Kari Lehtonen era comes to an end in Thrasherville

Tuesday night the Atlanta Thrashers shipped off Kari Lehtonen to the Dallas Stars in return for defenseman Ivan Vishnevskiy and a fourth round draft pick.

Kari Lehtonen, seen here in action last spring against the Caps, was the Thrashers second overall pick in 2002 (AP Photo/Gregory Smith)

Kari Lehtonen, seen here in action last spring against the Caps, was the Thrashers second overall pick in 2002 (AP Photo/Gregory Smith)

With this deal, combined with the one that sent Ilya Kovalchuk to New Jersey last week, the Thrashers have dumped quite a bit of salary of late. Lehtonen is scheduled to be an RFA this summer and is currently making $3 million…Vishnevskiy will be an RFA in 2011 and is being paid just under $850,000 per season.

Vishnevskiy was the 27th overall draft pick in the 2006 draft and has played in a total of 5 NHL games…two this season. He has two assists in those games…both coming last season and both on the power play. In between periods of the Stars game in Chicago, Craig Ludwig…a former NHL defenseman for Montreal and Stars… said that the Thrashers are getting an offensive-minded blueliner but needs some work on his play in the defensive zone.

Lehtonen departs Thrasherville having just returned to the club from his conditioning stint with the Wolves and has yet to play in the NHL since last spring. He compiled a career record of 94-83-17 in 204 games played in Atlanta…196 were starts…with a 2.87 GAA, .912 SV% and 14 shutouts.

So…unless there is another trade planned to bring in a proven number one goalie…it looks as though Johan Hedberg and Ondrej Pavelec will be the ones between the pipes as the Thrashers look to make any playoff push this season. To that point, Chris Vivlamore tweeted that Don Waddell told him, “They have proved to be capable of carrying the load”.

Ivan Vishnevskiy was a first-round draft pick in 2006 and has played in 5 NHL games (AP Photo/Jack Dempsey)

Ivan Vishnevskiy was a first-round draft pick in 2006 and has played in 5 NHL games (AP Photo/Jack Dempsey)

With Kari’s departure, the Thrashers have parted ways with all of their top pick in their first five drafts.

Patrick Stefan, the top pick in 1999, is no longer playing hockey and is a player agent living in California.

Dany Healey, pick second overall in 2000, was traded away in 2005 to Ottawa and now plays in San Jose.

Ilya Kovalchuk, 2001’s overall number one, was dealt away last week to New Jersey.

Kari Lehtonen, second overall in 2002, as we have discussed is off to the Big D.

Braydon Coburn, the eighth overall draft pick in 2003, was shipped off to Philadelphia in 2006 in exchange for Alexei Zhitnik.

171 comments Add your comment

LAC

February 9th, 2010
11:04 pm

Gee Whiz another Russian who looks to not be much help anytime soon…

Just more of waddell Tornado destroying this team, we should have gotten more OFFENSE, but waddell knows what he is doing, building us a New CHEAP team… Next they will want the FANS to start playing and making them pay to play !!! What a concept, PLEASE Mr.Betteman Take over this MESS NOW !

Just a salary dump at it’s best ! How CHEAP are these clowns ?

2025

February 9th, 2010
11:04 pm

After breaking every goaltending record in the NHL, Kari Lehtonen is retiring. Lehtonen, who was initially pressed into service too early in his career by a struggling Atlanta hockey franchise, really turned things around after successful back surgery and a trade to the Dallas Stars. With the Stars, Lehtonen broke Marty Brodeur’s all time win record and once posted an unbelievable eighteen game shutout streak. Lehtonen led the Stars to six Stanley Cup titles in his fifteen year tenure. He will surely be remembered as the best goalie in NHL history.

Brendan

February 9th, 2010
11:10 pm

See Bob’s 8:53PM post. http://blogs.ajc.com/iceman-thrashers-blog/2010/02/09/bergfors-and-oduya-coping-with-%e2%80%98it-is-what-it-is%e2%80%99-situation/comment-page-1/#comment-20630. That’s right on the money.

And Rawhide stole my Thunder, as I was going to post that ALLL FIIIIIVE of this franchise’s 1st round picks are GONE, just GONE, by its 10th season. You tell me if Atlanta’s franchise knows what it’s doing.

