How big of a splash will Dudley make in UFA talent pool?

It’s been a busy week or so in Thrasherville. Big trade with Chicago…followed by Craig Ramsay being named new head coach…the NHL entry draft…RFA qualifying offers…then all the chatter throughout the week regarding UFAs and RFAs contracts.

Yup, very busy indeed. That, plus it’s been extremely hot and humid around these parts as well. So it’s the perfect time to have a pool party…the annual UFA “Talent Pool” party, that is.

That’s right, kids…today we make our yearly mid-summer trek to take a dip in the cool water of the NHL community talent pool. But for the first time in the Thrashers’ history, Don Waddell will not be the one looking to fish out UFAs from the pool…instead it’ll be new GM Rick Dudley.

The question is… just how big of a splash does he intends to make?

Here on the deck surrounding the pool, our good friend Five_Hole has once again agreed to DJ today’s extravaganza while the lovely Joyel from TJ’s Bar & Grill will be serving up drinks behind the bar. Also for those who might, shall we say, overindulge…Tony C. will be proving cab rides back home.

And the best part… it’s all on the AJC’s tab!!

Now…Dudley has indicated that he’d like to snag a 15-plus goal scorer this summer and there are a few to choose from today. But if he’s not able to pluck out such a player from the pool, he’s also said that a trade could be on the horizon to procure one.

But for me, the top priority is finding a #1 goalie for the upcoming season. Dudley has told us that he’s “comfortable” with having Johan Hedberg return…however, the veteran Swede netminder does not seem to be “comfortable” with the terms and conditions of the contract that was extended to him.

The one I would most like to see Dudley & Co. snag is Evgeni Nabokov, who was informed just last week that he will not be factoring into San Jose’s future plans. I’m sure he will be the prize target for those looking to upgrade between the pipes.

The All-Star is netminder is 293-178 with 29 ties and 37 OTLs. He owns a 2.39 GAA, .912 SV% and has posted 50 shutouts in his 563 total regular season games played…all with the Sharks. In the playoffs he is 40-39 with a 2.29 GAA, .914 SV% and 7 SO during San Jose’s nine playoff appearances since 2000.

Nabokov is coming off a four-year deal that paid approximately $21.5 million.

What type of splash will Rick Dudley make in the UFA talent pool?

  • Cannon Ball - Big splash with huge signing or two (26%, 22 Votes)
  • Like Platform Diving - Dives in but no big splash (53%, 46 Votes)
  • Belly Flop - Not pretty and it'll hurt just to watch (21%, 18 Votes)

Total Voters: 86

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Around the rest of the NHL, Ilya Kovalchuk looks to be the big free agent fish in this year’s UFA talent pool. Joining the long list of superstars who have done so in the past, the Russian winger departed Atlanta last winter for New Jersey but now gets to select where he’s heading next. Could it be the L.A. Kings, Toronto, another NHL team…or even back home to play in the KHL? 

Keep in mind he turned aside an offer by Don Waddell last winter that would have paid him $10 million as season for three, five or seven years. He also said “nyet” to a 12-year deal that was worth $101 mil. It’ll be curious to see what he gets elsewhere.

Oh, and for those of you who still clutch to the hope that Kovy might return here…don’t hold your breath. Well, unless you’re swimming underwater, that is. Sure I’m trained in First Aid and CPR, but I really don’t want to be bother with such things today.

I thank you in advance for your understanding.

One last note before we crash the pool and join in the fun… I will once again warn each and every one of you that a repeat the infamous “Baby Ruth Bar Incident of 2008” will not be tolerated!

Yes, I’m looking at you, Smoothie…

It takes a lot of time and expense to drain, clean, disinfect and re-fill these things, ya know.

UFA Signing Updates

UPDATE 4:55 pm: Thrasher trade Evgeni Vishovskiy and 2nd round draft pick to Chicago for forward Andrew Ladd.

UPDATE 4:40 pm: Thrashers sign goalie Chris Mason…2-year deal paying $1.6 million this year and $2.1 million next year.

UPDATE 1:36 pm: Thrasher killer Antero Niittymaki is now a San Jose Shark.

UPDATE 1:34 pm: Colby Armstrong is now a Toronto Maple Leaf. 3 years, $9-million.

UPDATE 9:01 am: Kevin Allen of USA Today Sports reports via twitter, “Thrashers making another run at G Johan Hedberg this morning, and they will shop for a forward (and maybe a goalie) later today”

617 comments Add your comment

R. Stroz

July 1st, 2010
7:07 am

FIRST DIVER and THUD!

kracker

July 1st, 2010
7:10 am

When is the pool party??

HookyBob

July 1st, 2010
7:11 am

Free agency seems to be the one card, or at least the best card, that players have to improve their earnings. Most have been holding those cards pretty close. However today is the day that all those cards get played.

