Dealing with situation in goal will be high on Dudley’s summer to-do list

The common logic surrounding how to build a quality hockey team is to start in goal and work your way forward. To this point, many Thrashers fans will point to the area between the pipes as to why the first decade of play has led to the results they have. The lack of a solid, dependable, stable situation in goal has played a major role in nine out of ten seasons ending after the 82 scheduled games.

In keeping with this line of thinking, I do believe that how new GM Rick Dudley handles the goaltending situation here in Atlanta will go a long way in determining how the team he ices this coming season will fare. And, just after whom he picks for a new head coach, it could be the most important decision he makes during this offseason. So let’s discuss some of the options available to Dudley and Co.

Opie and the Moose Redux?

To date, Dudley does not have a goalie signed to play next fall. Veteran netminder Johan Hedberg will become a UFA on July 1 while Ondrej Pavelec will be an RFA. So what are the chances the new GM opts to bring back the pair for another season as the goalie tandem in Thrasherville? Well, it’s a situation he has said he is comfortable with.

Johan Hedberg played in 47 games for the Thrashers last season, starting 42 of them. He will be a UFA Juy 1 (AP Photo/Don Heupel)

Johan Hedberg played in 47 games for the Thrashers last season, starting 42 of them. He will be a UFA Juy 1 (AP Photo/Don Heupel)

After the first couple of months, Moose handled the bulk of the work last season and performed admirably…starting a total of 42 games and playing to a record of 21-16-6 with a .915 SV%, 2.62 GAA and 3 shutouts. Opie started the season well, but then fell off during the winter month before ending the season on a better note. Overall the young Czech went 14-18-7 during 40 starts and had a .906 SV%, 3.29 GAA and a pair of shutouts.

I don’t think it’s a stretch to think the team will look to re-sign Pavelec and have him return next year…the question is whether or not he’ll return as a starter or backup.

My guess would be that Hedberg… who’ll be 37-year old by that time… would start the season off as the main man in net with the plan of working Pavelec into that top spot as the year progresses. This was much the same idea the Thrashers had five years ago heading into the 2005-06 when they looked to Pasi Nurminem to help wean the young Kari Lehtonen into the starter role. What happened, of course, was that Pasi’s career came to a premature end when he injured his knee that summer…and Kari was pressed into the role sooner than desired.

But There Are Other Options Out There

However, there are other options out there. One such would be to make a trade for a quality keeper, but that would mean parting ways with quality talent on this end as well. Such a scenario could see talent such as, say, a Bryan Little or a Toby Enstrom caliber asset departing in exchange for such a goalie…maybe even taking with them a pick and/or prospect depending on the deal.

But to me, the better way to bring in a proven starter would be to see what could be obtained in the free agent pool this summer. There are several to choose from, but here are just two possibilities that could fit the bill…one a proven vet and the other is a young star with much promise.

Nabokov The Proven Veteran

First, the proven commodity…Evgeni Nabokov currently employed by the San Jose Sharks. This native of Kamenogorsk, Kazakhstan will be 35 years of age on July 25 and is slated to be an unrestricted free agent this summer. He is coming off a contract that paid him $5.375 million this past season. If I had my wish, this is the man we would see ‘tween the pipes this coming October here in Thrasherville.

In his ten-year career, he is 293-178 with 29 ties and 37 overtime losses. He has a .912 SV% and 2.39 GAA with 50 shutouts. To put that into some sort of perspective, Nabokov has only 15 fewer victories and 14 more shutouts than the Thrashers have as an organization…both having played 10 seasons.

In the past three years, his regular season numbers are 46-21-8 with a .910 SV%, 2.14 GAA and 6 SO in 2007-8…41-12-8 with a .910 SV%, 2.44 GAA and 7 SO in 2008-09…and 44-16-10 with a .922 SV%, 2.43 GAA and 3 SO this past season.

After he and the Sharks ousted the Colorado Avalanche Saturday night, he is now 36-33 lifetime in the playoffs with a .916 SV%, 2.19 GAA and 7 shutouts. That’s right…his career saves percentage and goals allowed stats are actually better in the playoffs than those in the regular season.

This post-season has been no exception as he has been stellar again so far. In the six games vs. the Avs, Nabokov netted a 1.76 GAA a .926 SV%. Tossed in was the 28-save shutout last Thursday night to help the Sharks take a 3-2 lead in the series.

Granted, Nabokov has backstopped a defense that allows much fewer shots on goal than the Thrashers’ blueline let up…in fact, during the past three seasons San Jose has averaged 27.6 SA/G while Atlanta has allowed 33.2 SA/G…but that serves only to accent the importance of procuring such a high-caliber goalie.

Of course the big question with Nabokov is…could he be persuaded to sign with the Thrashers? Well, I guess that all depends on how well Rick Dudley and [insert name of possible new head coach] can sell the organization. It also could depend on how much Dudley would be willing to pay the Calder Cup-winning/All-Star goalie.

