Do the Thrashers still need another top-six forward?

I’m quite sure that upon reading the question posed in today’s header, most of you already answered the enquiry out loud. And I’m certain it was phrased something like… “Do we need another winger for one of the top two lines? Well, yeah…DUH, Rawhide”!

Nik Antropov scored 24 goals for the Thrashers as the top-line center last season (AP Photo)

Nik Antropov scored 24 goals, 43 assists and was a +13 as the Thrashers top-line center last season (AP Photo)

Uh-huh…and maybe there were a few other special words strategically placed as well.

But let’s take a look at this for just a second. Right now the top two lines that could be rolled out October 8 could possibly consist of Nik Antropov centering Nic Bergfors and Bryan Little as well as Rich Peverley in between Dustin Byfuglien and Evander Kane.

So…which one of those players isn’t worthy of top-six status? I’m sure that debate will be waged in the comment section below.

Regardless, there are a couple of issues here to take into consideration. First of which is that Bergie is still yet unsigned. When the RFA and the Thrashers will come to terms is anyone’s guess. Then you also have the whole “Byfuglien could play on defense” thingy that’s been floated out there by Mr. Dudley. Take either of those two players out of the equation then I join the chorus of those calling for a deal to bring in another winger.

Could Andrew Ladd be called upon to fill a possible void if Bergfors holds out? Sure, sure. The former Blackhawk has netted 32 goals, 87 overall points and was a +28 in the past two seasons in Chicago. As an added bonus, he’s played in all 164 games during that time as well, so health issue doubts don’t circle around him.

Boris Valabik may find the Thrashers blueline too crowded if Dustin Byfuglien plays defense (AP photo/Gregory Smith)

Boris Valabik may find the Thrashers blueline too crowded if Dustin Byfuglien plays defense (AP photo/Gregory Smith)

But I’m looking for Ladd to join Slater and Fredrik Modin/Spencer Machacek/Fredrik Pettersson on the third line, depending on who impresses most during training camp and preseason. If so…coupled with a possible fourth line of Patrice Cormier, Ben Eager and Eric Boulton…then your odd man out might just be Chris Thorburn, who could then be used as trade bait.

Now, if Big Buff is tapped to play back, then that creates a bit of a crowd on the blueline. He would join Ron Hainsey, Toby Enstrom, Zach Bogosian, Johnny Oduya, Brent Sopel and Boris Valabik there. That’s seven, leaving no room at the inn for Arturs Kulda.

I don’t know about you, but I want Kulda up here this fall.

Somehow, I think Dudley and Co. do too. If Byfuglien does indeed wind up joining the Thrashers’ defensive corps, I would imagine it was because the team was able to package up Valabik with [insert name of any of the handful of two-way players that have been acquired recently here] to bring in that much sought after top-six forward.

I’m not ‘down’ on Boris, mind you. I see a lot of upside to his game…heck, there is a lot of up side that comes in a 6’-7” 245 lb frame. Plus, he’s also cut down on his propensity to commit the untimely penalty. During last year’s injury-shortened season, he earned 36 penalty minutes in 23 games played, (1.56 PIM per game). This is an improvement on the 2.64 PIM per game the year before that and 6 PIM per game during seven games played in the 2006-07 season.

Do the Thrashers need to add another top-six forward to the roster?

  • Yes! They're doomed without it (53%, 80 Votes)
  • Maybe. If the price is right (41%, 62 Votes)
  • No! They look good 'as is' (6%, 8 Votes)

Total Voters: 150

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But if given the choice between Valabik and Kulda right now…I’d choose Kulda.

So returning to the question of if we need another top-six forward, my answer is “it depends”. If a deal could be made to procure one at the cost of a Boris Valabik and/or Chris Thorburn along with…oh, say…a Nigel Dawes or Patrick Rissmiller type of player, then I think Dudley would entertain the discussion. Same true if a deal can be worked to ship Bergfors to a place he’s be happy to ink a deal with in return for a signed winger of similar quality.

