What Would Kovy Do? Well, What Would YOU Do?

I’ll pass out this weekend’s reading assignments to the class in just a bit, but first….

What Would You Do If You Were Kovy?

Last spring, Ilya Kovalchuk made it very clear to Don Waddell as well as the entire Thrashers organ-I-zation that he wanted the roster to improve…get tougher…before he would consider re-signing to play for the team beyond the upcoming season.

“We need to sign some free agents and spend some money…because I don’t want to compete for a playoff spot, I want to compete for the Cup. I think this city deserves it”, said Kaptain Kovy after the last game of the season. “I know for sure we need more players. We’ve got one of the best front lines. We need more tough guys. We need help.”

And just how has ownership and the front office responded to the wishes of their star player?

Let’s see, so far they have acquired Nik Antropov to play on Ilya’s line. They’ve dealt for defenseman Pavel Kubina and added some size and depth to there roster. Oh, and I would also add that bringing in Rick Dudley to be the associate GM was apositive move as well.

Most would say the roster is improved over the one that finished up last season 22-18-1 from the middle of the season on…certainly I would.

Kovalchuk has 297 goals and 260 assists in 545 games

Kovalchuk has netted 297 goals and 260 assists in 545 games played in a Thrashers uniform (AP photo/Gregory Smith)

Now the question is…is it enough for Kovy to convince #17 to ink a new deal right now prior to the beginning of the season?

Well, to answer that question honestly…put yourself in Kovalchuk’s position. If YOU were in the last year of your contract with a team that has one whole playoff appearance in it’s history, zero playoff wins and two 76-point finishes in the last two years…would YOU sign a new deal now? I mean…yes, the team has improved…yes, the way they played last spring is encouraging. But if it were you making the decision, wouldn’t you wait to see just how well the sum of all the parts play as a whole?

I would.

And that’s not a bad thing, either.

First of all, he’s got all year to make this decision…or at least up to the trade deadline. But also, it kinda keeps the team…players, coaches and management…on their toes a bit. They undoubtedly will feel the need to perform well in order to show the man they want to keep around that it’s worth his while to indeed do just that…stick around.

So, if you ask me just “what would Kovy do” regarding the choice he faces, I would respond…he would wait. Wait to see how this team fairs during the season. Then, if he likes what he sees, he’ll re-sign.

But not before.

Busing Comes To Thrasherville

Here’s something that’s sure to make getting to a Thrashers game just as enjoyable as being at the game.

The Thrashers and TJ’s Bar & Grill…Tim Ecclestone’s place and my personal viewing party establishment of choice…have teamed up to offer us a chance to ramble down the road together to an upcoming Thrashers game aboard a Party Bus. This is a nice combination of group rate tickets as well as ground transportation to Philips Arena. It’ll be on Saturday October 24 when the San Jose Sharks pay Thrasherville a visit is open to all Thrashers fans looking to have a good time before, during and after the game.

However, I have been told that “Rawhide’s rowdy bunch of hooligans” will be expected to keep heads and limbs inside the vehicle at all times.

Anyway, here’s the deal. We meet at TJ’s that Saturday afternoon…enjoy a few cold ones and maybe a meal… board a coach stocked with beverages… ramble our way to Philips for the game…dropped off at the front door, (no parking hassles)…we will then sit together as we cheer on the Thrashers… then, we mosey back to Tim’s place on the bus.

Those participating will also be entered to win prizes that include tickets to upcoming Thrashers games and, for one lucky participant, a ride on the Zamboni during intermission of the Sharks game we’ll be attending that night…complements of TJ’s.

What’s the cost and what do ya get for it? Well, I’m glad you asked…

$55 for lower level (attack twice end) includes:
100 level Thrashers ticket for the game (regularly $78)
Bus ride to and from Philips Arena
Thrashers scarf
Chick-fil-A combo meal voucher
Raffle ticket for Zamboni ride
Beer tickets for the bus

$37 for upper level includes:
300 level Thrashers ticket for the game (regularly $42)
Bus ride to and from Philips Arena
Thrashers scarf
Raffle ticket for Zamboni ride
Beer tickets for the bus

The bus will leave TJ’s at 5 pm, but be sure to arrive by 4 to get your raffle ticket for the prizes…earlier still to watch some college football if you wish.

I’m told that they’ll be a link on TJ’s website in the coming days to officially reserve your spot on the bus and purchase tickets…once that is up, I’ll post the link here.

In the meantime however…since space is limited… please RSVP with Trixie if you are interested in attending, or e-mailing to rawhide528@yahoo.com

EDIT: As promised…here is the link to TJ’s in order to procure your tickets for the Sharks game and the bus!

Other Upcoming Events

Also keep in mind that the first Thrashers Viewing Party at TJ’s will be held on Saturday October 17 in conjunction with the Atlanta Thrashers Fan Club. Atlanta will play in Buffalo that night. Later in the season on February 13 we’ll do the same when the Thrashers are in Chicago.