Like Rawhide I hope the Thrashers are not only playing, but win a hand or two.

R. Stroz

July 1st, 2010
7:13 am

I’d be willing to bet the Thrashers procure a pair of threes and claim they have a royal flush.

Russian

July 1st, 2010
7:19 am

Pool party is starting 12:01 PM ET. Only 5 hours left. I hope Dudley will suprise me.

World Be Free

July 1st, 2010
7:31 am

You have this fascination with pools.

World Be Free

July 1st, 2010
7:33 am

Quote from the Buffalo News-
“Colorado, St. Louis, Atlanta and the New York Islanders have $30 million or more in salary room, according to CapGeek.com, so there are millions of reasons to expect them to be busy today.”

They know something we don’t know?

Pavel Kubina will be replaced by Jordon Leopold.

Russian

July 1st, 2010
7:44 am

**to WBF**
$30 mln is good money. We can get Nabokov easely. I want to see Pasha back to Atlanta. I do not trust Oduaya or Sopel.

DWTOO

July 1st, 2010
7:48 am

Fifty Bucks says the Smales kid picks his nose.

World Be Free

July 1st, 2010
7:54 am

Russian-I’d take Volchenkov, a shut down defenseman
DWTOO-that kid will eat anything

POTF

July 1st, 2010
8:01 am

Nabokov, Kubina, and Olli would be nice. Will Dudley be quicker on the trigger than Don “Let’s wait around till October and see what’s left” Waddell?

World Be Free

July 1st, 2010
8:12 am

July 1st, the first day of unrestricted free agency which falls on the same day as Canada Day. We call also name this day “Bum Day” in that a bum like Colby Armstrong will be grossly overpaid today by some team that will be looking to dump him at next season’s trading deadline.

Michael

July 1st, 2010
8:14 am

Osytrick was bought out by Anaheim. Anyone think signing him to a two-way contract would be a good idea? I’ve always liked him but felt he never really got a true chance to show what he could do if he was a regular in the line up.

kracker

July 1st, 2010
8:15 am

No Bums on the Thrashers, WBF!

Red Light

July 1st, 2010
8:16 am

Sometimes it’s wise not to jump in the pool at all! Remember the summer of 2007?

July 1 Todd White signed
July 2 Ken Klee signed
July 13 Alexandre Giroux signed
August 8 Karel Pilar signed
August 30 Joel Kwiatkowski signed

June 22 trade – Thorburn from Pittsburgh for a third-round pick.

What’s that sign say?

“No bare feet”

Dwayne

July 1st, 2010
8:17 am

25 bucks says he eats it.

Red Light

July 1st, 2010
8:17 am

Do the Wolves need another defenseman?

GaVaHokie

July 1st, 2010
8:18 am

Pierre Lebrun and others are tweeting that Atlanta has interest in Andrew Ladd.

Chicago is at a $59 million cap hit and needs to move a few more contracts in order to sign Niemi and Hjalmarsson.

Dudley said he was seeking another 15 goal scorer, which is down from his 30 goal scorer… I’d say Ladd fits that bill.

GaVaHokie

July 1st, 2010
8:18 am

That was a nice deal by Toronto… Phil Kessel playing with Versteeg? That will be nice to watch.

George Costanza

July 1st, 2010
8:19 am

I was in the pool! I WAS IN THE POOL!!

Tincup9

July 1st, 2010
8:20 am

I am curious to see how UFA’s react to offers from the Thrashers. Sadly, I don’t think Dudley controls his own destiny as to how big a “splash” he makes. Has he made enough changes to attract UFA’s? Or are we destined for the lumber yard.

kracker

July 1st, 2010
8:21 am

RE the Chicago cap situation.

twitter – mirtle A source tells me tonight that Chicago’s bonus overage in 2009-10 was $4.19-million. So the Blackhawks cap will be that much lower.

Very interesting.

World Be Free

July 1st, 2010
8:22 am

Tincup9-as for Duds and dough, I am afraid you are correct.

Get The Puck Out

July 1st, 2010
8:23 am

Euklind says we have a very good chance at Henrik Tallinder, Ollie Jokinen, Alexe Ponikarovsky, and last but not least Evgeni Nabokov. Who would you take?

Rawhide

July 1st, 2010
8:25 am

Euklind says we have a very good chance at Henrik Tallinder, Ollie Jokinen, Alexe Ponikarovsky, and last but not least Evgeni Nabokov. Who would you take?

GTPO – If I could only choose one…Nabokov.

hip czech

July 1st, 2010
8:26 am

Let’s not let Ollie pull us under…he will be way overpaid for whatever team is foolish enough to offer him a contract. To be honest, nothing on the FA market is worth diving in for, except a goalie.