But if any the price is too high… I’d venture to guess they’d keep Buff on the forward line while Kulda and Valabik compete with Freddy Meyer to round out the seven man defensive group. Then allow prospects like Cormier, Machacek and Pettersson to do battle with Dawes for the remaining spots on the forward lines.

That should make for a very interesting training camp.

181 comments Add your comment

GaVaHokie

September 10th, 2010
8:49 am

kracker

September 10th, 2010
8:51 am

Ha! I got Ranalloed so I am reposting this reply to Smoothie. It fits right in with this blog.

Smoothie, I never did answer about whether or not Dudley is done as Chris thought. I feel sure Chris got the right impression (or was told) that the Thrashers “were done.” With what Dudley wanted to do this offseason, with the budget he was given, he indeed might be finished at this time.

But we know the job for a good GM is never finished. The general composition of your team, the up-to-date assessment of your players’ skills, the availability of players, injuries, the waiver wire, calls to and from – things are always in play. So while Duds may be finished at the moment, it is a pretty good bet that with 4 weeks until open night he is not done.

GaVaHokie

September 10th, 2010
8:57 am

Well, I think Dudley (based on comments) might be looking at this… he seems to think Thorsy can play a bigger role. The scoring depth changes dramatically with this logic…

Berg Antro Litts
Kane Pevs Thorsy
Modin Slates Ladd
Eager Cormier Boults

Dawes/Rissmiller

Boone7

September 10th, 2010
9:14 am

YES, YES, and YES!!

hip czech

September 10th, 2010
9:20 am

I still like Little as a center of Antropov. I am not sure what Antropov’s faceoff % is, but Little seems to win more often than not when he is called into the circle.

It all hinges on Bergfors, sign him and I think Dudley goes with what we got. If they continue to butt heads in negotiations then I can see a Bergfors+Valabik+another depth winger combination being dealt for some help up front.

Cogliano is Edmonton’s Bergfors (and he plays center)…might be an option.

Boone7

September 10th, 2010
9:20 am

Who will score 30 goals on this team? Little? Kane? Buff? I think Bergie could but he’s not a happy (rich) camper right now. Without another top six forward, we still have the question marks as to who is going to score. The only proven top 6 guys are Antro and Buff. Anyone else is a stretch. A couple of DW’s prized draft picks like Kane and Little need to ante up. I hope they can and Bergie comes back to play.

ChippersLoveChild

September 10th, 2010
9:21 am

Hokie, if you put Thorburn on the second line we are doomed.. Thorburn has had chances to play on scoring lines and he hasn’t gotten the job done. A new season and the new general manager coming out in the press spinning a positive story isn’t going to change that. Thorburn is what he is and what he is not is a winger that deserves to be on the first or second line.

As for the question of the blog, ummm yes?! We need one regardless of how the lines are going to set up. We are banking on too many “well if this goes right..” moments to score goals this season. We need one more proven goal scorer to solidify our team.

Jack

September 10th, 2010
9:22 am

Yes and more importantly Hell to the Yes. I wonder if Flames knows anything.