In between there will be more viewing parties that TJ’s and I will be presenting and I will let you know of those when dates and specifics are known. If you know of other such gatherings around town, let me know and I will be sure to post those as well.

Speaking of the Fan Club…they are in the process of coordinating a couple of road trip to Thrashers away games….Saturday January 30 when we travel to Nashville and Saturday March 27 in Carolina. I’m told that there has already been a big response for the Carolina trip.

If you have any questions or would like to be included, e-mail Sally at gamera@bellsouth.net and she’ll be more than happy to assist.

Weekend Reading Assignments

Oh look…another week, another Power Ranking that shows Atlanta near the bottom. This time it’s Ross McKeon placing Atlanta at 27th in the league, (just below the Islanders and Tampa Bay). Last week it was the Hockey News predicting the Thrashers to finish 14th in the east.

So, is there a “formula for success” that teams down here in the south and other “non-traditional” markets should employ in order to survive in the NHL? Well, according to Rory Boylen of The Hockey News, there certainly is and it’s called…winning.

Regardless of the eventual outcome of last weekend “Cabbiegate”, Kane and the Blackhawks are going to feel the cost, says Allan Muir.

I guess this is a sign of the times…the Tampa Bay Lightning informed their fans that Evgeny Artyukin had been traded to the Anaheim Duck via twitter.

What do Marty Turco, Evgeni Nabokov, Chris Osgood, Ray Emery, Martin Brodeur and Cristobal Huet all have in common? I mean, besides the fact that they are all goalies. According to Craig Custance, they’ll all be feeling the pressure this season.

The Washington Capitals have hired former NHL All-Star Arturs Irbe to be their goalie coach. A goalie coach…gee, now there’s a thought!

Sean Grace remarks on Eric Boulton – Atlanta Thrashers Enforcer.

And finally…with the AHL schedule being released today…Falconer is suggesting a road trip to see the Wolves when they are relativitynearby. Sounds like a good idea…just make sure that before you fly the coup with the Falconer to see the “Wolves”…make sure you “pack” well.

sigh…sorry.

74 comments Add your comment

Toby

August 14th, 2009
12:03 pm

Yeah…I think it’s fair that he waits, though I am hoping that Dub has at least fielded offers with him or his agent.

I also hope that it’s not such a distraction that it takes down the team. The Hossa situation certainly didn’t help much of anything…

Toby

August 14th, 2009
12:06 pm

Another thing to consider is a 2 year deal. He’ll still be in his prime at the end of the contract, but it gives him more of a view as to where the Thrash are going. Not including Kovy’s contract, we have over $17 million off the books next off season. Who knows how our great GM handles that kinda coin…

Alan

August 14th, 2009
12:17 pm

In case no one saw it from the last blog, Ted “Teeder” Kennedy has passed away, as reported by Fan590.

polskidawg

August 14th, 2009
1:03 pm

Like yourself, I’d wait to see if the parts work as intended.

Right now, I saw a 82-86 point team, IF the Goalie play is consistently above average.

Wings fan in Ga.

August 14th, 2009
1:43 pm

Those power rankings mean nothing. The Atlanta Falcons were ranked near the bottom before the start of last NFL season, and look what happened. They play the games for a reason. Rankings mean squat. Didn’t people predict the Lightning to win the division last season?

If I were Kovy, I’d wait and see. I still think the Thrashers are making the playoffs this season.

Darkhorse

August 14th, 2009
2:00 pm

I hate to say this, but I wouldn’t resign just yet, if I were Kovy. Roster improved? Yes. DEEP playoff run improved? No.

If DW does something big(what most on the blog here would consider big, not DW) around training camp, then I would resign if I were Kovy.

LAC

August 14th, 2009
2:11 pm

Rawhide, I see really little improvement over the past couple seasons. Polskidawg may be close, but
nothing much has been done to make this team a playoff contender… A couple new guys from other teams and a 18 yearn old rookie. Just not enough to make that big jump to the playoffs.

I feel we still need a better defense, swapping Kubina for X is not going to do a whole lot.

We still need a couple more scorers as I see it and a goalie that will stand up to the test of the season, with no night’s off…

Stlll I feel # 17 will be gone next year and interest in the team will start to fade, If ONLY these worthless owners and waddell would stand up and do the right things, and make us good, then we could be looking at the playoffs, but that will never happen as this is a cheap run team from top to bottom…

Alan

August 14th, 2009
2:24 pm

Have you ever wondered where Eklund gets his rumors? Well, wonder no longer! The Eklund Rumor Generator has been located!

Tkachuk to Capitals? (e5)
According to sources within the St. Louis Blues organisation, the Washington Capitals are willing to part with D Tom Poti, RW Alexander Semin to obtain the services of LW Keith Tkachuk. Remember, you heard it here first!