Could Price Be Right For Dudley?

Another option to kick around is a younger goalie…someone like Montreal’s Carey Price. This 23-year old product of British Columbia is slated to become an RFA this summer.

Who would you like see as the Thrashers top goalie?

  • Johan Hedberg (15%, 18 Votes)
  • Odrej Pavelec (8%, 9 Votes)
  • Evgeni Nabokov (40%, 48 Votes)
  • Carey Price (19%, 23 Votes)
  • None of the above (18%, 22 Votes)

Total Voters: 120

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He lost his starting role to Jaroslav Halak this past season, (who will be an arbitration eligible RFA this summer)…appearing in but 14 games since New Years after playing in 37 prior to that. He finished the season with a record of 13-20-5 with a .912 SV% and 2.77 GAA.

For his career, he is 60-48-18 with a .912 SV%, 2.73 GAA and 4 shutouts.

His rookie season saw him play to a 24-12-3 mark with a .920 SV, 2.56 GAA and 3 shutouts. In two rounds of playoffs that year he played in 11 games, going 5-6 with a .901 SV%, 2.56 GAA and a couple of SO. Last year when he and the Canadiens were swept in the first round by the Bruins, he had a .878 SV% and 4.11 GAA… but the Habs were allowing a Thrasher-esque 32.5 SA/G during that series.

Overall his post-season numbers are 5-11 with a .895 SV%, 3.19 GAA and those 2 shutouts from the spring of 2008.

Price’s current contract pays him 2.2 million and he will be 24-years old in August. He’s played his entire three-year career under the hot lights of the Canadiens’ fan base & press corps…maybe he’s one of those that could benefit from a change of scenery.

And What About The Chicago Connection?

And finally, we have one last option to consider…the goalies currently minding the nets for the Chicago Wolves. 26-year old Peter Mannino compiled a record of 26 wins, 5 losses, 3 shootout wins, and 1 shootout loss with the AHL Wolves this past season and had a .921 SV%, 2.34 GAA and 2 SO while Drew MacIntyre was 20-17-1-2 with a .917 SV%, 2.54 GAA with 3 SO. MacIntyre will be 27-tears old in June.

Mannino has 3 games of NHL experience as a New York Islander while MacIntyre has 2 with the Vancouver Canucks. Given that, I would prefer the Thrashers to stick with either Hedberg or shop for some other proven veteran.

147 comments Add your comment

Zim

April 25th, 2010
7:47 am

Not even a mention of the other free agent goalies available this offseason?

Marty Turco, Jose Theodore, Chris Mason, Dan Ellis, and Marty Biron are all more stable, proven options than the Hedberg/Pavelec combination Thrasher fans witnessed last season. Mason and Theodore may re-up with their respective teams, but Turco, Ellis, and Biron will likely be available July 1.

Nabokob may be the cream of the crop this offseason, which probably means the veteran Russian is out of the Thrashers league in the free agent market. Atlanta seems to be targeting free agents, at least in the last couple of seasons, that are just a step below the league’s elite and looking to cash in on a first or second go-round at UFA status.

Dan Ellis is a guy that features not only a stellar Twitter Feed, but the attributes of a starting goalie that could help nurse the young, inconsistent Ondrej Pavelec along.

I’d be extremely surprised if the Thrashers decided to go with Carey Price over Pavelec. Price’s numbers are not drastically different than Pavelec’s and that comes with a better team around him in Montreal the last three years.

HookyBob

April 25th, 2010
7:50 am

I think whichever goalie Montreal will let go is a good choice. Seems to me that Price has a bit of a reputation that he can be “rattled” though (I’d still take him).

Marty Turco, or Marty Biron might be good choices for a year or two while seeing if Pavlec develops further.

Are there any records on how goalies do in shootouts? Seems to me Pavlec was very “ungood.” For a team that is stilling fighting for a play-off spot 5 days before the season ends,..that is something to look for.

Finally, I’d take a good look over in Europe for any established, or rising Finnish goalies. They seem to manufacture them at a high rate.

Tom (Capital T Tom)

April 25th, 2010
7:55 am

Part of me is intrigued by Mannino coming up.

A great compromise would be to spend Ilya money for 1 or 2 seasons on Nabokov, say 8 mm a year for 2 years, and then let Pavelec and Mannino fight it out as the backup.

Nabakov will not come here with our historically porous defense unless we hire a head coach he can trust or pay him stupid money. I vote spend the stupid money and get him.

He will pay for himself by getting the 1st round playoff money, then it is up to Dudley to build a solid defense around him and hire a coach that will teach said defense to the players.

R. Stroz

April 25th, 2010
8:34 am

The Thrashers need a real goalie coach.

