Thrashers’ Mid-Summer Progress Report

Ah yes…early July. And with it comes the heat and humidity that we’ve all come to know and love during this time of year. But what this part of the summer also mean is that we’ve officially reached the mid-point of the Thrashers’ offseason.

Yup, three months ago they closed out the 2008-09 season by spanking the Tampa Bay Lightning 6-2 and three months from now the puck will drop on the tenth season of Atlanta Thrashers hockey.

Another item that comes with this time of year is that teams are shaping and forming their rosters via UFA signings and player trades. To that measure, Don Waddell has been a busy little camper lately in his role as Thrashers’ GM. So let’s take a quick moment to recap what has happened so far…and speculate on what may be in store for us between now and the start of training camp.

First off, back on June 8, the team announced that it had re-signed Marty Reasoner to a 2-year deal that would pay him $1.2 million this season and $1.1 the next…and the news was greeted with a great deal of approval.

Sure…it was almost a given that Waddell was going to be able to get the solid, hardworking and popular center back in Atlanta for another tour of duty given the fact that Marty had made his desire to return clear last spring. However, I do give Don props for the type of deal that was worked out. The length of the contract is about right…though some might say three years would have been better…but the price was right too. I was guessing Reasoner would go from $1 mil in salary to about one and a half per season. That’s not a big difference mind you, but every little bit of savings in today’s day and age is always a good thing.

Also inked to a deal was young blueliner Anssi Salmela…acquired last March from New Jersey for veteran defender Nic Havelid. In the few games he played here, he showed some very nice flashes of the type of play we could see from this kid in the coming years.

Oh, and remember that goal he scored against the Caps…sa-WEET!

Just a few weeks back came the surprising news that Waddell and the Thrashers had gotten Rick Dudley to come to Thrasherville as the new Associate General Manager. This, of course, was met with the speculation that maybe…just maybe…Dudley’s future here would see him drop the “Associate” from in front of “GM” and Don Waddell would drop the “GM” from his title and focus full-time on the “Executive Vice President” title.

If that will indeed happen, only time will tell.

Then came the draft of June 26…and the selection of Evander Kane with the fourth overall pick. This too was a very popular move with the Thrasher faithful. However, the entire draft was a very successful one in my opinion. It seems as though some pretty good talent was injected into the system.

And the fact that not one of them registers even an inch below six feet tall doesn’t hurt matters either.

But before the hype and chatter regarding the draft could even simmer down for a moment, UFA signing season was upon us…and the first two days of July brought with them even more good news from the Thrashers front.

On Wednesday, there was the trade that sent Garnet Exelby to Toronto in exchange for Kubina…a veteran defender but not too old. And even though a lot of fans were sad to see such a favorite of the Thrashers’ community leave…it was a move that improved the team. And, to that matter, it was a good move for Toronto as well seeing that they got a serviceable defender in return and they were able to take the money saved to bring in Michael Komisarek.

So this was one of those deals in which both teams should benefit from.

And while we were still wide-eyed and had jaws agape about that deal…just the very next day we learned that Nik Antropov had agreed to a 4-year, $16 million deal to play in Atlanta. And, much like with Reasoner, Waddell was able to procure the forward for less than some might have thought it would take to do so given that Antropov reportedly was asking the Rangers for a 5-year contract that paid in excess of $5 million per season.

Personally the $5 mil price tag would be more than I would have paid for him, but the general consensus in these parts is that Waddell would have to “overpay” for any decent talent to sign here. But 4-years at $4 mil per really isn’t really “overpaying”…is it.

So, given all that, what would I have to say about how this offseason has shaped up so far?

Nice…very nice indeed!

But there is still remains some work to do over the course of the next several weeks. To begin with, Colby Armstrong and Kari Lehtonen are still in need of contracts. But I look for these to happen sooner rather than later.

*EDIT: Shortly after posting this I learned that Army had elected to file for arbitration.

Oh…and let’s not forget this Ilya Kovalchuk character that is slated to be a UFA in twelve months. Obviously, this is the big task on Don’s “To-Do” list, and will remain so until it has been taken care of…whether this summer or during the course of the season.

So…what comes next?

Does Don tap into the goalie depth to bring in another top-line player to round out the squad?

And what about the buzz regarding Atlanta’s interest in Alex Tanguay and Alex Kovalev? Does Don have another surprise in store for us?

Well…I guess we’ve got the second half of the offseason to find out.

76 comments Add your comment

Brendan

July 5th, 2009
9:08 pm

First? Sorry, I’ll never do that again.

Brendan

July 5th, 2009
9:17 pm

So far, it’s been pretty “okay.” Better than that. It’s been good. Better than usual. Not outstanding. But, it’s still early. There could be trade movement even as late as October. So far, though, I’m not displeased. And me not being displeased … is actually a “step in the right direction.” In the real sense. And not sayyyy, the gratuitious way that Bruce Levenson uses that turn of phrase.

