Looks Like Kiwi Will Be Russia-Bound After All

According to Ben Wright…Joel Kwiatkowski will be playing in Russia after all.

Regarding the Great Kiwi/KHL Conflict, Thrashers’ Executive Vice President and GM Don Waddell said, “After agreeing to terms on a contract with Joel Kwiatkowski, we learned that he had already committed to a team in the KHL. Therefore we have rescinded our offer and have been told that Joel will honor his agreement with St. Petersburg.”

So…that puts an end to that little situation.

Prospect Camp Opens Today

Also going on today…the start of Prospect Development Camp. Here is the schedule of events that will take place between now and Wednesday.

In advance of this, Thrashers first-round draft pick Evander Kane made the media rounds yesterday. If you missed them, here is is the interview on 680 The Fan…and the one on Fox 5’s Good Day Atlanta.

I’ll be making the trek over to Duluthland tomorrow afternoon to check out the young-un. I hope to see many of you there as well.

Show Me The Money

According to hockeybuzz.com, the Thrashers’ current cap hit is about $42.3 million. However, that figure will climb higher once we come to know the salaries of Kari Lehtonen, Colby Armsrong, Boris Valabik and Chris Thorburn.

If Kari gets a contract somewhere in the neighborhood of $3.5 mil per year and Armstrong…who opted for salary arbitration last weekend…gets about $2 million per year, that alone would bring Atlanta’s cap hit to about $47.8 mil. Add in Valabik’s and Thorney’s and it’ll just get that much closer to the $50 million mark.

Did you ever think you’d see the day?

:!: EDIT: As Toby points out…those numbers still reflect Garnet Exelby and Colin Stuart’s salaries. They now belong to the Toronto Mable Leafs. That would knock about $2 million off the projected numbers.

102 comments Add your comment

Thrasher_Ed

July 10th, 2009
9:00 am

Thrasher_Ed

July 10th, 2009
9:02 am

Hate to hear that about KiWi! But I guess these things work themselves out. Seems as if the Atl. Spirit Group is maybe moving in the right direction for a change.

Vitamin Z

July 10th, 2009
9:06 am

“The right direction”….that a scary thought when talking about Thrashers.

BAF

July 10th, 2009
9:28 am

Nothing against Kiwi but signing Oystrick is a move that made the blueline too crowded if both Kiwi and Oystrick stayed around.

Toby

July 10th, 2009
9:44 am

Bill…I took this quote from the last blog….”Once those numbers are added, the total cap hit could be somewhere around $49 mil…if I’m figuring correctly.”

I checked the cap central page and it still has X and Stuart listed. We may be closer to $47.

…and yeah…not too devastated about Kiwi…

Alan

July 10th, 2009
9:46 am

Good to see him honor his contract in Russia.

A2B

July 10th, 2009
9:49 am

I think its funny that the Russians steal Radulov from the NHL and now they freak when a playe over there tries to come to the NHL, slightly hipocrytical no? I am glad we got Oyster back, we have some serious depth at the blueline. Its weird to think that in a year we really will be an organization that has depth.

Russian

July 10th, 2009
9:55 am

Kiwi will be fine in Russia. He will live in beatiful city St. Peterburg. We have 7 Dman – Oistric and have lot of D men in Chicago.
About the Salary cap I am not very happy what we have right now. I think this Roster can make only first round PO (same as 2007). Don and Dadly must trade few more players. I am looking for Tanguay or Zherdev or Derek Morris even Anton Babchuk did not get contract with Caroina. He was 5-th D man Sniper on the NHL last season. We still have time and available players.

Bob

July 10th, 2009
9:57 am

“Did you ever think you’d see the day?”

Actually, we’ve already seen the day. You seem to have fallen into the same misconception that Sara and ranallo continuosly wrote on this blog that the Spirit were the problem due to not spending money.

I prefer to realize the fact that the Spirit authorized Waddell to spend to the cap max in the 1st year or ownership coming out of the lockout, and they authorized him to spend to near max cap (leaving trade deadline wiggle room) the 2nd year. Only when they got no results and deeper into that lawsuit did they pull the reins in on Waddell.

So it’s made perfect sense to me, if I had a GM who said “give me money and I’ll show you results” and I gave him money and I got no results, I’d fire the guy, but they decided to retain him and just rein in the spending. So factually this isn’t the first time the Spirit has gone up towards the Cap.