1999: Patrik Stefan, traded to Dallas, for Niko Kapanen and Will O’Neill. I guess Will O’Neill is still here, right?

2000: Heatley, traded to Ottawa, for Hossa and DeVries. DeVries walked in free agency, I believe. Hossa = Daultan Leveille (#29 overall, 2008), Erik O’Dell (via Eric Christenson), Colby Armstrong (Stay tuned, dealin’ Don is about to part ways with him, too. As he should), and Angelo Esposito (the new Kari Lehtonen, Uwe Krupp and Jani Hurme of the organization).

2001: Ilya Kovalchuk, traded for Nik Bergfors, Johnny Oduya, 2010 2nd round pick (think #54 overall), and prospect Patrice Cormier

2002: Kari Lehtonen, traded for Ivan Vishnevski (sp?) and a 4th rounder

2003: Braydon Coburn, traded for Alexei Zhitnik

And can we project 2004’s: Boris Valabik for ?????

What was the purpose of these picks? I want an answer. No, I want a SERIOUS answer. Don’t say, “Don Waddell is like a mule with a spinning wheel. No one knows how he got it, and d*mned if he knows what to do with it.”

Folks, let Stendec have his fun. Part of me actually is hopeful that we’re now ‘turning the corner,’ but the other part of me thinks this. And this is straight from my heart. I thought it was the wrong move to pick Lehtonen in 2002. Not because we should have taken Cam Ward instead. If I posted that, I’d be lying. Kari Lehtonen was the top goaltender prospect of his draft year. No, my objection over his drafting was the requisite number of YEARS and YEARS and YEARS it would take to develop him. I felt thennnn, as I still do Nowwww, that we just didn’t have the TIIIIIME to wait for him to be ready.

Flash forward to 2010. Okayyyyyyyy, it’s 8 years later. We’re done INVESTING TIME in Kari’s development. I guess it’s time for some other organization to SWOOP IN and take him from us, with THEIR THANKS to Atlanta for developing him for them. Sheesh. I’m sorry, folks. Even if you believe Kari stinks. The handling of that 2002 draft stinks more. And don’t scream, “But Brendan, without that deal, we wouldn’t have Jim Slater, today. And Jim Slaters … they just don’t grow on trees. You can’t replace them.”

My gosh, what would it have cost to retain Lehtonen? $2 million? He’s back from the surgeries. He’s supposedly this high pedigree goalie. “Don found his man.” Is this, or is this NOT, an admission of FAILURE by Waddell, yet again, in his goaltender decision-making? Yes … or no.

It’s a “yes or no” answer. I can’t wait to hear Waddell’s take on this. When he traded Jason Williams, he said this, “I guess I can’t say we were entirely happy with the player, since we are trading him.” And Williams was merely a ‘try out’ free agent signing. Make no mistake about this, Don Waddell hung his hat on Kari Lehtonen. We were going to sink or swim with him. Guess which one we did?

Well, I’ll give you a hint. Zero playoff wins.

ben

February 9th, 2010
11:18 pm

I called it years ago with 32.

Brendan

February 9th, 2010
11:22 pm

Since Don Waddell is making all the moves Stendec wants, I’m anxious to hear what Stendec wants next? So, let’s hear it? Colby Armstrong traded? Pavelec traded? Kubina traded?

Stendec told us to send Siberian waste Ilya “bags are packed” Kovalchuk away. Done. Stendec told us to send that Finnish sieve out of town for a bag of pucks. Done. Actually, isn’t Stendec’s next target to send packaging, Bryan “Little to No Chance,” our 2006 draft pick? Heck, why not package him with Boris Valabik, so only Kane and Bogosian will be left of our 1st rounders?

Draft picks, pfft! Who nees them?? Let’s trade all our 2010 first round picks, too. They’re completely wasted in the hands of this organization. Maybe Brian Burke was on to something, with that Phil Kessel trade? Rubbin’ my chin….

Telfo

February 9th, 2010
11:23 pm

we got a very good prospect for an extreme injury risk that had no future on this team

Darren

February 9th, 2010
11:25 pm

Rawhide, any thoughts on which one of the Blackhawks you would want to have, and who you would be willing to give up, given Atlanta’s believed-to-be very talented group of prospects, and given that Chicago needs to move major salary in the off-season?