This team has suffered from poor goalie development for years because Waddell chose his former college roomie, Steve Weeks, instead of getting a real goalie coach.

Tom (Capital T Tom)

April 25th, 2010
8:45 am

Stroz

STOP BEING LOGICAL.

LOL

I wonder if a condition of Dudley taking the job was the ability to fire Weeks?

R. Stroz

April 25th, 2010
8:53 am

Zim –

Turco – No way, he’s being replaced by Lehtonen, that speaks volumes.

Theodore – No way, less consistent than Moose

Mason – A little old for a starter, but not a bad idea.

Ellis – The most likely choice based on our budget.

Biron – Pass

Mr. Awesome

April 25th, 2010
8:56 am

They have a great goalie coach in the organization already. Johannes and as much as I love the moose. He is a backup goalie and that’s it. He has the best attitude of anyone I’ve ever met. He belongs in atlanta but behind the bench

glovesave29

April 25th, 2010
9:10 am

Personally – sign Moose, he’s the known entity within our structure. I am not a fan of Nabokov, for reasons I have stated ad nauseum. We need a healthy and steady locker room. It could be a one year “band aid” until we can move on. as we need to look beyond this off season – there are some good opportunities to get a solid goalie NEXT summer.

Thomas Vokoun – Florida – 32 -UFA after next season
Nothing needs to be said here – the best choice, PERIOD. I dont like to trade within the division – but to get him before he’s a UFA might be a great call.

Ilya Bryzgalov – 29 – UFA after next season
Cant believe PHX once got him for less than a bag of pucks. Second best choice – easy

Jimmy Howard – Detroit – 25 – UFA after next season
Is he a one season wonder, or a product of a great system? Spent a long time in the AHL, but has a tremendous upside.

Jean Sebastien Giguere – Toronto – 32 – UFA after next season
Seems like he is older, but still has a long time ahead of him. Toronto may take some picks for him as they lost so much via the Kessel trade. Big and calm, has a SC.

There are some interesting UFA’s out there –

Dan Ellis – Nashville – 26 – UFA
Solid and reliable.

Ray Emery – Philadelphia – 26 – UFA
Injured this year, but athletic and hungry – has a point to prove after being sent to the KHL

Antero Niitymakki – Tampa – 29 – UFA
We all know what he’s done to us!

We’d have to give something up for these as they are RFA’s, but solid none-the-less…

Antii Niemi – Chicago Blackhawks – 25 – RFA
Solid, now with playoff experience. CHI has cap issues, so they may be willing to talk

Jeff Deslauriers – Edmonton – 25 – RFA
Probably the goalie of the future in EDM, but the Oil has a ton of holes to fill ASAP, and Quinn has been known to be a wheeler dealer.

Josh Harding – Minnesota – 25 – RFA
A good young tender – would have to be a 50/50 guy with Pavs.

Jeremy H

April 25th, 2010
9:14 am

Um… fun fact: his name is Jaroslav Halak, not Havlat (a forward playing in Minnesota).

jimbo

April 25th, 2010
9:26 am

Try to get Nabakov for 2-3 years with big bucks and let Pavs develop as his understudy. Hedberg did a great job in a tough situation but is simply an aging, back-up goalie at best. Time to bring in a coach with a defensive notion (Anderson had no defensive clue) and start with a proven stud in the net. Nabakov shows no signs of slowing down.

Matt

April 25th, 2010
9:27 am

Glovesave-Ray Emery????? Are you kidding me?? What a locker room cancer he would be on this team. No, just NO!

World Be Free

April 25th, 2010
10:03 am

Ellis and/or Jeff Deslauriers make the most sense. On the latter, Edmonton needs cap relief; they are getting alotta pressure to “move forward” as a team. They have a bunch of overpaid guys, like the Bulin Wall. Moose played very well this season. I would have no issue whatsoever in bringing him back in a backup role. Not sure about Nabakov-makes little sense investing in a guy who is 35 years old who wants a Stanley Cup. He won’t get one here in the next 3 years, or more. Biron is backup, no better-he’s past his best years. What about Cory Schneider? He’s rotting in the Canucks system right now.

One more note-on defenseman-Volchenkov played very well in the Pittsburgh series, Hamlius too in Nashville. We need to sign one of these 2 guys, if we are not resigning Kubina. Both would be an upgrade over Kubina, who I like a great deal as a big defenseman.

rob

April 25th, 2010
10:21 am

Nabokov…..too much money, especially to come to Atl from a team that has Lord Stanley potential when he is not getting younger. Now is the time for him to be thinking contender. Gotta think younger or not quite that stature. Don’t even put Nittimaki(sp) in the group to consider. Take us out of his record and he isn’t impressive. An interesting thought that hasn’t been talked about much is Boston’s situation. Rask has probably beat Thomas out there, so do they keep him there or does he look to be moved where he can start next year? I could see this if the price were right, anyone know what he is making? If we are going shopping it will need to be for a proven starter, not a possibility. We have enough of those here in Pavs, Mannino, and a few others.