Brendan

August 14th, 2009
2:48 pm

Imagine Philips Arena, with a whole section of AJC Bloggers? Rawhide’s “Rowdies,” or “The Rawhide Ruckus.” Kinda catchy. “Rawhide’s Rebel Rousers.” R-o-w-d-i-e, that’s the way we spell Rawhide! Rawhide!” After a bit of confusement, everyone would laugh.

Now, what is the ‘proper way’ to taunt the Sharks? Anyone got any good razzin’ strategies that poke fun at the viscious beasts that patrol the ocean waters, that we call Sharks? I’m at a loss. But we cant try a different approach, and make fun of the City of San Jose. All I can think of is an ancient Tom Lehrer lyric, “the breakfast garbage you throw into the Bay … they drink at lunch in San Jose.” It’s from the song, “Pollution.” It’s probably required listening for any avid Environmentalist. Here’s a link, if you want to see the whole song: http://www.stlyrics.com/songs/t/tomlehrer3903/pollution185499.html

If I were Kovy, I’d wait. It’s his ONLY LEVERAGE to construct the team that he wants to be part of for the coming years. Of course, in MYYYYY view of things, that would mean the team gets new ownership, a new GM, a new scouting department, a new logo, a new NAME, and new colors. I suppose we could keep the equipment manager. And, uhh, I kinda like John Anderson. He can stay, too. :)

The Joker

August 14th, 2009
2:50 pm

Looking at the picture above, is Kovy lifting his leg on the All You Can Eat Promotion?

Brendan

August 14th, 2009
3:00 pm

LAC, Brian Burke is, in my estimation, a pretty decent GM. Not even heeeee can waltz in the door and instantly make a team great. It’s a process. I’m sure Burkie wanted to get Brayden Schenn at the draft, but L.A. took ‘im with the #6 pick, while Toronto sat at #7. And while no team roots for losses, had the Maple Leafs been sixth in the pecking order, they’d have their man. Bygones.

Don Waddell, I’ve come to realize, is fighting an uphill battle. He’s not that good to begin with, but with this ownership, his task becomes almost HERCULEAN. For whatever it’s worth, I think Don Waddell has actually LEARNED something over the past few seasons. I cannot say he’s completely turned the corner, but he appears to be headed in an acceptable direction. I, personally, would have fired him in 2002. And, certainly, he would not have been my GM after the lockout. But, things are what they are. And if Waddell can right the ship, slowly over time, then that’s how it happens. Maybe Atlanta’s best strategy is to fly under the radar of expectation for years and years, then suddenly stun the league with a miraculous season, and deep playoff run, that nobody outside of Atlanta could have predicted.

It’s fun to hallucinate. Isn’t it?

In this thought, I really think the L.A. Kings could be a playoff team this year. They re-signed some key components and have a lot of decent pieces, from years inside the lottery draft. If only they’d kept Cammalleri, they’d really be sitting pretty. But even so, they’re doing okay. It’s been years since they saw the postseason. But they’ve built slowly, over timely, fairly intelligently, through the draft. The Kings will be one of my annual adoption of two Western Conference teams. Last year, it was Columbus and Chicago. This year, I’m going with the Kings and Coyotes, I think.

GaVaHokie

August 14th, 2009
3:05 pm

Alan… funny. :)

Speaking of Eklund… he has Calgary and Atlanta talking about a minor deal.

Would be nice if we were looking to get Colin Stuart back for pocket change (late round pick).

Scotty

August 14th, 2009
3:09 pm

Sean’s blog was a pretty good read. But who is Eric “Bolton”?

Alan

August 14th, 2009
3:17 pm

Would be nice if we were looking to get Colin Stuart back for pocket change (late round pick)

That would be hilarious, actually. I liked Stuart, and was sort of sad to see him go to Toronto.

lee

August 14th, 2009
3:28 pm

i think kovy is in good hands. i really think kovy is gonna stay. if he doesn’t we don’t need to be crying our butts off when we rn’t even doing any thing about it. we need to sign a free agent as a safety net. just in case kovy leaves we hav back up, but we can’t just cry and do nothin.

Rawhide

August 14th, 2009
3:40 pm

Imagine Philips Arena, with a whole section of AJC Bloggers? Rawhide’s “Rowdies,” or “The Rawhide Ruckus.” Kinda catchy. “Rawhide’s Rebel Rousers.”

Brendan – HA! Ya know, the “Rawhide’s Rowdies” section was actually suggested to me about a year or so ago by someone in ticketing as a possible group ticket sales thing.

What’s funny is that is conjured up images of my youth when I lived in the Tampa Bay area back in the 70’s, (I was middle school age then). Anyway…that was back in the days of the NASL and I was a huge fan of the soccer team there, the Tampa Bay Rowdies…the fans were referred to as “Fannies”.

My brother and I used to hang out in the north end zone of old Tampa Stadium where the moust raucous Fannies hung out. They called themselves such names as The Yellow Card Section, The Mooners…Village Idiots. These were a wild bunch of hooligans that would taunt the goalie standing alone in front of them while the play was over on the other side of the field…they were even known to toss the occational dead fish or two…or fifty… onto the pitch just behind the net where he was.

