To Zherdev Or Not To Zherdev

The hot-button rumor topic surrounding the Atlanta Thrashers these days swirls around whether or not the team is pursuing one Mr. Nikolai Zherdev…the 6′-2″, 195 pound free agent forward who will turn 25-years only on November 5. And from these speculations rise from the mouths…or in this case, keyboards…of fans the burning question that asks, “Should the team actually take this course of action or not”.

Sparking a lot of this chatter has been this Zherdev quote last week reported in a Russian news source…

Would you like to see Nikolai Zherdev in a Thrashers uniform?

  • Yes! What an offense we would have (91%, 118 Votes)
  • No! Not a good fit (9%, 11 Votes)

Total Voters: 129

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“I have offers from few NHL teams but nothing has signed yet. I think I’ll find new team within 2-3 days. I would like to play for Thrashers because there are few Russian players there. I talked to Kovalchuk and he really wants to see me at the team. Probably I will sign one year deal with Atlanta”.

The link was forwarded to me by a contact I have over there and he verified the translation. So, obviously after reading a statement like that…people are gonna start talking.

After spending four seasons with the Columbus Blue Jackets, he played last season for the Rangers. He has 99 goals and 140 assists in 365 total games and is a -46. 29 goals and 49 assists have come on the power play and he has one short-handed goal. He saw his highest point production during the 2007-08 season while play with the CBJs when he notched 25 goals and 61 points…22 of those points coming while on the man advantage.

Earlier in the summer he was awarded a $3.9 million deal during arbitration…and the Rangers decided to pass.

Now then…obviously the first question regarding bringing him in or not is, “Would he help the team”? Personally, I think the answer to that question is…yes. I would probably even make that…Oh-Hay-ELL YES if certain rumblings are true that Ilya Kovalchuk is lobbying for his services.

The next question would then be, “What would that do to the lineups”? Needless to say he is going to be on the top-two lines… quite possibly even creating a first line centered by Antropov with Kovy and Zherdev on either side. However, I don’t know if I’m a big fan of that thought as it seems better to have Antropov on the right boards instead of in the middle. Regardless…and assuming a White-Kozlov-Little second line…then what becomes of Peverley?

Either way you line ‘em up, though…someone gets pushed to the third line. If it’s not Peverley, then is it White…or Kozlov? It certainly isn’t going to be Little or Antropov. But let’s be honest here… in the big scheme of things, I just don’t think having to make such a decision would be a bad problem for John Anderson to have.

The biggest knock that I’ve heard regarding Zherdev is that he tends to pull a “Casper” or a “Houdini”…or some might even say a “Hossa”… during big games. For example, he went pointless in the seven-game series versus the Caps last April in the opening round of the playoffs. Zero goals, Zero assists, -3 with 12 shots on goals…one-fourth of those dozen coming in game six alone.

Rumor has it the Thrashers are interested in Nikolai Zherdev not Backstrom

Lots of chatter surrounding the Thrashers' possible interest in Nikolai Zherdev, seen here in action against Niklas Backstrom of the Wild (AP photo/Frank Franklin)

Price? Well, the Thrashers have the cap room to bring him in…which would probably cost closer to the arbiter’s $3.9 mil than the two and a half he earned last year. To this question of actual cost, the Falconer has opined, “Can the Thrashers afford Zherdev“.

The Thrashers can indeed afford him…the question is do they want to budget for him? And by “they”, of course, I mean ownership.

As we are now just days away from the start of training camp and but a week and a day from the first preseason game…yeah, I know…one has to figure that something is going to happen soon…if it’s actually going to happen at all.

With all that that said, I officially toss the issue out to you…YES or NO on Zherdev. And if you vote in the affirmative, tell me what you would like to see in the way of lineups.

203 comments Add your comment


September 9th, 2009
4:57 pm

Toby – that would be an unbelievable boon for our prospects.


September 9th, 2009
5:12 pm

Chelios would be a great mentor, for anyone.