Brett

April 25th, 2010
10:23 am

Ray Emery is done!. He has the same injury that prematurely ended Bo Jackson’s career. This type of hip injury is devastating to anyone let alone an NHL goalie! PLUS he would be a huge distraction in the locker room.

rob

April 25th, 2010
10:29 am

WBF,
good thought on Nabokov LOL. I think it was you that threw out Thomas’ name first around the trade deadline as well. Watching Volchenkov playing I could see going after him if he was interested, he shows a lot of heart out there blocking shots. Problem being is guys like that are usually loyal, so will he leave Ott? While I like Kubina, I think he looked a bit slow at times, and if he losses much more of his speed he will not be as effective IMO. Haven’t seen Hamlius play. It will be interesting seeing all of the Dmen we have vying for spots in training camp, and also how Zach does next year if he doesn’t have the wrist problem he was said to have had most of this season.

glovesave29

April 25th, 2010
10:44 am

Emery was a bad apple BEFORE his time in Russia. Some people mature later in life, perhaps Ray is in that group. He’s certainly worth the risk

Sherry Taylor

April 25th, 2010
10:51 am

First, I do NOT want to hear anything about bringing someone up from Chicago. Been there and done that and look how well that worked out. I do agree waiting to see who is available come July 1 is a good idea and I’m probably sure that’s what Dudley will do. But, after the series Nabokov had for the Sharks against Colorado, I cannot see them letting him go, besides he’s 35. Why let one ‘old’ guy go for another? Doesn’t make sense. Pavelec will probably be ready by mid-season but what do you do until then? Good question. Be smart is the answer, but this club has not always shown that they can be.

I’m reminded of Waddell’s inability to keep good players everytime I watch a play-off game, just for example–Pasquel Dupuis. Let us hope that Dudley has a better instinct and ability to keep good players around.

Flagstaff

April 25th, 2010
11:11 am

The question is not “Should Dudley pick up a top-tier goalie?” as much as it is “Will he?”, and I don’t think he will. The choice to move Lehtonen shows the organization’s confidence in Pavelec as a future #1 goalie. (Although this was during Waddell’s tenure, Dudley was still present and obviously had a hand in getting Vishnevskiy (sp?) in return.) And I don’t see them passing on Moose after the season he had. I’d look for them to wait until 2011 to try and get a new goalie.

As for a new top forward, I don’t see the Thrashers going after Marleau, Plekanec, or any other top-name man, simply because of a limited budget and the fact that not many people want to come here anyway. Perhaps Antropov could try to talk his pal Ponikarovsky into coming here.

As for defense, I really don’t see too many adjustments coming up. He seems to like the top 4 we have already.

The biggest difference will come in coaching. There aren’t too many people available right now, but only time will tell here.

Anyway, I hope Dudley can prove me wrong about some of these theses…

R. Stroz

April 25th, 2010
11:29 am

If Waddell would have had the intelligence to bring in a real goalie coach instead of a college cronie, I wonder if Lehtonen would have bloomed.

If you’re Lehtonen and your “goalie coach” is little more than the GM’s stooge, what motivation do you have to develop?

No accountability as a coach spreads.

Joe Friday

April 25th, 2010
11:59 am

It’s a no brainer to go after Nabokov as your top target. It’s the quickest way we can turn this club around, to finally have a true #1. All the other UFAs are no better than Moose, so might as well keep Moose than go after one of them as Moose is great in the room.

Nabokov and we have a competitive club instantly.

World Be Free

April 25th, 2010
12:04 pm

rob, you are correct, I did toss out Thomas at first amongst others. But I am thinking more about the long term effects of bringing in a goalie that wants to be here long term, vs. an old guy that’s looking for a check for a season or 2 or 3. We need Jeff Deslauriers, Cory Schiender, Ellis or someone younger to build on for the next few years.

Stroz on Kari-I still think the problem with Kari was his heart, will and desire to be a number one. His issues were always pulled muscles and spasms. I never saw the physical dedication it takes to be a number one. The things that nobody can teach; you have to have it in your heart.

Defenseman-not sure what Volchenkov thinks of Ottawa, since they haven’t been able to get a deal done yet. Siedenberg is another one; I suggested him last summer, then he went to Florida and became a mainstay. They like him in Boston too, though I am not certain the Broones have enough cap space to keep Siedenberg.

Alan R.

April 25th, 2010
12:13 pm

[Carey Price] lost his starting role to Jaroslav Havlat this past season, (who will be an arbitration eligible RFA this summer)

Pretty sure you mean Halak, Bill, as the only Havlat I’m aware of in the NHL plays for the Wild. :P

R. Stroz

April 25th, 2010
12:35 pm

WBF – Kari has motivation issues. However, why draft a young goalie requiring development if you have no one to do the job.