It also doesn’t shock me as many of we fans sent the message to the Spirit loud and clear, get rid of Waddell (at least they got Dudley, hopefully Waddell will be gone as soon as his contract is up) and get us a winning team. One thing businessmen understand is an income statement. Sure you can cut expenses, but when the top line drops even further as a result, the bottom line suffers.

Same old whining

July 10th, 2009
10:02 am

Bob can you pull up one of the blogs from a year ago and post your anti-Waddell dribble there? What are you going to say if the team that Waddell assembled through his own draft picks, trades and free agent signings does well this year?

Smoothie

July 10th, 2009
10:05 am

Why is it okay for Radim Vrbata to play over in the KHL while still under contract with the Panthers but we can’t have Kiwi??

Technically, there is no official transfer agreement so is there really a legal obstacle precluding these players to opt out of their contracts? Yes, they are violating the terms of their contract, but without a transfer agreement, does either league have any real power to enforce these rules other than the “gentlemen’s agreement” they have vis a vis the IIHF? And what real power does the IIHF really hold? Probably as much as the UN these days.

I say _____ ‘em if they can’t take a joke!

Buzilla in CT

July 10th, 2009
10:08 am

Why is X listed on the hockeybuzz salary cap page?

Smoothie

July 10th, 2009
10:22 am

http://twitter.com/TheFourthPeriod

Well, Kari will have 6 chances for some due payback / vindication!

Smoothie

July 10th, 2009
10:27 am

Bill, we are still hovering right around $39.175 M without including new contracts for following: Army, Crabb-cakes, Lehts, Big Bo, Oystie or Kane’s potential hit, albeit small probably, on the Cap #.

However, I did include a 10% raise for Slater to $880 K and a partial hit for Pavy (as we showcase him for a 1/4 of the year) at around $350 K. I did not include, however, Bogey’s bonus potential as we should get relief under the Bonus Cushion provision in the CBA (according to nhlnumbers.com).

I would post my spreadsheet if there was a way to embed it into this blog format.

Smoothie

July 10th, 2009
10:29 am

One last thing: things may be looking much rosier for our dear friend Garnet “don’t call me Grant” Exelby. Rumour floating around on Spector’s that Burke might flip him to Chicago for some scoring depth as the Hawks are thin on the blueline. How funny would it be if XLB helped Hossa win a Cup in CHI? Not really that funny IMO.

Sara

July 10th, 2009
10:42 am

Bob your argument has always been completely illogical, even by Atlanta Spirit standards. If they were actually upset at the job Waddell did, they’d fire him, not cut back payroll. These boys are all about the bottom-line and the one thing they aren’t going to tolerate is someone completely wasting their money.

Every factual indication from the lawsuit is that they ran out of money once Belkin stopped funding his 30%. Seydel admitted he was tapped out on the stand under oath. The Thrashers have gotten a boost this year because, as Stroz pointed out weeks ago, the Hawks’ payroll is declining.

It’s never been about an unwillingness to spend…just an inability.

Spud Webb

July 10th, 2009
11:05 am

Smoothie, X will never help anyone or anybody win a cup. Great guy & I don’t want to sound harsh, all just my opinion!!
I hope with the RE-SIGNING of Kovy that our cap number goes up!!!! Question, would a new deal for Kovy mean ripping up the final year of the current contract or does it start after next season? Anyone know?
As far as Kiwi and the KHL, couldn’t care less, we don’t need the guy.
As far as Slater, couldn’t care less. I have the same request to DW and company, can we PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE go get some sort of johnny bad &ss?? Yes, Kubina and Nik are big, but far from aggressive and won’t stop anyone from running the likes of Slava, Toby, Kovy or anyone else on our team. I don’t want to see it anymore, just one TOUGH, big bruising dude to put on the 4th line, PLEASE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

exwhaler

July 10th, 2009
11:10 am

>>>”Why is it okay for Radim Vrbata to play over in the KHL while still under contract with the Panthers but we can’t have Kiwi??”

Because Vrbata (a) played in the Czech league and (b) he had permission to do so from the Lightning. Essentially, they loaned him out to a team in his home country.

