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

glovesave29

July 8th, 2010
10:18 am

What???? I think most try NOT to draw attention to themselves in a negative way.

Badger Bob

July 8th, 2010
10:32 am

Thoughts on Kovy, I daresay Don Waddell is a better hockey player than most posters here. I daresay most posters here could have put together a better team in 10 years. Athletic ability does not equate to intellect or insight. Also, those who can also do plenty of complaining – Exhibit A: Cindy Crochby. Exhibit B: Martin St. Louis.

glovesave29

July 8th, 2010
10:43 am

Bob – partially agree. Ability certainly does not equate to intellect…but it can (repeat CAN – not does) equate to insight. There are smart players out there, but it is not tied to their athletic ability.

Don did play minor league hockey in the CHL and IHL back when you had to be a pretty tough guy to do so. Certainly did not equate to being a quality GM…that is for sure.

Good examples of whiners too!

Joe Friday

July 8th, 2010
10:51 am

“No matter what we think, ownership needs to see more people in the stands before they will take the next step-that’s how I see it.”

“The onus is moving back to the fans.”

As a businessman, I would LOVE for this to be true. I could cut back on the quality of my product and tell my customers, “look, if you start buying more, then I’ll give you better quality, but the onus is on you, fellas!”

WBF, I appreciate your sentiment, but that’s not how business works. “You gotta spend money to make money”. The horse comes before the cart. You can’t expect people to drop large coin on an inferior product first and then subsequently improve your product. The free market does not work like that (whatever we have left of that in this country, I know the socialists would disagree).

“Anyone else surprised (almost shocked) that Nabakov was replaced in San Jose by Niity?”

Yep, I think the Sharks’ fans are the most shocked/upset/disbelieving of all. That said, I’d be suprised if that’s their final plan, they may be looking to trade for a starter, Nittymaki is as much of a starter as Ellis is.

Jack

July 8th, 2010
11:02 am

I think San Jose is making a big mistake. Afterall San Jose only plays atlanta once, and one win will not put them in the playoffs.

Thoughts on Kovy

July 8th, 2010
11:18 am

Athletic ability does not equate to intellect or insight. Also, those who can also do plenty of complaining – Exhibit A: Cindy Crochby. Exhibit B: Martin St. Louis.
Never mentioned intellect or insight, I hate Cindy and St. Lewis is a bolt, and I hate the bolts.
Gagne get 5.25 mill this year, I say after Kovy signs, Gagne, Max and some of the other “scorers” look around and see what team has cash left. Will we get someone then???

Jack

July 8th, 2010
11:28 am

I think we will get someone soon. Just not sure who. Although it is eiry quiet lately.

World Be Free

July 8th, 2010
12:20 pm

J/F, equally important is having the right man making the personnel decisions getting established players and the right draft choices. We all know the decision maker who is responsible for the inferior product, giving him more money means we’d just have more inferior players overpaid (more Bobby Holiks). I was trying to put the past behind us, believing that the future will be brighter with the Dudley/Ramsay combination. Let’s hope this combination, along with better players will change the fortunes of this organziation before it is too late. It is major coin too, no doubt.

World Be Free

July 8th, 2010
12:33 pm

Ellis for Niity is a marginal upgrade, especially if you consider Mike Smith is still sitting there wonder his status with the Bolts.

Nikolai Zherdev as a Flyer just doesn’t sound right, he must be willing to play for around 1-1.5M/season. The day “Z” signs is the day Gagne is on the block.

Hockey Biltong

July 8th, 2010
12:49 pm

TOK-Thanks for the correction!!! Well done….

BlueSpark

July 8th, 2010
1:36 pm

RE: ESPN – I mostly agree with the majority opinion here. But I will say this: to watch World Cup games live on-line, all I have to do is go to espn3.com and login via Comcast (my ISP). To watch Tour de France live on-line, I apparently have to pay Versus $29.95. Even though I already pay Comcast (who owns Versus, not ESPN) for cable and Internet.