Glovesave29

July 5th, 2009
9:19 pm

Colby has filed for salary arbitration.

World Be Free

July 5th, 2009
9:30 pm

Hey Rawhide-next point of business should include locking up Kovy long term. This place (Thrasherland) will rock when we can duplicate what The Jackets did with Rick Nash.

I like what I see so far. I have already made my feeling know on vetaren help, so I’ll get off that kick.

Dudley is a great hire; what a character person (great fighter as a player). I would like to know what plans they have for him in the future, maybe we will find out soon.

Gotta stay positive and hope ASG gives Don and Duds the $$$ to keep improving. We have alotta points to make up before we are a playoff team.

François Carbonneau

July 5th, 2009
9:43 pm

First of all: great blog my friend!

It’s nice to read some trasher’s fan point of view.

I agree with you, Atlanta is a better team with Antropov and Kubina and could
really get better if they get to put hands on Alex Tanguay or Alex Kovalev. I must
say I’m an HABS fan and I also hate to say that Tanguay is not going back with our
team so I wish for you that you’ll land it in Atlanta, it would do a devastating combination with Kovalchuk and Antropov. A playmaker with a big centre and a sniper, wow! And you also have some great young players, I love your chances in the futur. What do you think of of new first line in montreal? Are we, in your opinion, a better team?

Finally I must say Kovalchuk is my favorite NHL player, the best sniper there is in our great game. Is sometime arrogant but is size, is speed and is shoot, wow! This guy has almost it all. May not be the best player in defense, but hey best defense is offense and and I’ll comes to that when he touches the puck.

Will bookmark this one ;)

Frank

Rawhide

July 5th, 2009
10:21 pm

Glovesave29 – Thanks! I was searching for some material for my Hockeybuzz column :lol:

So…what does everyone thing of THAT bit of news?

François Carbonneau – Thank you very much for the kind words. As for Montreal…I like your pickups. Gionta is a solid addition of course, and I just have to tell you I’m absolutely green with envy about Mike Cammalleri. I would have loved to have seen him in a Thrashers jersey.

But Koivu…are you gonna be able to re-sign him or not?

LAC

July 5th, 2009
10:27 pm

Either of those two would be welcome additions here.

Also, another GREAT Job by The Iceman Himself,Mr. Bill Tiller !!!

StateBird

July 5th, 2009
10:55 pm

I’d welcome Tanguay here in a heartbeat. However not Kovalev. He doesn’t play inspired hockey every night, even in markets like New York and Montreal. I am sure he would take more nights off than on in Atlanta.

Nate

July 5th, 2009
10:57 pm

This summer is looking more like summer 2005. Remember Holik was the big signing and everyone thought DW was done. Then Bondra was signed out of nowhere. This time it’s Kubina and Antropov. Deja vu maybe with a Tanguay or Kovalev signing out of nowhere?

Chris

July 5th, 2009
11:17 pm

Anything around that 2 million mark seems appropriate for Army. I wouldn’t be surprised to see us come to terms before the hearing. Also, I’ve gotta agree with StateBird. Kovalev’s attitude problems in Montreal last year kinda put me off on the idea of signing him.

R. Stroz

July 6th, 2009
12:03 am

Rarely will you see words like these from me, however, the Thrashers need to be very careful with any more salary additions for the upcoming season.

Based on my salary estimates for the upcoming season, the Thrashers will be near 48 million. Yes, I know the cap is much higher for the 2009-2010 season; however, the cap should drop in the 2010-2011 season as I don’t expect the economy to improve appreciably over the next 6 to 12 months. As a result, the cap could drop to around 50 to 52 million for the 2010-2011 season.

The Thrashers need to re-sign the following players for the 2010-2011 season: Kovalchuk, Little, and Peverley. Each should get a raise, and in the case of Little and Peverley, a considerable raise on a percentage basis. Therefore, less than judicious spending this offseason, could preclude the team’s ability to re-sign Little and Peverley in the future.

The Thrashers need to build in a cushion for the potential salary cap drop in the 2010-2011 season and the re-signings of Kovalchuk, Little, and Peverley; otherise, the team may be forced to jettison someone in an inopportune manner.

The only salary “help” the Thrashers will have going into the 2010-2011 season is Kozlov’s 3.66 million coming off the books.

Yes, I want the team to upgrade; but, I don’t want to upgrade to such an extent that good young players are lost due to salary cap issues in the near future. A cushion this season may allow the Thrashers to keep their current nucleus of players intact and take advantage of teams with mega-salary cap issues in the 2010-2011 season.