Needless to say I found the bunch to be very entertaining and fun to be around.

Anywhoooo….when I was approached last summer with the “Rawhide’s Rowdies” idea…I couldn’t help but get a mental image of that buch. Funny the things that stick with ya from your childhood, eh?

Alan

August 14th, 2009
3:43 pm

“Rawhide’s Rebel Rousers.”

Don’t want to pick at nits here or anything, but wouldn’t it be “Rawhide’s Rabble-rousers”?

rightshot

August 14th, 2009
3:57 pm

Perhaps, and this may just be the Percocet talking, Kovy waits until AFTER the trade deadline to see how far into the playoffs we go, assuming of course. I agree he should wait. At this point, it’s like giving that old clunker in the front yard a new paint job. Sure it looks good on the outside, but until you can get it started and see what it can do, you wait.

Hopefully, that old clunker has a lot more get up that we think. (he says looking skyward)

How long till the puck drops?

ranallo10 (in AT)

August 14th, 2009
4:04 pm

I agree Hokie, Stuart is one I wouldn’t mind seeing back in Atlanta. Before the trade I assumed he’d be the opening night third line LW, and honestly I’m content with him there.

lee — Your point about a “safety net” for Kovalchuk departing was the reason I was (and still am) interested in Zherdev. Zherdev wouldn’t “replace” the ability lost with Kovalchuk’s departure, but he would definitely help lessen the blow we will all feel if/when Kovalchuk decides not to re-sign.

Currently next year’s UFA class is relatively slim pickings for obvious first line talent (Jokinen, Marleau, Savard). Kovalchuk, Luongo and Lidstrom would be the creme of the crop, if they make it to free agency.

Russian

August 14th, 2009
4:05 pm

I read all posts. I met Kovy personally couple times and met other Russian players such as Igor Larionov, Radulov, Sergei Brylin, Nabokov, Slava Kozlov. First of all let’ see what Russian people want. Please do not forget that we are completely different mentality.
1. Most Russian people want good, healthy and stable family. Family is number one for any Russians.
Kovy has it. His wife and kids are great. His is happy Father and Husband. His wife likes Atlanta and she does not want to move to cold states or Countries. That is BIG PLUS to keep Kovy here.
2. Also Russian people like to be an Important Person in the System. Kovy is Captain and most Popular Person on WHOLE Organization. If he is going to stay in Atlanta rest of his life, that #17 will always for him and hang on ceiling at Philips Arena. Another reason to stay him here.
3. Third point is Money. Everybody likes to rich. He can get any contract, that he wants it.
4. Most Russians want to rich Limits. Fly around the Earth or get all Trophies in the world. His Goals are: Gold Medal in World Champion, Olympic Gold Medal and Stanley Cup. He got gold medals from World; he will be very close to get Olympic Gold (Vancouver or Sochi, Russia). Stanley Cup is a BIG Goal for him.
Now I will tell what he will do. HE will WAIT until New Year. His chance is stay in Atlanta very big, probably 80%. If team will be very bad, he will play until Dead Line then go to rent and see what Team can do to improve. If Thrashers will play good and play in PO, he will sign contract. I am thinking that Kovy will be here for long time.

Midifeld

August 14th, 2009
4:13 pm

“Don Waddell, I’ve come to realize, is fighting an uphill battle. He’s not that good to begin with”

It sounds like an excerpt from Don’s medical chart, Brendan.

Hockey Biltong爽

August 14th, 2009
4:46 pm

Both Kubina and Arthropod got the nod from Kovy. I’ll bet the Asg is going to make a big splash anncmnt near the start of the season.Along with another Kovy approved product/player!

polskidawg

August 14th, 2009
4:59 pm

Russian – I hope you are correct in thinking that the chances of Kovy staying are 80%. By the way, there was a time when family was #1 in the U.S.A. also – that may not be the case with more than 50% of the people now.

Brendan – what’s wrong with San Jose? I kind of like it – big without being huge and spread out (you know, Atlanta pre-1990).

Glovesave29

August 14th, 2009
5:18 pm

I hope Kovy stays…I think he will, as he wants to be part of a team that wins after several (OK, a lot) of lean years. Makes it that much sweeter being on the mountaintop after having been at the very bottom. I think it’s critical that Dudley moves to the GM position to make sure that #17 stays. Don’s record of building a team is atrocios. Plus his “no negotiations during the season” stance is preposterous. So if Kovy comes to him in Jan. and asks to open negotiations, is he really going to say no? It would make him a hypocrite, however and that further damages his reputation.

Just to pile on…I did some research on the drafting of the Atlanta Flames vs. the Thrashers. The numbers are scary -

Flames -
78 players drafted
39 made the NHL (50%)
12,309 total NHL games
6647 points earned

Thrashers –
89 players drafted
28 made the NHL (31%)
3829 total NHL games
1745 points

This does not include the 2009 draft. Yes I realize players in the last 5-6 drafts will continue to put up numbers to improve the Thrash stats, but Waddell’s picks will NEVER rival the numbers Fletcher drafted.