Re-sign Kubina, grab a goalie and then trade for a forward.

DWTOO

July 1st, 2010
8:37 am

I’d sign Oystick to a two way contract. Good depth D-Man. Think he’d have touble cracking the current lineup tho’.

DWTOO

July 1st, 2010
8:38 am

R/L – When I re-read your 8:16 post I’m amazed we didn’t win the Cup with all that F/A talent!

schroeder

July 1st, 2010
8:45 am

I know that I will be vilified for this because of everyone’s thoughts on Eastern euros,but I want Frolov,Nabokov,Gonchar and/or Volchenkov. I want a hamburger,no a cheeseburger I want french fries…..YOULL GET NOTHING AND LIKEIT!! PICK UP THAT BLOOD!!

World Be Free

July 1st, 2010
8:46 am

Oh no, Eklund!

Smoothie

July 1st, 2010
8:52 am

Per Nick Kypereos, talks are breaking down with Ellis. We got a shot!

ThrashDawg

July 1st, 2010
8:53 am

Prediction…if we sign a defenseman, we will be packaging a defenseman in a trade for a top 6 scoring forward. I just do not see us going after a d-man with the guys we have on our roster along with Kulda needing to be in the NHL next year.

Stan Drulia

July 1st, 2010
8:54 am

Crossing my fingers for Nabokov!!! It would be the first time in Thrasher’s history that I would be 100% confident in goal.

five_hole

July 1st, 2010
8:54 am

If I’ve got the DJ station, then I’d like to start with the Who’s “Won’t get fooled again”. Coach Ramsay says he wants to play the same style hockey as we had last year, and look how well that went for us. I want to give him a chance to succeed, but I’m not optimstic.

Second that we go hard and heavy for Nabokov. He won’t come cheap, but we have the cap room. At this stage of his career, Pavelic is not a #1 goalie, and as much as I like the Moose, he’s 38. Nabokov is 34, and should still have some gas left in the tank. My second choice would be Chris Mason.

kracker

July 1st, 2010
8:54 am

Sprctor
Larry Brooks reports the Rangers primary goal today is to sign a backup goalie, and their main target could be Atlanta’s Johan Hedberg but he’s not going to come as a discount. Martin Biron and Antero Niittymaki could also be on the Rangers radar.

Michael

July 1st, 2010
8:58 am

RL – If we bring Kulda up, it would be nice to have someone in Chicago with experience in case of injury. Plus, I expect us to trade a D-man so we will probably need to back fill another position.

kracker

July 1st, 2010
8:58 am

kausatoday Thrashers making another run at G Johan Hedberg this morning, and they will shop for a forward (and maybe a goalie) later today

TableHockey

July 1st, 2010
9:00 am

I don’t put much into what Eklund says – though I will give him credit on breaking the ATL/CHI deal.

I think the Leafs got a great deal on Versteeg.

Would love to see Ladd here – I suppose it is possible. They are also reporting that Ellis and MTL talks have gone nowhere and that he is expected to hit free agency. I think he ends up in ATL if we don’t sign Moose.

kracker

July 1st, 2010
9:01 am

tpanotch CSNPhilly.com: Flyers will make a bid for Ellis: http://tinyurl.com/25otkcg

TableHockey

July 1st, 2010
9:02 am

Kevin Allen via Twitter: Thrashers making another run at G Johan Hedberg this morning, and they will shop for a forward (and maybe a goalie) later today.

glovesave29

July 1st, 2010
9:09 am

Smoothie – Kypreos also said there was no chance that the Coyotes were going to stay in Phoenix, and that the NHL was set to unveil a schedule with Winnipeg in it.

Today is fun to watch as the “experts” fall all over themselves trying to scoop the others. About 95% of what they say will happen….will be wrong.

Red Light

July 1st, 2010
9:10 am

Before you put too much stock into anything Tweeted, let me hearken you back to the pre-draft nonsense that had everyone stirring and there were how many deals executed? It’s all speculation and it’s not like Dudley is text messaging all writers telling them what he’s up to. Look for guys who use the words “confirmed” or “done” in the right context. Not, “I can confirm the Thrashers are interested in blah, blah, blah.” How would they know?

That being said, the most reliable in my mind are: Custance, Michael Russo, Mirtle, McKenzie, Dreger and C-Viv. Allen is excellent but what’s he really telling you above? Of course they’re going to make another run at Johan, Kubina, etc., It’s not shocking and it’s not newsworthy. Lebrun talks to a lot of people too, but he doesn’t know anything more than the guys listed above.