Hockey Biltong

July 6th, 2009
1:09 am

12th!! R.Stroz, don’t forget Zhitnik! I think he is off the books next year too. Somewhere in the $1.2 range I think. Correct me if I’m wrong…

Wayne stuck in AL

July 6th, 2009
1:41 am

I’d prefer Tanguay over Kovalev anytime, though I think Ilya would prefer the latter…

However, I think Tanguay is a pure 2nd/3rd-line LW, which means that we would have Kozlov’s replacement already.

Wayne stuck in AL

July 6th, 2009
1:43 am

BTW, where is it written that DW is interested in either of them?…Also, to sign either one of them, we would have to dump Lehtnonen’s salary…

Supes

July 6th, 2009
2:18 am

Unless Ilya signs that contract extension I’m going to be giving Don and the Thrashers a “F” as his Mid-summer report progress.

Sign Kovy ASAP, do not let him start the season without signing that extension. I have a bad feeling once the season starts, if Ilya isn’t signed and the team starts to peddle through mediocrity once again…his days as a Thrasher will be numbered. If that ever happens it’ll be the biggest blow to this franchise since the Danny Heatly/Dan Snyder “gate”

Smoothie

July 6th, 2009
3:38 am

Kubina’s 5 M comes off the books as well. That’s a total of 9.9 coming off the cap number next year. Let’s say we do rein in Tanguay: we would most likely make another move in which we trade Todd White to bring in that 3rd line PK specialist everyone seems to so dearly covet.

Doing so would likely be a net P/R savings of 1.4 to 1.6 M this year. Stroz’ figure of 48 likely includes Lehtonen @ 3.5. Thus we’d only increase P/R to 51 M if we signed Tanguay at 4.5 (hopefully less) M per.

With the players mentioned above coming off the books next year we’d move back to 41 M before doling out an additional 3 M to Kovy, 2.5 to 3 M for Little and 2 M to Pevs if he can sustain his Top 6 favor.

But the point remains: it may not be prudent to bring anymore high-priced FA at this point unless its only for 1 or 2 years to give us flexibility for the future. We also need to keep in mind that Bogey and Kane could be due big raises in 2 and 3 yrs respectively.

Lastly, why the hell am I still awake??

Tom

July 6th, 2009
6:45 am

Saw this on the Bleacher Report: We signed Krog again and a goalie for Chicago. Why would we be signing a goalie unless something is going to happen.

Jason Krog, who played primarily on the Manitoba Moose last season, has departed the Canucks through free agency by signing a two-year deal worth $1.1 million with the Atlanta Thrashers.

This will be Krog’s third tour of duty with the Atlanta Thrashers organization. He led the Thrashers farm team, the Chicago Wolves, to the Calder Cup in 2008.

Former Canuck goalie Drew MacIntyre has also signed with the Thrashers.

Josh

July 6th, 2009
7:11 am

Stroz -

I think Smoothie nailed it down pretty well…I think our cap situation is looking pretty good ATM…if we get Valabik, Slats, Army, and Lehtonen’s contracts worked out soon then we would have our goalies, top 6 d-men, and top 10 forwards under contract. The remaining spots to be filled by Kane, Epso, or whomever the Thrash decide to sign.

Kubina, Hedberg, Kozzy, and Boulton all come off the books next summer, which would free up about 10 million in cap room to play with, which could surely be distributed amongst Kovy’s extension, and the new contracts of Little and Pevs with money to spare.

Does anyone know what the rookie pay scale is? I forget if it changes from year to year, etc. I suppose what I’m really asking is what would Kane’s cap hit be if he stuck the whole season as opposed to playing for a few weeks then being sent back to Juniors?

ranallo10 (in AT)

July 6th, 2009
7:15 am

Tom — To be more accurate, Atlanta has apparently signed two AHL caliber goalies…MacIntyre and Peter Mannino. Both are likely to replace Dan Turple and Brent Krahn in Chicago, now that Krahn is signed with Dallas and Turple has not been tendered an offer.

It appears that they are creating goalie depth in anticipation of a goalie move, but it’s very possible this depth is being created proactively because a trade might not happen until later in the offseason. Either way, it appears that Pavelec will be spending less time in Chicago this season with the signing of these two goalies.

LAC

July 6th, 2009
7:24 am

Why Krog ? We have other more important priorities to deal with…

Josh

July 6th, 2009
7:31 am

I’m with Tom on this, Drew MacIntyre signing would have Krahn and he in Chicago to split duties, this leads me to believe Pavs or Lehts is going to be sent off soon…Heck, send Pavs and Valabik for the rights to Jack Johnson, doesn’t look like he’s signing with LA anytime soon. Could always use more defense.

Any rumors surrounding possible trade destinations? I saw a package going to Philly for awhile with James van Riemsdyk heading to Atlanta, but Philly has since signed Ray Emery and brought back Boucher. At this point what teams are most in need of young goaltending?

World Be Free

July 6th, 2009
7:50 am

LAC-just more career minor leaguers when we should be focusing on proven players for the big club. I promised I would get off this soap box, but I could not resist.

