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

Badger Bob

July 1st, 2010
2:30 pm

Crabb was FA, so his part in the Buff dfeal was always just to help us get under the 50 contract limit

Rawhide

July 1st, 2010
2:30 pm

Just flipped my office Thrashers wall calendar to July – yikes I have to stare at Todd White for 31 days – shoot me.

Dandylions – Thats about 4-1/2 days for every goal he scored last season. Time for a new calendar, I’d say…

hip czech

July 1st, 2010
2:30 pm

Ellis at 1.5 mil per….wow, goalies are cheep, cheep, cheep these days

Russ

July 1st, 2010
2:30 pm

Damn, Martin was my top choice if Kubina isn’t re-signed.

Smoothie

July 1st, 2010
2:31 pm

WTH? Ellis signs for $1.5 M per??? We couldn’t even muster $1.5 to get Ellis…no way we go after anyone else…cheap bastards.

Badger Bob

July 1st, 2010
2:32 pm

Zoomo – it is funny the Laff fans were laughing when we gave Antro $4M. Then they give Colbycheese $3M? And their ecstatic? No wonder they suck and can’t score.

Smoothie

July 1st, 2010
2:33 pm

Alan – thanks, I realized that right after I clicked submit. Just typing and thinking too fast! Good depth signing for TOR IMO.

Badger Bob

July 1st, 2010
2:33 pm

Malhotra sure got a big pay raise!

five_hole

July 1st, 2010
2:33 pm

Dandylions Suggest instead of staring at July you stare at Miss July instead. caution – staring at Miss July may cause severe eyestrain.

hip czech

July 1st, 2010
2:33 pm

Turco or Nabs?

Mason

R. Stroz

July 1st, 2010
2:34 pm

Without Kovy recruiting for the Thrashers this year, we’re not doing very well are we?

Dudley is smelling alot like Waddell.

Smoothie

July 1st, 2010
2:35 pm

Hamhuis seems like a lock now in Vancouver…don’t they say “huis” when they try to say “house” anyway? Perfect fit!

Tom

July 1st, 2010
2:35 pm

Martin went to Pittsburgh according to NHLSourcesSays – Would NJ be interested in Kubina now?

Badger Bob

July 1st, 2010
2:36 pm

Is Moose looking at the low prices for goalies and rethinking his offer from Duds?

By the way, I’m keeping my posts short so we can blow away that 509 post record! Keep it up, boys!

Zoomo

July 1st, 2010
2:36 pm

I had to bash guys on their way out, but I was never much of an Army fan. I had to laugh when I saw TSN’s lead in the signing – Leafs add scoring and grit -or some such. Grit? Really ? A few cheap hits at best amd half his goals were off pinpoint passes from Kane. Anyone would have potted those. $9mil ??? Maybe Burke should re-sign Exelby so we can laugh some more.

Smoothie

July 1st, 2010
2:37 pm

Stroz – actually, playing things cool might be the best strategy for this over-saturated goalie market. Hedberg was insurance but he may still end up back in ATL out of fear of spots running out.

PLENTY OF TIME LEFT…AND FREE-AGENTS. Hardly any forwards really.

Alan R.

July 1st, 2010
2:37 pm

I just happened to see it as I’m sitting here eating lunch. First breath I’ve taken all day, as I’m about chest deep in work.

Not that I’m complaining about the work, mind you. I’m complaining about the timing. :P

Smoothie

July 1st, 2010
2:37 pm

Badger – I think we’re gonna shatter 506.

Lee

July 1st, 2010
2:38 pm

Booger, oh sorry, boogard part of the NY Rangers

Boone7

July 1st, 2010
2:39 pm

Lee, I thought it was “Bogart” LMAO

Smoothie

July 1st, 2010
2:40 pm

$1.65 M per year for Boogaard! If that’s true, Sather needs to be committed. Is he trying to get an enforcer to protect his $10 M investment in Koastalsuck?

Former AIZ-er JD

July 1st, 2010
2:42 pm

For those complaining about Dudley not doing anything and is just like Waddell… Seriously??!?! Getting Buff, Sopel, and Eager… is that like Waddell? Let it play out people. My dream scenario would be sign Nabakov, re-sign Max and Kubina, and trade for Andrew Ladd. All of which can still happen. (although unlikely). But let this stuff play out people!

Badger Bob

July 1st, 2010
2:43 pm

So if you believe “The Fourth Period” boys on which teams were shopping for goalies, and eliminate the teams that have signed them, you are left with ATL, DAL, BUF and CGY. No way Nabby goes to BUF or CGY as a back up, so that leaves us on a short list of destinations.

Joe Friday

July 1st, 2010
2:43 pm

“WTH? Ellis signs for $1.5 M per??? We couldn’t even muster $1.5 to get Ellis…no way we go after anyone else…cheap bastards.”

Dude, that’s actually pretty high for Ellis, it’s why he didn’t sign for the Habs, they probably offered him $1m to backup Price. He is not a starting goalie. Smith and Ellis will be 1a and 1b in Tampa and this is great news for us, they both blow and we get to see that duo 6 times a year. Excellent news.

