Thrashers talk contract extension with Kubina and Afinogenov… Armstrong, not so much

According to Kevin Allen of USA Today, the Atlanta Thrashers have begun talks with defenseman Pavel Kubina and forward Maxim Afinogenov regarding keeping the two in Thrasherville next season.

The Thrashers would like to see the return of Pavel Kubina and Maxim Afinogenov, seen here scoring against Buffal last October (AP Photo/Don Heupel)

The Thrashers would like to see the return of Pavel Kubina and Maxim Afinogenov, seen here scoring against Buffalo last October (AP Photo/Don Heupel)

Allen also indicates that they have no chance of re-signing  forward Colby Armstrong.

Last season… after signing a one-year, $800,000 contract with the Thrashers… Afinogenov scored a career high 24 goals and finished with 61 points. Six goals and 12 assists came while on the power play and three times he scored the game-winner.

Kubina came by way of a trade with Toronto and is coming off a contract that paid him $5-million per season. He was a solid presence on the blueline and chipped in with 6 goals and 32 assists last year, finishing with an EVEN +/- rating.

Kubina turned 33 last April 15 while Max will be 31 on September 4.

Allen surmises that both Kubina and Afinogenov may still opt to test the free agent waters. However, he also stated that they are looking to sign prospect Swedish prospect Carl Klingberg, believing that the 34th overall draft pick in 2009 could play on the second line as soon as this season.

NHL playoff ratings up 19 percent

Is NHL hockey finally starting to show some recovery from the lockout five years ago? Well according to the TV numbers, it just very well may be.

As AP sportswriter Rachel Cohen points out in this piece found on Yahoo Sports, “The good vibes have rolled on for hockey through the Stanley Cup playoffs. The first two rounds have averaged 886,000 viewers per game in the U.S., up 19 percent from last year and the most since 1997 – in other words, since before the lockout”.

Cohen contributes some of the low rating right after the work stoppage to that made their way to the Stanley Cup Finals in the years following the work stoppage that wiped away the 2004-05 season…Caroline-Edmonton and Ottawa-Anaheim.

Exciting series like the second-round matchup between Philadelphia and Boston have led to increased TV viewership (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

Exciting series like the second-round matchup between Philadelphia and Boston have led to increased TV viewership (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

However, some very exciting postseason matchups from teams in big television markets…right on the heels of last February’s Olympics…have helped draw viewers back to NHL action.

“But as fortunes have shifted so have TV ratings”, Cohen’s write up continues. “The league is coming off two straight Red Wings-Penguins showdowns and that dramatic Olympic tournament capped by the thrilling final between the two North American teams. The second round of this year’s playoffs was full of large-market, tradition-rich, star-laden franchises—and it doesn’t hurt that 10 of the 12 series so far this postseason have gone at least six games at playoff series this spring.”

Having the Los Angeles Kings return to the postseason after so many years certainly has to help matters as well given that the greater L.A. area is second only to New York in TV markets.

And as we look forward to the Stanley Cup Finals, the league official have to be thrilled at the notion that regardless who comes out victorious in the Western Conference Finals, they are going to have either the third-highest TV market or fifth-highest represented by Chicago or San Jose, (considered a part of the greater San Francisco-Oakland-San Jose market).

If Philadelphia is successful in the Eastern Conference Finals…and they lead it 2 games to 1 at this time…then the NHL will be blessed with the fourth-highest market as well.

And Now, A Programming Note From Your Blog Host

As many of you already know, this Saturday my oldest tax exemption is scheduled to graduate from high school. His grades are in…finals have been taken and passed…and he is spending his last two days of secondary education practicing with his schoolmates for Saturday’s ceremonies.

However, until I actually see them hand him the diploma…and allow him to leave the building with it…in my mind, anything can happen. I just have too much history with this boy over the last twelve years to be able to breathe comfortably just yet. Anything can happen with him, I tell you.

But assuming all goes off without a hitch, Matt will be a high school graduate in a couple days and will be preparing for his days as a college student.

