OK…raise your hands if you thought the trade deadline would come and go Wednesday with Colby Armstrong, Pavel Kubina, Maxim Afinogenov, Christoph Schubert and Mark Popovic all remaining on the Atlanta Thrashers’ payroll?
looking around the blogosphere…uh-huh, not too many.
I didn’t add Kozlov in that list of players because, quite frankly, I didn’t hold any hope that anyone would make any real offer for him, even though he was willing to waive his no-trade clause.
As Don Waddell put it, “We never had a offer to bring him”.
However, like so many of you, I was somewhat surprised at yesterday’s lack of major moves by the Thrashers…but I have to admit, I’m absolutely OK with it. At the end of the day, it appears that the organization was not impressed enough by whatever offers they did receive for any of our players and decided to say, “thank but no thanks”. In doing so, they have chosen to keep these pending UFAs to make their playoff run over the rest of the way.
Regardless, compared to what was speculated for weeks, Waddudly opted for the ‘less is more’ theory and have decided that what they had in house was what they are willing to go with down the stretch.
It’s a gamble of course, as we could see these any number of these players depart Thrasherville with nothing to show for it than the service provided during the course of their contracts. In essence, instead of trading Army, Kubina and Max and then try to fill their spots…they have become Atlanta’s rentals.
But the panic button wasn’t pushed like it was in 2007, and as such Waddell didn’t “Zhitnik-ed” this go around. That in and of itself is a step in the right direction.
In keeping with the “less is more” philosophy… what the Thrashers are left with after ‘”less” deadline dealing than thought is “more or less” much the same as before…only a little “more”.
By that I mean…Opie and the Moose will remain to keep the goal, although not necessarily in that order. The seven defenseman in which John Anderson can ‘pick-six’ from are still Kubina, Hainsey, Oduya, Enstrom, Bogosian, Schubert and Popovic. Up front, Anderson still has the same players to pick from…in addition to now the newly acquired Evgeny Artyukhin and Clarke MacArthur. That means the coach has 15 forwards to choose from in order to fill out his lineup card…12 will play and 3 will view the action from press row.
To me, that means 12 play while one other join Slava Kozlov and Todd White at the press box buffet counter.
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Lineups could look something like…Antropov-Little-Bergfors…Kane-Slater-Armstrong…Peverley-Afinogenov-MacArthur…Reasoner-Boulton-Thorburn. Sure, you could mix and match a couple of those lines… maybe even sit Clarke in favor of Artyukhin’s size out there and we’d see…ahem…MacArthur park next to Slava and Todd in the press box.
But either way, clearly Anderson has some options today that he didn’t have when the week began.
As for Wednesday’s pick up from Buffalo…C-Mac played in 60 games for the Sabres this year and has scored 13 goals and just as many assists…four goals and three assists came while on the power play. The big number, however, that has been pointed out is the Todd White-esque minus 14, which was the worst +/- rating in Buffalo this season. The career numbers for the 74th overall selection by Buffalo in 2001 is 41 goals, 38 assists, 127 PIM and a –11 during 187 NHL games.
MacArthur will be an RFA this summer and is coming off a contract that paid him $1.4 million for the season.
In comparison, Artyukhin has 4 goals and 9 overall points in 37 games played in Anaheim with 41 PIM and an EVEN +/- rating. In his career, he’s amassed 14 goals and 28 assists along with a –3 and 282 penalty minutes in 182 games. He’s slated to be a UFA on July 1 and his contract has been worth $950,000 this season.
Returning to the Afinogenov, Kubina and Armstrong situations…as discussed previously, Waddudly will have between now and June 30 to talk contract with these players and other pending UFAs. Waddell has indicated that he intends to discuss a deal with Kubina’s agent and maybe that played a big part in his decision not to ship him off. Could the same be true for Armstrong and Afinogenov…maybe even Schubie and Pops?
Maybe…but right now there is this little thing we call a playoff hunt to deal with. And these guys have been retained to help get the Thrashers back there for the first time since their one-and-only excursion past 82 games three years ago.
And how they perform toward that goal could…more or less…dictate if they want to stick around for a little while longer.