Smoothie

July 1st, 2010
2:43 pm

Oh yeah, Dan Ellis and Mike Smith were team-mates in the Dallas system a long time ago…now they have Kari Letemin. Chuckle. Dallas moving in on Frederic Cassivi to back up Lehts.

Red Light

July 1st, 2010
2:43 pm

Martin gets $25 million from Pens over five years.

Dandylions

July 1st, 2010
2:44 pm

five_hole – I don’t want to stare at other girls maybe I need a Chippendales calendar

Joe Friday

July 1st, 2010
2:45 pm

If Waduds play this smart, they’ll wait till tomorrow and see if they can Nabokov for $3m per or so on a 2 yr. deal, that would be a huge win for us.

World Be Free

July 1st, 2010
2:47 pm

Just making sure you guys are awake!

Curious in a short time how it seems the “have” teams are making decisions and drawing top players while most of the “have not” teams are sitting back waiting for crumbs. Ellis for $1.5M? That sounds like backup money.

somaatl95

July 1st, 2010
2:48 pm

A buddy at work drew horns (and other things unsuitable for print) all over Zhitnik from last years calendar (or it could have been the year before)
Thinking of drawing dresses and rainbows and flowers on Todd White – speaking of Dresses, rainbows, flowers and ponies anyone heard of anything earth shattering about Montreal? They like to draw that stuff on their gear before games…

Tom

July 1st, 2010
2:48 pm

Badger Bob – And with the 3+ million that Dallas is paying Let-em-in there is no way they will be tying up 7-8 million for their goaltenders. We are quickly turning into the best alternative for Nabby.

Smoothie

July 1st, 2010
2:51 pm

As smart as Shero was for Michalek, he’s equally dumb paying Martin $25 M over 5 years. Then again, he and Orpik make a great American pair.

That’s a lot of dough wrapped up on D.

five_hole

July 1st, 2010
2:52 pm

Oops, my apologies Dandylions I wasn’t implying anything (not that there’s anything wrong with that if you would have been).

Former AIZ-er JD

July 1st, 2010
2:54 pm

Pitt now has almost as much money paid to defenseman as the Thrashers do.

Smoothie

July 1st, 2010
2:54 pm

Volchie still on the board! Wonder why? Grossman will not allow his client to sign for less than $5.5 M now. Good job GM’s, give Grossman just what he wants. How in the world did he end up with Moose?

hip czech

July 1st, 2010
2:55 pm

Lest we forget – Nittymaki going to TB last year was supposed to be the magic fix for the bolts. Ellis to TB is no big deal, they’ll still finish behind us (it will be a good fight though).

Rawhide

July 1st, 2010
3:00 pm

On a slightly different topic…but still involving Atlanta’s Great Octocluster…kelly Dwyer of Yahoo Sports is calling the contract offer to Joe Johnson “the worst..contract…ever“.

Smoothie

July 1st, 2010
3:00 pm

Sharks’ GM said to the press that Sharks were eyeing Nitty all the way. As a # 1?? That’s some serious faith in a career back-up. Don’t imagine the Sharks are done. I think they’ll wind up with Turco.

Jack

July 1st, 2010
3:01 pm

probably because its way yoo much money. Can we say overpayed. OK last think I say regarding hawks

Flagstaff

July 1st, 2010
3:02 pm

This seems like it is a very, very idiotic question (and it is). But why does everyone say that Philly is looking to add a goalie? They already have both Leighton and Boucher under contract. Is it so that they can move Boucher back to the AHL (after all he did for them)? Or are they looking to trade one of these goalies? If any team seems like it is looking to add another netminder, I’d say it could possibly be Washington.

Rawhide

July 1st, 2010
3:03 pm

Jack – Yes…but remember, the Octocluster allowed Waddell to offer Kovalchuk $10 million last winter. That’s darn near the max we could have offer. So, they do seem to be willing to spend money.

Spend it wisely? Well…that’s up for debate.

Smoothie

July 1st, 2010
3:04 pm

Toni Lydman leaves Buffalo for the sunny climes of Anaheim! Good value at $3 M it would appear.

Badger Bob

July 1st, 2010
3:04 pm

Next time someone tries to say Octocluster doesn’t have cash, mention that Johnson contract and the Kovy offers. They are not cash poor – just clueless.

five_hole

July 1st, 2010
3:04 pm

Bill When I think of the ownership group, the word cluster does come to mind but it’s not combined with ‘Octo’. Its another word . . . . seems to me it’s used in the military a lot. It’s a cluster ____. Just can’t seem to fill in the blank.

Badger Bob

July 1st, 2010
3:05 pm

Looks like I’m on the same page with Rawhide… excellent!

R. Stroz

July 1st, 2010
3:07 pm

five_hole – Maybe we can call them a clustercluck.

Rawhide

July 1st, 2010
3:07 pm

five_hole – Exactly!

five_hole

July 1st, 2010
3:08 pm

R.Stroz Close enough. This is, after all, a family blog.

World Be Free

July 1st, 2010
3:09 pm

Nabakov should change his name to Joe Johnson

Badger Bob

July 1st, 2010
3:10 pm

This is Sparta!!!! (400)