September 9th, 2009
5:19 pm

we have to keep the budget manigible over the long haul. This team is going to be sold, hopefully to a group willing to keep it around. Zherdev is a name and we all think Kovy wants him but if you think about it, maybe what we should do is try and find someone who can be Zherdev but cost less. Now look, I want to run up the score and get to the conference finals but there are an awful lot of teams on shaky fiscal ground. And we all know Le Thrash are one of them. And PHX will be moving, NSH is going to be sold for legal reasons, DAL and TB are in trouble. The NYI might be moving. And if my readings correct, if this judge out in Glendale rules in Balsillie’s favor it’s going to be a brave new world as far as team locations. And he’s going to keep trying and trying with those other clubs until someone buys his logic. And you know what folks, to someone knowledgeble the thought of another so. Ontario team might not make sense, but not everyone’s knowledgeble about hockey.

what i’m trying to say is that a good portion of the teams in the NHL are not on stable footing and there’s a judge out there somewhere who’s going to buy Balsille’s logic. and the best way for it to a Fulton County judge is to throw a couple million after a scorer who’s role is already filled when we know the cap’s going to drop. now if kovy WANTS HIM that might be a different story.


September 9th, 2009
5:24 pm

Maybe the best way to get this team to a more solid base is to invest in what might contribute to winning games. 10 years of building have thus far provided 9 years of crap and one embaressing playoff series.

Oh and Rawhide, thanks for bringing some legitimacy to Thrashers fandom. I jump around the web and read what I can. But it seems like there is a little more respect for your blogging prowess as compared to your predecessors. No knock against anyone. But I’m glad that opinions are changing with your postings to the blogosphere.


September 9th, 2009
5:27 pm

I realize the likely hood of Kane making the big time is probably 60/40 in favor (IE Don looking forward to centering Kovy and Little) but if he does and we get Zherdev, we could potentially roll 4 lines with the top 3 serious scoring threats. How nice would that be!


September 9th, 2009
5:47 pm

We had Z for a few years in Columbus. He was one of my favorites…for a time. His puck handling skill and skating ability are magical to watch! However, he was a HUGE defensive liability – never back checked, didn’t use his size to his advantage and basically disappeared for games at a time. I was not sad to see him go… Good luck if you pick him up, he’ll make you cheer, then cry, cheer, then cry…


September 9th, 2009
5:51 pm

Bring in Z and roll three legit offensive lines. It would be nice to finally have some “good” problems for a change. Goalie and D would probably still be our “bad” problems though.


September 9th, 2009
6:01 pm

Here’s Curstance latest tweet on what the hold-up could be on signing Zherdev. Makes sense to me. If Kane proves he’s ready in training camp, then why hold him back.


September 9th, 2009
6:02 pm

from Craig Custance:

“Was told the reason Thrashers are holding off on Zherdev is partly because of Kane. Don’t want to crowd roster if Kane is ready.”

Here Don, let me help you out with that. Kane isn’t ready to play his game at this level. Zherdev is very likely looking for a short-term deal so he can sign a bigger deal down the road. Sign Zherdev.


September 9th, 2009
6:07 pm

Darkhorse, you beat me by a dead minute. Nice.


September 9th, 2009
6:08 pm

All these line changes, i’m getting confused. Why don’t we pull the goalie at the drop of a puck and play 6 forwards? Heck, why even sign a goalie? Trade Bogo and Peverely to Washington for Ovechkin, another Russian. Kovy will be thrilled. Why stop there? Lets get a little silver ball and roll it around the rink, first team to pick it up can bash another guy in the head with it, if we get it, we go straight for the goalie. What do yall think?????


September 9th, 2009
6:08 pm

After reading the comments from the Ranger fans I say yes.


Kovy – Little – Zherdev

Kozy – Pevs – Antropov

Kane – Armstrong – Reasoner

Thorburn – Bolts – Slater

White has to be traded to make room “budget wise” for Zherdev.


September 9th, 2009
6:16 pm

I’ve been campaigning for Zherdev for weeks! When do we ever get a legitimate player that WANTS to go to the Thrashers?!? D-Wad should be tripping over himself to get him a deal. AND if Kovy wants him here too?!? This is a no-brainer! Kovy wants this to be HIS team. Anyone stepping out of line will definately get a verbal beating in Russian!