Weeks was the equivalent of having Waddell’s college beer buddy turn a young man into a world class goalie.

If you don’t have a real goalie coach, well you better get a veteran goalie who already knows the ropes.

And, to make matters worse, Waddell’s beer buddy was ruining another goalie, Pavelec.

With no offence to glovesave, when a blogger can see and knows how to address fundamental proper positioning flaws better than the goalie coach, unmitigated disaster is the result.

When anyone else consider Kari Lehtonen’s career and Pavelec’s development, or lack thereof, to be an unmitigated disasters? I would.

Thrashfan01

April 25th, 2010
12:58 pm

Nabby – is a no based on money. While he is the class of the UFA goalie pool the cost, 5-6 mil per is so far out of our budget it simply makes no sense.

Ellis – Makes the most sense. At 29 he is actually coming into the right age. At 2 mil this year Ellis is well within the Spirit Budget.

Price – a no because we would have to give up assets.

Moose – Knows the organization. This season was a career year but as a backup and mentor at a bit over one mil per the ptice is right. If he would become an organizational coach he would be perfect and if we had a rash of injuries he could don the pads.

Brendan

April 25th, 2010
1:05 pm

My goaltending idea is to the sign the BEST AVAILABLE UFA netminder “actually willing” to sign with Atlanta. And I don’t particularly care if we OVERPAY to get him. Maybe that’s Nabakov. Maybe it’s Roloson or Biron. Maybe we get a #1 guy via trade? I’m not opposed that, provided that the goalie traded here wants to play here, and had remaining years on his contract. I don’t someone in mind, when I mention that.

There are some surplus goalies. I see Niemi, not Huet, in the Chicago net. I see Tuukka Rask, not Tim Thomas, in the Boston net. I see Varlamov, not Theodore, in the Capitals net. I see Halak, not Carey Price, in the Habs net. I doubt Ottawa would move Elliott. And in the cases of Elliot and Carey, or even Halak, are they bonafide #1’s? Maybe in Elliot’s case, the answer is yes.

What about Deslauriers, in Edmonton? Not exactly firmly established, either, maybe worth taking a long hard look-see. Deslauriers went immediately after Jim Slater in the 2002 draft, 31st overall, the first pick of the 2nd round. Deslaurier is 6′4, 200 pounds, catches right. He’ll be 26 years old on May 14th. I hear ya … “late bloomer?” Well, if we do get him, at least didn’t invest the years developing him. We can thank the Oilers for that.

Rawhide

April 25th, 2010
1:36 pm

Jeremy H and Alan R. – My bad…it is indeed Halak, don’t know why I had Havlat on the brain last night. Post has been corrected.

Brendan

April 25th, 2010
1:45 pm

After reading some of the poster comments, I am intrigued by Dan Ellis. Is he withing the “price range” of the Atlanta Spirit? I’m not sure. But I kinda think so.

After thinking it over on Nabokov, and weighing Glovesave29’s post, our resident blog goaltender, I think we do have to forget Nabby as a possibility. Oh, not that Joe Friday’s wrong. He’s not wrong. If we could land Nabokov, I’m for it. I just don’t think Nabokov really believes his best opportunity for a Cup, or another Cup, is here in Thrasherville.

Let’s talk more about Ellis. What do we know about him? You Sabre and Islander fans, chime in on Marty Biron. I don’t Biron so well, to know if he’s a good fit here. But I’m interested. What’s the deal with Roloson? Tim Thomas is a gamble. I don’t rightly know what happened to him this season. Maybe he just saw Tuukka Rask and got demoralized? I don’t know. I need a Bruin fan to chim in, to help me out.

Pavelec, I still like ‘im. I see him as a “work in progress.” Certainly, he’d benefit from a proper goalie coach. Now, as for Moose … you guys know I love him. He’s my 2nd favorite Thrasher, EVER. But he’s 37 in May, and we got a GIFT of a season from him. My $0.02, he delivered what he had left in the tank of his career this past season. And if we go back to the well too often, we’ll find it dry. He’s a career “back up.” Name me another GM who would look to Hedberg to be his #1 goalie in the Fall? If Hedberg doesn’t retire, and isn’t re-signed by Atlanta, he will join another team to be their BACK-UP goalie. I’m fine with carrying three (3) goalies, just like we did this year, if management cannot cut the cord with Johan Hedberg. He can sit up in the presser. I’m okay with it. But it wouldn’t be my first choice.