After that, the Divine Mrs. R and I will be wheeling our way down to the beaches of Florida with both boys to take a weeklong vacation…a long-awaited R&R before we begin a very busy month of June in which the younger tax exemption will spend each week of that month away at various JROTC camps and events.

Given all of that, over the course of the next several weeks, do not be surprised if a few days pass between blog posts. I’ll have internet access wherever I roam, but I’m sure you’ll all understand why my attention will be focused in other directions for just a while.

123 comments Add your comment

Kevin

May 20th, 2010
11:22 pm

Good, Armstrong is a 3rd line player at best who scores about three highlight hits a year and is basically non existent for the rest of the season.

Spend the money elsewhere.

Tom Lysiak

May 20th, 2010
11:56 pm

A reported $2.4 million should buy way more than 15 goals/29 points, namely consistent effort. See ya Colby…..

Bogothrash

May 21st, 2010
6:41 am

Congratulations on the pedding graduation of your #1 tax exemption and enjoy your well earned vacation.

As far as Colby is concerned let him go. He never acted like he wanted to be here anyway and this past season most of the time he simply mailed in his play. Let the Thrashers use that salary savings for someone who wants to be a Thrasher and comes to play everynight.

World Be Free

May 21st, 2010
7:33 am

Don’t know why any player, unless he is a sure thing, would want to test the UFA waters at this time. So many teams are looking to dump contracts, versus picking them up. Max still has his past rep he has to deal with and GMs have a long memory. That being said, I hope we resign both guys. If not, in Kubina’s case, we should find a suitable replacement in the free agent ranks.

Colby will be heading to the Maple Leafs. Good luck in Toronto Colby, where the press and fans will fry you when you take 2-3 games off in a row as you did in Atlanta. The Toronto media needs a new whipping boy.

DWTOO

May 21st, 2010
8:05 am

Never hurts to see if someone will throw a pile of money at you, but, I see Finny and Kubina returning to the fold. As for Armstrong, we have better/cheaper oprtions in Machachek or Klinberg. Don’t see him coming back. Besides we sat at his table at Casino Night – no one escapes the Spanish Inquisition or us at your table.

Russian

May 21st, 2010
8:10 am

I like to keep Pasha for $4.0 per year. I think Max will ask around $2.5-3.0 per year. Armi is a good player, but I am not crying to loose him. We paid him too much.
**Rawhide**
Congratulation! I have same deal. My second one will graduate from Kennesaw Mountain High School. And we going to Florida also.
HAVE FUN! :-) :-)

World Be Free

May 21st, 2010
8:25 am

Russian-nice to see you have a K-M grad too. Great school.

glovesave29

May 21st, 2010
8:26 am

I remember when Army was traded here, the media / blogs were filled with glowing reports of a guy who wore his heart on his sleve, who went hard 150% of the time, and that Atlanta fans would just love to watch. Never saw it. I saw total indifference. Either PIT fans were wearing rose-colored glasses, or Colby just shut it down here. Leave…go…y’know the old saying – “don’t let the door hit ya where the good Lord split ya!”. Money can be used better elsewhere. Pavel, Max – hope they stay.

rob

May 21st, 2010
8:56 am

Rawhide,
Congrats!!! Enjoy your family and the time away and don’t worry about us, we are all grown adults (even when we don’t act it) and can get by with allowing the blogmaster some deserved time away from all of us!!

Armstrong is a curious piece. If he could somehow figure out how to play at a consistant level, he would do well and be worth what he made here. But watching his lack of effort day in and day out is unacceptable, so I say see ya! I hope they don’t get caught up paying Kubina too much or an extended contract as I feel he may have played his best hockey. I also hope that they don’t pay Max based on 1 season. I would expect Max to take into consideration the chance the team gave him and the warm reception we gave him here in his decision of if he wants to test the market before signing.

Putting On The Foil

May 21st, 2010
9:04 am

Congrats to both Rawhide’s and Russian’s grads. Like most, would like to see Max and Kubina return. Army should have been the one making the $800,000. Have seen all of the great EC playoff hockey, not so much the west(too late when you get up at 4am every morning), but glad to see ratings going up.