Let’s also look at the facts. Kozlov is on the last year of his contract and he is getting up there in age. Move him to the third line will only help the scoring and defense of that line. He could also be dealt at the trade deadline, as well, for that blueliner we may need (packaged with one of the overstocked goalies). I love Kozlov to death (he has to be one of the most professional gentlemen to ever put on a Thrasher sweater) but look at the age factor and offering a new contract. Zherdev could step right into his skates when he rides off into the sunset. I like the lines as follows:
Kovy Peverly Antropov
Zherdev White Little
Kozlov Reasoner Armstrong
Boulton Slater Thorburn
with Fritsche/Crabb/Mahachek as plug-ins.
Sign Zherdev to whatever for this season and he can replace Kozlov’s salary next year and years to come if he works out as well as he should being on Kaptain Kovy’s team.

Doyle Hargraves

September 9th, 2009
6:19 pm

Hey is Zherdev the kind of retard that drools and rubs grease in his hair and all that, ’cause I’m gonna have a hard time eatin’ ’round that kind of thing now. Just like I am with antique furniture and midgets. You know that, I can’t so much as drink a darn glass of water around a midget or a piece of antique furniture.

R. Stroz

September 9th, 2009
6:28 pm

Another excuse and more procrastination from Waddell on not getting the task accomplished.

How well has procrastination worked for Waddell in the past?

Waddell, stop procrastinating, Zherdev isn’t going to wait forever.

Sign Zherdev, make Kovy happy, re-sign Kovy, watch ticket sales spike.

I’m sure Anderson will find a place for Kane if he’s ready.

I’d rather have an overstocked team for once.

Cthindy Bwady

September 9th, 2009
6:29 pm

Whahts the weal shtowy wif Nik Z? No one knowths, wets beat the dead horsthe sthome more. Todd White wanted to be herwa? I don’t know, but he did sthign a 4 yeawa contwact. Does Nik want to be herwa? Doesthn’t stheem like it. I gwess Don will lisp hish way to the podium and sthpew sthome more cwap. Dwink the koolaid


September 9th, 2009
6:36 pm

Since there is talk about money and whether it should be spent;

Aside from the satisfaction from a sport’s point of view, how much money is a winning team during the regular season and a decent play-off appearance worth? In direct revenue and in goodwill generating long term benefits?

The team is starting to look good and with some additional $$ invested in someone like Zherdev and a PK specialist, the upcoming season should bring large crowds and hopefully more games in spring. So couldn’t the extra $$ spent be recovered or even be seen as a good investment?


September 9th, 2009
7:03 pm

guys kane is not ready. even if he is physically capable the man is 17…. he needs a year this is a mans league not a game for boys… give him a year and then he be more than ready to replace zherdev

World Be Free

September 9th, 2009
7:05 pm

CBJ Fan has it right. Zherdev is a skilled player that would add offense at the expense of defense. We have had alotta discussions this summer about improving our defense. Zherdev will not improve our defense, he;s a liability.

Malholtra would offer more balance, some offense and defense. Manny is nowhere to be found these days.


September 9th, 2009
7:25 pm

Custance confirmed my suspicions. If they think Kane can play now, adding Zherdev creates a roster problem, and you’d have to make a trade of some sort. I love Zherdev’s offensive prowess, but if Kane can play with grit, rather have a guy – even if he is a young rookie – that’s a better 2 way player in the line up.

And after watching Kane at prospect camp, I’m not so sure he’s not ready. to play now. Could he use 10 more pounds of muscle? Sure. But, he’s as good talent wise as Heatley was when he got here, maybe better.


September 9th, 2009
7:26 pm

Good luck if you pick him up, he’ll make you cheer, then cry, cheer, then cry…

CBJ fan - And that’s the rub against him I hear from most people…I guess Waddell and Co. have to decide whether or not it’s worth the risk.

OK everyone…the Thrashers beat Carolina 7-3 in Traverse City today. Andrew KozEk scored 2 goals, added an assist & was a +3. Kane scored again and had an assist as well & was +2. Eric O’Dell scored twice & +2…Mike Forney had one goal. Danick Paquette had an assist and was a +3 while Arturs Kulda also chipped in with a helper. Darryl Smith finished with no points but was a +3.

The Thrashers took 46 shots on goal.