As for Kovy coming back, I’d consider offering a 10 year deal starting at maybe $8M, then dropping each year after he’s 32. But he apparently wouldn’t sign that anyway, so it’s moot.

He’s gone, and the Thrashers are really no worse off.

The gap to the salary FLOOR is pretty disheartening though…

Dwayne

July 8th, 2010
1:38 pm

Has the Thrasher camp started yet? Someone going to update if it has? I hope so. Wanting a hockey fix. Braves look good, Damon Evans gave us some good reading, should have moved some of his comments to the comic section.

Badger Bob

July 8th, 2010
1:58 pm

glovesave29

July 8th, 2010
2:04 pm

Why is Kovy so against a front or back loaded contract? Seems to me, get more money up front (or in the first few seasons) and let it work for you. There is likely to be inflation / monetary devaluation over the course of the contract. Taxes surely will not go down…so if the contract terms and total monetary sum are agreeable…what’s the difference? Seems to me the more money you get sooner, the better off you will be.

Yung JB

July 8th, 2010
2:12 pm

http://www.thefourthperiod.com/freeagents/top30ufas.html

still alot of the top 30 UFA’s available and the thrashers look involved in most cases

Tom Lysiak

July 8th, 2010
2:31 pm

Love the way this Kovy situation is going. This is better than a soap opera. Lots of good possibilities here:

Are Kovy and his evil agent over-playing their hand?

Are they sticking to that $10 million demand so they can say they ended up getting the same as Atlanta offered and didn’t leave money on the table?

Are there really only two teams in the hunt?

Did Kovy and his agent realize Lou wasn’t going over $8.5 million and crawl back to the Kings for one more try??

Did they think the Kings would blink and go for the $10 million since Lou had supposedly offered $8.5 million? I mean it’s only $1.5 million more Dean….

Did Lombardi blink once thinking they were serious about negotiating the second time?

Are the Kings really done with Kovy now as they say?

Was Lou unable to dump a couple of contracts he has been feverishly trying to unload which would give him cap room?

Does Lou regret trading back for 35 year-old Jason Arnott and his $4.5 million cap hit?

Is Lou desparate to pull this off so he won’t forever be reminded of what he gave up to rent Kovy for a blown cup run?

If the Kings are really out for good now and Lou can’t make room under the cap will Kovy tuck his tail and run to the KHL?

Will some other team swoop in and grab him for less money?

Stay tuned soap opera fans…..

Brendan

July 8th, 2010
2:41 pm

R.Stroz, all the guesses have both expired and been wrong. The last two eliminees were “FrostyTheSnowMan” with his July 2 guess of Washington and Joe Friday’s guess of New York Rangers on July 1. I thought I posted that already. Looking back, I’m surprised no one guessed Los Angeles. We couldn’t have known that NJ would be Kovy’s trade deadline destination. That last guesses of Atlanta were mine and Ranallo10’s, both of June 30th.

It’s been fun watching this play out. I admire L.A. gumption. They don’t know, not really, if they can keep Jack Johnson, yet they presuppose they will in the quotes about the team’s cap situation, moving forward. Clearly, Drew Doughty will be a top RFA priority, who will likely get a contract that locks him up beyond his RFA years.

Kovalchuk may have to come to an understanding with his agent. If he wants Los Angeles, he’ll have to take it at a lesser price. It’s that, or try for a 1-year deal at $10 million. In Kovy’s shoes, I’d probably settle for a 1-year deal with Detroit, for $4.5 million, and roll the dice that the year ends with a Stanley Cup. And if not, he’s 28 years old, his prime years still ahead of him, and can get some 12-year deal outta somebody.

Tom

July 8th, 2010
3:01 pm

The Red Wings are in according to Kevin Allen:

Red Wings jump in Kovalchuk sweeps and have offered a 1 year deal worth $8.5 million.