J (Z)

February 9th, 2010
11:27 pm

I’m fuming about this one. Why not let Kari play a few games to prove he’s capable? If he plays well we get something decent for him. If not, he signs really really really cheap next year.

Here’s our new defenseman…and his 1 career NHL goal:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1vVTTzTu0lw

Viking

February 9th, 2010
11:28 pm

I am quite unhappy. This better be a part of something bigger and involving a goalie or the ownership.

Pavelec is not ready and too good at making himself small. Needs a goalie coach.
Hedberg is great, but is getting older and should not play too many games in a row.

Don's Next 10 Year Plan

February 9th, 2010
11:29 pm

Well fans, we are building through the draft, making incremental progress, as the team is moving in the right direction and we are just a few players away from being serious Stanley Cup Contenders and, in a few years, I guarantee this team will make the playoffs.

Did I forget any?

Bong Inhalers & Glue Sniffers

February 9th, 2010
11:31 pm

The Cup is ours with all these new prospects, but we must be patient and give them time to develop.

Rawhide

February 9th, 2010
11:32 pm

Rawhide, any thoughts on which one of the Blackhawks you would want to have, and who you would be willing to give up, given Atlanta’s believed-to-be very talented group of prospects, and given that Chicago needs to move major salary in the off-season?

Darren – Any trade package would need to include Sharp…put Army and some of these picks/prospects together and see what can get done.

I am quite unhappy. This better be a part of something bigger and involving a goalie or the ownership.

Viking – I have a gut feeling that more is on the way. I think Wadd-Dudley has cleared off the cap room and gathered items to put together a nice deal for “the big one” which might come right at the deadline next month.

At least…I hope so.

Buzz

February 9th, 2010
11:36 pm

The Thrashers need to dump Kubina, Hainsey, Armstrong, Antropov and Afinogenov. Then I will be happy.

Trade them all for YOUNGER players/draft picks and roll the dice. It can’t get much worse.

Kool-Aid Drinker

February 9th, 2010
11:36 pm

This is yet another great move by Don Waddell. He’s done a fantastic job over the last decade. Don has been a wonderful GM and I know he had this great trade in mind when he drafted Kari in 2002. Some say we should have selected Jay Bouwmeester with that pick, but look what we have now instead!

The Cup is ours!

Brendan

February 9th, 2010
11:37 pm

Wonder if Kari is going to sell his “custom-made” dream home? Or, if like Kovalchuk, he’ll continue to live here, while playing elsewhere.

If Kari hasn’t fully recovered, why did Dallas agree to the trade?

2011

February 9th, 2010
11:38 pm

The naming rights for the former Philips Arena have been purchased by vomit bag maker Throw Up, Inc.

The arena has been renamed Throw Up Here Arena.

Mike

February 9th, 2010
11:41 pm

Kari could very well stay healthy and have a long career in the NHL. If he does, great for him but right now, they have to deal with what they know and that is his medical history is not good. Obviously the front office is never going to make everyone happy with the trades they make. If they had traded Moose, people would have said he was the only one playing worth a damn and should have been kept. So, he trades a unreliable goalie and everyone still bitches. Dudley probably had input and getting a team’s #1 prospect is a good thing considering Kari hasn’t proven much since the surgeries.

Even though I would hate to see Colby go, what if they did trade the 4th round pick they just got with Colby to Chicago for Versteeg. We would probably have to throw in another prospect since Colby is a UFA, but maybe that is where Kozy comes into play. They can rejoin Hossa and make a run for it.

Then call up Joey Crabb and hopefully he can duplicate what he is doing in Chicago at the NHL level on a consistent basis.

Somaatl95

February 9th, 2010
11:41 pm

If what we have done in the past has not worked than what is the harm in trying something new? Kari wasn’t here when the season started and we saw amazing saves from Moose and Pavs. I’m curious how many of you would echo “Kari Down” each season and then be unhappy about this trade. Maybe we are trying to get costs down – then that would mean new ownership – and lots of folks would be happy about no longer having the ASG. Don’t get me wrong, I bitch, whine and complain about our team like everyone else on here seems to do, but I think getting rid of one of the most injury prone members of the team may be a very good thing. Our #17 Curse has been lifted. Now our #32 curse has also been lifted. As I said in a previous blog here look around – Dallas fans (and bloggers) are pissed at this trade – which works out well for us. The only real people that are negative (rather than on this blog) on losing Kari are the people on TSN.ca that enjoying always saying the nastiest stuff about Atlanta. F’ em!