September 9th, 2009
7:42 pm

What’s all this talk about Zherdev not being defensively responsible? He was +6, 2nd on the Rangers, last year, on a team with only four plus players. Antropov was a -14. I haven’t seen anyone squawking about him?! Kane can wait a year. What in the heck is the rush, he just turned 18? Zherdev is a great one year substitution, and who knows what is happening with Slava at the end of this year? We could use his salary for Zherdev, although I would vote for resigning Little and Peverley first. Kubina’s salary will come off next year also.


September 9th, 2009
7:52 pm

his game has improved a great deal defensively..I think that really started improving in his last year with columbus…I was more worried when our d-redden was out there than Z! He’s a creative player,that would thrive in an O driven system. I think he would have had a great year has a wing for Gaborik this year,in a faster,up-tempo system,,,but that’s the Rangers…I think Atlanta would be such an exciting team to watch if you sign him already!


September 9th, 2009
7:57 pm

Another consideration, I believe, is that do they want to rush Kane into restricted free agency a year early?

To use another recent local example, do they want to rush a promising rookie potentially before he’s ready, and watch him possibly flounder? (see Shafer, Jordan)

Or will they be shrewd, allow him a little seasoning, bring him up mid-season and possibly have an excellent pick-me-up on their hands when the rest of the team is a little travel-weary (plus save a year on free agency)? (see: Hanson, Tommy)

You know what you’re getting from Zherdev. Kane, who has an extremely bright future, doesn’t need to be rushed now if you can pick up a legit 25-30 goal scorer now.


September 9th, 2009
8:03 pm

Jared – how do you know Zherdev is better than Kane? Ditch that “goalie” and get a new one if you ask me.


September 9th, 2009
8:33 pm

Kids had a great day…in a 7-3 win over the Cains:

Kozak led the way with 3 pts. (2 goals + 1 assist) (He seems to be a surprise standout since the rookie camp)
Kane had added another 2 pts (1 EN goal + 1 assist)
O’Dell had a pair of goals
Postma had 2 pts (1 goal + 1 assist)


September 9th, 2009
8:49 pm

If Custance is right, that is a big mistake. Take a chance on Kane instead of signing a player whose had 60pts. each of the last 2 seasons? …and risk p***ing off Kovy in the meantime? IMO, Kane should head down to the juniors anyway.

Sage of Bluesland

September 9th, 2009
8:57 pm

“…We’ve waited and waited, like Linus in the pumpkin patch, for the Great Nikulin to fly through the air, with his bag of toys. If he hasn’t come by now ….” [Brendan]

–Sorry about that folks, this was such a great line from the previous blog I had to repeat. Line of the year. Post of the year.

As for Zherdev, if the blustering little fraud of a GM we currently have now (Waddell) or the pathetic ownership messes this up, there should be an all-out revolt in Thrashersland.

I wish that this “braintrust” (and I use that term very loosely) would, figuratively, ’shut me up’ by their actions, as opposed to continue to blow smoke up the sheeps’ willing backsides with mere words.

I’m sure several will agree on that score!

Sign this guy and at least attempt to show a pulse…attempt to get better…attempt to actually win…attempt to make up for the decade of utter incompetence and wasted money…


September 9th, 2009
9:25 pm

The Thrashers prospects will play the Columbus Blue Jackets tomorrow to finish up the Traverse City Tournament. The CBJs finish the three game schedule 1-2 like the Tharshers. Columbus has scored 9 goals and have given up 10. Atlanta has 12 goals for and 13 against.

Don Waddell

September 9th, 2009
9:39 pm

Ya know, if I signed every talented player that announced they wanted to play for the Thrashers…well…uh…never mind.


September 9th, 2009
10:31 pm

Well, Marty Reasoner was a UFA, and Waddell did manage to re-sign him. That’s not usually how our UFA-situation goes. They usually walk, unless we trade them out at the deadline. Speaking of pending UFA’s and trade deadline talk, Slava Kozlov has a NO TRADE CLAUSE. What? Yes, folks. I’m sad to report … it’s TRUE.

Like Mats Sundin in Toronto a few years back, Slava will have the right to refuse to waive it, if the Thrashers want to try to trade him. Isn’t it wonderful? Now, supposing for the very moment that happened. Atlanta gets an offer for Slava, but Kozzie won’t waive the NTC. Guess what Atlanta doesn’t have to do in the offseason? That’s right. They don’t even have to return Slava’s phone calls. He can trapse off to the Dallas Stars organization and interview there to his very heart’s content. Has Eric Perrin’s phone rang, since he ASKED to be traded at the deadline last year?