Brendan

September 10th, 2010
9:27 am

Rawhide, intriguing blog. Very intriguing. And I thank you for posting it. My answer is, “Yes, the Thrashers need another Top Six forward. They probably need two, to make the playoffs.” To answer the 2nd question, any of the following could be demoted to 3rd line, with my blessings: Bergfors, Peverley, and Little. I don’t mean that in a demeaning way, however. But the truth is, to conform to the “playoff formula” … we need to be a +22 in our goal differentials. Last year, we were -22. Do the math. That’s a lot of improvement that has to be made, to playoff bound. While I have little doubt that we will shave a decent amount of goals off our goals against, I am still concerned about the offensive production losses of Kovalchuk, Afinogenov, Colby Armstrong, etc. To even have a shot at it, players like Kane and Bryan Little have to have career seasons, while Antropov remains the Team Leader in most categories. I like Rich Peverley. I truly do. But he “jumped” at a contract that substantively underpaid him, based off his numbers. Score one for Waddell!, with an assist to Peverley for INSISTING that a new contract be done during the season. Don’t laugh, it’s not often that Waddell “negotiated a new contract during the season.” It’s against Waddell’s stated policy. Now, I’ve yet to hear what Dudley’s stated policy is on the matter. If Dudley is the man in charge, he ought to be free to (1) negotiate contracts during the year and (2) make PROACTIVE contracts. I can already see that Dudley is a “Show me, first” kind of GM. And those kinds of GM’s don’t go the PROACTIVE route all that often. Somewhere, Zach Bogosian is laughing, saying something like, “I was WILLING re-sign on July 1st. It’s past September 1st, and I now think I’ll wait to see what the market will bear on my RFA contract next summer.” A smart move by Bogosian, to be sure. This team has all the cap room in the world for the former 3rd overall pick of the 2008 draft. Well played by Zach and his agent. Might even get an RFA offersheet, if he hits his numbers, or even has a “decent” season. At this point, in Zach’s shoes, I’d laugh at the proactive offer. For three full months, of nothing happening offseason, the thought of renewing Bogosian proactively … apparently escaped the minds of the brain-trust of the Atlanta Thrashers. That’s okay. They like to overpay star players. Which is sort of “odd” for an ownership not known for its robusts budgets, and is often thought of as ‘cash strapped.’ But hey, Joe Johnson is smiling. What does he care if never gets the supporting cast around him to win a championship for Atlanta. He has a bathtub full of cash to bathe in … every single night. (Thanks, Gearons!) He’s got millions of friends, all named “Benjamin.” At parties, JJ uses $100 bills to light other people’s smokes. Except, he’ll call those parties “charitable fund-raisers” and use each “Benjamin” as a tax-deductible expense. And let’s face it, the man needs TAX SHELTERS. I wonder who the AS,LLC has paid more. Their lawyers or Joe Johnson?

ss

September 10th, 2010
9:27 am

Top 6 forward? No. Go with what you have, since the spirit like to do things the cheap way. Chris Mason is a big up grade in net, and it should come down to the team being able to play better defense, Will that happen? I have no clue and thats why you play the game. There probally isnt much left on the UFA market right before camp opens up.

ss

September 10th, 2010
9:29 am

Brendan,

Two forwards? Who you going to get right before camp? Two to make the playoffs? What happened to being strong on the blue line where there is better plus minus type stats and less shots given up? There should be enough forwards that can score goals, but this orginzation has shown they never were willing to build from the net out.

Maybe Ramsay and Dudley will make this orginzation fun to watch in the up coming years.

J.B.

September 10th, 2010
9:32 am

of course another top 6 F would we welcomed, but are there any left to sign?

Incidentally, I really think Dawes will thrive here. I really like that signing. Flames and Rangers fans Ive heard from have nothing but good things to say about him.

GaVaHokie

September 10th, 2010
9:34 am

Last years Total Team Goals were 230 goals, which was 12th in the League.

I’m going to undershoot the potential here… the below would total 224 goals, which still would have been good enough for 14th in the League last year, ahead of Detroit.

Berg= 25 goals
Antro= 25 goals
Little= 25 goals
Kane= 20 goals
Pevs= 20 goals
Thorsy= 15 goals
Modin= 12 goals
Slates= 10 goals
Ladd= 18 goals
Eager= 5 goals
Cormier= 3 goals
Boults= 3 goals

Enstrom= 10 goals
Bogosian= 10 goals
Oduya= 5 goals
Hainsey= 7 goals
Buff= 10 goals
Sopel= 1 goal

The most important thing has ALWAYS been Goals Against, and that’s where we should see the most improvement this year.

GaVaHokie

September 10th, 2010
9:38 am

My totals also don’t account for any contribution from Dawes who had 14 goals last year, or Rissmiller… so go ahead and factor them into my Thorsy projection which is strictly based on Thorburn playing a bigger role.

Matt

September 10th, 2010
9:43 am

Yes…Ja…Yep…Oui…Si…Hai. But as pointed out above, WHERE would this mythical player come from? The market for UFA seems bare. Would have to be a trade. Bergfors (not that I want to see him leave, but it look inevitable) plus another player would seem to be the minimum that any team is going to want to give up a Top 6.

