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?
Total Voters: 86
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”