If Slava would accommodate the organization, should the situation arise, perhaps it would go a long ways towards Waddell deciding to renew Kozlov for one more year. I said, “perhaps.” I wouldn’t resign him. I’d take the money and transfer it right on top of Kovalchuk’s present salary, to keep #17 in Thrasher blue for years to come.

Speaking of players who very WELL MAY BE in their final year of Thrashers tenure, what about Colby Armstrong? Stop. If you were Colby, and you wanted to play “Top Six” forward minutes, how do you assess your chances in Atlanta, beyond this season? (1) White’s under contract. (2) Antropov’s under contract. (3) Kane’s rights are held by Atlanta. (4) Kovalchuk is certainly ‘earmarked’ for one of those slots. (5) Bryan Little is an RFA, likely to be re-signed. If Zherdev is signed, and Kovy’s happy with him here, isn’t he slotted for a “Top Six” position? Okay, what if Zherdev never comes? What about (6) Angelo Esposito? What about Brett Sterling? What about the other prospects, like Joey Crab, Eric O’Dell, Riley Holzapfel, Rylan Kaip, Spencer Machacek? Shoot, what about some coveted UFA that Kovy wants next offseason? If your name is Colby Armstrong … and you’re not happy to re-sign with a team … just to play “Bottom Six” minutes, is Atlanta the team you want? Try to see this FROM HIS PERSPECTIVE. Colby Armstrong ‘could’ have elected to sign a multi-year deal with Atlanta. He didn’t. Why? Well, there could be many reasons, actually. The most obvious of which is to pursue his options out on the open market, to cha-ching, cash-in his chips. But maybe, it’s to find a club where he’ll get “Top Six” forward minutes. Colby Armstrong just might be a player who gets DEALT at the trade deadline. Shoot, if Don Waddell got a serious offer for Colby’s services right now, he ought to consider it. Even if it’s only “sweetener.”

Tony C.

September 9th, 2009
10:33 pm

I wouldn’t mind seeing us sign Zherdev. Precisely b/c of the playmaking skills fans of his former teams have mentioned.

I do not think that a line of #17/Antropov/Zherdev would work-reasons already stated above.

I DO think a #17/Peverly/Z line would be magical to watch.

I believe that if SlavaMatic feels that there are better options for the top 6 that he would move “down” to a more defensive role (remember when Hartley did that for a few games trying to teach the guys what this crazy thing called “back-checking” looks like?)-just make sure he gets 1st unit PP time and is on the ice for crunch time (which JA would do anyway).

I still say “loaning” Kane to a Swede team makes the most sense seeing as they have that dumbass AHL rule. Clearly he dominates guys his own age-we need him to be playing against men, not boys-the word is the Eliteseiren is on par with the AHL-why not?

Glovesave-from the last blog, that was my point- Fuhr had the right mindset to deal with being the ONLY line of defense-he got back up knowing his boys would get it back for him when one went by-I just don’t know that KL could do the same. However, like we all know-he does have all the tools needed to be that kind of guy… but could he deal with winning 7-4? Not too many stoppers can/could.

Speaking of which-is he (Fuhr) working for anybody right now? – There’s a guy who might be able to teach KL a thing or twelve about the mental aspect of the game.


September 9th, 2009
10:39 pm

And, shhhh, what about the Pevs dispenser after this season? Quiet. Forget I said anything.


September 9th, 2009
10:45 pm

Put me down as a vote for Z.

Stroz: excellent job on bringing this option / issue to the for-front. Your aguments were spot on.

As Brenden notes,…if Kovy wants Z,…pursue him. The risk is significantly less if he is open to a 1 yr deal.

Smitty: I like the idea of “GM” on Kovy’s jersey. He is showing leadership in this aspect as well. I’m hopeful he can get the best out of Antro and Z.

In recent years we have had problems trying to have players play a line higher than their abilities. Adding Z to the roster,…the problem might be players spending more time (than they prefer) on lower lines. In my book that is the best incentive there is to get a better effort. Who gets bumped down is really a “good problem”,..right?