Brendan

August 14th, 2009
5:39 pm

San Jose, is probably WONDERFUL. But, they’re the opponent that Saturday night, and Rawhide’s Rowdies have to come up with “something” to jeer at them. Otherwise, it’s the standard default of chanting the goalie’s name, over and over, in a serenade. The Nasty Nest will do the goalie’s name, followed by, “You suck!”

I have a friend who lived out in San Jose. Said it was GREAT there.

Brendan

August 14th, 2009
5:41 pm

That was funny, Midfield. I applaud Waddell for not just quitting. His working conditions are terrible, at best. Russian, nice post!! I hope Kovy stays, too. For all the reasons you mentioned.

DWTOO

August 14th, 2009
6:29 pm

Russian’s points are on the mark. Look no farther than Alex O. – the Caps floundered for a few years while they built the palyoff contender they are now. Can see us building around Kovy.

Also, Russian, think you folks also have a sense of loyalty.

World Be Free

August 14th, 2009
6:40 pm

Sign the man to the contract, long term and let’s get this over with.

Wayne stuck in AL

August 14th, 2009
9:29 pm

I think one think working against a Kovy extension may be the lack of a significant Russian community in Atlanta. Remember, Kovy is now married and with a child, and when the Thrashers go on a road trip, his wife and kid have no significant support system (for lack of a better phrase)…also, as soon as the season is over, he high-tails it out of town for the Summer instead of sticking around.

Brendan

August 14th, 2009
10:35 pm

I thing I seem to find echoed throughout the blogosphere is this: “Kovy, unlike Hossa, is looking for reasons to stay.” Call me naive, but I believe this is a truthful statement. Let me explain why I think it is. Kovalchuk is a premier Russian player. With that, comes some accompanying responsibility for who he is … and what he represents. Kovalchuk is this team’s identity. When you say, “Atlanta Thrashers” outside of the 20-county metropolitan area, this is the very next thought most hockey fans have.

I think, like poster Russian says, this is something Kovalchuk embraces. In other words, Kovalchuk wants to be a big, important somebody wherever he is. He was drafted, 1st overall, by Atlanta. Which means what, to a PROUD RUSSIAN Sniper? Answer: “It means he’s responsible for placing the team up on his capable shoulders, and CARRYING it.” He has never failed the Thrashers. The Thrashers have failed him. What else is important to Kovalchuk? Answer: “Getting PAID like the bonafide sniper he truly is.” Some “hometown discount” isn’t going to make Kovalchuk swell with pride. It’s got to be a contract that rivals Crosby, Malkin, and Ovechkin’s. I think it SHOULD BE. The next issue is the toughest.

And beeeee honest here. If I asked you, “Which team is a GOOD BET to win the Stanley Cup in the next 3-5 years, would your answer be: Atlanta?” Welllllll. And, keep in mind, your HONESTY is supposed to be talking now, not your LOYALTY to the Thrashers. For me, the answer would not be, “The Atlanta Thrashers.” And see, this must also be weighing on Kovalchuk’s mind. As Russian mentions, Kovalchuk’s career objectives are SKY HIGH. They include winning a Stanley Cup. In his shoes, I wouldn’t bet on this market. The good news for him, if he does re-sign, he’s young enough to start OVER somewhere else, even five years from now. He’d be in his early 30’s. And still in his PRIME. And STILL in DEMAND.

Krebs

August 15th, 2009
7:32 am

Brendan I agree. I think he likes Atlanta and wants to stay. What he is asking for (other than the money) is for the Mgt. to improve the roster and give the team a chance to win. Wow, what a radical suggestion. If you are going to be in the league spend some money and get some players. I don’t blame Kovy if he leaves if the Mgt. continues to cultivate an environment of mediocrity. Last year I did see signs of hope. Anderson is a good coach, knows how to get the best from the talent given and convinced all to go to a youth movement that will payoff. Rick Dudley will be a difference maker.

World Be Free

August 15th, 2009
9:12 am

Brendan, Krebs I agree with what you have both stated here.

To add to your post Krebs, what he’s asking is for is what any leader would ask for regardless of whether he was in sports or in battle-more resources to fight the war or win the game. I think we all put too much stock in te Russian factor. Seems like he’s become more North American these days.

Kovy made his case before the fans at last seaosn’s finale-we need better players. I am still not convinced that management has done enough. I believe there is more work to do. Whether it’s Manny Malholtra (remember him?) or not is not the issue. We still need more depth, so I believe there is more convincing to do.