Darkhorse

September 10th, 2010
9:49 am

Do the Thrashers need a legit top 3 veteran forward? Did Harvey Korman need Tim Conway on the Carol Burnett Show? Did Moe and Larry need Curly? Hell yes they did! You don’t have to give up the bank and trade for a “face of the franchise” type player, but if this team plans on getting to the postseason and doing anything worth mentioning, Dudley better put a mix of roster guys, propects, and picks to really bring in someone who’s a guaranteed goal scorer and all-around player.

I have no problem with our current top six forwards being worthy of those spots, but together they do not quite make an imposing group yet. There are a lot of better forwards around the league that I would bump Little, Pevs, Antropov, or whoever, to make a spot for.

We are depending too heavily on rookies, second and third year guys to max out at their potential up front. Modin on the top two lines for a veteran presence is not what I have in mind. We’re lottery bound if that is the answer.

This summer started off with a bang with the Chicago trades, draft, and Mason signing. Since then though, it’s been Waddell’esque flea market buys for name brand spots. If Dudley could find a way to bring in a Zajac, Elias, Lucic, Iginla(I know), or whoever…..then I feel all sections of the roster would have been significantly upgraded with quality depth.

Smoothie

September 10th, 2010
9:49 am

How about Marc Savard?? Does Tyler Seguin make him expendable? $4 M / year ain’t too bad compared to what he wanted before leaving ATL! Oh wait, he has a NTC this season…nevermind!

kracker – thanks kind sir. I agree. The next step is seeing what you got at camp and waiting on other teams to blink. Some are gonna have to drop a good player to get under the cap. And hanging some tempting bait like a Nicklas Bergfors might just be the enticement they need.

How about Bergy & Boris for Wheeler and a pick?

ss

September 10th, 2010
9:51 am

Didnt savard resign in bean town recently?

Alan R.

September 10th, 2010
9:53 am

Do we need another Top-6? Only if the price is right. Otherwise, I think we’ll be fine. Really. As was noted above, scoring isn’t really our problem. We’ll have a more “even distribution” of scoring this year, I think. Our problem has always been goals allowed. Always.

How many seasons have we had less GA than GF? Go ahead. Count ‘em out. Use your hands if you need to. I’ll wait.

World Be Free

September 10th, 2010
9:53 am

Bergfors will sign, Buff will play forward. I just do not see Rammer putting Buff on “D” especially if you watch the playoffs from last season and how much Buff controlled the front of the net against every defenseman he faced. I think we need to go with what we have, unless a team desperate to dump salary wants to through a forward our way on the cheap.

We need the coaches to focus on getting this TEAM to play defense, forwards backchecking, defenseman playing the body and transitioning the puck to the forwards. Max was not going to duplicate last season anyhow, if you know Max, you know the drill. He has to be on a series of 1 year contracts to be consistent.

Darkhorse

September 10th, 2010
9:54 am

As far as Dudley being at the top of his budget, he can still squeeze in a worthy 5-6 mil forward if he sends away similar salaries in various trades. Lots of teams want a big/cheap dman with some upside, that’s Valabik. Other teams salivate for a healthy minutes eating dman w/scoring punch. We have a few of those for the right price….

Brendan

September 10th, 2010
9:56 am

ss, maybe one of them could be Travis Zajac, as the Devils have cap issues. It’ll cost us, but wouldn’t be better off, moving forward, with a player like that, even if it costs us a coveted draft pick and maybe Bergfors in the return?

Rawhide

September 10th, 2010
9:57 am

of course another top 6 F would we welcomed, but are there any left to sign?

J.B. – Yes, pickings are slim right now…that’s why I think if any player is brought in to fill that “top-six” bill, it would be via trade

Didnt savard resign in bean town recently?

ss – Savard is signed through 2017. He’ll be 40-years old in July of that year. His cap hit is right over $4 mil per. Boston is, I think, about $3.5 mil over the cap right now so they’ll need to be shedding some salary.