My 1st choice … is to try to land the BEST AVAILABLE UFA netminder out on the market. My 2nd choice … is to TRADE for the BEST AVAILABLE goaltender on the TRADE MARKET. Absent that, we stand pat with a re-signed Moose and young Pavelec. I am concerned, if we do try to land Carey Price. He’s not really an established #1 goalie. What he is … is very high 1st round draft pick from 2005. That usually means “high pedigree,” but I haven’t really seen it yet. If I had to choose between Halak and Price, hmmn, I guess I go with Halak.

kracker

April 25th, 2010
1:53 pm

Quick hit: I don’t think Nabokov is $5M better than Moose, not unless Duds is allowed to spend to the cap. Even then, I don’t know.

BG33Brown

April 25th, 2010
2:45 pm

I want Vokoun for NJ’s 1st round draft pick. He is a 1 years stop gap at 6M. It would be great for Pav’s plus he should feel comfortable seeing as they plan internationally together a lot.

Brendan

April 25th, 2010
3:21 pm

I’d love Vokoun, too. But would Florida do it? They need a goaltender, too.

Two quick goals, here in the 2nd period. One by Phoenix, on a PP. The other by Detroit. Coyotes 2, Red Wings 1, 2nd period.

Adam

April 25th, 2010
3:26 pm

I like the thought of trading for Vokoun, he’s had a stellar couple of years in FLA, but we’d have to give up quite a bit. Also, I think the 6.3 mil cap hit would be to high for us. Chris Mason looks to be a better fit and we don’t have to give up anything. I simply don’t agree with Stroz on Theodore being less consistent than Moose. If Dudley’s budget in in the 5-7 mil for this position and Opie gets 1.5-2 mil then Mason at 3.5-4 mil leaves room for Moose to stay at 1-1.25 mil. Theodore at 5 mil’ish fits what we’re looking without leaving room to sign a 3rd player.

World Be Free

April 25th, 2010
3:32 pm

Stroz – as usual, I totally agree with your contention about the goalie coach situation. I hope we can secure a better coach this time. My take on Kari is that he never had the dedication or commitment to being a number one goalie. You have to be one heck of a coach to “transplant” the desire needed to be an impact goaltender. Maybe a change of venue will help Kari.

World Be Free

April 25th, 2010
3:36 pm

It will take $4-5M to get Ellis. We won’t be the only team going for him. If we want him, we will have to pay for him. He’s a UFA that will sign July 1, no later than July 2.

I am concerned about Pavs as well. Glovesave pointed out long ago that Pavs has some techical flaws that still exist today. His movement freom side to side is poor. A real goaltender coach should be able to correct these issues.

Savannah Blueland Fan

April 25th, 2010
4:15 pm

Let’s put Don Waddell in the net. He’s good at deflections.

kracker

April 25th, 2010
4:18 pm

Darn…been busy today…so I haven’t read everybody’s ideas yet. I’ll get to them later.

Here’s a different take on the going with Pavs and Moose scenario: This is a little unconventional but what I’m kicking around is to sign Moose as coach-player and play him sparingly and enough in practice to keep his skills level up. Pavs is #1 and sign a cheap backup goalie. Or maybe Mannino is ready to backup Pavs. Moose is there and available if the Pavs/backup tandem fails. This means carrying three goalies so they have to be cheap, like all three for maybe $3.5M, about half the salarys of signing an aging Nabakov for $5M + Pavs salary of maybe $2M. This give us goalie options and leaves money to apply to the skaters and d-men. Also, Moose has to be judged to be a good choice for goalie coach and he has to want the job.

I’m fine with trading for a Price for perhaps the NJ 1st and trading Pavs. We don’t need both unless Pavs is content to try to out play Price for the job while earning backup goalie money.

Well gotta go wash and vac the car. I think the pollen haze is finally over.

Brendan

April 25th, 2010
5:36 pm

YYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYESSSSSSSSSSSSSSS! Coyotes win, 5-2!!! I’d say the “bankrupt” owners of the Phoenix Coyotes will appreciate the revenue produced from hosting not one, not two, not three, but four (4) home playoff games. If you’re scoring at home, that’s a bare bones minimum of $8 million in “100-percent PURE PROFITS” for the owners.

See, Bruce Levenson, that’s the goal. You win … then you make it into the playoffs … then you host series, plural, ideally. Get it?? Bruce turns around, “But Brendan, what does that have to do with basketball? Didn’t you see we lost to Milwaukee last night. Focus, my dear Brendan. Focus on what’s important. The NBA.” “Duly noted,” Mr. Levenson.

Mr. Heat Miser

April 25th, 2010
6:03 pm

Yes it’s all for naught it seems as long as the Octocluster is writing the checks……

Brendan

April 25th, 2010
6:09 pm

Accepting Adam’s post of $3.5 million for Chris Mason, along with $1.5-ish for Pavelec, seems to be a fairly decent return on a estimated earmarked $5 million for goaltending purposes. I like Ellis. But if Ellis will cost $4.5 million, if we’re lucky, plus Pavelec’s $1.5 million, now we’re at $6 million. In this price range, I’d say we take a shot at Nabokov instead, even if it’s to hear the sound of his agent’s laughter, followed by a “You’ve got to be kidding me!” Actually, rubbin’ my chin, agents like to use the Thrashers to drive up the price of the intended destination of their clients. So, they’d welcome our inquiry.

