Approaching the Thrasherville summer solstice

Back on the tenth of April the Atlanta Thrashers finished off their 2009-10 NHL campaign with a 1-0 win over the then-defending Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins. Looking forward, on October 8 they will open the coming season with a home game against the Washington Capitals who have won the Southeast Division three years running.

This means that in just a few days, we in Thrasherville will be right at the midpoint of our offseason…the Thrasherville solstice, as it were…marking the time equidistant from the end of the season last spring and the beginning of the new one this fall.

So where do the Thrashers stand at this sort of milestone in the middle of summer?

First off, three Thrashers RFAs filed for arbitration prior to Monday’s deadline…Clarke MacArthur, Ben Eager and Andrew Ladd. Last season these three players earned $1.4 million, $1.0 million and $1.6 million respectively.

Clarke MacArthur scored 3 goals and 6 assists in 21 games since the Thrashers traded for him last March. Monday the restricted free agent filed for salary arbitration (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)

Clarke MacArthur scored 3 goals, 6 assists and was a -2 in 21 games since the Thrashers traded for him last March. Monday the restricted free agent filed for salary arbitration (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)

Eager and Ladd have yet to play a single game in a Thrashers uniform, having recently been traded for from Chicago. MacArthur came this way last March 3 from Buffalo in exchange for a third and fourth round draft pick.

It should be noted that no player in the franchise’s history has ever actually gone to an arbitration hearing…settling instead before getting the third party arbitrator involved. Just last season Colby Armstrong filed before agreeing to a one-year, $2.4 million contract. So we’ll see if Rick Dudley can continue that trend by getting them to put ink to paper in the coming days.

With that…and with the dust settling a bit from last Thursday’s start to UFA signing season…the Thrashers currently have the following players under contract.

Forwards: Nic Antropov, Evander Kane, Dustin Byfuglien, Todd White, Rich Peverley, Jim Slater and Chris Thorburn.

Defensemen: Ron Hainsey, Tobias Enstrom, Johnny Oduya, Zach Bogosian, Brent Sopel and Boris Valabik.

Goalie: Chris Mason.

Those player’s salaries bring the Thrasher cap hit to right at about $35 and a half million.

If you add in last year’s pay of the those who filed for arbitration as well as RFAs Bryan Little, Nic Bergfors and Ondrej Pavelec… that would add another $7 mil-plus to the payroll and bring the total cap number to just shy of $43 million.

It would also bring you to the exact number needed to ice a squad…12 forwards, 6 defenders and a pair of goalies. Toss in…say… an Arturs Kulda, a Patrice Cormier and a Spencer Machacek to round out the roster and now you’ve got players on the ice and healthy scratches in the press box.

Boris valabik and the Thrashers will likely see Ondrej Pavelec return to Atlanta's goal. The question is, will he start or backup up the recently acquired Chris Mason (AP Photo/John Amis)

Boris Valabik and the Thrashers will likely see Ondrej Pavelec return to Atlanta's goal, given the RFA did not file for arbitration. The question is, will he start or backup up the recently acquired Chris Mason? (AP Photo/John Amis)

You’d also have a payroll at about $45 million…give or take… and would leave Dudley and the Thrashers about $14 million below the cap. Of course, once we know what the RFA contracts are worth, those numbers will surely adjust.

As for putting together lineups from that list of players…rubbing chin, adjusting glasses, tapping pencil on desk…I guess up front you could do something like Bergfors-Antropov-Little…Kane-Peverley-Byfuglien…Ladd-Slater-MacArthur…and Eager-Cormier-Thorburn. This would allow White and Machacek to sample the press box buffet spread. Maybe Machacek could play his way into the lineup and then we would see MacArthur park himself next to Todd.

Looking at that… I would really love to have Maxim Afinogenov back.

On defense, well…Hainsey-Enstrom…Oduya-Bogosian…Sopel-Kulda with Boris upstairs. I think the young Kulda would benefit greatly working with the veteran Sopel.