JLH

February 9th, 2010
11:49 pm

I don’t understand the rush to get this done. Why not give Kari a chance to show us what he can do when fully healthly. I must believe that DW believes that Kari will never put in the work to realize his full potential, or maintain the focus necessary to be successful at the position.
Pavelec is not positionally sound and as Glovesave has pointed out many times, makes himself small and unable to quickly move from side to side by squatting on the tips of his skates. No one in the organization seems to be working with him on this.

Brendan

February 9th, 2010
11:53 pm

This trade proves how rudderless we’ve been at the GM position, all these years. “Brendan, ya think? You’ve just coming to this conclusion now??” Now, I came to that conclusion in 2002. And I was “late” to realizing it, after Audette, Brunette and Staios were lost for essentially nothing.

All throughout training camp … I waited for the owners to make a statement like, “This year, it’s playoffs, OR ELSE!” I never heard. I never heard any ultimatums on Waddell’s head. The only year I did … was 2007. I should have suspected something thennnnn. But really, the owners have been silent, deafeningly silent, all year long. Gee, wonder why?

Rawhide

February 9th, 2010
11:54 pm

While all this was diverting our attention…Boston, Tampa Bay, Carolina and the Islanders all won tonight. Thus, the Thrashers will take to the ice in Colorado three points out of a playoff spot…one point ahead of 12th place Florida…two points ahead of 13th place New York Islanders…and now only seven points ahead of 14th place Carolina.

The Lightning now occupies the sixth spot in the Eastern Conference.

Buzzeng

February 9th, 2010
11:56 pm

If I’m Kari, and I went from a No.1 pick to be equal to an AHL’er and a 4th round pick, I’d feel really bad about myself… Hope they have a great conditioning coach in Dallas for his sake.

kracker

February 10th, 2010
12:01 am

Viking = I agree. So surely there has to be another goalie for Atlanta in the plan. The organization is desperate to make the playoffs. I can’t see them depending on a 22 yr old not-ready goalie and a 36 yr old bottom third at best goalie to get them to the playoffs. Love Moose and Pavs but neither can do the job, IMO, especially if you want to advance when/if you do get to the playoffs.

Sage of Bluesland

February 10th, 2010
12:04 am

Oh well, the long saga of the glass-groined wunderkind that Don Waddell took with the 2nd pick of the draft–and told us, “Just wait until he gets up to the parent club!”…

Key word: WAIT.

We’ve done nothing but wait. We’ve had very little success. Zero playoff wins. One playoff appearance. (Are those “facts” enough for your lamb-sized mind, Sheep-Badger Bob?! Please humor me on that score, Chief!)

Oh well, for the sheep out there: You are getting what you so justly deserve. You are. Enjoy it–and think of ol’ Sage when you buy that overpriced beer…and extortionistic hot dog…and the whipping which is administered to us by ‘real’ teams as their fans drown out the hopelessly optomistic Thrashers fans!

Like I’ve always asked–just remember where you heard all of it first…

Nikita (in PA)

February 10th, 2010
12:06 am

*And Rawhide stole my Thunder, as I was going to post that ALLL FIIIIIVE of this franchise’s 1st round picks are GONE, just GONE, by its 10th season. You tell me if Atlanta’s franchise knows what it’s doing.*

Yeah, whatever. Two or three of those five I thoroughly understand. Really, I wish we had kept Kari and Coburn, but the rest of them NEEDED TO GO.

R. Stroz

February 10th, 2010
12:10 am

The last time the Thrashers traded with the Stars we received Niko Kapenen for Patrick Stefan and Jaroslav Modry.

How well did that pan out?

Hockey Biltong

February 10th, 2010
12:16 am

New goalie and a bag of pucks, coming right up!!

Smoothie

February 10th, 2010
12:19 am

Kari’s attitude was toxic as pointed out several times here.