Hockey Biltong

July 8th, 2010
3:02 pm

Torchetti[sp] is named associate head coach per CViv.!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Brendan

July 8th, 2010
3:04 pm

Just tossing this out there … for soap opera giggles. But if Ilya Kovalchuk really, truly wanted to win a Cup for the Thrashers, the team that drafted him, and that his career could never be complete until he achieved that goal, then doing a 1-year deal with the KHL until FUBAS sold the team into more capable hands, would be one way to go. He could collect his $14-15 million, with bonus, in Russia, then return the following season, and I doubt his fellow players would look down on him. He was, technically, the highest paid hockey player in the World, at that point. GM’s, including Atlanta’s, would be interested in his services, when Ilya turns 28.

Now, answer truthfully, would you be dancing the Charleston if Kovy had accepted that $101 million/12-year offer? We’d never be able to roll 3 quality lines, with one player gobbling up that much cap space on an ‘internal cap’ budget.

Tom

July 8th, 2010
3:05 pm

Correction, that past comment was from NHLSourcesSays not Kevin Allen. My apologies.

Brendan

July 8th, 2010
3:06 pm

Glovesave29, I don’t think Kovy wants any GM to get the bright idea that trading him when he’s 38, 39, or 40 to some disadvantaged market like Phoenix is a good idea. So, at $8.5 million, at age 39, the other GM will pass on a trade for him. It allows him to stay where he wants to be.

glovesave29

July 8th, 2010
3:07 pm

Always good for a laugh…

Eklund (snicker, snicker) is reporting the latest offer from the Devils is 17 years 100 million – VERY front loaded.

glovesave29

July 8th, 2010
3:09 pm

Brendan – at that age – he can just retire if he doesn’t like his new digs. He can alway ask for a NTC.

Brendan

July 8th, 2010
3:10 pm

WBF, I still think San Jose needs to be looking at Jose Theodore or Marty Turco, and not just rest with Niittymaki.

Brendan

July 8th, 2010
3:11 pm

Glovesave29, but then the team can pull a “Dan Boyle” on him, and strongarm him into waiving that NTC or they’ll simply put him on waivers, where some bottom feeder team can claim him.

R. Stroz

July 8th, 2010
3:15 pm

Thrashers name Torchetti associate head coach

Brendan

July 8th, 2010
3:15 pm

Glovesave29, 17 years pays Ilya until he’s 43. I’d hope that the NHL league offices would investigate. Specifically, to see if the option of “early retirement” were ever discussed. For if Kovy retires at 38, with 5 years left on his $100 million deal, that would have certainly changed the cap hit parameters.

Lou is a “weasel” when it comes to the cap. Remember one year, he was over the cap, but got the league to do some longterm IR on a player, while another player under contract failed to report. Or something like that. The end result was … that NJ was actually over the cap on Opening Night. But the NHL agreed that there were mitigating circumstances and allowed it.

Brendan

July 8th, 2010
3:16 pm

Hey, Dudley got his guy, after all! I guess when you’re $10 million the cap, there’s a little wiggle room for coaches salaries!

glovesave29

July 8th, 2010
3:23 pm

I hear ya Brendan – it is Eklund after all. There is about a (hmmmmm) 0% chance of anything like this happening.

Tom

July 8th, 2010
3:46 pm

Welcome Torch!

And have a happy Birthday tomorrow. You share the day with my eldest son so you should be honored. :)

Smoothie

July 8th, 2010
4:16 pm

Jesus, just when I give up on ANYTHING happening today in the world of hockey, we go ahead and hire a coach! Actually, Torch finally made up his mind. Kovy only has about another week to go to outlast Torchetti.

Welcome Torch! You’re gonna be awfully happy here in ATL. Just a hunch.

rob

July 8th, 2010
4:20 pm

Good for LA. I hope everyone sees that kind of money is ridiculous for him. To Russia with joy. Enough about him. Only time I want to see him in Thrasher blue again is when somebody is checking him.
Any more news on Cormier’s court case? Could that be the reason they aren’t skating Monday? As bad as the hit was, the guy didn’t suffer permanent damage and was himself suspended for an illegal hit as well. This opens a can of worms going forward IMO. Guess we will see.

rob

July 8th, 2010
4:22 pm

Trixie,
Any chance you can find my post? Thank you.