And finally…prospect camp at the Thrashers practice facility in Duluth will open up this Thursday and run through Tuesday the 13th. Here is a list of those expected to participate as well as the schedule. The on-ice sessions are open to the public and admission is free.

:!: UPDATE 7/6 9:45 pm: Eric Boulton re-signs with Thrashers…one year deal at $650,000. Last season he made $600,000. That’ll shuffle my projected lines a bit, eh?

202 comments Add your comment

Smoothie

July 7th, 2010
8:35 am

Wow, didn’t think anyone could out-do Brendan’s anagram for ESPN, but R/L certainly gave him a run for his money.

Well done boys and both are nomination worthy! And I nominate Lebron Prince of Fools James for entry into the Pantheon of Pathetic Publicity Ploys. What a pr!@k eh?!

World Be Free

July 7th, 2010
9:07 am

Used to be a big NBA fan, then the game turned from a team sport to an emphasis on stars and support/role players. Don’t know if Iverson started this, but the game has gone into the toilet the last decade. Perfect for ESPN and the short attention span generation they cater to.

People are really starting to universally hate Kovalchuk for the same reasons. Make up your friggen mind you jerk! Atlanta does not look like a bad place for rejecting him.

schroeder

July 7th, 2010
9:08 am

Rmun Ndur? I believe that is probably the most obscure reference I have ever seen on this blog. Oh yeah,ESPN is for people who don’t want any relevant sports info and who regularly read the National Enquierer for it’s insight.

schroeder

July 7th, 2010
9:10 am

Sorry,someone disabled my spell-check

Red Light

July 7th, 2010
9:35 am

Last comment on the ESPN mindset that World Be Free mentions. The NBA was so enamored by the Bird-Magic rivalry, and then Michael Jordan, that at the tail end of his career, the greatest player of the 70s and part of the 80s, Kareem Abdul Jabbar is a mere footnote these days. He was simply not “sellable” to the general public because he was a very private person. Stern and the NBA wanted charismatic players at the forefront and ESPN jumped right on board with that mindset. They began selling buffoons like Berman, Scott, Corso, Melrose, Van Pelt as mainstream sports broadcasters rather than what they truly were: showmen. They portray them as insiders or experts and even passed them off to professional and college teams as such, who now provide them more access to players and coaches because their pockets are lined with money from their networks. And,that’s a very dangerous precedent when one part of the media is provided preferential treatment. They parade these guys on their TV, radio and Internet feeds and tell unwitting fans that their guys are hustling for the stories, etc. The pre- or post-halftime exclusives happen because ESPN mandates them. As if any other reporter is provided that opportunity. And now, other networks are playing monkey-see, monkey-do, like the between the benches nonsense that are now a part of hockey with Milbury and McGuire, and talking to coaches and assistant coaches during the game. As if any comment a coach makes is even slightly intriguing.

Hockey followed the NBA’s lead with Bettman having been influenced by Stern. You go into nearly every arena these days and the same music, marketing ploys, kiss cam, you name it are paraded in nearly all of them. Originality went by the wayside a long time ago. The Great Sausage Race at Miller Park has now been copied by all major league baseball teams. It’s despicable and cookie cutter. All of this has been caused by shameless attempts to capitalize upon the small thinking of the 21 and under crowd, and ESPN-Disney are the ones leading the parade. Personally, for once, I’d like to be able to have a conversation with Badger Bob, Smoothie, Rawhide, World Be Free etc during stoppages in play, without listening to J-Bird do another trite contest. To me, the game is the entertainment. I don’t want or need to be entertained, I’m there to watch the game. It’s pandering to the casual fan and I’m sick of it all.

Red Light

July 7th, 2010
9:37 am

Another floater up there somewhere Trix!