If Ellis could be had for $4 million, Pavelec for $1.5 million, and Moose for $1 million, at least that’s some “depth” for $6.5 million. Maybe it’s best to look at Chris Mason some more. I guess we’d be allright with a tandem of Mason and Pavelec, for $5 million combined, with Mannino as the fallback, in case of injury.

Brendan

April 25th, 2010
6:22 pm

WBF, just out of curiosity, what would cost for Biron? He’s not my #1, by any means. But I see him as someone who might be un-signed on July 2nd or July 3rd. That means … we might actually have some shot at him. I still like the idea of Deslauriers, out of Edmonton, too. Hold up. I know what you’re thinking. “Why would Jeff want to come here?” Well, first of all, it’s about 50-degrees warmer on average. I tease. I kid. Also, when you’re dog runs away in Atlanta, it doesn’t take 3 days to chase him down. Edmonton finished 30th out of 30. Atlanta wasn’t nearly as bad as all that. What’d we finish, 23rd? 24th?? 22nd?? Somewhere in this viscinity. It’s a better situation, now at least, then what he prospectively faces in the frozen wilderness of Alberta. I think Deslauriers may be ready to finally blossom, as a 2002 draftee. At least we didn’t spend the years developing him. It’s just a passing thought.

Savannah Blueland Fan

April 25th, 2010
6:22 pm

My shocking family secret: I grew up in southwest Michigan from a mixed marriage. Yep, one side of the family roots for Chicago and the other side (those used-to-be Canadians we DON’T invite to picnics) roots for Detroit. This has been a wonderful weekend for me!

Sticking with my original prediction: Blackhawks defeat the Caps in 5 games.

Brendan

April 25th, 2010
6:32 pm

Is there an L.A. Kings fan up in this house? Talk to me about the situation between Jonathan Bernier, 11th overall pick from 2006, Jonathan Quick, and Erik Ersberg. They cannot keep them all. I suspect Ersberg would be the odd man out. But if somehow Quick were the one shown the door, he might be an interesting consideration. I don’t know his contractual situation. I also don’t know how far away Jonathan Bernier is from becoming the Kings’ # 1 goalie.

mutton

April 25th, 2010
6:36 pm

Hahahaha Brendan, love the not-so-hypothetical conversation with Bruce L. Very well played, sir!

Brendan

April 25th, 2010
6:40 pm

By your liege, mutton. :)

Brendan

April 25th, 2010
6:55 pm

Before the topic passes entirely, I’ve never like pick # 22 in any draft year. (Okay, I only said that to make the geeks go scrambling to defend their favorites, selected at 22nd overall. That should keep them busy, eh? I fully expect them to emerge with a HERO, and a declaration of what AN IDIOT I am.) That said, I’d like to package that pick. Said another way, “I don’t trust Dan Marr and Waduddley to find someone GOOD at # 22.” If we could trade # 22 for an RFA, it might turn out okay. For those wanting Halak or Price, from Montreal, this pick, plus some prospect either in Gwinnett or Chicago (AHL) might just do the trick.

Personally, I’m leery of going after either Halak or Price. They’re just not established enough yet. A better bet than what’s on that draft board at # 22?? Maybe so. Maybe so.

glovesave29

April 25th, 2010
6:57 pm

Not sure you want to carry 3 goalies, the only way to stay sharp is to play. Practices just don’t cut it. I doubt anyone that comes is going to be OK with being either in the press box or being sent down to the AHL – plus they’d be subject to the waiver wire, so you’d likely lose him anyhow. That’s why you stick with the current combo for another season and go after Vokoun or Giguere next summer.

Brendan – my problem with Pavs is not his lateral movement. To be honest, that is his strongest suit. Its that he does not move under control. He overcommits and takes himself out of position. He moves across in his butterfly and leaves the net wide open. He’s the hockey equivalent of the base stealer who gets tagged out sliding past second…the free safety that falls for the head fake and leaves wide open the receiver with a 50 yard touchdown. But I certainly agree that he’s a victim of not having the tools to succeed, he needs a good goalie coach. Why do you think Toronto is getting people to come there? The weather? The great team? Goalie guru Francois Allare?

I can see LA purging a goalie with little to nothing in return a la Bryzgalov from Anaheim to Phoenix…it’d be nice to take advantage of that…

Brendan

April 25th, 2010
7:11 pm

Glovesave29, I always appreciate your posts. Very insightful. I think it was WBF who cited the lateral movement in his 3:36 PM post. I like Pavelec. I think he’s a keeper for the future. But I’m unsure if he’s ready for a full season of being the # 1 goalie in Atlanta. That’s why my 1st choice is the best available netminder out on the Free Agent market, willing to sign here. If we overpay for either Ellis or Chris Mason, I can live with that. It’s not an ideal situation, but what is??? The Spirit still owns this team. And players talk to each other, behind the scenes.

