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

ranallo10 (in AT)

July 4th, 2009
6:26 pm

Brendan — To my knowledge Gaborik never complained about playing in Minnesota (he did complain about the defensive system they ran). He sought a certain dollar amount and Minnesota would not match it. New York, however, did. If he complains about being “stuck” in New York and isn’t happy for monetary reasons, then I’d consider him a greedy player. However, if after two years time he’s unhappy with the direction of the franchise or his role on the team, then I don’t have any problems with his complaining so long as he does it through the right channels (i.e., doesn’t go straight to the media but rather keeps it “in house”).

Beyond his salary demands which obviously one team was willing to match, what is it exactly that makes you see him as “greedy”? I understand if it’s simply those salary demands, but Sather was willing to concede so I guess his greed is justified.

R. Stroz

July 4th, 2009
7:00 pm

If the Blackhawks reach the same agreement with the NHL that the Devils did concerning this type of situation years ago, the Hawks will either lose Barker or Versteeg this year or Kane or Toews next year due to salary cap issues, especially considering the Blackhawks are saddled with Hossa and Campbell’s contracts.

So, if you are Dudley, would you rather make a run at Barker or Versteeg. Barker is a first rounder, number three overall pick, who is a top two defender. Versteeg is a late round, speedy, undersized left winger that put up good numbers last season (22 goals, 31 assists, positive 15 plus/minus).

Barker would probably cost more. Dudley was responsible for bringing in Versteeg while working for the Hawks.


July 4th, 2009
7:16 pm

I saw this bullet point in an article in today’s AJC about commercial real estate in the Atlanta area. The bullet points listed firms looking to lease space. “Atlanta Spirit is seeking 50,000 square feet.”

The only Atlanta Spirit I know of is the corporation that owns the Thrashers, Hawks and Philips Arena. Are they expanding? Is the current lease expiring? Maybe they aren’t as broke as they let on.

I’ll post this on Chris’s blog, he might have some interest in it.


July 4th, 2009
10:28 pm

Kracker, how many sqaure feet would it take to accomodate a team responsible for selling a business the size of ASG. There. We have a rumour. That was fun!


July 4th, 2009
11:37 pm

Brenden, checked the results of Atlanta VS Pittsburhg for 2007-2008.

The results were as follows….

11/4 @Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh 5 Atlanta 0
1/12 @Atlanta Atlanta 3 Pittsburgh 2 SO This was where Recchi scored
1/30 @Atlanta Atlanta 4 Pittsburgh 1
3/2 @Pittsburgh Pittsburgh 3 Atlanta 2 SO.

The crowd went wild a The Philips… Not Pittsburgh.


July 5th, 2009
1:34 am

Thank you, LAC, for that correction. It was the Pittsburgh announcing crew that groaned, dejectedly, on that evening, at the Recchi shootout goal that sealed the victory for Atlanta.

Ranallo, I don’t know that I’d call Gaborik greedy so much as I’d call him unwilling to operate within the framework he found himself in, there in Minnesota. Is there such a thing as “universal market value?” Some say yes. Some say no. But I remember Gaborik asking for $6.5 million, which was more than his fair market value, even by New York standards. After a holdout, he offered $4.4 million, which Minnesota rejected. Right at the point when observers felt he might be lost for the season, he took 3-years/$10 million. One can argue that Gaborik’s decreased offers were an honest attempt to “work with them.” Technically, that’d be true. But while try to extort $6.5 million (nearly twice the amount he settled for,) in the first place? Had Gaborik’s initial offer been $4.4 million, who knows? Maybe Minnesota would have paid it, just to have the matter behind them. Of course, we’ll never know that. I’ll agree with you that if Gaborik keeps his future gripes private, that he’s handling things as properly as he can, if he becomes dissatisfied in NY. But if he goes screaming to the media, “I didn’t to come New York, for this!” I’ll be thinking that he’s a problem child.

R.Stroz, I can’t tell, exactly, what incorrect procedure Chicago did. Is it that … the U.S. mail system was delayed, such that players didn’t receive their notifications on time? If so, that doesn’t seem like it was the fault of the Blackhawks, but rather, that of the U.S. Postal Service. If I’m Dudley, and I’m trying to appease “penny pinching” ownership, I go with Versteeg. But if I’m Dudley, a future hopeful GM, I take the best player I can grab, if money (cap situation) is no consideration, and that’s Cam Barker. It boils down to this, R.Stroz. Either an NHL organization is correctly run, or it isn’t. Which camp do the Thrashers find themselves in? A raging success, with a consistent history of playoff runs? Or mismanaged, almost from Day One? If the Thrashers were flush against the cap, their options would be limited. But since they aren’t, the Thrashers inability to take advantage of a fortuitious situation is entirely their choice to squander. And what a boon it might be, as the organization struggles to retain Kovalchuk. Most of Atlanta’s wounds … are self-inflicted. Either by inaction, and procrastination, or by some overt miscalculation.


July 5th, 2009
2:12 am

R.Stroz, if the Blackhawks truly got stuck, and the options were losing Kane or Toewz, or trading Hossa or Campbell, I’d call the Atlanta Thrashers, who were the organization that drove up Campbell’s contract value, and offer him to them. I’d argue, “You guys seemed to want Campbell badly in the past, I’ll make you a fair offer.”

Chicago would not have the option of dumping Hossa for Heatley, as Heater’s cap hit is $7.5 million, compared to Hossa’s $5.23 million. I do wonder if Ottawa wishes they had Hossa instead of Heatley. Heatley would probably jump at the prospect of going to Chicago, at this juncture.

World Be Free

July 5th, 2009
8:46 am

Brendan-I’d take Campbell at 2/3 of his current salary. He is not worth anything close to what’s he’s making.

I agree will calling some of these cap stressed teams. “He guys, you got something to dump at less than market value” It got Glen Sather off the hook, at least until he signed Gaborik to that stupid contract.


July 5th, 2009
11:03 am

I wouldn’t take Campbell at all, after having seen how he performed last season.

Oh, and don’t forget this gem: “I’d do that play a hundred times over.”

No thanks. I’ll take one of Versteeg or Barker.


July 5th, 2009
11:44 am

Boy, Campbell’s getting LOTS OF LOVE today! And, to think, we almost paid him a cap hit of $7.1 million. Of course, I’d agree it’d be better to have Versteeg or Cam Barker. Campbell’s a fine player, but in cash-strapped market like Atlanta, it can’t afford any hyper-inflated contracts. We struggled with “fair market value.” And I think almost anyone can see Campbell is overpaid. That’s the “effect” of unrestricted free agency. Of course, this bring out some poster who will say, “Is our team better with, or without, Campbell?”

World Be Free

July 5th, 2009
12:03 pm

Campbell does not possess the size or skid to be classified as a all around defensemen. I’d take Seabrooke over Campbell anytime.

Trixie (Rawhide's Secretary)

July 5th, 2009
9:00 pm


Mr. Rawhide is back in town and you are all now on official Ranallo Alert!

Sage of Bluesland

July 6th, 2009
4:17 pm

The sheep-love for Exelby is nothing short of embarrassing–and sad…

Good job, Donny! Maybe he is doing better after ten years on the job?!