World Be Free

July 6th, 2009
7:51 am

Josh-what we have to spare is better than Boucher or Emery the head case.

Josh

July 6th, 2009
7:52 am

ranallo – Do you think Krahn will start the season in Dallas? That would certainly make the McIntyre move seem more like plugging organizational holes than anything.

ranallo10 (in AT)

July 6th, 2009
7:57 am

Josh — As I said in my response, Krahn is with the Dallas organization now.

World Be Free — It’s rather obvious he was signed for AHL depth…what’s the concern? Are you assuming that by signing Krog (yet to be announced by Chicago or Atlanta) Atlanta is unable to sign “proven players for the big club”? Emery has lead his team to a Stanley Cup, which is much more to say than anything Lehtonen or Pavelec have done as of yet. I’d personally rather Lehtonen over those three, but Emery is no slouch simply because he has an attitude. Besides, how well did Ottawa fare without him?

ranallo10 (in AT)

July 6th, 2009
8:02 am

Josh — Sorry, didn’t see your second post before I made mine. I have no idea what Dallas’ goal is for Krahn, but I highly doubt he will spend much time (if any) with the NHL club. MacIntyre appears to me to be a starting AHL player, where as Mannino seems to be a purely depth move (he has 3 unspectacular NHL games under his belt, all with the Islanders).

From the outside it looks like:

Atlanta goalies = Lehtonen/Pavelec, Hedberg
Chicago goalies = MacIntyre, Mannino

I find it hard to believe they’d bring in two AHL veteran goalies if they’re going to keep Pavelec in Chicago for further development.

Josh

July 6th, 2009
8:10 am

WBF – Hehe that may be the case but I would think Philly isn’t in a position to add more salary unless they dump someone off, like Gagne for example…I think they’re pretty close to the cap. If they begin the season and Emery struggles…well…

Let’s give Krog his props, he put up monster numbers in the AHL the past two seasons…how strange/sad to think that this is his third stop with the Thrash.

Sara

July 6th, 2009
8:46 am

I would be very interested in finding out what it would take to get Jack Johnson here.

Rawhide

July 6th, 2009
8:54 am

Wyane stuck in AL – Both of those rumors have been buzzing via Eklund at Hockeybuzz. I think you are right in the belief that to bring in eother would mean dumping Kari’s salary.

Or…

And this is purely speculative, the team could dump Pavelec’s and Armstrong’s slalary. I use Army as an example ONLY because of his arbitration filing last night. If the hearing goes his way, the team will have…I believe…48 hours to accept the salary or release him to free agency.

Personally, I’d rather that not happen as I feel he is a great asset to the organization…but give the situation, it’s at least a possibility.

atldave

July 6th, 2009
9:01 am

I do not understand all the hype about the Thrashers goaltending strength. Pavelic has proven nothing. Lehts is an NHL number one goalie,, but at the bottom half until he develops consistency. There are quite a few more proven goalies available like Cory Schneider in Vancouver that have proven much more than Pavelic. For the Thrashers to rely on Pavelic as their goaltender without Lehts would be a huge mistake. Hedberg is an OK backup but offers little trade value. I just do not see goaltending as a position of strength that the Thrasher’s can use to trade for a top six forward or a quality defenseman.

Josh

July 6th, 2009
9:19 am

atldave – I’m actually in slight agreement with you on this one. Pavs is an unproven commodity, but he’s still a great goalie prospect that other teams do value. If I had my choice I would not dump Lehtonen as he has shown flashes of greatness and as you stated has atleast proven that he is a legit #1 in this league, albeit injury-prone.

I’m not sure what we could get in return for Pavs or a package surrounding him but I don’t think it’s a ridiculous thought to think a team would give up a good player for him, even if salary might be the biggest motivating factor. That is why when I was referring to the potential deal with Philly that we would need to add more than just Pavs to get something done. At this point I’m not sure what his value is, but it’s not a stretch to say that he is one of the top 5 or 6 goaltending prospects in the NHL.

Rawhide

July 6th, 2009
9:25 am

:!: PROGRAMMING ALERT!! :!:

John Kincade has informed me that Garnet Exelby will be his guest on 680 The Fan at 4:50 pm this afternoon. XLB wants to be able to say good-bye to the fans here!

Glovesave29

July 6th, 2009
9:32 am

atldave – players with unmet potential or who have yet played a single game in the NHL are traded all of the time. Look no further than who was shipped off when Lindros wouldn’t sign with Quebec (Lindros, Ricci, Duschene, Forsberg). Pavelec has done little here, that is certainly true, but a guy of his size and quickness could do well at the NHL level with the proper coaching. As we have stated ad nauseum in the past, the Thrashers employ no such coach and the goaltending suffers as a result.