Sara

August 15th, 2009
9:27 am

Glovesave29 I think you’re comparing apples to oranges with those stats. There were 16 teams when the Flames entered the League, 21 the last season they were in Atlanta. Compared to 28 teams when the Thrashers entered the League and 30 the second year in. In 1972, the total number of players drafted would have been about half what it is today. It’s an oft-discussed hockey topic, that expansion has resulted in a diluted talent pool and in today’s NHL a lot of guys get roster spots that wouldn’t have stood a chance of playing in the NHL 20 years ago or so.

My opinion has been that to evaluate contemporary drafting success (or lack thereof), one should do a comparison from 2000 to present day, since that would equally compare all current 30 NHL franchises. At least insofar as % of players drafted reaching the NHL. And of course, as always, it’s difficult to quantifiably measure the impact of the drafted players and their quality. Obviously, an Ilya Kovalchuk has a much bigger impact than a Jim Slater (easy to quantify really but comparing the impact of defensemen is virtually impossible – plus/minus is a wonky stat and you can’t go by points produced because that unfairly counts against a guy who’s the stay-at-home type but highly effective none-the-less: those measurements would likely put a guy like Brian Campbell or Kubina ahead of a Scott Stevens type – though neither of those guys are anywhere close to the player Stevens was).

Glovesave29

August 15th, 2009
9:54 am

Sara – and you had half of the drafting pool the teams have today. The cold war was still on, and the Flames didn’t have access to Russians, Czechs, Slovaks, and so on. Simple fact is that we are awful when it comes to drafting. I used stats to support both defensive/goalies and forwards by merely stating the number of games played to offset the inevitable arguement you made about points earned.

Jameson

August 15th, 2009
11:12 am

From the Eklund Rumour Generator:

Armstrong to Senators? (e1)
According to sources within the Atlanta Thrashers organisation, the Ottawa Senators are willing to part with D Anton Volchenkov and a 6th round pick to obtain the services of RW Colby Armstrong. Remember, you heard it here first!

Viking

August 15th, 2009
11:23 am

Glovesave 29,

Sara is right, a meaningful comparison of drafting ability should be covering the same time period. I’m fine with your method otherwise.

If I am not mistaken, someone did a “contemporary comparison” on these blogs some time ago, and I believe the Trashers did not stand out as a poor team in this respect.

goose

August 15th, 2009
11:37 am

Interesting little fact I just noticed Kane weighs only three pounds less than armstrong 188.

World Be Free

August 15th, 2009
11:38 am

Jameson-another Russian for the Thrashers?
We certainly cannot dismiss that rumor, though I don’t see how Anton would fit into our defense. He’s a good defenseman, but he does not fill a glaring need.

I’d rather sign Boullian from Montreal or Dennis Siedenberg and not give up an asset.

Viking

August 15th, 2009
11:45 am

While we are at it about stats regarding GM’s performance. What is measured makes a big difference. The result might not reflect reality, but may be great food for thought.

Here is a stat (a few years old) that is quite controversial, comparing GM’s of ALL SPORTS. Look who is ranked #6!

http://www.forbes.com/2007/03/02/sports-greatest-gms-biz-cz_jg_0302gms_2.html

Dwayne

August 15th, 2009
11:55 am

All great posts…The puck drops when???? I’m having withdrawls.

Dwayne

August 15th, 2009
11:59 am

Viking, awesome find…wow, they had to do some cyphering to figure that one out. Can’t help but laugh.

Glovesave29

August 15th, 2009
12:24 pm

Viking – while it is tough to compare across time periods, I stand by my findings that the Thrashers have a poor history of drafting, and the Flames were very successful. This is multiplied by the fact that Cliff Fletcher wanted to return here to build the new team. The simple fact is 50% of his picks played in the league with 18 players that played 350+ games in the league (24%). Again – add the closed iron curtain, the fact that most scandanavian players could not play at the NHL level, USA hockey was miles behind where we are now, and there was a rival north american league signing top players away. The talent pool was pretty much Canada (1972 draft – 141 of 152 players drafted were Canadian, and by 1979 the numbers were no better – 108 of 126 were from Canada). To get the numbers Cliff had with a smaller pool of players and fewer scouts shows his hockey acumen. I’d trust him to build a winner long before I trust Waddell.

Jameson

August 15th, 2009
12:53 pm

WBF- You did catch that that was from the random rumor generator, right?

World Be Free

August 15th, 2009
1:27 pm

Jameson-did not look

Tony C.

August 15th, 2009
4:36 pm

I’ll take “Trader Cliff” zonked out of his mind on LSD over DW every time.

Although, I will (grudingly) admit that DW seems to have made a conscious decision to build the team/organIzation the “right” way. He consistently points out the rapid-fire changes in ownership, and each owner’s having MUCH different priorities for the club… While I don’t doubt that there were siginificant challenges-the recurring theme of this franchise has been lack of player retention. From Brunette, Audette to Savard-the one thing I’ve been able to count on from the Thrashers is tremendous player turnover from season-to-season, inconsistent goaltender play and lack of a identifiable style of play.