DanEllisRocks

April 25th, 2010
7:23 pm

A Dan Ellis mention! I’m pysched. And not only is Dan Ellis a solid goalie … he is a hilarious Tweeter (@dellis39 if you don’t already follow him) — if you like that. It’s a great marketing tool. In addition to getting goalies and players — you know, the important stuff. A good social marketing campaign could help the Thrashers too in my opinion. That’s also crucial.

Colby Tweeted for a while and so did Hedberg, but I always got the feeling they were told to stop. Or that they were squelched for some reason. Ellis, is a character. And he’s made a Preds fan out of me. Maybe not the choice we are looking for in goal, but I am going off track.

Marketing is a topic for another day!

World Be Free

April 25th, 2010
7:28 pm

Brendan, my take on Deslauriers is that he wants to stay in Edmonton, even though he had to play for a bad team last year. But the Oilers have 3 goalies including Deslauriers, Dubnyk and the Bulin Wall who is not tradeable. They have to trade someone or lose one to waivers prior to next season. I think Deslauriers would be open to coming here to be a #1 for a new coach that might install and NHL system vs the one Anderson had here last season. Stevens, Ramsay and Torchetti all would be an upgrade over what we had. And let’s hope they bring a goalie coach that is an improvement over Weeks!

Deslauriers and Ellis should be our targets. Nabakov, Turco and Thomas are too old, they are not part of our future. Turco has already made it clear that he wants to go to a team that is close to winning a Cup. We do not have a future #1, unless the new goalie coach can cure Pavs of his ills. Sorry to misquote you Glovesave.

The situation in Los Angeles poses another opportunity. Bernier would be a nice addition, or we can go back to Cory Schneider in Vancouver. No Cary Price though; I just don’t see Price siezing the opportunity to be number one.

On Biron-Marty is a great interview, great teammate, but not a number one. I think he can be had as a backup for his current salary, which I believe is about $1.4M/season.

Stephane Fiset

April 25th, 2010
7:33 pm

Interesting discussion. Would would be having this discussion at all if you could subtract Pavelec’s December performance? Frankly, I think you all are being short-sighted. Goalies, as I discussed before, are either starters or back-ups. Few can exist as both, such as Toskala, whom many people thought was a great find by Toronto but clearly he is not a No. 1 goalie, yet he was a stellar back-up to Nabokov.

So, if you don’t think Pavelec is a No. 1 goalie now, then there certainly is no guarantee he can become one. I do believe he is one and can be a great one with the proper coaching as R. Stroz and others have pointed out. He was rushed to the NHL because of Lehtonen’s injury and now after proving he can play at this level, yet not on a consistent basis, everyone wants to consider alternatives. As I have said over, and over, and over again, this team will not spend anything remotely close to $4- $5- or $6 million for a goalie, and since Nabokov is now in the second round of the Western Conference playoffs, he WILL NOT consider coming to Atlanta at a discount. Why should he?

Move on. And, if you want Price to create a competition between Pavelec and Price, like Montreal did with Halak and Price, how exactly does that work? Like it did in Montreal?

Pick your No. 1 guy and a back-up. Pavelec and Hedberg, Pavelec and Biron. Nabokov and Mannino. Whatever. A competition for the No. 1 spot rarely if ever works. You play one guy 50-60 games and the other guy the balance with no guessing games.

A No. 1 needs stability and a No. 2 needs to know when he’s playing his 22-32 games. That’s the environment that has worked over and over and over in the NHL. Reinventing the wheel in Atlanta won’t work as has been proven for the past 10 seasons.

The only two goalies that started 65 games this year and didn’t make the playoffs: Lundqvist and Kiprusoff, 8th and 10th in save percentage this year.

World Be Free

April 25th, 2010
8:06 pm

Fiset, it would be interesting to see what your primary name is on this blog.

You have an interesting perspective on the situation, I you make some good points. The problem with goaltending, is that it’s the most difficult position on a team to predict. Goaltending is an individual position by nature, impacting the team more than any other position if the #1 does not perform to expectations. We won’t be talking about this if Kari was properly developed and physically trained as he would have been in a better organization. Opie suffers from the same lack of development.

Stroz made the point that many of us have made before-the value of the right goalie coach. Assuming we hire the right goalie coach, we need a number #1 for the coming season to ensure Opie is developed while we are winning games. Could it work with Moose and Opie again? Don’t know, but at least we would know what we are getting for the coming season.

Like you said Fiset, interesting discussion. I hope Dudley can figure it out.