Still feel that this is a strength of the team – so you re-sign Kari (and get him a coach), keep Moose one more season and offer Ondrej and a second rounder next year and the year after for Kessel and see if Boston takes the bait. Toronto has little to offer us other than high draft picks, but may take a chance on Pavalec as they just hired butterfly guru Francois Allaire away from Anaheim. This could be a project for them. We sign a veteran backup for 2 seasons as Pasquale develops (that gives him 3 seasons total). Thankfully – Turple is gone. He was brutal.

Sign Tanguay – forget the head case Kovalev. See if playing on an up tempo team can revive his career back to the 80 point plateau. It is certainly worth at least a one year contract to see if it works. Make sure it is in the contract that his cousin Celine Dion is barred from entering the state of Georgia.

ranallo10 (in AT)

July 6th, 2009
9:40 am

According to Hockey’s Future, Pavelec is the 6th ranked NHL goalie prospect. Here’s the order:
Tuuka Rask (Boston)
Cory Schneider (Vancouver)
Jhonas Enroth (Buffalo)
Chet Pickard (Nashville)
Jonathan Bernier (Los Angeles)
Ondrej Pavelec

Overall Pavelec is the 27th ranked prospect by Hockey’s Future.

Dwayne

July 6th, 2009
9:46 am

part of Kari’s inconsistencies are due to poor conditioning, bad defense and hangovers, with the addition of Kubina and an intervention for Kari’s drinking problems, the Thrashers will make the playoffs.

Glovesave29

July 6th, 2009
9:53 am

While poor conditioning was certainly a issue in the past, I think that has been rectified. The bad defense – that’s a given…he’s been hung out to dry by a non-existant defense more times than I care to think about. The drinking / hangovers – you have any proof of this before you throw a guy under the bus with an accusation like this?

Dwayne

July 6th, 2009
10:06 am

proof? who needs it anymore. I read on this blog, more than once about Kari’s partying. How old is the guy? Aint he single? Oooops, there is your proof. The thing is, I like Kari, I think he is/will be a great goaltender. But facing 35 to 40 shots a nite is to much for any goaltender. Would MB be where he is at if had been in Atl. for the past 10 years…no way. On to another subject. Just read Mark Bradleys piece on Atl’s sports teams. Thrashers are 108, Johns A. gets highest mark, 81 st as coach. There is a picture of him behind the bench in the article. Look over his left shoulder, thats the beautiful lady that I mention every now and then in my insightful, knowledgable, fact based blogs.

Buzilla in CT

July 6th, 2009
10:12 am

Sign Lehts, Trade Pav. Lehts at least wants to be here. He loves the city and made his home here. Now that he HOPEFULLY won’t have swiss cheese in front of him this year, maybe he won’t have to face 50 shots a night. Lets see what he can do with a defense. He is still very young and has shown flashes of brilliance. Pavs showed that the NHL lights are very bright even in a dim place such as Atlanta. Trade him while he still has value. Or keep him and trade Hedberg.

Dwayne

July 6th, 2009
10:15 am

I’m with you Buz, remember Kari’s first 4 games? What did Pav’s first 4 look like?

Glovesave29

July 6th, 2009
10:16 am

Ok, now – talking about hittin’ the bottle! Little early for that, isn’t it?

Buzilla – just don’t think Moose has any trade value at all. I’d like to keep him here and get him to sign on as the goalie coach at the end of next season.

J

July 6th, 2009
10:33 am

Moose has almost no trade value he has been one of the worst goalies in the NHL for the last 3 years. So to get rid of him Don will need to package him with another player or buy out his contract.
But with moose gone the team gets better Pav can develop as a backup not try to be a starter right away. Kari gives them a chance to win this year and until Pav proves he can handle the number one job or not. So one way or the other moose needs to go.

Tom

July 6th, 2009
10:37 am

Glovesave

I agree with you, there is enough depth in “mature” goaltenders out there that it would be hard to move Moose. Everyone in the NHL knows his strengths and weaknesses.

But there is potential upside for Lehtonin and Pavs. People always want to buy hope and will typically overpay for it. With the filling of the minors it can be expected that one of these 2 will be gone shortly.

If, and it is a big if, Waddell makes a great move to get another Top 6 forward by trading a goalie and a defenseman, we could have a hell of a team, and take the pressure off of Espo and Kane to come in to make a difference. And if one of these guys can make an impact, it is a bonus.

That is how you grow a franchise and a player.

Josh

July 6th, 2009
10:40 am

Yeah I don’t think anything can be gained by trading Moose. He’s off the books next year and as it has been stated, free to join the coaching staff in some capacity.

I have been reading about Kovalev to Atlanta rumors…is it just me or am I the only one who doesn’t want to see us sign an old inconsistant wing…at least Antropov is young. Sign Tanguay!