After the Radulov situation (not to mention the Malkin situation), the NHL and KHL agreed not to poach players from each other’s leagues that have valid contracts. Plus, the IIHF passed rules after that agreement was made that would penaltize countries that did so, the biggest of which was to ban the transgressing country from international competition, including the upcoming Olympics. Kiwi had signed a valid contract with Petersburg, then turned around to sign a deal with the Thrashers. If the Thrashers let the contract stand it would be a direct violation of the agreement between the two leagues and probably result in either the United States or Canada being banned from the Olympic ice hockey event.

ranallo10 (in AT)

July 10th, 2009
11:25 am

If you continue to write off the one year Waddell’s club made it to the playoffs as an aberration I will continue to do so towards the one year the Atlanta Spirit was near the salary cap during the course of an entire season.

Ownership has never shown a consistent (key word) willingness or ability to fund a legitimate hockey club. Ownership has never held their upper management accountable (another key word) for their ineffectiveness. In that one year that you like to hold onto as the gold standard for why ownership deserves less blame, they didn’t do the one thing that logically any good owner would have done…they didn’t rid the organization of the person who ineffectively utilized the funds they provided.

You think Waddell’s the problem, I think the ownership’s inability to manage their own franchise is the problem (as evidenced by your problem still being employed despite the documented failures you and others continue to re-hash).

But go ahead, keep dwelling on that one year in the past and you look just as silly when anybody points to the one playoff series as a reason Waddell did his job successfully. Your response is always to the effect of “they have 0 wins for the REAL season”, and mine will always be “they didn’t fire the GM who inappropriately spent their ‘max cap’ money”.

Alan

July 10th, 2009
11:27 am

kracker

July 10th, 2009
11:28 am

What is happening w/ the lawsuit? My recollection is that the judge was to make a definitive ruling sometime this spring/summer. Has he done so? Will it drag on forever in appellate court?

I have idly spectulated that another reason for the bigger spending in the Antropov signing and the Kubina trade is that the Spirit Group knows to expect a favorable ruling that will soon allow for the assimilation of a willing replacement owner into the Group. Make that wild speculation.

R. Stroz

July 10th, 2009
11:31 am

Ok, everyone lets kick in a few bucks and get Bob & Sara a room. Chuckle Chuckle.

On the Waddell issue, I believe its safe to say that the Spirit boys kept Waddell around because he is a good little soldier. When Waddell was told his budget was going to be cut, he followed orders to keep his job.

ranallo10 (in AT)

July 10th, 2009
11:33 am

Every contract extension goes into effect after the original contract has expired…hence it’s a contract “extension” and not a contract “renegotiation”.

Smoothie

July 10th, 2009
11:36 am

Ex-whaler, did not realize the Panthers “loaned” the Czech league the services of one Radim Vrbata — thanks for the clarification. I guess the Radulov incident was the final straw and the impetous for this new verbal agreement not to poach players. Other than the Olympics though, would a team desperate for help or looking to bolster a Stanley Cup contender really give a damn about missing out on the Worlds? It will be interesting to see if some renegade GM like Lowe might try and challenge Bettman and the boys on the technicality of no formal agreement being in place with the KHL.

As for the Whalers, good to have some whale-blood here in the Blueland think tank. I grew up not far from Hartford so most of my childhood hockey memories consist of trips to the Mall for games against the Sabres. Saw some Sakic hi-lites from when he was a Nordique and seeing those vintage sweaters juxtaposed with the sweet blue and green sweaters of the Whale made me want to tear up!

The Real Fan

July 10th, 2009
11:42 am

Why is it that Sara and Ranallo10 always see it correctly, and through logical eyes.
It doesn’t mean we’re not fans just not patsys.

Smoothie

July 10th, 2009
11:49 am

Glad we didn’t overpay for Kotalik (3 years $ 9 mill) and it isn’t any surprise the Rags did indeed overpay again. I’m much happier with a slightly overpaid Antropov who has more upside and better puck handling skills. Check out the hi-lites of the Dec. 22, 2008 affair betwixt the Buds and Birds to see some nifty plays by big Nik. He dangles pretty well for a lumbering giant. I can defintely envision some give and go chemistry between he and Kapt Kovy. Put the threat of Peever’s speed up the middle and you could have one lethal force with which to be reckoned Southeastern Division!! Muuuaaaahahaaa

Buzilla in CT

July 10th, 2009
11:52 am

Smoothie – where did you live near Hartford? I was in Manchester for a year but now my wife and I moved to Colchester…basically near the Indian casinos.

I currently have a “Bring back the Whale” bumper sticker on my car. I am hoping the Islanders fold and move to Hartford

Smoothie

July 10th, 2009
12:00 pm

Buzz, that would be sweet! Turn a turd into a gem! LOL

I grew up in Albany, NY and a big fan of the Sabres because of my Dad. However, I also followed the likes of Adam Oates, Joey Juneau and Darren Puppa very closely as I was there in the 80’s and the pinnacle of RPI hockey prowess. I haven’t lived up there for 13 years or so.