Savvy does have a NTC though.

Brendan

September 10th, 2010
9:58 am

Smoothie, your 9:49AM post is an intriguing one for Wheeler. I’ve said before, if Bergfors doesn’t want to play here, which ISN’T A CERTAINTY, then we ought to accommodate him with a trade someplace he’d like better. I’d say up north, somewhere, would do it.

Brendan

September 10th, 2010
10:01 am

Geez Louise, there’s no doubt GA has been the problem. But, can we really afford such a dropoff in goal production? Yes, goals against will be less this year. But we’d better be scoring 2.9 to 3.1 goals-per-game, on average, if we’re going to win more games than we lose.

ss

September 10th, 2010
10:07 am

Thanks raw hide!

Brendan

September 10th, 2010
10:11 am

It’s going to be a challenge just to get to 234, GF. http://www.nhl.com/ice/standings.htm. The key will be getting the GA from 256 down to something more like 220. Even doing all that, puts the goal differential at +14. Which I think would be substantial improvement, but will it be enough???

J.B.

September 10th, 2010
10:11 am

i think our best bet is to do exactly what we did with Chicago. Take advantage of the Devils cap issues and trade with them. We have the pieces, they have the need.

Alan R.

September 10th, 2010
10:17 am

Yes, goals against will be less this year. But we’d better be scoring 2.9 to 3.1 goals-per-game, on average, if we’re going to win more games than we lose.

Not really. We can still win games 1-0, 2-1, etc. The thing is to score more than we allow, not score high. High scoring games are fun to watch, and I completely get that. However, winning is more important. We can afford the drop off in GF, so long as we cut GA. I think we can cut GA with this defense, don’t you agree?

It would be fun as hell to watch this team score 2.9-3.1 GF/G while limiting teams to <1.5 GA/G.

It all starts with defense.

glovesave29

September 10th, 2010
10:26 am

Bill, you might not be down on Valabik – I certainly am. Cement footed D don’t work in an NHL with no center ice line. I’ve long maintained he could be a grinder wing. Send him to Chicago to learn the position, or package him with something else and see if Colorado bites on it for their hold out RFA Peter Mueller. Bergs sees that addition – perhaps he’s a bit more eager to sign.

Russ

September 10th, 2010
10:29 am

The need for a minute-munching veteran d-man is much greater than a top six forward assuming Bergfors is on board. Unfortunately, I don’t know if they would be able to acquire one at this point without giving up a core player.

Joe Friday

September 10th, 2010
10:30 am

Berg= 25 goals
Antro= 25 goals
Little= 25 goals
Kane= 20 goals
Pevs= 20 goals
Thorsy= 15 goals
Modin= 12 goals
Slates= 10 goals

Good golly, I’d love to believe those projections can come to fruition, but I think you’re being wildly optimistic. If our guys did do that, AND we had three dmen pot 10 each, we’d not only be in the playoffs, we’d be the suprise of the league and poised to go deep.

I think you can knock 1/3 of each goal total above and be more realistic, Ladd is the only guy I see a solid 18 goals, everyone else would have to overreach. This club is going to struggle up the middle, it needs to be addressed as puck distribution is going to be key with this club.

Big Buf needs to play forward and get to the net, that will create some space for our wingers, but as Red Light keeps pointing out, we are very weak up the middle. To expect Kane and Bergfors to avoid soph slumps AND to expect Little to snap back AND to expect Thorburn, Modin, and Slater all to exceed their expections by a wide margin is just too much.

We need a top 6 forward that can pot 30, that’s only to come via trade, and I feel pretty confident that Dudley is banking on a cap stressed team to have to make some move, when do they have to be below the cap by? Day 1 of the season?

kracker

September 10th, 2010
10:30 am

Wheeler…yes maybe, if I felt he would play here. After his refusal to play for the Yotes I would be leery of depending on him to perform at 100% in Atlanta. Perhaps he has grown up a bit and is over the me-first attitude but who can say if that is true.