Buzilla in CT

July 6th, 2009
10:54 am

If we sign Kovalev, we have another top 6 forward. Then I would try to trade Hedberg (for some picks) and let Pavs and Leht fight it out. Sign Lehts and Pavs to two year deals. When Lehts wins out, at the trade deadline, we package Pavs and White to get what we need for the playoffs (along with a backup goalie with experience…maybe Hedberg back…that would be pretty stupid huh?)

Thrasher Predictions:

Little scores another 30 goals but gets 40 assists
Peverly has a breakout season and has 70 points
White fades big time; we trade him to make room for Espesito
Boris and Mandy Sutton get into a great fight (Mandy has to get a hysterectomy afterwards)
Kovy signs before the start of the season right after Kovalev signs
Kovy wins the Richard
Thrashers get into the playoffs; get Rangers in the first round and Thrashers sweep (Andro has 10 pts in 4 games)
Team gets sold Lil John; Changes team name to the Atlanta Crunks. Gold mouth guards are strickly enforced by the new management. Team bus now has hydrolics so it can rock the three wheel motion.

Other Hockey predictions:
Sedin twins demand trade to different after they both sleep with same
girl
Crosby gets busted for steriods (turns out he didn’t want to get bigger, he just wanted to be able to grow decent facial hair)
Gary Bettman steps down to open a bagel store

Buzilla in CT

July 6th, 2009
10:56 am

**correction**

Sedin twins demand trade to different teams after they both sleep with same
girl

Adam

July 6th, 2009
11:06 am

I’m not in favor of DW doing any more trades unless it’s getting rid of dead weight or an upgrade for a 1-2 line RW. With the dead weight I don’t believe we have as much as we have in the past, who would you like to see gone at this point. As Brenden would say “I’d rather see someone signed that wants to play here than a trade for someone who will be looking for the 1st ticket out of ATL.”

I have always liked Tanguay but do we need another LW right now? Maybe next year but now?
With Kovalev I don’t think we can afford him at his age. While he may be a good performer with payoff experience I don’t think he’ll take less that 4 mil, and he deserves at least that or more.

At RW Maxim Afinogenov is 29 and had an off year last year and wants out of Buffalo. Based on last years performance and his injury problems I think he could be had for 2 mil plus incentives. A change of scenery may do him wonders. Ales Kotalik is another RW we could look at that could be signed for under 3 mil. If you want to go with a more experienced guy what about Sykora?

Glovesave29

July 6th, 2009
11:09 am

Hey Buzilla – can one of the Sedins go to the Rangers, only to find out later the mystery woman is Elisha Cuthbert?

Buzilla in CT

July 6th, 2009
11:14 am

would that be sloppy thirds?

Buzilla in CT

July 6th, 2009
11:15 am

I am still waiting for Jack Bauer to put a bullet into Avery after that. That’s his daughter man!

Hockey Biltong

July 6th, 2009
11:17 am

Shoot, I witnessed Olympic Speed Skaters chuggin’ beer the night before a race!!! Sports figures not drinking??? Cmon now.

Alan

July 6th, 2009
11:29 am

At RW Maxim Afinogenov

I’m sorry, I had to stop reading here.

Max would make our team weaker, I think. One could argue that he had an off year and has injury problems, but he’s also softer than a pillow display at Bed Bath and Beyond.

I’ll pass. If Kovalev is too expensive to acquire, then I think our team is about as good as it will get in the off-season, and we should start looking forward to camp and pre-season.

ranallo10 (in AT)

July 6th, 2009
11:36 am

That’s 5 games for Mr. Buzilla in CT…

from Toronto, with Love.

July 6th, 2009
11:43 am

Good Luck w/ Kubina and Antropov.
Kubina in Toronto has been less than stellar. At 6+ feet he’s a big lad, but doesn’t really throw his weight around all that much…as for Antropov, I for one, am glad to see him gone from the Leafs. 10 years of inconsistency, injuries and not really a backbone to speak of, for someone 6′6…
Evander Kane = excellent pickup in the draft…I was immensely impressed by his grit during the World Juniors.
Marty Reasoner = bit of a Pylon…but for 1.2 mil a season, can’t be any worse than Antropov.
Kari Let-it-in = let him go…he’s proven he doesn’t have what it takes to compete consistently in the NHL. Sell him to Charles Wang for 5 BILLION dollars.

Brendan

July 6th, 2009
11:57 am

If Pavelec wants out, (but I don’t really know that’s the case,) then I think Atlanta should accommodate him*. The asterisk reflects a provision. The provision is as follows. We don’t GIVE HIM AWAY. Need I remind anyone that Atlanta passed on Setoguchi, Staal, and Kopitar to get Pavelec. Allright then. I don’t think players the caliber of Setoguchi, Staal, and Kopitar can be found in the exchange for Pavelec, unfortunately. As Rannallo (in AT) might say, “The market for goaltenders isn’t very high right now.” If Pavelec is set free, it can’t be for a song. We’ve got to get something of VALUE back for him.