Rawhide

May 21st, 2010
9:19 am

Russian – Thanks and congrats to your boy, too!

Mine graduates from North Cobb. So if you are going to be a part of the graduation assembly line at KSU tomorrow, maybe I’ll see ya there.

Red Light

May 21st, 2010
9:29 am

Question of the Day: If you had to pay $10 per game, or $410 per season to watch an HD broadcast of all Thrashers home games either via the internet or on TV, would you do it?

Red Light

May 21st, 2010
9:34 am

The question should have included: If you had no other “free broadcast” or Center Ice option, would you pay $10 per game, or $410 per season to watch an HD broadcast of all Thrashers home games either via the internet or on TV?

Smoothie

May 21st, 2010
9:35 am

R/L – considering I paid over $1500 for 2 tkts in the upper level for 40 games + parking + concessions, I would gladly pay $400 to have every Thrashers game televised in HD so I could stay at home 1/2 the time and save about $500 by not going and not getting gouged for parking and beer. Plus, I’m a game-watching, analysis-addicted hockey junkie!!

Sorry to hear Colby doesn’t want to come back, but I’m not really surprised. He’s a western Canadian boy who dreams of playing for a team in Canada or at least close to CA. But he’s being quite short-sighted not realizing the potential of our youth. And I imagine he’ll be lucky to get any more than a 10% raise on the open market. It’s unfortunate because I think he is a very solid player when he plays with emotion and attitude, but like many here have said, he seemed to be playing with very little “give-a-crap” juice in the tank most of the time.

Smoothie

May 21st, 2010
9:41 am

Oh yeah, it would have to be on TV so I could use my 46″ flat screen. But then again, I might be able to use an HDMI cable to run the laptop feed into the TV. While $10 / game seems a bit much right now, for me it would be more than worth it. Eventually, this is how cable TV will work…with more a la carte choices where you pay per event or by the bushel of bundled channels.

Joe Friday

May 21st, 2010
9:48 am

“or Colby just shut it down here.”

Winner winner, chicken dinner. It’s been quite obvious that just like Hossa and Kovy before him, he was biding his time to get out of here. My call remains that he’s the 1st UFA signed on July 1st, back to the Pens.

“If you had to pay $10 per game, or $410 per season to watch an HD broadcast of all Thrashers home games either via the internet or on TV, would you do it?”

Of course not. The 1st advantage I found when I unhooked myself from the DW kool aid machine and turned in my season tix, is that on a nightly basis, I get several NHL games in glorious 100″ high def in my theatre. And all for the price of what, $159 per year? And many Thrash games are in high def already, sometimes you have to watch the away feed (just register one of your boxes in another zip code and don’t plug a phone line into it).

Joe Friday

May 21st, 2010
10:01 am

Colby’s got his bag packed, which begs the question, has Dudley being named the GM (in title anyway) changed the perception UFAs have of us? Kozlov is the only decent UFA that ever re-signed here of his own volition, and that ended badly with him badmouthing us. I guess Holik was another UFA that chose to sign here, but that ended badly as well.

Sure would be nice to see an inkling that things really have changed here. Kubina signing early with us would help show that guys respect Dudley’s ability going forward.

Smoothie

May 21st, 2010
10:12 am

Problem is Joe that the contract demands of Pavel Kubina might be too great thus making it unwise for us to sign him before July 1. I think Kubina does like it here and sees a chance for him to finish his career here making some good money. Problem is he may want 4 years. I’m not down with that. I think 3 years is the max # we should go even if we have to pay him more than the surmised going rate of $4 M / year. I’d be fine with 3 years averaging $4.25 – 4.5 M.

As for Fins, at least we now have Colby’s money to pay Max his new MV. I say he gets 4 years at an avg of $2.5 M. While I may not want him that long, he is a threat every time he touches the puck and can be quite effective along the wall on the PP, both of which we need right now. However, it may be better to overpay him at $3 M or so per year for only 3 years.