However, I’m much encouraged by DW’s moves after the ownership mandated desperation push for the playoffs (everybody b!tches about the Zhitnik trade, but Davidson absolutely raped us in the Tkachuk deal)…again AFTER those moves, I’ve been pretty pleased with what he’s done.

Official Stanley Cup Jinx decided that he didn’t want to wait until the court case was sorted, and pulled of one of the best teases I’ve ever seen-even Tracy the Queen Of Tease couldn’t have done it better-but what DW got back for hossa was great. Sure Christensen’s since been revealed to be aone of those guys with more potential than proof, but Armstrong’s been great, Esposito has responded extremely favorably to the change of scenery (even went from Team Canada’s goat to posterboy for perserverance being a virtue), and the pick that turned into Leveille-an extremely good skater who’s a legit PP quarterback, with a good bit of finish-was spent pretty well IMO.

Now I’d prefer it if we’d gone after some of the big-name free agents, but that’s in the past. I love the fact he went out and got Rick Dudley (boy, doesn’t he look smart for getting out of the Chi when he did)-a proven talent evaluator and developer.

If I’m #17 the question is: Do I really want to wait the 2 years it’s going to take for this club to become a legit threat? Or do I say “forget it” and tell DW to trade me to the Rangers (If he doesn’t re-sign here, that’s where he’ll go I think)?

I do believe that in his heart of hearts, #17 wants to stay, this is the team/town where he finished growing up, became a man, had his children (C’mon- Carolina & Phillip are their names-wonder what might’ve inspired that?)… Finally, he’s even been named Captain-it IS his team. I think he’s learned a lot about life, and recently, been able to apply it to his craft and let’s not underestimate the prestige and legend he will leave if he takes this woeful club to a Championship.

Apologies for the novella. But I suppose my answer is if I’m #17, I’ll wait and see, but my mind’s going to be pretty much made up by New Year’s.

Brendan

August 15th, 2009
4:41 pm

I think there’s also something else to consider when measuring a GM on draft day. It’s not just some “percentage formula.” It’s … measuring the IMPACT of what those draft picks mean to their team. The biggest IMPACT draft picks Waddell have made are Kovalchuk and Bogosian, and that’s projecting Bogosian’s future success a bit.

As I’ve repeatedly said, I think Kari Lehtonen is a good goaltender, but he’s not the UPPER ECHELON of the NHL, at his position. And he was a 2nd overall pick, fertile ground for finding a Tier I netminder. Now, we could look at Dany Heatley. And Braydon Coburn. If we did, I’d argue that Heatley was a great pick. He’s twice been a 50 goal scorer for Ottawa, and I’d say he’s a Tier I guy. In the Islanders shoes, back in 2000, I’d have passed on DiPietro to nab Heatley first overall. Coburn plays what? 20-25 minutes a game, on average, in Philly? It’s not a bad draft pick by Waddell. Coburn just wasn’t given the chance to develop here. Not properly. Bygones.

I’m sure it helps Don Waddell’s case that Jim Slater is a roster player and a 1st round pick, when people start measuring how many 1st round picks he made that ever reached the NHL level, and stayed there for any length of time. For that matter, Patrick Stefan was here for a number of years. But Stefan and Slater weren’t IMPACT players for this franchise. The truth is, they were both “bottom six” forwards. And, let’s face it, those kinds of players are found in the 3rd round of drafting, and beyond. Chris Thorburn arrived in Atlanta for a 3rd round pick, for example.

Not to start WW-III here, but the Penguins lottery drafting from 2003 to 2006 netted Marc-Andre Fleury, Evgeni Malkin, Sidney Crosby, and Jordan Staal. Those were IMPACT players, taken from the 1st round. A sad truth is … the quality of a draft year varies. 1999, for example, was a weak draft year. 1998 was a lot better. 2007, 2008, and 2009 have been relatively decent years to be inside the lottery draft. It’s far from guaranteed what a lottery draft might bring. But, overall, I’d say the chances of getting someone really good, say of the Tier I variety, are quite fertile.

Which brings me to my next point. No matter how we slice and dice it, the biggest measure of GM success are (1) the standings and (2) the playoff results. Well, they are. In the end, it is the GM’s responsibility to have oversight of the team, and its direction, and IDENTITY. This the way to attack Waddell, if a person wanted to attack him. What is the Thrashers identity? If you can’t readily answer the question, it doesn’t have one. What are the results? Seven of nine completed seasons have seen Waddell’s team finish in the bottom third of the Conference. What are the playoff results? Stop. Let’s not talk about zero playoff wins. That’s missing the point. The point is, with eight Top 10 overall slots, (nine if you count 2009,) and five lottery draft picks, six if you count 2009, this team hasn’t reached the Conference Finals. GM’s, like David Nonis in Vancouver, get fired for not reaching the CF, in the NHL. And they don’t get NEAR the amount of draft opportunities that the Thrashers have had. If Dave Nonis got the opportunity to keep his job long enough to see six lottery draft selections, he might be doing cartwheels.