Personnally, I wouldn’t trade Pavelec. I’d continue to develop him, giving him 30 starts this season. More if Lehtonen gets hurt. And if Pavelec wins the starting job, I’d try to lock him up with a proactive contract in January or February of 2010. If Pavelec came to me, privately, and requested a trade, I’d try to find something that makes sense for Atlanta. If Pavelec went running to the media, Dany Heatley style, I don’t know that a GM can find the best possible deal for him. If Lehtonen came to me and requested a trade, I’d also try to move him. But again, I’m not giving him away. He’s a former 2nd overall pick. I’ve got to get a top prospect or a proven player, whose rights I’d control for a number of years.

Who’s the backup goalie in Chicago, behind Huet? (Khabibulin re-signed in Edmonton.) If they don’t have one, or they do, but Moose is an upgrade to that goalie, then Chicago is a place I’d try to shop Hedberg. And if their tender offers controversy persists, I’d definitely try to package Moose. Though, they’d ask for Pavelec. Would Cam Barker for Pavelec be an acceptable tradeoff for the Blackhawks?? Pavelec and Huet could be a nice combination for the Blackhawks moving forward.

Buzilla in CT

July 6th, 2009
11:57 am

ranallo10 what am I getting 5 games for?

Spud Webb

July 6th, 2009
12:16 pm

Alan, agreed, please don’t sign Max. I’ve written it a few times, he is the human turnover, can’t finish a think, holds the puck, looks pretty, skates it around, then turns it over.

ranallo10 (in AT)

July 6th, 2009
12:19 pm

You said “sloppy”, that’s three games minimum.

Buzilla in CT

July 6th, 2009
12:21 pm

I bet it’s like throwing a hot dog down a hallway at this point with Ms. Bauer

World Be Free

July 6th, 2009
12:50 pm

From Toronto-

Like most free agents, Kubina had a big, black X on his head when we arrived in Toronto. Leafs’ fans were skepical of his signing from day one. He’ll be asked to play his game in Atlanta, similar to the way he played in Tampa.

I ask you-has anyone been popular in Toronto the last 4 years? You guys have traded just about anybody, or wished to trade everybody out of town, with the exception of Luke Schenn.

Smoothie

July 6th, 2009
12:56 pm

Much rather have Tanguay than Kovalev at this point, injury risk and all. When healthy, Tanguay is capable of scoring at a .9 pts / game clip which is pretty darn stout. Plus, Tanguay is listed as both a LW and a RW so I’m sure he could adjust. Hell, Kozlov certainly could play RW if asked to play with Kovy.

Kovy — Pevs — Kozzy

Tanguay — Little — Antro

via trade for White — Marty — Army

Boults — Slater — Crabb / Thor

No need to get our hopes up though as I don’t see the ASG ponying up an additional $4 M for any guy named Alex if they are seriously close to bringing back Mike Bibby for the Hawks. They will surely have to overpay to retain Bibby and that will mean the Thrashers go no higher than $47 or $48 M.

Alan

July 6th, 2009
1:02 pm

I’m fine with a $47m-$48m internal cap, though, considering the economic forecast. I don’t think we’ve even seen the full extent of the storm, so to speak, and the salary cap will almost assuredly fall next year.

We stay at $48m, and we’ll be near the cap ceiling next season, as opposed to hovering near the cap floor..

R. Stroz

July 6th, 2009
1:24 pm

Hockey Biltong – You’re right, I forgot about the 1.167 million due $hitnik. So between the Kozlov and $hitnik money coming off the books, which amounts to about 5 million, those funds could be allocated for Little and Peverley.

Smoothie – Kubina’s salary is going to be the BIG question mark. If Kubina plays well, the Thrashers have to decide whether to keep him and at what price. I don’t think the Thrashers will, or should be, willing to pay Kubina 5 million/year on an ongoing basis. So if the Thrashers decide to keep Kubina, the question becomes what salary to pay him and the length of the contract.

frosty the snowman

July 6th, 2009
1:25 pm

I dont think these moves are going to drastically improve the thrashers. Antropov is not a top line guy, he is a 2nd line guy.

Glovesave29

July 6th, 2009
1:26 pm

But on the other hand, do we take advantage of this final season at the higher cap? What if we do bring in a few more players with one year deals, and we have a really good team that can make the playoffs? Players see that Atlanta is a great place to play and to live, and we get in the position to get the “hometown discounts” that some teams already get. Players that have been media targets up north, who cannot enjoy a simple meal at a local restaurant without being pestered by fans – I think a season here might be enjoyable (Marty Reasoner obviously thinks so) with some February golf and affordable housing.

Alan

July 6th, 2009
1:29 pm

Affordable housing is right. Especially on the south side. Driving down some neighborhoods, it’s like there’s more foreclosed homes than there are homes with occupants. :P

That said, I don’t see us in a position to rent a few players. Especially with roster spots pretty much written in stone at the moment.