Again, this team needs to keep an eye on the long-term horizon and not get too caught up in making headlines by re-signing UFA’s who may be overvalued because we have the money to pay them more.

FormerIslesFan

May 21st, 2010
10:17 am

RH,

Hard to believe that in the time I’ve known you that Matt has grown into a graduating HS senior. So, congrats to him, you and the rest of the family on that wonderful achievement.

Spud Webb

May 21st, 2010
10:18 am

Russian, Bill, congratulations on the kids!!
No way we should give max anything close to 2.5-3 million. I’d give him 2.2 for 2 years, thats it. Kubs, this should be interesting. I have to think he’s gonna test the market, just for the fact of what some D men have gotten the last few years, Campbell, Hainsey. He will probably get an outragous offer from some needy team. SIlly if he didnt test the market.

Savannah Blueland Fan

May 21st, 2010
10:29 am

Did Colby play for us last year? I never noticed. But, like most everyone, it would be great to see Max and Pavs back; especially Max.

Rawhide, I feel your pain. Three years ago, my nephew was in his last year of high school. The end of the school year was approaching, graduation announcements were mailed out, the ceremony was rehearsed (and re-rehearsed), parties were planned. Then, one week before the big day, my nephew decided wouldn’t it be fun to attend school with a water bottle full of vodka….

Well, we had the party anyway. After all, you can’t return a decorated cake. But the dumb kid didn’t get that diploma until the fall. You’ll have better luck, though. Enjoy Florida’s beaches; bring us all back little oily tarballs as souvenirs.

Russ

May 21st, 2010
10:35 am

If the Thrashers have to overpay anyone, which they usually do just to meet the salary cap minimum, I would overpay Kubina. I wouldn’t go higher than about $1.8 mil. for 2 or 3 years with Max. If he wants $2 mil plus, that’s too much for a one way player coming off of one good year that’s career was severely trending downwards prior to that IMO. I think there are suitable replacements for Max coming up through the system that would cost about 1/3 the price. Too bad Armstrong wasn’t feeling it here. If/when his heart is into the game he is an extremely effective third liner that could do a respectable job on the second line in a pinch.

BillyWayne67

May 21st, 2010
10:40 am

Maybe the best thing to do is find and KEEP a coach, add a center and address the special teams.
Creating a revolving door of players is frustrating

Russian

May 21st, 2010
11:07 am

Everybody! Thank you.
**Rawhide**
It will be great to see at KSU, but it will lot of people there.

Red Light

May 21st, 2010
11:12 am

Armstrong’s frustrations may be traced to a decrease of time on ice and use on the power play unit:

19:04 2005-06 Penguins

16:49 2006-07 Penguins

15:24 2007-08 Penguins (54 games)
:30 power play

18:01 2007-08 Thrashers (18 games)
1:36 power play time

15:09 2008-09 Thrashers
1:47 power play time

14:47 2009-10 Thrashers
:38 power play time

I’m not saying he is justified, but that may be the genesis of the problem.

I’m all for using a prospect to provide what he provided during his time here. He’d make a good replacement for a guy like Owen Nolan in Minnesota, Jamal Mayers in Calgary or Pisani in Edmonton.

Alan R.

May 21st, 2010
11:15 am

Red Light, considering the quality of “free” broadcasts, I’ll pay the $10 regardless.

rob

May 21st, 2010
11:16 am

I say no for the $10/game. Center Ice costs less for more, and I could care less if it is in HD or not honestly.

Different question.
If the UFA’s we want to sign decide to test the market, do you want them to come back to us after that?
My thought on that is this. The team knows what we can pay in order to accomplish the goals of the owners/coaches/players/and lastly us fans. If you can’t fit into those plans/ideas then go someplace that can fit you in. But don’t go find the one team silly enough to overpay then ask us if you can stay here for the same money. Unless the team is offering something unreasonable, stay here to be part of the TEAM, part of the idea… Stay here to build something. 10 years and this team has no identity because it has been misled. Hopefully that changes now but if you want to see what it looks like outside the Thrashers first, I don’t know you want to be a Thrasher. We deserve better.