Spud Webb

July 7th, 2010
9:46 am

I have to disagree (shocking I know it on this subject). I’d much rather see Nik moved to wing and have someone else step up at center. Leave Max for the KHL. I mean, a week in and nobody is close to signing him, what does that tell you?? Max is asking for too much money. His reputation is forever wrecked. I’ve met him a few times and seems like a super, super nice guy, but it doesn’t translate to signability.
We’ve brought bolts back, pressbox??? Not sure where he fits right now, love the guy, but just not sure where we put him.
Also, meant to post this yesterday, RedLIGHT, that was an AWESOME post of all the arenas you’ve been to. Lucky guy!!! Great read.

ChippersLoveChild

July 7th, 2010
9:47 am

Nobody is going to mention Kamal’s tweet last night about all being forgiven and time for Kovy to come home to the team he helped retool? I found that extremely interesting….

World Be Free

July 7th, 2010
9:48 am

When the Sabres drafted Ndur,he was labeled the “second coming of the Nigerian Nightmare” like Christian Okoye. Ndur turned out to be a total wimp.

ThrashDawg

July 7th, 2010
9:48 am

Is there any truth to Dan Kamal sending a tweet out last night saying “Welcome Home Kovy”? No news on the AJC as to any of this. If true, I am not sure how I feel about this deal. I just want to see this team play team hockey and it did not happen with Kovy before.

Buzilla in CT

July 7th, 2010
9:48 am

Nice Rawhide. I just bought and watched Wrath of Kahn last week on Blu ray

KAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNN!!!!!

ThrashDawg

July 7th, 2010
9:50 am

Sorry CLC…I must have been typing when your post came across.

ChippersLoveChild

July 7th, 2010
9:56 am

Sometimes it pays not to sleep… saw this at about 2 am last night, from Kamal “OK. I’m going to say it: All is forgiven, Kovy. Time to come home now and join all the players you helped bring the re-tooled Thrashers.”

ChippersLoveChild

July 7th, 2010
9:57 am

No worries, ThrashDawg.

Badger Bob

July 7th, 2010
10:03 am

Rumun Ndur, the groundbreaker for the Thrashers African connection. Where would Aliu and Oduya be without him ;)

R. Stroz

July 7th, 2010
10:25 am

I know I’m in the minority, but I’d welcome Kovy back.

I still remember a few years back when he carried the team in an away game at Ottawa scoringa a plethora of goals.

Give the kid a chance, remember he’s only 27 years old.

Smoothie

July 7th, 2010
10:27 am

I find it mind-boggling but cool that Nigerian-blooded kids wind up playing hockey. Then again, chances are they were not born in Nigeria or certainly raised in Canada or the US. But still, hockey has come a long way from the 70’s and 80’s when there was nary a black player to be found. Let’s see, we’ve got a brotha from Stockholm, a brotha from Vancouver, Big Buf from Minny and Aliu who was actually born in Nigeria per wikipedia. Then he moved to Ukraine…of course! And let us not forget about the Swedish born OWUYA (oh wooo yeah!!) and Jordan Samuels from Windsor, CT! I’d say the Thrashers are quite the melting pot of ethnic backgrounds!

GS29 – indeed there have been some pretty laughable and downright scary hockey logos in the minors over the years. Of course, the NHL has had their share with the Mighty Ducks, lame-ass Seals, the first iteration of the Coyotes jerseys (ewwwww!), and the tragic St. Louis Blue note comedy jerseys from the early 90’s. There are still some bad unis but nothing like we saw during the 90’s.

Hockey Steve

July 7th, 2010
10:29 am

What if the Birds come out and absolutely paste the Caps on opening day??

Spud Webb

July 7th, 2010
10:37 am

Hey, i think i have a blog in pergatory also Trixy!! Help!

Spud Webb

July 7th, 2010
10:39 am

I’m going to ping Kamal right now, not kidding. I’ll find out if its true. stay tuned!!!

Smoothie

July 7th, 2010
10:43 am

I think the Grand Kamalian is simply dreaming “out loud” like a lot of Kovy fans who are secretly pining for him to return. Not to say it’s impossible, but it seems highly unlikely. Unless the team is about to be sold to another outfit who is willing to throw gobs of money his way. If you ask me, he can take his selfish, kilt-wearing butt back to Tver, Russia. The fact that he has turned down LA certainly makes him out to be more of a fraud than a player sincere about “winning now”.

da' boomer

July 7th, 2010
10:55 am

anything on the torchetti front?