I haven’t seen anyone put White on the 3rd line. Seems to me one his strengths is defensive awareness / positioning (he came from the Wild right?). Along with Reasoner and Army, you’ve got offensive potential and possibly a great PK unit. Peverly and Little centering lines 1 & 2 sits well with me. However, I feel confident coach will find the best line mix.

If Kane can make the team with Zherdev great. If not, another year in the minors is OK by me. If nothing else adding some weight would be helpful.

Kozlov could be a great mentor to Zherdev.

Might Kidulin (sp) consider Atlanta if several countrymen are here. (Although I like our defense now.)

We have lots of cap room and Z is arguably the best unsigned offensive player. (Comrie has chemistry issues too,..and after fighting Kovy a few years back, I wonder how the fit would be.) I’m not sure there is much potential to strengthen our D with any player who is unsigned at this time.

High risk,…high reward. I am encouraged by what CBJ & NYR fans say about this guy’s skill level. If Z gets straightened out this could be a significant signing in this franchise’s history. If this works out Stroz really gets the gold (or is it gets the real gold).

What do you say we drop the puck and ambush a few teams,… and pundits, this coming season?


September 9th, 2009
10:49 pm

Here is a 4:19 clip of tonights prospect game vs. Carolina by way of HF Boards. There is a Thrashers goal toward the end as well as a brief fight involving Paquette.

Tony C.

September 9th, 2009
10:53 pm

Brendan-I recall a link to a radio interview where Colby said something to the effect of “We wanted to make it a longer contract, but we ran out of time (I’m assuming the end of exclusive-negotiating with RFAs without other teams being able to extend offers)”.

Anybody else remember this or am I hallucinating?


September 9th, 2009
11:06 pm

Tony C., maybe Colby meant “ran out of time before a decision on ‘player elected’ salary arbitration” could be filed? If Colby WANTED to field any potential RFA offersheets, I don’t think anything would have prevented that. It’s just that Atlanta would have the right to match the offer. And if Armstrong didn’t want to commit 3-4 years in Atlanta, he couldn’t affix his name to the RFA offersheet, for fear of Atlanta matching the offer.


September 9th, 2009
11:12 pm

Glad you liked my Nikulin quote, Sage. Maybe one day, Nikulin would actually play in the NHL? For my $0.02, he likes it in Russia and will continue to play there, like he has all along.

This is the Fall now, Sage. So Charles Schultz and his Peanuts gang (TM, Charles Schultz, all rights reserved) will grace Atlanta TV screens in the annual airing of “The Great Pumpkin.” For me, the Great Pumpkin is the prospect of a new GM actually coming to power, in Atlanta, in my lifetime. Maybe Lucy will actually let Charlie Brown kick the football … THIS TIME! (Lucy promises. Wink.)


September 9th, 2009
11:16 pm

By the way, Linus is always looking for the sincerest Pumpkin Patch to wait for the “Great Pumpkin.” Just what on Earth would make a pumpkin patch ’sincere,’ I do wonder. Sage, with your permission, I’d like to refer to him as “Linus lamb.” (Linus Sheep or Linus Chop didn’t sound as good.)

ranallo10 (in AT)

September 10th, 2009
4:14 am

Tony C. — You’re not hallucinating, I believe he said it to a Toronto radio station but I remember the quote you’re talking about.


September 10th, 2009
7:06 am

great blog! just wat some of these fans hav been waitin’ for! my vote is heck ya, i mean this guys rox! also, wat if kovy does leave? well, zherdev can act like a “Safety Net”. now zherdev isn’t as good as kovy, but heck, he’s 25 and this guy is a beast! i say if u hav the room, if he wants to come, if kovy is happy, then take him. heck, if kovy wants him, (u know how kovy is with his russians) that’s grea, it might just change his mind bout leavin’. so lets hope the rumor comes true.


September 10th, 2009
7:29 am

CBJ Fan > “We had Z for a few years in Columbus…Good luck if you pick him up, he’ll make you cheer, then cry, cheer, then cry…”

We had a guy like that a while back. His name was Kovalchuk. As time went by his game got more balanced.