How quickly we forget that Cristobal Huet was traded by MTL to CHI for a 6th round pick. Getting a high prospect AND a pick may end up being a brilliant move.

Moose needs to start Wed nite and then o Sat. Pavs, barring another trade, should be the back-up. I reckon the GM is banking on the 2.5 week layoff will do JCH much good for the homestretch.

R. Stroz

February 10th, 2010
12:30 am

Lets compare lottery draft pick retention and the current league standings.

If memory serves me, Chicago, Pittsburgh, and Washington have had about as many lottery picks as the Thrashers have had over the past decade.

Now lets compare the number of draft picks retained compared to league standings.

Of these four teams, which has had the worst lottery pick player retention rate, the Capitals, Penguins, Blackhawks, or Thrashers?

Now, lets compare recent playoff appearances and league standings.

It appears there is a positive correlation between retained lottery draft picks and league standings.

Houston, we have a problem.

Smoothie

February 10th, 2010
12:31 am

Sage – I don’t need their crappy hot dogs and overpriced beers. I got Chick Fil A, Gorins and my smuggled bourbon. We like hockey. Get over it. We’re not gonna boycott so give it a rest.

BTW, Stefan sucked. We were lucky to get (Olympian) Niko Kapanen and Modry for his sorry ass.

R. Stroz

February 10th, 2010
12:35 am

Smoothie – At this rate, I’ll need some of that bourbon, and I haven’t had a drink in years.

Smoothie

February 10th, 2010
12:43 am

Stroz – no worries man, I’m here for you.

Can you imagine how much more bitching there would be if Moose had been traded?

GSUFan

February 10th, 2010
1:13 am

Waddell said the players didn’t trust Kari! Kari is a nice guy and a good goaltender, but he is plagued with injuries. I wish him all the best, and I hope he takes care of himself this time. However, if his past is any indicator of his future, he won’t. Kari is lucky that his career is not over because of his back injuries. That’s a lot of surgery to have in a year. I really hope he’s okay, and I do wish him luck in Dallas.

I don’t understand where all these people who praise Kari’s talent were last season, or the season before. I seriously remember tons of people at Philips Arena using the phrase “Let-four-in” liberally to describe Kari.

Tony C.

February 10th, 2010
1:42 am

Eh.

We knew this was coming but seriously the only thing that gnaws at me is why the rush-do they know the guy is going to break like next week? I wonder who they plan on bringing in fr the rest of the season; DW’s remarks via Viv’s tweet sound ominous-kinda like the “Zhitnik is going to play a big role for this team”

Brendan

February 10th, 2010
2:36 am

Smoothie, I believe Montreal traded Huet to Washington for its 2nd round pick (previously acquired from Anaheim). For some reason, the Capitals didn’t keep Huet. (Probably because they had Simeon Varlamov in the wings.) I think Huet signed with the Blackhawks as a free agent.

That 2nd round pick the Habs got from the Capitals (for Huet) … wound up coming to Atlanta via the Matthieu Schneider trade at the deadline. Atlanta used the pick to select a player on the USA World Juniors team named Jeremy Morin, from Auburn, NY. He looks good!

Brendan

February 10th, 2010
2:38 am

Smoothie, I believe Montreal traded Huet to Washington for its 2nd round pick (previously acquired from Anaheim). The Capitals didn’t keep Huet. (Probably because they had Simeon Varlamov in the wings.) Huet signed with the Blackhawks as a free agent.

That second round pick the Habs got from the Capitals (for Huet) … wound up coming to Atlanta via the Matthieu Schneider trade at the deadline. Atlanta used the pick to select a player on the USA World Juniors team named Jeremy Morin, from Auburn, NY. He looks good!

Sharon

February 10th, 2010
3:01 am

As I was saying on Schultz’s blog…

Finally, we’re off the Kari-Go-Round!

Good riddance.

StateBird

February 10th, 2010
5:10 am

I wish someone could dig up those Home Depot “Building a Franchise” clips starring one Don Waddell.

Red Light

February 10th, 2010
7:26 am

Love the deal. Kari had plenty of chances to be a No. 1 goalie here and his chances were derailed by injuries and a suspect work ethic early on. Now, two surgeries this year and you get back a 22-year-old d-man and a pick in return, that’s not so bad if the d-man works out. Just wish one day that the backline will include a Canadian defenseman rather than the European Union-Hainsey now being employed. I still think Pavelec has promise with more experience, and you keep Moose, which is a popular move by all accounts.