As for trading Bergy, I keep coming back to the fact that he is RFA. He is not currently under contract to Atlanta and thus he is not ours to trade in the traditional sense of trading player A for player B. We can only trade his RFA negotiating rights and how much can you expect to get for that? Not nearly as much as if he were a signed player. The fact that you are attempting to trade a player you can not come to terms with means you will have less leverage in the proposed trade because you are trying to trade your problem for another teams signed player.

So, I am not buying that Dudley can easily trade an unsure thing (Bergy’s negotiating rights) + another player to someone for their top six winger.

Barry

September 10th, 2010
10:35 am

They already have two top 6 forwards. Get Bergfors signed and for the love of all that is good and holy in the world move Byfgulien to forward position. Please Dudley stop this nonsense about moving Dustin to defense. We don’t need him there. We have enough defensemen who are foaming at the mouth to make the team as it is. Give them a chance. We need Byfgulien’s booty parked in front of opposing goalies wreaking havoc.

Smoothie

September 10th, 2010
10:37 am

After the Kovy trade, we scored 68 goals in 27 games for an avg of 2.52 per game. Unfortunately, we only potted 16 goals in the last 10. Obviously we struggled to score in the most important games against tougher competition down the stretch.

But keep in mind that we had stiffs like Clarke MacArthur and Todd White in our top 6 at various times. Antro, Lits, Bergie, Max and Pevs scored 35 of those 68 down the stretch, which isn’t too bad. We just didn’t get enough secondary scoring and help from the blueline (only 7 goals) to offset the injury to Kaner, who had 3 goals in 7 games after the trade before he got hurt.

The good news is that we only gave up 78 goals in those 27 games, and that includes two 5-goal debacles against WSH and a 6-goal disaster in Tampa, the game in which Kane got hurt and effectively ended our chances of making the playoffs. The biggest problem was PP goals allowed after the Olympic break. We allowed 12 PPG in 8 games!! Coincidentally, that corresponded to the 6-game winless streak in March which made the hill too steep to climb.

By the time we figured out how to tighten things up and keep the games close it was too late. They just couldn’t generate enough chances against good teams to overcome their playoff race nerves. And the stinker of a game against Ramsay’s boys from Boston exposed us greatly.

My point is that the remaining players from that roster learned a lot from that experience down the stretch. Although they struggled to put the puck in the net, they did a better job of keeping the puck out of their own net. For the most part, they played against better teams, especially in April. Hopefully, adding players like Ladd, Buff, Eager and even Modin, who know how to win against good teams, may be enough to lower that goal differential down to 220-230 for the season.

kracker

September 10th, 2010
10:44 am

Smoothie, about not scoring as much to close out the last season, didn’t we lose Kane for the last ten games or so? That was a big loss. Not that Kane would have scored every game but his loss did cause the Thrash to score less as a team, I think.

kracker

September 10th, 2010
10:47 am

Oops, I see you had it all covered, Smoothie. (My problem at work, sometimes, is taking the time to read everything before posting)

five hole

September 10th, 2010
10:48 am

Seems to me the question is, how many of the “kids” are they counting on to make the roster. I like Burmistrov and Klingberg, but do you think they can play in the bigs this year? I think it would be nice to have another veteran top-6 forward. We certainly have the defensive depth if we wanted to go the trade route.

Smoothie

September 10th, 2010
10:52 am

Ha, no problem kracker! Sorry, I got on a roll and I couldn’t stop.

But yes, the loss of Kaner really hurt, especially with the Slater-Kane-Army line playing so well — they were keeping other teams’ lines off the scoresheet even if they weren’t scoring themselves. Also, I believe firmly that Antropov’s hip really became an issue down the stretch. After scoring like gang-busters coming out of the break, he only scored 2 goals in his last 9 games. Bergie dropped off too, but I think it was more due to Antropov’s loss of mobility…they just couldn’t control the puck the same way.

And yes, I agree with the passionate pleas to leave Big Buff at forward. We need his big ass to tie people up and eat up space for Pevs and Kaner to do their thing. I really think Buff is the key to Kaner scoring 20-25 goals this year. He looked real comfortable at the Worlds playing with Pevs and Big Buff could be the missing piece.