Brendan

July 8th, 2010
4:32 pm

I know he’s peddler of misinformation, but I wouldn’t put it past Sweet Lou to pull some shenanigans like this. I just hope the league will scrutinize any contract that pays a 20-something year old until he’s 40-something, with an appropriate declination. As in, “No, re-work the contract.” Otherwise, some of these GM’s will just try to manipulate the cap hit, by extending years that will, in fact, never get played or paid.

World Be Free

July 8th, 2010
5:34 pm

Remember when we talked about getting both Torch and Rammer and so many posters said it would never happen cuz ASG was too cheap? Well…..

Welcome to ATL Torch! All we need is a goaltender coach.

Brendan-I wonder how much more $$$ has under the Cap? Maybe the Sharks believe Greiss is ready to be a number 1?

We will know Eklund is full of it when he predicts Kovy is going to Buffalo!

Smoothie

July 8th, 2010
6:08 pm

WBF – how about Kevin Weekes or Clint Malarchuk?! You know we would increase our ratio of puck bunnies in ATL if Weeksie were to come here.

Red Light

July 8th, 2010
6:21 pm

Dan Bouchard, Atlanta resident!

Dwayne

July 8th, 2010
7:01 pm

Now we can Torch Atlanta. It’s a good day to be a Thrasher fan.

World Be Free

July 8th, 2010
9:43 pm

Smoothie-R/L–Bouchard!

R. Stroz

July 8th, 2010
9:52 pm

I’d like to make an announcement tomorrow.

At 10:00 PM ET, I’ll announce where I’ll be seated for next season’s Thrashers games.

Stay Tuned.

R. Stroz

July 8th, 2010
10:02 pm

Thank you for tuning in…and, without further ado, I’ll be seated in Section 222.

Now everyone can continue with their lives.

World Be Free

July 8th, 2010
10:09 pm

We just have to listen for the cowlbell to know where you are in “The Phil”.

Anyone going to prospect camp this weekend? Looking at Sunday.

R. Stroz

July 8th, 2010
10:22 pm

Section 222 will inundated with vuvuzelas, cowbells, amd bullhorns.

Yes Hookybob, the plurals are intentional.

HookyBob

July 8th, 2010
10:58 pm

Strozer,…now all you need is a harmonica on a holder,..and symbols between your knees.

Hey,….anybody heard from Stendeck lately?

Joe Friday

July 8th, 2010
11:16 pm

Stendec’s gonna love him some Mason. I can hear it now “*%$# Mason-Dixon couldn’t find a puck if it hit his schlong bald head, Mason-Dixon ^%Nashville mother *&%^$# worthless &*%^!”

Remind me not to sit in front of Room 222 again this year . . .

Smoothie

July 8th, 2010
11:26 pm

Bouchard was before my time but its okay with me. Time for that Flames connection now that we’ve got ourselves a blow-”torch” of hockey passion! As for the other assistant, I’m gonna guess Ludzik or Peters, but that’s a DUH5 I spoz.

WBF – damn, I’m going sat cuz the golf course calls on sunday. Hate that ill miss ya there.

R. Stroz

July 8th, 2010
11:40 pm

Joe Bob Friday – You could always sit with us. I promise your ears won’t ring after the game anymore than they would after an AC/DC concert.

Brendan

July 8th, 2010
11:41 pm

Congrats to GaVaHokie. If the wife is gonna bottle feed, go back to work in 3 days. If she’s going a more traditional route, you get to sleep through the night, (she doesn’t,) so every single day off that your company will allow under its medical leave policy.

Brendan

July 8th, 2010
11:45 pm

WBF, per the nhlnumbers.com site, San Jose has just over $7 million in cap space. http://nhlnumbers.com/overview.php?team=SJS&season=1011