Max, you get 2M for 2 years. Kubina 3.5M for 2. That is fair and will give us room moving forward as we need to sign the next waves of young guys. No more silly Hainsey-type contracts if we want a TEAM here IMO.

Joe Friday

May 21st, 2010
11:20 am

I’m telling you, Pitts. needs wingers and he can create space for Crosby

And congrats on the graduation of your son, Rawhide! Big day!

Joe Friday

May 21st, 2010
11:22 am

rob, I hear you on the attitude that Brendan always preaches, that we want guys that want to be here. But Kubina is going to get $5m per, might as well give it to him. I’d go with 3 year $15m contract and I’d guess that’s what they’ve offered and he may want more

rob

May 21st, 2010
11:25 am

RL,
Colby needs to grow up. He has potential. But potential only gets you so far, and eventually you have to prove yourself. If his ice time caused him to fold tent, WOW. I don’t see him going many places as more than 3rd line unless he has a moment, but if he wants to go to Canada, I would think he would play harder because most Canadian markets will not tolerate that type of playing the way we did here.

glovesave29

May 21st, 2010
11:33 am

RL – i’d argue the decreased ice time for Colby is the result, not the cause. Why reward a guy who gives little effort the prime quality minutes? Give em to those who give a flying flip.

Midfield

May 21st, 2010
11:35 am

Question: has the NHL ever forced IIHF to apologize for criticizing its player for not going to the World Championship – ever before Crosby turned up on the receiving end? I don’t think so – at least I don’t remember. By the way, even Gretzky did play at the Worlds having been eliminated from play-offs. What is it with Bettman? He does not seem to get over the bum being off the tv screen. And he ain’t even that pretty.

Daculafan

May 21st, 2010
11:47 am

Congrats to you and your son there Rawhide. Have a great vacation.

As far as Max and Pavel, I want them both back and would be willing to see reasonable money given to both. With regards to Army, I think he can be a good grit player and can bring a raw edge to the team when he really wants to put it out there. I see him as the agitator, kinda like a Matt Cooke or Sean Avery type without being the total a$$hole that they are. I think his resentment started when the Pens went to the playoffs and he was playing golf..and then they won the Stanley Cup and he was playing golf…and then they went to the playoffs again…guess where he was?…the whole time you know he had to be thinking that if he hadn’t gotten traded his life would be sweet…no way he’s going to stay here.

Adam

May 21st, 2010
11:49 am

With Max, while only one year, he was one of the only players in his age group that showed consistent effort game in game out. He also seemed truly happy to be here. I could see giving him 7m for 3yrs.

On Pav’s 12m over 3yrs front loaded. If he doesn’t bite look at UFA’s.

World Be Free

May 21st, 2010
12:12 pm

R/L-maybe; not an all season commitment

World Be Free

May 21st, 2010
12:18 pm

Yeah congrats Bill-time flies, between sending them to their first day of kindergarden and sizing them for their cap/gown.

Colby-Pittsburgh or Tronna

World Be Free

May 21st, 2010
12:26 pm

Scott Arniel has been invited back to Columbus for 2nd interview.
The Blue Jackets’ job is down to 2 candidates, Arniel and Kevin Dineen.

Smoothie

May 21st, 2010
12:27 pm

Gosh, am I the only one here who watches a game (even after a loss) a 2nd time using the DVR replay? I guess I’m a sick puppy, but I like to try to diagnose what went wrong the day after as you sometimes miss things at the rink you might see…when the game is in HD. If it’s in SD, forget about it. I might as well watch someone’s youtube video with a shaky hand.

Smoothie

May 21st, 2010
12:28 pm

World – ain’t Arniel in town today for his interview with Duds? I wonder if that will impact Dudley’s decision to wait on Torch. Looking better and better for Rammer if the Jackets lust for Arniel is really that great.