Uhh, please note that in 2005, Atlanta didn’t draft until position #16. That might confuse some people, when adding it all up. Atlanta owned draft spot #8 in 2005. Atlanta CHOSE not to pick there. Atlanta CHOSE to trade that pick, to move back to #12. And again, to #16, when it selected Alex Bourret. Again, those are DRAFT DAY GM DECISIONS. Nothing PREVENTED Atlanta from drafting at #8, in 2005. Waddell opted not to do it. Waddell felt that Atlanta needed to stockpile 2nd round picks. Ultimately, Waddell took Ondrej Pavelec with that 2nd round pick in 2005, even though Kari Lehtonen’s first major groin injury, as a Thrasher, would not take place until October of 2005. Which, in hindsight, might actually make Waddell seem like a visionary. I’m glad we have Pavelec. I cringe when I think about trading him. He’s not ready NOWWWWW. But he’ll be a very good and very capable NHL Goalie down the road. He’s 21 or 22, I believe. He’ll only be getting better. We shouldn’t RUSH him. In Waddell’s shoes, in 2005, I’d have done something different. And been CRITICIZED for having made the WRONG CALL. I would have selected D-man Marc Staal. And that would have been a mistake. The best choice at #8 is your pick of Devin Setoguchi or Anze Kopitar. Imagine if a GM had gone with Luc Bourdon, who was selected 10th overall! It just goes to show you that you never know what the future holds. Drafting is an inexact science. In 2003, with pick #8, had Nashville, (at pick #7,) taken Braydon Coburn, I’d have tripped up the stairs, rushing to the podium, potentially breaking my leg to announce Ryan Suter as the Thrashers draft pick. And guess what? I’d have been WRONG again. The best choice at pick #8, for a Defenseman, was Dion Phaneuf. An argument can be made if Coburn is better than Suter. Did Nashville “screw up” with that Ryan Suter pick, back in ‘03?

I repeat, the best measure of a GM are (1) the standings and (2) the playoff results. And there it is.

The Earl of Bud

August 15th, 2009
6:58 pm

”Just to pile on…I did some research on the drafting of the Atlanta Flames vs. the Thrashers. The numbers are scary -

Flames -
78 players drafted
39 made the NHL (50%)
12,309 total NHL games
6647 points earned

Thrashers -
89 players drafted
28 made the NHL (31%)
3829 total NHL games
1745 points

This does not include the 2009 draft. Yes I realize players in the last 5-6 drafts will continue to put up numbers to improve the Thrash stats, but Waddell’s picks will NEVER rival the numbers Fletcher drafted.”

Glovesave, I have to agree with Sara and Viking that you are comparing apples to oranges here. Instead of proposing my counter arguments which you started to mention on how players take a few years to get into the NHL and then start their stats, let’s compare Don Waddell to his current co-GMs, not ones from the past. Since Sara is a huge Ken Holland fan and I am a Sweet Lou fan, let’s do your same analysis and see how the NHL’s top 2 GMs compare against their team’s counterparts from the same time period in the 70’s.

Red Wings (’72-’79) -
96 players drafted
41 made the NHL (43%)
9,939 total NHL games
4,820 points earned

Red Wings (’99-’08) of Ken Holland -
77 players drafted
18 made the NHL (23%)
2,200 total NHL games
1,075 points earned

I will also note now that ‘72-79 is pre-Yzerman which is considered part of the “Dead Wings” era. They only went to the playoffs once that entire time beating the Flames 2-0 and then losing to the Canadiens 4-1. But according to your standards the GM back then was far greater than Ken Holland.

Scouts/Rockies (’74 -’79) -
52 players drafted
28 made the NHL (54%)
6,506 total NHL games
3,555 points earned

Devils (’99 -’08) of Lou Lamoriello-
88 players drafted
22 made the NHL (25%)
2,463 total NHL games
777 points earned

Now let’s also note that KC did not make the playoffs in their 2 years. Colorado made the playoffs 1 time in those years and lost in the 1st round. But again, according to your standards the GM back then was far greater than Lou Lamoriello.

Can we now end this “Cliff Fletcher is so much greater than Don Waddell” debate? Not only is it completely out of touch to compare the drafts of any teams between ’99-08 to the same team in the 70’s. but Waddell’s numbers don’t look so bad compared to Holland and Lamoriello.

Don Waddell

August 15th, 2009
10:19 pm

I SUCK, Cliff Fletcher RULES.

Ken Holland

August 15th, 2009
10:48 pm

Waddell drafts top ten picks in each round of the draft.

I draft one of the last ten picks in each round of the draft, so don’t compare me to that bum.

World Be Free

August 16th, 2009
7:46 am

Great post EOB, some inteesting stats for sure. We have to remember that Don was picking from the front of the draft while Lou And Ken Holland were usually picking from the back due to their team’s consistently good records. I am sure Brendan is proud of your post, accepting the challedge as this blog’s “Statmeister”.

FYI – Sir Paul McCartney was simply incredible last night.