I’m quite familiar with Foxwoods and eastern NE however. I’m always busting my buddy’s chops for being a Whalers fan. He hates when I refer to the Canes as the Migrant Whalers! Carolina has a coastline so what gives?? Carolina Blue Whales anyone?

Rawhide

July 10th, 2009
12:03 pm

Toby – You’re right. Stuart and XLB are both still listed… I overlooked that.

So…those two knock about $4 mil off the overall numbers and put us more in the range I thought we’d be in…$46 – $47 mil or so.

World Be Free

July 10th, 2009
12:07 pm

Smoothie-could never get enthused about a hockey arena named “The Mall”. I know Buffalo’s was named “The Aud” but that was short for Memorial Auditorium.

Communted to Holyoke, MA for 2 years from Atlanta-makes Hamilton, Ontario look beautiful!

Now that Kiwi is gone, I guess I am the only Pollack left in Atlanta. Dennis Seidenberg? I know, you people will all tell me that Don has already tried and Seid-o will not come to ATL.

Buzilla in CT

July 10th, 2009
12:08 pm

I remember the Puppa Scuppa…

Hated when my Devils played against that guy

Randy

July 10th, 2009
12:17 pm

Uh, shouldn’t Waddell have known about Kiwi’s contract already? this is the problem with this franchise. The GM has no clue what he is doing.

Alan this is a Thrasher blog, quit posting Red Wings spam

Randy

July 10th, 2009
12:18 pm

Sara the Spirit won’t fire waddell. Billy Knight had to resign to get out. Waddell knows he’s got it made here in Retard-land

Alan

July 10th, 2009
12:28 pm

I’ll give you points for being able to correctly identify which team this blog primarily covers.

However, the purpose of posting stuff from around the NHL, such as the development with Jiri Hudler, is to report in a public forum various going-ons in the NHL. It is meant as a conversation starter.

Sorry you don’t like that, but I guess you’ll just have to deal with it, Randy.

Buzilla in CT

July 10th, 2009
12:36 pm

Sucks that Nittymaki signed in Tampa. Now we have to face him even more. Is the NHL still doing the imbalanced schedule?

Brendan

July 10th, 2009
12:41 pm

I still and continue to blame the NHL’s accounting practices for why markets like Atlanta struggle. If a team cannot reach the floor of the cap, without revenue-sharing dollars, there ISSSS a problem with where the cap has been set. That’s my OPINION. The owners wouldn’t necessarily struggle with an “inability” to reach the cap limit if the cap limit were $50 million. Back in the days when the cap limit was $39 million, even Atlanta’s ownership could field a team at that price. That was, in my opinion only, perhaps, the fairest season ever played. Why? Every team, or something close to every team, could actually reach the ceiling of the cap. The results? Two of the three SMALLEST NHL MARKETS, Edmonton and Carolina, met in the Stanley Cup Finals in 2006. And let’s not forget that Buffalo (small WNY market) was also a Conference Finalist. See? Make the economic conditions fair, and every market can succeed, via “good decision-making.” If CNN were here, they’d poke fun at a former President by adding, “By being good deciders.” Because they think that’s funny. Pure hilarity, right? I wouldn’t go on tour with that material. But I digress.

Ownership is as much, or more, to blame than Waddell, in my opinion. If ownership doesn’t trust Waddell’s judgement, they should find a GM in whom they do confer trust. They don’t. The proof of which is … Don Waddell’s still here, collecting a paycheck, and making draft selections and signing contracts. If that’s not what a GM does, then I don’t know what a GM’s duties rightly are. We’ve speculated as to the reasons why Waddell is still here. From “compromising photographs” to “not caring,” to “being cheap,” to … “Well heck, they’re just plain stupid.” Or, quite possibly, and this is one I believe, the Spirit thinks, “If we’ve got to run a team on the cheap, while rebuilding, we’ve got to have a GM who doesn’t mind losing while the project is underway. This GM must be an AHL-minded one who can spot ‘tweeners’ at the league minimum. Or something close to the league minimum.” And then the light bulb illuminated: Don Waddell!! We ALREADY HAVE OUR MAN!! Or Patsy. Or buffoonish blustering … whatever Sage’s catch phrase is.