Joe Friday

May 21st, 2010
12:40 pm

“am I the only one here who watches a game (even after a loss) a 2nd time using the DVR replay?”

whoa, Nellie! You watch Thrashers’ games twice? Can you say glutton for punishment! I’m nominating you right now for 7th man next year. Twice?!

Smoothie

May 21st, 2010
12:46 pm

Joe F – I’m a sick pup! I even chart shots during replays too in order to determine my own “Corsi” ratings and get a sense for who is really doing their job well.

As a result, I will hate to see Colby go from the standpoint of losing his two-way game and gritty forechecking (when he feels like it), but I’m hoping Spencer, Patrice and perhaps even Carl K (and don’t forget Joey Crabb or Ant Stewart) might be able to liven up our Bottom 6 at various points throughout the year.

steve

May 21st, 2010
1:10 pm

Have a great vacation and don’t get too oily!!!!

Tom

May 21st, 2010
1:22 pm

Smoothie

I am guilty of watching the games twice. If you have a Tivo, try this one. Watch the game in the 1st level fast forward. You really can see the flow of the game and which team is willing to go into the corners and do the dirty work.

The Anderson style we saw last year saw lots of play in the middle of the rink with very little consistent corner work. My prayers are that we will have a coach that will preach getting one’s hands dirty. EVERY NIGHT!

Tom

May 21st, 2010
1:27 pm

Oh, and Rawhide and Russian, congratulations on getting your boys through High School. Both you and they should be proud of the accomplishment.

World Be Free

May 21st, 2010
1:32 pm

Smoothie-you are a sick, though I admit I was spinning the Thrashers’ finale against the Pens the other night when there was no hockey. Hard to believe the season will be over soon.

I think a few GMs are kicking the tires right now, while others will want a coach on board by draft. Wonder if Duds has spoken with Rammer yet? Like you, I still think Rammer is still the #1 guy, despite his age and cancer. Hasn’t hurt him in Boston for sure.

rob

May 21st, 2010
1:46 pm

Watch it again?!?!? You know who wins, you saw the poor plays that led to goals, the great work that led to another, and the hit/save that changed the flow of the game. That is the excitement of watching the game. But watching it again to break it down?!?!? I have too much going on and barely enough time to watch it the first time! LOL

Brendan

May 21st, 2010
2:04 pm

I’ll read comments tonight. But just a quick note, I enjoyed this blog. Have fun on your vacation. Congrats to Matt! And I do surely hope that Finny and Kubina remain in Thrasher Blue next season. That’d be great, if the Thrashers can pull it off.

Tony C.

May 21st, 2010
2:04 pm

Give Pasha 3 years guaranteed with a mutual option for a 4th year-if father time has him in a choke hold @ 36, then just buy him out-it’d be like -$1-2M spread out over several years, so not soo bad, presuming he gets around $3.85-4M/yr.

Max: ? Hrrrmmm I just can’t see going over $2-2.5m per with this guy-yeah he makes plays,may be the best dangler I’ve seen in person-but my man just doesn’t finish. It’s the difference between a guy being a “talented winger” and being “star winger”… it also amounts to about another $1.5M in pay.

Colby: ? Seriously? I think there’s a reason a lot of us on here call him “Armi” instead of “Army” since he joined our club. Potential is there-flashes of who he could be-especially once he was put with Slater and Kane… but I think it was fairly obvious that he wants out, has wanted out-sheesh the guy cried on TV when he found out about the trade. I don’t blame him-as mentioned above, when he sees the guys he came up with getting their names inscribed on the Prince of Wales trophy and The Cup, can’t be an easy pill to swallow. I’m confident he’ll land in a Canadian market (Maybe Cal-gary if he isn’t looking for a raise), and have a serviceable NHL career. We’ve got similar players signed for less who aren’t going to moon over their ex.

Red Light

May 21st, 2010
2:27 pm

Why would anyone give Max more than twice the amount he earned last season? Just asking…

Tony C.

May 21st, 2010
2:27 pm