Alan R.

September 10th, 2010
10:58 am

five hole – Klingberg doesn’t think he’s ready yet. Therefore, I doubt he’ll play here this year. Burmistrov will, at the very least, start with the Thrashers and play his nine games. After that, I’m almost certain he’ll return to juniors. Cormier makes the team out of camp.

That’s my three cents.

GaVaHokie

September 10th, 2010
10:59 am

Boston was 30th in the League for Goals and still made the playoffs.

Montreal and Phoenix were also in the bottom 10 for Goals and still made the playoffs.

The only Statistic that’s consistent with NOT making the Playoffs is Goals Against. All 10 tens in the bottom of the league last year missed the playoffs.

Smoothie

September 10th, 2010
11:02 am

Alan – that’s a very valuable three cents. I concur wholeheartedly.

DWTOO

September 10th, 2010
11:07 am

Bergie really doesn’t have a choice for a few years at least. Thrashers own his rights. THe problem would be that he wants out. I’d like to see us trade w/ NJ for a winger who could play on the top two lines. Could move Pevs down and one of the multitude of others out.

GaVaHokie

September 10th, 2010
11:11 am

Per Viv on Twitter…

ajcthrashers Craig Ramsay confirmed to me that Dustin Byfuglien will come to camp as defenseman.

Smoothie

September 10th, 2010
11:13 am

Oh fer crap’s sake!

kracker

September 10th, 2010
11:17 am

Is it still I.D.W.T.???

Joe Friday

September 10th, 2010
11:17 am

“Craig Ramsay confirmed to me that Dustin Byfuglien will come to camp as defenseman.”

They’re nuts

Joe Friday

September 10th, 2010
11:25 am

They’ve got to planning on playing Ladd Top 6 then, and that’s just making a bad decision worse. Ladd is most valuable on your 3rd line, he a great guy to have out to shut down the other club’s top lines and he can pot goals from there. He’s going to struggle top 2 lines.

I watched the Hawks all year. Big Buf struggled on D. The club also had some trouble getting Toews and Kaner loose, that all changed when they moved Buf to forward and he created space for them. We all saw what he was able to do in front of the opposing team’s net.

I would assume that they’ll still trot Buf out there on the PP and park him in front of the crease, but you’re taking away the his forechecking ability and ability to create some space for our soft wingers like Little and Bergfors.

This is just plain dumb by Dudley and Ramsay and the only reason I can think of them doing it is they don’t have the budget to bring in more help so they’re going to try to move guys out of place to make the most out of the whole.

kracker

September 10th, 2010
11:26 am

tweet – jmanasso #Thrashers coach Craig Ramsay said the team might not have 1 player wear the “C” at the start. Might have several wearing “A”s instead.

Not this crap again!?

Dwayne

September 10th, 2010
11:27 am

If Byfuglien is on “D” then Doris is in the press box or gone in a trade for some pucks. That makes me happy. How could any one want Doris on their team after he took a gonad pounding from Cindy Crotchby?

World Be Free

September 10th, 2010
11:32 am

Wheeler refused the Yotes in a possible trade last year?
Buff on D-let’s just see what happens. I still say he will be a forward at some point in the season, sooner or laster.

GaVaHokie

September 10th, 2010
11:39 am

My only concern with Buff on Defense is ice time… for him to be on the ice, you have to take ice time away from Bogosian, Enstrom, Oduya and Hainsey.

You’d think they’d be better served taking that time away from the bottom two forward lines.

World Be Free

September 10th, 2010
11:41 am

kracker-I think Rammer is saying that someone will have to earn the “C”, in his eyes not based on past performance. I do not know this for sure, just a hunch.

World Be Free

September 10th, 2010
11:46 am

The rumored odd man out of New Jersey is Dainius Zubrus – no thanks!
But I would look at Andrew Cogliano out of Edmonton. Good playmaker.