If Dudley’s the next GM, he wouldn’t have been ‘my choice.’ Butttt, I’d argue that he’s still an improvement over Waddell. And, in fairness, I’d continue to offer that Don Waddell has shown improvement as a suppsed “lameduck” GM.

Randy

July 10th, 2009
12:45 pm

Good job beating Alan on that one Buzila

Randy

July 10th, 2009
12:46 pm

Let’s stick to “our” team Alan

Buzilla in CT

July 10th, 2009
12:48 pm

It still relates to our team…

Christy

July 10th, 2009
1:03 pm

Randy, maybe I’m tired on a Friday and not able to interpret statements correctly, and please don’t take offense, – but is your comment SERIOUS? You MEANT to say only talk about the Thrashers? As long as it is hockey related how can it not be welcome on a hockey blog? good grief.

There are more than a handful of bloggers who have multiple teams they follow courtesy of parents, migration, whatever. And something that affects another team, could potentially affect the Thrashers because of rule changes or, as in the case of Nittymaki, actual competition – i.e. we will now be able to see if the curse was tied Nittymaki or the Flyers or neither…

Smoothie

July 10th, 2009
1:05 pm

What is wrong with some of you random folks (Randy, The Real Fan etc) who post whiny little complaints all the time? At least we HAVE a forum on the ajc.com site which allows us to talk HOCKEY. Why complain about Alan posting general goings-on from the NHL? Anything that happens in the NHL has some tangential relation to the Thrashers. And let’s not criticize a regular poster who contributes so much to this blog for no apparent reason…even if he is a Red Wings fan! ;-)

Alan

July 10th, 2009
1:07 pm

Just ignore him, Buzilla. I am. If there was anything wrong with posting about and discussing happenings from the rest of the NHL on this blog, I believe Bill would have asked for me to stop.

World Be Free

July 10th, 2009
1:11 pm

I agree Brendan, but remember it will be a long time before Buffalo sees the conference final again. Mark that down.

Smoothie

July 10th, 2009
1:21 pm

http://nhlfreeagents.fortunecity.com/free2009.html

A little Panther tit for tat as we have apparently signed depth C Anthony Stewart, 24 y/o African-Canadian who has played grinder mins in the NHL but mostly AHL since 2005. 6′2″ 240 lbs so he has some “beef” to use in the corners and a right-handed shot of which we have few of in our lineup. There you go World Be Free….happy now!? ;-)

ranallo10 (in AT)

July 10th, 2009
1:21 pm

“Uh, shouldn’t Waddell have known about Kiwi’s contract already? this is the problem with this franchise. The GM has no clue what he is doing.”

Unfortunately I can’t remember where I read it but I believe Kwiatkowski misrepresented his contractual obligations to the KHL team during his negotiations with the Thrashers. According to what I briefly read, he represented himself (i.e., no agent present) during said negotiations.

Waddell did the right thing by rescinding the contract he offered.

Alan

July 10th, 2009
1:27 pm

Thanks Smoothie — Even if I am a Wings fan… classy! ;)

ranallo10 (in AT)

July 10th, 2009
1:38 pm

Anthony Stewart, really? He’s a pesky SOB, and I could definitely see him giving Thorburn and Boulton a run for the fourth line duties. But I have no illusions that he’ll play any higher on this club…from what I remember of his play he didn’t seem to have much to offer beyond peskiness and size (I think he was a quick guy, that’s a bonus). I have no idea how useful he is on the PK though, so I’m guessing WBF isn’t exactly happy with this NHL/AHL depth signing.

Smoothie

July 10th, 2009
1:47 pm

Yes he is ranallo, and if memory serves, he has pretty good wheels for a guy weighing 240 lbs. Thorburn, and Boulton to an extent, better be wary of this kid cuz he will come into camp hungry I bet after getting spurned by the Kitty Kats. If nothing else, he gives us an alternative to Boultsy if Eric bangs up his hands something fierce after pulverizing Jerko Ruuttu and Colton “Can’t Score” Orr. :-) p

Randy

July 10th, 2009
1:58 pm

This is around the time when the Ken Klees and Matthew Schneiders start showing up. This is Waddell at his best. I compare it to shopping. A classy GM shops at Nordstrom’s while DW combs the blue light special aisle at K-Mart.

Randy

July 10th, 2009
1:59 pm

Bolton and Thorburn are not adequate enforcers. Why didn’t DW drop both of them and go after Brashear?