R. Stroz

July 7th, 2010
10:59 am

Continuing with my minority opinion, does anyone remember the only player who openly admitted he didn’t like Hartley being fired?

Yes, Ilya Kovalchuk. Why, Ilya stated that Hartley made him play correctly.

Does anyone remember what Jim Slater said about Hartley last season?

Yes, the same thing.

Does anyone remember the rap that Kozlov stated about Anderson?

Anderson effectively ran Club Med.

So, if you have a coach that can teach and is willing to demand player accountability, isn’t it plausible that Kovy “grows as a player” again?

This is what I’d like to have happen. Duds allow Rammer to call Kovy and discuss what would be demanded of him and measure Kovy’s response.

If Kovy passes, offer him a reasonable contract.

Joe Friday

July 7th, 2010
11:05 am

Red Light’s on a roll this morning!

ESPN is completely irrelevant for me. The only time I’ve watched any of the channels in the past year is the World Cup games. Can’t stand bball, either one, unless the Cubs are in the playoffs (should I hold my breath) and with the internet, I don’t need Sportscenter anymore.

JeffMarek twitterated this:
“Jared Ross + Jaime Sifers sign w/the Thrashers. Saw Sifers a lot w/the Marlies here in Toronto. Nice player.”

Shamelessly stolen from a guy’s twitterification last night as we enter Day 7, North America held hostage: “Latest: Kovalchuk reportedly demanding 10 years, $10 million unmarked bills, and a getaway helicopter”

Tom

July 7th, 2010
11:06 am

Here is a thought to follow up on Stroz’s great post above.

When Ilya went to the Devils we all got pissed about his 1st Class Organization quote.

I wonder if it was in response to Anderson’s style and not the whole organization? Sure the Spirit Group sucks. There is no doubt about it, but Ilya does have a connection to the city and the city does have a connection to Ilya. To the rest of the NHL he is a hired gun, a piece of meat, but here he is part of the community.

That may be part of the decision making process.

ChippersLoveChild

July 7th, 2010
11:08 am

I’m all for the return of Kovy… he lacks in some areas, but adding a 40 plus goal scorer to this team can only help us… our power play dropped off considerably without his one-timers… I’d love to see him return…. Apparently there was something on Fox 5 last night about this as well.. but I did not see that.

glovesave29

July 7th, 2010
11:10 am

I am with you Stroz. I would take a guaranteed 40 goals / season in a minute. Perhaps Kovy has learned that the grass is not always greener on the other side of the fence. It does seem a bit strange this long delay. Perhaps Atlanta is in the mix. Who knows.

I can say that I have a few connections with the team. He tells me Kovy was very well liked by the team. Could he come back? It is doubtful, but it would certainly not shock me. Stranger things have happened.

Spud Webb

July 7th, 2010
11:15 am

I mean no disrespect to anyone on this blog, but no way in h&ll do I EVER want Kovy back here. Guy dumped on us in every single way possible. Lied to us, just like the ASG. To me, he’s no different. Karma is a … so good luck kovy in Jersey or wherever you end up. Heres to us winning a cup WITHOUT Kovy, before Kovy wins one without us.

Smoothie

July 7th, 2010
11:17 am

Okay, I’ll give into the madness and speculate some myself…WTFN?

The ASG and their twitter-based mouthpiece, Ben Wright, who normally shoots down any rumor when it’s blatantly farfetched, has not offered up one peep on the Kovy matter. Well, he took a pot shot at Kovy so that may be telling. However, the organization has been eerily silent since the rumor surfaced. Was there even any comment from Dudley about Boulton? I know I’m reaching here, but sometimes this franchise does things when you least expect it. Stroz makes a good case for Kovy’s *potential* character. He showed us what he’s capable of being when his heart and head are on the same page. Perhaps he wants an encore in ATL?

