this club could be decent next year if they could sign him and have one of either Kane or Espo make an impact next year.

Tony C.

July 2nd, 2009
10:08 am

I would bull-rush Tanguay and his agent.

chc4

July 2nd, 2009
10:14 am

What are the odds a FA that has other options, and you gotta assume Antro and Tanguay both do, will choose Atlanta? Very slim unless we woefully overpay and neither of these guys are worthy of that. There’s a reason Donny Wads keeps saying we will upgrade via the trade route. If we pay Antropov $5mm/yr we will regret it. If we offer $4mm then he probably signs elsewhere for similar dollars. It’s a catch-22.

LAC

July 2nd, 2009
10:16 am

Everyone in our division aquired at least one UFA yesterday… Except guess who… That is correct, The Atlanta Thrashers a team commited to NOT winning.

You know Hossa left because the team stunk, look at last two season point totals… ZERO improvement. Kovy has said the EXACT same thing
we need to spend some money and get some UFA’s here and what are we all doing here ??? Talking about the ones that signed somewhere else !

Just what is it about Atlanta ? Ok, very very average team, no leadership from ownership, NO leadership from GM, fan base will comntinue to lose interest if team does not WIN. And if we cannot get the type scorers in here to win with and a better defense, we will not win, then Good-Bye #17, then how much will YOU want to go see or even support a team that does not support itself or it’s FANS by letting THE one STAR player we have leave ?

Is it ownership ? Is it don waddell’s inability to do his job ?
It cannot be the arena, or the city just why will TOP UFA’s not come here ? I have to believe it is these owners going on the Cheap and
having a bumbling GM who really does not know how to do his job…
Boy if any NHL franchise needed a breath of fresh air, it is ATLANTA…

Hip Czech

July 2nd, 2009
10:22 am

From a Chicago blog:

“Two possible trade partners for Dale Tallon are Bob Murray in Anaheim and Rick Dudley in Atlanta. These guys are thick as thieves and have both worked and traded together before.

So what if Tallon shipped Cam Barker, Kris Versteeg and Huet to Anaheim for JS Giguere and James Wisniewski?

Or Versteeg and Barker to Atlanta for Ron Hainsey and a pick?”

A thousand time YES!

Buzilla in CT

July 2nd, 2009
10:24 am

Is Kubina Russian?

World Be Free

July 2nd, 2009
10:27 am

I think Kubina is a Czech

Spud Webb

July 2nd, 2009
10:28 am

OH H&LL YEA!!!!!!!!!!!! Bye Ex. This is awesome. We now have a LEGIT blueline of 4 solid D men, not to mention letting Valabik and Salmla (spelling I know) play as 5 & 6!!!
GOOD JOD DW. YAHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO…I love it.
Now how about trading a goalie, CALL PHILLY, they need serious help in goal. Laughable, just talked to my brother (philly Brian) and he is SICK. He cannot believe the signed Boucher and are going to go into the season with he and EMory. ahhahahahahha, LOSERS>.
How about the Rangers, over paying for Gaborik, the human band aid?? They never cease to amaze me. hehehehhehehe. I love hockey, ready for us to get a legit number 1 center and another wing, then LETS DO THIS.

Bob

July 2nd, 2009
10:28 am

zilla, Pavel has to be a Czech

J(Z)

July 2nd, 2009
10:31 am

About the ONLY thing I can find that I don’t like about this trade…Kubina wear jersey #77!!!!!!!!

GaVaHokie

July 2nd, 2009
10:31 am

Kubina is Czech

Riceowls8891

July 2nd, 2009
10:33 am

Kubina is from the Czech Republic.

Tony C.

July 2nd, 2009
10:34 am

Dude, if Duds thinks he can sign Barker & Versteeg, I would do Hainsey & a pick NOW. Barker’s a proven warrior, and I (personally) think that Versteeg’s only going to get better.

Spud Webb

July 2nd, 2009
10:35 am

Please don’t sign Nik, he’s the softest big man since Victor Kozlov (caps). If we can get him for 2 or 3 million, then maybe. but the someone is going to pay 4 or 5 million and regret it. I watched him a lot when he was with the leafs, even their own announcing team BASHED him for being lazy, lackadiscal (spelling again?) & at time just not interested. I say leave him, all my opinions of course!!

Toby

July 2nd, 2009
10:36 am

Antropov is Russian though…

Toby

July 2nd, 2009
10:39 am

Chicago may make a good trade partner after blowing their future on Mary-Ann. 12 years?!?!? Their cap is screwed.

R. Stroz

July 2nd, 2009
10:41 am

Someone let me know if I’m missing someone; but, I have the best, and I’m using that term loosely, forwards left as:

1) Tanguay

2) Antropov

3) LaRose

4) Afinogenov

Buzilla in CT

July 2nd, 2009
10:41 am

Thanks. Antropov is Russian…and he is huge. If we can land Antropov at 6′6 230 and get rid of Perrin (and possibly Slater) we will have a pretty big team. Antropov, Kubina and Boris…Kubina would be the runt at 6′4.

Perhaps our team would be a bunch of b*tches this year

Viking

July 2nd, 2009
10:42 am

Alan, are you saying that multi tasking is out of the question for Don & Dud? Or are you worried that $750 000 or so per year spent on Sjöström would eliminate the possibility of a top 6 forward? (How about not resigning Thorburn, like they just did? I could have lived without an offer to Slater too.)

And why wait to get the best possible PK?

chc4

July 2nd, 2009
10:47 am

Afinogenov is horrible. Gotta stay away from him. He’s one of the worst finishers I’ve ever seen.

Viking

July 2nd, 2009
10:49 am

Antropov – the name suggests he is Russian, but is from Kazakhstan.

Buzilla in CT

July 2nd, 2009
10:52 am

Is that where Borat where from?

Viking

July 2nd, 2009
10:58 am

Yes, Borat is his country man, but Bruno is Austrian.

Buzilla in CT

July 2nd, 2009
10:58 am

Isn’t that where Borat WAS from? sorry

Viking

July 2nd, 2009
10:59 am

Borat is his countryman, (but Bruno is from Austria).

R. Stroz

July 2nd, 2009
11:00 am

Spud Webb

July 2nd, 2009
11:01 am

chc4, you’re correct, leave max alone. don’t want him, turnover MACHINE.