First of all, if you haven’t yet heard…the Thrashers avoided a salary arbitration hearing by signing forward Ben Eager to a one-year $965,000 deal. C-Viv has all the particulars here.
But I bring you even more good news. Yes…it seems as though the Thrashers have gained some accolades from a member of the press, one who is not a resident of Thrasherville.
Uh-huh…Allan Muir of SI.com has posted a list of the eight teams he feels have improved the most so far this summer. Counting down Muir’s most improved list… No. 8 Calgary Flames, No. 7 Dallas Stars, No. 6 Boston Bruins, No. 5 St. Louis Blues, No. 4 Toronto Maple Leafs, No. 3 Vancouver Canucks, No. 2 Tampa Bay Lightning…and the number 1 most improved team this offseason according one Mr. Allan Muir…
Yourrrrrrrrrrrr Atlantaaaaaaaa THRA-shers!
In his recent entry, Muir explains his reasons for placing Atlanta on top of his “Most Improved” list by saying…
“Gone, finally, is dithering GM Don Waddell, replaced by Rick Dudley, a manager who clearly understands that today’s teams need a little steak to go with the sizzle. Example? After seeing the Cup-winning ‘Hawks flattened by a salary cap semi, Dudley flew in like a crow to pick the meat of Chicago’s exposed bones. And while no one should mistake his acquisitions for Jonathan Toews or Patrick Kane, he added significant talent along with that winning attitude in Dustin Byfuglien, Andrew Ladd, Brent Sopel and Ben Eager, along with assistant coach John Torchetti. He made a savvy move by signing free agent Chris Mason, a reliable netminder who can handle the mail as often, or as little, as necessary to expedite the development of Ondrej Pavelec. He also quietly tabbed Boston assistant Craig Ramsay to take over behind the bench, ensuring that an offensively aggressive, physically accountable style will become the hallmark of this club moving forward.
These Thrashers may not boast the wattage of previous editions, but it’ll be a more consistent and more competitive group. A playoff berth is within reach.”
Nice. But Allan…don’t go jinxin’ us by tossing the “P” word around here prematurely, m-kay?
Do you agree with Alan Muir’s assessment that the Thrashers have improved enough to be a playoff contender?
Total Voters: 145
Personally, I will say that I agree with the assessment in general. I’ve gone on record as saying the Mason signing was a very positive step in the right direction and that the trades for the Chicago-Four were great acquisitions…and bringing in Ramsay as well as Torch was nothing short of a minor coup as well.
But I’d shy away from declaring the work of Dudley and Co. as big of a success as Muir has here…simply because I’d like to see the final product of their efforts first.
Still to be determined is what it’ll take to get Andrew Ladd’s signature on a contract…if Dudley can get Maxim Afinogenov to re-sign here…if not, who might he get to fill that void…if the Thrashers can acquire an adequate replacement for Pavel Kubina…who we might see as a goalie coach/consultant hired…can Arturs Kulda and/or Patrice Cormier crack this lineup…can Cormier stay out of jail…you get the picture.
Regardless, it’s always nice to read some positive things about the Thrashers than what we’ve become accustomed to over their first decade of play.
Hmmm…would Allan call that the Dithering Don Decade?