Red Light

July 7th, 2010
11:22 am

As long as he knows it’s not greener on the other side of the fence, than what’s the offer?

I say screw him and send him back home with Max, Nabby and Arty. The game here isn’t going to suffer without them. It existed long before the Russians came, and it’ll be here long after they’re gone. Plus, another Summit Series without Eagleson would be nice to see.

Watching North American millions wind up in Russia (and elsewhere) was never smart business, and they don’t share it with kids in their country either. I side with George Patton’s sentiments on this one.

glovesave29

July 7th, 2010
11:28 am

HA HA HA…Eklund thinks Kovy may be heading to Russia – but here’s the best one…Kaberle to LA for Simmonds and a prospect to TOR. LA would be NUTS to give up so much for Kaberle.

Eklund…always good for a laugh. Notice you don’t blog there much more Rawhide. Smart move.

Stroz – We all saw Thrash practices under Anderson. They were EASY! Couple of weaving drills. Some rebound work. Skate a few laps and do a shoot around…go home. Hartley practices were much tougher.

Jack

July 7th, 2010
11:32 am

Hartley was the man!!!

Adam

July 7th, 2010
11:34 am

Smoothie- It not just our team that is silent but just about the whole NHL. I can’t recall the 1st week of July being this quiet ever. Well maybe the lock out year.

It’s not just the Kovy saga but can anyone remember this few signings and lack of movement? So far the biggest signing is Gonchar at 5.5m.

It seem GM’s are keeping a tight grip on the check books. How long can it last?

Dwayne

July 7th, 2010
11:38 am

Start the KOVY chants….KOVY KOVY KOVY

Jack

July 7th, 2010
11:41 am

Kovy will not come here, because Ramsay and Dudley actually want players that can spell defense!!

Joe Friday

July 7th, 2010
11:44 am

“Nine mile skid on a ten mile ride, hot as a pistol but cool inside.
Cat on a tin roof, dogs in a pile,
Nothin’ left to do but smile, smile, smile!!!!

Now he’s gone, now he’s gone Lord he’s gone, he’s gone.
Like a steam locomotive, rollin’ down the track
He’s gone, gone, nothin’s gonna bring him back…He’s gone.”

I’m with Red Light, I’ll have a drink with any of youse guys anytime, but I’m not drinking with that Russian son of a . . . he’s gone.

Red Light

July 7th, 2010
11:46 am

Hey World Be Free

Sabres signed Rob Neidermayer. Start making those parade plans for next June!

Spud Webb

July 7th, 2010
11:50 am

Jesus, I didn’t even know rob neidermayer was still in the league.

WM

July 7th, 2010
11:51 am

Throw me into the “wishful thinking” camp regarding Kovy. We basically handed him the checkbook and he said no. What much has changed since February? Yeah, I know we hired Ramsey and Duds is the new GM, but the fundamental problem with this team hasn’t…Drive. That’s right, drive. Yeah the players talk to the media and us fans about wanting to make the playoffs and such, but where is that drive come that stretch in the season where won 5 out of 14? Didn’t mean to go off on a rant. I just don’t think he’ll do it. Besides, I like the make up of the team now. Disapointed we let Kubina go, but hopefully Max will see the light and re-sign. Really looking forward to this weekend’s camp.

ChippersLoveChild

July 7th, 2010
12:09 pm

Why again are some so mad at Kovy? Because he called our organization out? We haven’t won ANYTHING in our existence… and yes, he was a member of our organization for a long period of that time, so partly some of the blame can fall on him, but all he did was speak the truth, in my opinion… You act like after nearly ten years of losing none of you would be happy to go to Jersey, a team that goes to the playoffs every year, and always has a chance because of the man between the pipes… I’d have done cartwheels on my way out the door at that point in time as well… That being said, if Kovy likes the improvements to our roster over the last six months, and still finds that he would want to play here again, then you welcome him back with open arms… We don’t have anyone close to being able to do, offensively, what Kovy can do on our roster.