But I wonder still how you can’t get an NHL player in return for a former No. 1? I guess because of what I said before: surgeries and a questionable work ethic.

Will Lehtonen ever regain the form he showed for that brief stretch a few years back?

GaVaHokie

February 10th, 2010
7:38 am

Wow, I stand corrected… That was a horrible return. I would have rolled the dice I think and played him a few games.

Another depth defenseman? Kulda, Postma, Oystrick, Welch, Lewis and now Vish.

World Be Free

February 10th, 2010
7:43 am

Kari was never committed to staying in shape, so it should be no surprise that he was constantly pulling muscles. I for one am tired of his act; it’s like Andruw Jones not being able to run out grounders. That always ticked me off.

This trade has Dudley’s finger prints all over it. I agree on the big picture review of the first 5 number one picks. But look back at all the teams in the NHL-how many of them still have their top picks from 5+ years ago in the organizations? I know our picks were high picks, but if we took Bouwmeester instead of Kari, do you think Jay would still be here?

I am not forgetting the last 10 years, but Dudley is here now. He is a proven builder, with a winning track record at all levels of professional hockey. I am not ready to dump cold water on his works, despite the other “players” on our management team. Dudley would not come to the Thrashers without the power to make things happen. He’s too competitive.

DWTOO

February 10th, 2010
8:09 am

Agree with Waddell that you don’t want to make a change in net in the middle of a playoff run. Moose and Pavs are both playing well. Kari’s the odd man out here – for this season. Would’ve kept him on IR for the year and let him compete next season.

Also, there’s plenty of free agent goalies available every summer. Think we received more that we could have expected for him.

docsbro

February 10th, 2010
8:09 am

I think some of us might be missing the point. It is not that anyone is questioning the merit of these trades it is the fact that these trades HAD to be made. That these players either didn’t want to be here or that they just plain sucked. The point is that DWad chose these players and they are no longer here…what do we have to show for all these #1 picks…ZERO, ZILCH….NOTTA!!! Kari needed a new team as will Pavs in a couple of years as he has been thrown to the wolves BEFORE he was ready.

“New Direction” whoopee!! Here we go again. Why oh why can we not get a new Director for our “New Direction”. Does anyone out there truly believe that DWad can build a winner here. Can anyone really give a good solid defense of why he should keep his job. If you truly believe that he can run this Franchise…PLEASE convince me because I don’t think you can do it.

World Be Free

February 10th, 2010
8:16 am

I am not being delusional here folks. I know our track record has been horrible the last 10 years, but Dudley is here now. I am sticking with Duds until such time as I know he has little or no influence on the personnel decisions of this club.

But as previously noted, these are 2 major salary dumps. Do we have a salary addition coming up for the playoff run? What is our next move, surely there’s another one out there.

moriler

February 10th, 2010
8:24 am

Good deal, overall. I see a lot of the usual people here focused on the past and spouting the usual rhetoric: tell me, each of you, which goalie would you have traded instead of Kari, and why, and to whom for what? Are you willing to stand pat and say that Kari would’ve been our #1 goalie in the future? Leave out the noise, please, and just focus on the actual details of _this_ question, not what you would’ve done in the past. Given the _current_ situation, what would you do now?

See, it’s easy to say “We traded a #1 pick, another bad decision, it proves we suck”. But which is the worse decision — drafting a #1 pick incorrectly or failing to acknowledge the earlier mistake and getting out of it while the getting’s good? If we retain Kari and he gets injured again, his trade value declines to roughly a bag of _used_ pucks. And he had a bad habit of letting in one soft goal per game, despite having flashes of real brilliance. No, no, no. Get him gone NOW while he still has any value left — if I had to sit through one more episode of “Kariship Down” I’d want to boil some bunnies, especially if it comes with Pavelec as a backup instead of Hedberg.