September 10th, 2009
9:22 am

SO just to let everyone know, the Thrashers are on good footing financially. Yes, the team loses money, but I will say this that most people forget (leave it to an accountant to find this): THE THRASHERS HAVE NO LONG TERM DEBT TO A BANK. ALL LOSSES THAT THE TEAM ACCRUES ARE SIMPLEY TAX SHEILDS TO ASG. Until the ASG takes out a loan then the team is fine. If we play well this year you can expect ticket sales back up since mostly everyone that was a season ticket holder is taking a wait and see apraoch.

About Zherdev, yea he is a good pick up for one year, maybe two. By then Colby Armstrong/Kane will be ready to take up line 2 minutes and he can be traded to a team that needs some scoring and we can get another talented prospect for him.


September 10th, 2009
9:23 am

*Slava Kozlov has a NO TRADE CLAUSE. What? Yes, folks. I’m sad to report … it’s TRUE.*

Well, yeah, which is why we didn’t toss him when the whole bad season happened.

*I wouldn’t resign him.*

Why not? I think as long as he produces, he and Whitey are welcome to stay.

*If you were Colby, and you wanted to play “Top Six” forward minutes, how do you assess your chances in Atlanta, beyond this season?*

I really don’t think Armstrong will ever be top-6 material. I think his ideal role is along the lines of what he plays now — 3rd line + special teams.

*What about (6) Angelo Esposito? What about Brett Sterling? What about the other prospects, like Joey Crab, Eric O’Dell, Riley Holzapfel, Rylan Kaip, Spencer Machacek?*

I don’t know that Espo will ever mature. Sterling — meh. Crabbycakes, maybe — 3rd or 4th line. Machacek will make the roster and excel, but he’s not a top-6 player, either. My guess would be that he serves time on the crash-and-bang and ultimately composes a line with Army and/or Kane.

*Colby Armstrong just might be a player who gets DEALT at the trade deadline. Shoot, if Don Waddell got a serious offer for Colby’s services right now, he ought to consider it. Even if it’s only “sweetener.”*

Except…Armstrong’s gold on special teams.

mid-ga-hockey fan

September 10th, 2009
9:27 am

I believe that DW should go ahead and pull the trigger on this deal,correct me if I am wrong,but in this day of what I call “FRINGE” fans,the thing that puts @sses in the seats is an open style,fast paced,high scoring game.I am a staunch old style,tight checking,between the blulines kinda fan.That being said,I also want to see hockey in atlanta for a long time.Sadly the average baseball fan doesn’t decide,”hey,lets go see Albert Pujols because he is a great defensive 1st baseman”they go to see him hit homeruns.Z will add the type of FLASH that will hopefully bring out the fringe fan and widen the fan base and God forbid, open the eyes of this teams”mis-mangement group”that they might come to the realization that WOW we spent some money and we actually got a return on that investment.I also agree that Kane could use some more time.(SEE JASON HEYWARD).From what little I have seen of Zherdev,the guy is a skating highlight reel.DO THE DEAL!!I am tired of watching Waddell stand by as other teams that are much closer to the cap snatch up good players with no regard for what’s fair to the other players on the roster.These guys are professionals for cryin out loud,THIS IS PART OF THEIR WORLD,Deal with it!!!The best players make the team,The coach does not have to deal with somebodys momma if the boy didn’t get to play.gimme a break!!Sign this stud before some other team with brains beats you to the draw,camp starts in a few days,what are you waiting for?Wait,I know,waiver wire scraps and castoffs from Mystery,Alaska.I hear Russell Crowe could be a good thumper and DW could get his autograph. (sorry for the rant)


September 10th, 2009
9:45 am

It seems apparent that DW is not totally satisfied with all of the team’s pieces as an Oiler blog seems to believe that we are talking with Comrie as well. I believe Kane would be better served with an additional year in the juniors and we have an abundance of forwards. I’d like to see Z signed as well.

mid-ga-hockey fan

September 10th, 2009
9:54 am

I would surely like to see this team roll out 3 solid scoring lines and have the other teams skating backwards more than we do. I hope they put more effort into signing Zherdev than Comrie as I feel we already have an abundance of marginal forwards and Comrie is marginal at best.How old is he and what kind of numbers did he put up in NY?I say bring in Z and Kane and let the chips fall as they may.Drop the blasted puck!!!!!!