The most creditable reports are those that say: “Thrashers have signed” not “the Thrashers are interested”

glovesave29

July 1st, 2010
9:22 am

I gotta disagree that Nabby’s still got “a lot in the tank” – he’s played 497 NHL games. That’s almost 50 per season. If he signs a 3 year deal, and keeps up that average – he will be 37 at the end of the contract with 647 games played. Moose is 38 and has played 293. Ellis is 30 and has played 110.

Based on the body of work…Nabokov wins hands down. But I am going to trust the brain trust of the Sharks. They chose not to resign him for a reason. Sure – you can say that about any player entering free agency. But this guy has been a lifer with the Sharks. Pehaps they see something we are not aware of. Unless there is a sizeable pay cut in store for Evgeni, I think the money is spent better elsewhere….Kubina and Ellis.

kracker

July 1st, 2010
9:28 am

Dreger: As expected, Gonchar going to test FA

TableHockey

July 1st, 2010
9:28 am

Valid points Red Light – in regards to Allen he clearly has an inside scoop with ATL. Someone here on the board said DW has used him for years as his weather balloon. Not sure about that but he definetly was the first to break the Kovy trade.

What I took from Allen’s tweet is that Duds/DW are making a last ditch effort to get Moose to sign and if not, a goalie becomes their number one objective for FA. To me that complicates matters for the Thrasher’s getting a decent forward as this FA is pretty weak and those guys are going to be gone within a few hours.

Of course a trade is an option and perhaps that’s where Ladd could fit in as I think he has 2 more years on his contract. Not positive who we would have to give up but I’m sure they would want Cormier.

Brendan

July 1st, 2010
9:28 am

Lew’s been losing at the track. So the price of Coke went up. Yeah, well … then you ain’t gettin’ no coke!

DWTOO, you’re on. C’mon kid. Take your time. Don’t do it.

Dr. Beeper said, “Oh well, it’s probably just a routine emergency.”

GaVaHokie: Andrew Ladd wouldn’t be too bad. He was a former high-end 1st round pick, I think by Carolina. He’d score us 16-20 goals. Think of him as the new Colby Armstrong.

WBF: I’d actually take a flyer on Henrik Tallinder. If the Swede wants out of Buffalo, I think he could be good here. If only we could move Ron Hainsey out, and replace his contract money. The pause you feel … is that Tallinder is 32 or 33. And Hainsey is several years younger.

Rawhide: I voted for a smooth dive, with little enough splash to influence the Olympic judges. And really, there is something to be said for not saddling a team with a Bobby Holik-like contract. Or Kovalchuk for $10 million a pop.

Joe Friday/WBF: To me, it doesn’t matter what Kovalchuk gets paid. The bottom line is … he won’t be playing here. I neither root for him to get the max nor to take a nice discount to play somewhere that’s in contention. I just wish Ilya Kovalchuk well, and hope that he finds what he’s looking for. And if it’s in the KHL, then that’s where it is. I’ll always love Kovy.

Ranallo: We were officially eliminated from the AJC contest yesterday, with our guesses of June 30, 2010, Atlanta Thrashers. Bob/Joe Friday and Frosty the Snowman, I believe, are still in the hunt with guesses of Washington and New York. I’d have to double-check that, but I don’t have my list handy. Rawhide has it. But anyone who guessed Atlanta prior to July 1, has been eliminated from the contest. I wonder if Kovy will be an L.A. King by the end of the day. If so, what PATIENCE on their part. As Sara once posted, the Los Angeles Kings have been ‘earmarking’ a spot for him for quite some time. If does make me wonder, as Glovesave29 and Joe Friday were recently discussing, if there isn’t tampering going on. I mean, how DOES a player decide, instantly, within an hour, anyway, about where he’ll spend the next 4-7 years of his life. Who makes decisions like that???

Alan R.

July 1st, 2010
9:28 am

Hey Bill, quick question. Is there any way I can sign some of that talent located in your pool? ;)

GaVaHokie

July 1st, 2010
9:30 am

I think Nabokov can be had in the $4-$5 million range… which prices him out of a lot of places, like Philly and Washington.

hip czech

July 1st, 2010
9:31 am

what’s the over/under on Kovalchuk’s average salary for the deal he signs? I think he gets no more than 8 per season, unless he chooses to go to a non-contender.

He won’t be as fortunate as Hossa was last year.

Smoothie

July 1st, 2010
9:33 am

Thanks for throwing me under the bus glovesave! ;-) I think I deserve a little latitude cuz I don’t post rumors willy-nilly. Kyper has some good contacts and what he tweets is almost as reliable as Bob Mac, mirtle etc. Its not like what he’s saying is outlandish. I don’t think MTL can afford him. He has a ton of leverage and he knows it. It may not be ATL but I don’t think he stays in MTL. Ill eat crow if I have to!