I’m fine with this trade. Hedberg’s solid and he can help Pavelec get his mind right — unlike certain Finns, when Pavelec’s having an off game, his whole night stinks. That’s a much easier fix than “Oops, I let in a soft goal at a critical time despite playing my head off in the first period when it didn’t matter as much.” Dallas seems high on Visnevski, but I don’t know much about him other than that; if nothing else, the pick is good and this prospect can be trade-bait elsewhere (as others have noted, gee, we have a LOT of cap room now, i wonder how Chicago feels about this offseason?)

Russ

February 10th, 2010
8:25 am

I know some are saying that the Thrashers are putting themselves into a good position to take on salary that other teams like Chicago will have to dump in the off-season, but to me that does not seem like the best way to build or improve a team. I’m sure the Blackhawks would like to keep all their players if there was no salary cap, but because of the financial restraints they will have to give up some decent players. That being said, are they going to be looking to dump their star players/players playing well above their contract or players they deem to be the most expendable based on play commensurate to salary? In other words, while there may be nice players to be had, they will most likely be players that their previous team decided they were willing to cast-off. Sure, you can strike gold occasionally with cast-offs (Peverley), but those are few and far between. I don’t want the Thrashers chances to improve to be based on what they can gain from other teams’ salary dumps, but such is life as an Atlanta Thrasher fan.

moriler

February 10th, 2010
8:29 am

Oh, and you probably won’t see stendec ’til this afternoon — he’s out buying a mop to clean off his monitor.

MASHAPlayer7

February 10th, 2010
8:32 am

By no means am I giving Waddell a free pass when I say this…he certainly has made some blunders, but when you look at those 1st round picks now gone, most of the blame falls on the player. Drafting is part art-part science…Waddell basically took the higher ranked players on the board when Atlanta’s name was called to the podium…hindsight is always 20/20 when drafting.

I feel ASG and Waddell have let us fans down, but I feel more passionate that our “superstars” let us down. Heatley, Kovalchuk and Lehtnonen did not allow us to build the foundation we needed to have a solid franchise due to off-ice behavior and selfishness.

Let’s review:

Patrick Stefan (1999) – arguably one of the worst draft talent pools ever – Stefan was never a quality NHL player. SYNOPSIS: BAD LUCK

Dany Heatley (2000)- we all know the story…but that tragic car accident fueled the trade of Heatley. That was Heatley’s responsibility to be a good citizen off the ice, but hey, he was just a dumb kid who made a tragic mistake. SYNOPSIS: PLAYER ACCOUNTABILITY

Ilya Kovalchuk (2001)- Great one-dimensional player. The face of the franchise. But he was lazy, never back-checked and played down to the level of his teammates. Definitely not captain material. It was his right to move on, but if Kovalchuk put in an effort and was more like Alex Ovechkin – then maybe we’re singing a different tune. SYNOPSIS: PLAYER ACCOUNTABILITY

Kari (2002) – Talented, but injury prone. Another player with off-ice issues…well known that he liked the parties and never took pride in conditioning. It wasn’t dumb luck he was injured..it was the player’s responsibility to be a professional, not some wunderkind amateur. SYNOPSIS: PLAYER ACCOUNTABILITY

Braydon Coburn (2003): Do I need to talk about this one? SYNOPSIS: WORST TRADE IN FRANCHISE HISTORY

moriler

February 10th, 2010
8:32 am

Russ: Actually, sometimes a single near-star player is the best way for a team to dump salary fast — someone who is worth close to what they’re paying for him, but what they’re paying is simply too much overall. Remember, Dudley has a major role in player evaluations right now. We won’t be seeing any Zhitniks coming our way (or if we do, we can start up the “Fire Dudley” chant).

So no, we won’t get Toews or Kane from Chicago. But Barker or Sharp, maybe. Not so bad, especially when you’ve got the cap room to spare for awhile.

* Disclaimer: Have not researched contract length/current cap hit for either of the above, just the most common names I’ve heard tossed around.

Smoothie

February 10th, 2010
8:36 am

Russ – that’s a good and valid question w/r/t CHI and their impending salary dump, but take a closer look and you’ll see that they will have no choice but to give up good players as the most expensive, other than Huet, are tied up by L.T. contracts. Combine that with the fact that Dudley probably helped draft these young players in CHI and this xould have a really good ending for the Thrash.

Brendan – thanks for the correction. There was another goalie traded for a 6th pick but he mustve been a true back-up goalie.