Spud Webb

July 6th, 2009
1:30 pm

Frosty, you don’t think a top 4 dman and Nik are going to help the Thrashers? What team have you been watching??

Adam

July 6th, 2009
1:41 pm

Alan – Ok I can see the points with not going after Max, but that’s why I said incentive base contract. But what about Kotalik?

Smoothie

July 6th, 2009
1:42 pm

Stroz, it will certainly be interesting to see how Kubina performs in Thrasher blue. But considering his 32 years, paucity of + seasons as an NHL blueliner and presence of D-man talent in our prospect pipeline (Kulda, Lewis, Postma etc), he will have to score at least 40 points, hover right around break-even in +/- AND bolster our lousy PK in order to have any hopes of garnering $4 M + on the open market. In my opinion, I see this as a one-year gap plan to take some of the pressure off Bogosian and give time to our prospects in Chicago to develop into NHL talent. I really see Anssi Salmela as our next Top 4 D-man playing alongside Hainsey in 2010-11. My prediction:

Bogey / Enstrom

Hainsey / Anssi

Kulda / Valabik / Lewis

I don’t know why DWad doesn’t seem keen on keeping Oystrick around for depth, but perhaps he wants to let Nathan try to crack the Top 6 somewhere else. I just hope he doesn’t sign with a divisional rival like Carolina who will need to sure up their blueline.

Tony C.

July 6th, 2009
2:09 pm

What’s kincade’s email? I can’t call from the office-I definitely want to give X the big ups he deserves-classy guy making a classy move by “officially saying goodbye”. I’ll miss the guy-I hope he gets the flu when we play the buds.

Rawhide

July 6th, 2009
2:12 pm

:!: 2009 PRESEASON SCHEDULE RELEASED!! :!:

Sorry to cut this blog short…but I’ve just posted a new one about the 2009 Preseason Schedule that has just been released.

Six games, three at home as well as 2 prosepct games at the Dulth Ice Forum!

from Toronto, with Love.

July 6th, 2009
2:13 pm

World Be Free -
We didn’t have a GM until this year..JFJ messed about everything possible up ! Remember our Secret Weapon the last time we made the playoffs? Calle Johanson..fresh from a tour of duty behind a desk somewhere..!
Atl is definitely on the right-track in terms of personell…hope you guys get something done this year, ie: 2nd round :)

R. Stroz

July 6th, 2009
2:15 pm

Darren

July 6th, 2009
3:03 pm

Antropov may or may not be a top line guy, but it’s not like Kovalchuk’s been playing with an elite center for years anyway. That’s the guy Kovy wanted, and that’s the guy Kovy got. Besides, that’s not to say that Peverley and/or Little couldn’t continue to develop into more of a classic, 1st line-type of center in the next couple of years.

WBF’s also right; there aren’t many players fans in Toronto *would* be happy with, so it’s not unexpected that both Kubina and Antropov got run out of town. I did see Antropov when he visited Nashville, and he was a difference-maker the entire game. Granted, Nashville’s got a tiny team, but still. Kubina’s acquisition has Dudley’s influence all over it, in my opinion, even if it is several years removed from his Stanley Cup season. If Dudley thinks he’ll help, I believe him.

For what it’s worth, I think he’s more well-rounded than Exelby on both ends of the ice, so it’s not like he’s a step down for who he’s replacing.

World Be Free

July 6th, 2009
3:19 pm

Toronto-the Leafs’ biggest problem is that they do not have a clear cut owner/president. Who is running the show? There are so many chefs in the Leafs’ kitchen. Not sure Burke is going to sift through all the BS to straighten things out.

Yup, JFJ really messed things, but only to a point. Toronto fans were after him to resign Brian McCabe and that’s what he did. Then they all realized that McCabe was a one dimensional defenseman that wasn’t worth the money he received!

Toronto fans booed him when he returned last year, which made no sense. All McCabe did was agree to the money he was offered, never bad mouthed Toronto and never wanted to leave town.

The Mats Sundin screws the Leafs out of a high draft pick and prospect, leaves them high and dry for Vancouver. Then Sundin gets a standing ovation when he returns! Even Bozo Cherry figured that one out; he’s the dumbest person on 2 feet!

Harold Ballard must be laughing in his grave. This is the same team that screwed Punch Imlach after he won them 4 Cups!

World Be Free

July 6th, 2009
3:21 pm

Toronto-thanks for the good wishes too. I hope Toronto improves as well. Leafs’ fans deserve better. They are the best fans in hockey.

Jameson

July 6th, 2009
6:56 pm

I think it’s been a good off-season so far, and I happen to win the Kovy signing sweepstakes, it’ll be a Trahsers’ Mid-Summer KNIGHTS Dream. Sorry, I try not to yell Knights, but sometimes, I just can’t resist.