September 10th, 2009
10:09 am

This is where the CBA frustrates the hell outta me. How can the NHL be pushed by the CHL (Canadian Hockey Leagues…not the Central League) to force players who have been drafted to return to their junior teams if they do not make the big squad. That is just freakin’ silly. Kane is too good for the WHL, and the AHL would be perfect for him as he fills out. For all we know, he may be ready for the NHL, but the team gets screwed if he is not, as he spends a year in juniors, where headhunters will go after him to make a name for himself…when the Thrashers would much prefer having him in Chicago learing to be a pro (ESPECIALLY is Chelios signs there!). The Thrash pay his salary, so they should say as to where he plays this season.

Who’s to say if Zheredev signs here, that Anderson does not tweak his system and roll the lines evenly. It’s not the first time a team is strong top to bottom and the 3rd and 4th lines get more playing time. That means less wear and tear on the 1st and 2nd lines and leader to better play down the stretch.

Tony C – agreed, Fuhr was one of a kind. It’s tough to be a goalie, especially behind a team where defense is optional. But in the 80’s it was wide open, and there were not the 3rd and 4th shots like KL is facing, it was attack and counter-attack. Grant is now the goalie coach for the Coyotes.


September 10th, 2009
10:46 am

Don Waddell was on 680TheFan this morning at 9:30AM. Here is my best attempt at recapping what the Wadster said. He basically covered 5 things. First, Perry/Rude asked him about the Kovy negotiations, and if they were progressing. Waddell said, “I believe Kovalchuk does want to stay. We’ve have good dialogue. This isn’t a Hossa situation. We’ve had constructive conversations and exchanged offers. No money has been set, however.”

(Brendan Comment: Hmmn. I wonder if Kovy’s “counter-offer” was a list of players he expects/wants signed before he’ll agree to re-sign. Perhaps that’s why ‘no money had been set.’ If I were Kovy, perhaps I’d use this negotiating strategy, as well. My offer isn’t a financial figure, it’s a list of players I want signed. Sign them, and I’ll agree to play here under another contract. End Comment.)

Second, Waddell was asked about Pavel Kubina. Waddell said, “He’s a Top 4 defenseman. We wanted to add that kind of player to our blueline.” Waddell added, “He’s a good guy. A good puck mover.”

Third, Wadddell was asked about free agency, and Nik Antropov. Waddell said that Antropov was a good signing, since he’s a great passer. ANNNNND, Waddell specifically said that Antropov would be feeding the puck to Bryan Little and Ilya Kovalchuk. Well, that’s really John Anderson’s call, but the GM sure made it SOUND like the top line would be Kovalchuk-Little-Antropov.

Fourth, Rude and Perry had glowing things to say about meeting Evander Kane, and asked Waddell to comment on him. Waddell’s response was, “He’s been BEST player at Rookie Camp. He’s a great leader.” Waddell added that their plan, moving forward, was to give Kane an opportunity and hope he can stay with the club. That’s when Perry said, “He’s a great person and a pleasure to meet.” Then Perry asked Waddell if he was concerned about Kane needing to put on a little weight for the rough and tumble league that is the NHL. Waddell simply stated the Kane is a very skilled player and that they’d be evaluating his readynesss.” Perry asked if we’d see Kane in the Nashville game. Truthfully, and I apologize, but my radio reception blinked out and I never heard the answer. I assume we will see Kane in the Nashville game, on the 17th of September.

Fifth and last, Waddell was asked about Kari Lehtonen. Don Waddell said, “Kari is doing well after surgery.” And that “the timing was right to get it done.” (Brendan comment: I wonder why he said that? Rude and Perry didn’t ask him about the ‘timing’ of the Lehtonen surgery. End comment.) And the segment ended with the 680TheFan crowd announcing the dates of training camp and asking Waddell if it was available to the public. Waddell said that it was, and encouraged fans to come and buy tickets for the upcoming season. Then said, “It’s always a pleasure talking the 680TheFan” show.

… And that’s all I got. It wasn’t a long segment. Waddell didn’t mention Nikki Zherdev at all. And he didn’t talk about adding any more players via free agency or trades. Waddell, in this respect, made a CLEAN GET-A-WAY.


September 10th, 2009
10:49 am

In my opinion, Armstrong is very valuable to the team, because he is an excellent forechecker with a decent finishing touch and a skillful agitator too – one an NHL team MUST field. Atlanta has few and far between of this kind.