Putting On The Foil

July 7th, 2010
12:17 pm

Agree. 90% of the this blog has been calling out this organization for the last ten years. Kovy does it and he’s a traitor!

Midfield

July 7th, 2010
12:21 pm

Well, yeah, heck, it’s because he stands to earn a lot of money in the next number of years – one way or another, that Russian SOB.

EA

July 7th, 2010
12:24 pm

I would welcome Kovy back with open arms. Dan Kamal said it best. All is forgiven, come home. It was never about the fans or the city. Yes, he wanted more people in the stands, but he knew why they weren’t there. He sent the message to the management and owners that all of us wanted to send.

Smoothie

July 7th, 2010
12:26 pm

Ha ha ha Kovy…nobody loves you like that!!

Twitter machine says: helenenothelen “more on kings and kovy: he never compromised during their first round of talks and they hit limit and walked away. now he is (more)…”

…willing to compromise??

Smoothie

July 7th, 2010
12:28 pm

helenenothelen “willing to bend and his side is supposed to give counter offer to kings today. i dunno where that leaves devils…(more)”

Kovy, just take the Kings deal and be happy. It’s a good fit and a win / win for everyone. Plus, we won’t have to worry about getting scored on by you 4 or 6 times / year in the Eastern Conf.

Midfield

July 7th, 2010
12:30 pm

By the way, Sovsport has it that Nabokov has just signed with SKA St. Petersburg for four years. That’s the club that Kovy’s Russian agent is reported to be still negotiating, I understand.

Smoothie

July 7th, 2010
12:31 pm

After reading Ramsay’s comments from Red Light’s well-written article on Rammer for the Red Light Report (be sure to check it out!), I don’t see how Kovy would fit in with the new culture Craig is trying to engender in his mission and hopefully his actions as coach. To wit:

“A leader isn’t always the guy with the “C” on his sweater, sometimes that is a misnomer. I think leadership means that everyone is involved in the team process,” Ramsay related. “A coach really has to reward everyone that participates. You can have a lot of great leaders who play on the third or fourth lines, or maybe the fifth and sixth defensemen, because they come and compete every night.

“Teaching your team to compete and demanding it, and recognizing the guys who do compete and having them help you get the other guys on board. Hockey isn’t a one-man game and Atlanta’s had some great players here that perhaps have been unsuccessful. Leadership is a team event.”

Click here for the rest of the read: http://www.sportssoutheast.com/index.php/red-light-report/59-nhl/222-craig-ramsays-coaching-philosophy

Jack

July 7th, 2010
12:37 pm

well said Smoothie

World Be Free

July 7th, 2010
12:39 pm

Kovy maybe coming back? I stand by my ex-wife scenario mentioned yesterday. A divorce is a divorce and there’s no way around it. If he came back it would never be the same as it was during his first tour of duty. For those reasons, I say good luck Kovy wherever you end up. And for the record, I did not boo Kovy when he came to Atlanta late last season.

Kovy tired for the most part while he was here and he was never captain material. Making him captain was a way to try and weave him into the inner workings of this team so much that he won’t leave and he finally did. I was actually glad for him to go to a winner and have a chance to contribute to a playoff team. Remember when they interviewed Kovy on ice at the end of the 08-09 season against TB, he stated that he would like more “players” here to help the team get better. WE ALL CHEERED! So isn’t that what Dudley is doing right now? In a sense, Dudley’s work is 1 year too late, because if we had the same commitment last summer Kovalchuk might still be here.

We take out our frustrations on Kovalchuk, because he is yet another in a long line of players that has viewed this situation as a failure. Most of us do the same at some point of our professional careers and we move on hoping to find something better. I know it’s more complicated than that, but largely there are very few differences for all of us.

Midfield

July 7th, 2010
12:41 pm

Wait. Does it mean that we won’t have the first line at all? Does it meant that we won’t have the guy with the “C” on the sweater? Far out. I know that we definitely won’t have anyone dumb as a sack of hammers. That’s for damn’ sure!