Thoughts anyone?

five hole

September 10th, 2010
11:47 am

Alan R. I had already counted Cormier on my roster. If, as you said, Burmistrov is here for a cup of coffee, then we are a legitimate top-6 short.

We also have a glut at defense. Not disagreeing with Bill’s preference of Kudla over Valabik, but Boris has a contract paying him to be here.. Could we send him down? Someone with more knowledge of Valabik’s years of service as it relates to sending them to the AHL might chime in. Anyway, someone on the back line (Hainsey?) may have to be moved. I doubt if we trade Enstrom, Bogosian, Odouya or Sopel.

lemon drop the gloves

September 10th, 2010
11:48 am

successful teams in any sport develop and utilize players from within thier own systems. glad to see rawhide recognizes that kulda should stay. duds said he was one of the +/- leaders in ahl last year. he WAS the leader beating out pk subban the last weekend of the season with a plus 46 even when finishing season with thrash having strong games against washington and pittsburgh. he is a pk specialist and very sound technically. he is a quiet – junkyard dog type that would be a luxury to have as a 5th or 6th d-man at bargain price. bergfors will sign and buff will be a forward. thus, top six is set. no doubt duds is in a position of strength to make additional moves with cap-strapped teams if he is inclined to deal further. i’m thinking he is. definetely a logjam for 3rd and 4th line spots. i’m, enjoying the suspense of how the season opening roster will be set. someone will get rocked in camp in literal fight for a spot. who will it be?

ChippersLoveChild

September 10th, 2010
12:01 pm

Berg= 25 goals
Antro= 25 goals
Little= 25 goals
Kane= 20 goals
Pevs= 20 goals
Thorsy= 15 goals
Modin= 12 goals
Slates= 10 goals
Ladd= 18 goals

Wasn’t the 24 goals Antro netted last year his career high? Why would he get 25 this year. I loved what Antro gave us last year, but in my opinion his play is going to drop off just a little from last season. I’d love to think the guys can put up those types of numbers, but I’m just not buying it. I really, truly think we are going to be hurting for goals, regardless of whether or not we get more production from guys like Kane and Little this season. You can stockpile all the third and fourth liners you want, but the fact is that we need at least one more top six… and with Buff moving to defense I can’t see us not making some type of trade now. Hopefully that comes sooner rather than later.

World Be Free

September 10th, 2010
12:01 pm

five hole-I’d like to move Hainsey too, but nobody will take his contract. we overpaid him to come here. I have nothing against Ron, but we do have a body too many in back.
lemons-I too want to give an opportunity to one of our youngsters, it’s a great idea. I think our only problem is our desperation to win. It may take a veteran body to win sooner. I’ll leave that to Dudley.
Good to have Darkhorse back
and yes kracker, it is still I.D.W.T.-have faith brother.

ChippersLoveChild

September 10th, 2010
12:03 pm

Five hole,

I doubt we trade Hainsey. We are looking to add cap, and take advantage of a cap-strapped team, I’d think, if we make a move, not send a guy with a considerable amount due to him elsewhere.

lemon drop the gloves

September 10th, 2010
12:04 pm

can someone find, copy, and paste big buff’s ot winner vs. the rangers in ot from last season? maybe duds will view it.

Alan R.

September 10th, 2010
12:09 pm

five hole

September 10th, 2010
12:13 pm

WBF and ChippersLoveChild I’m looking at it from this perspective; Toby is our #1 dman. Bogo has the upside to be our #2 dman. Dudley traded to acquire Odouya and Sopel. So, if we trade one, it has to be Hainsey, or Valabik. Or Kudla, I suppose.

And we could trade Hainsey to take advantage of a cap-strapped team, if we take on more salary, either straight up, or a 1-for-2 player deal. However, the 1-for-2 may give us 2 mediocre overpaid players. Still, I don’t think we can keep the kids on the farm forever.

Alan R.

September 10th, 2010
12:21 pm

five hole – I don’t see Hainsey as tradeable. If our dealing is with a cap-strapped team, we’d have to trade one of Valabik or Kulda. Or a cheap forward. Timmy from BWA on Twitter suggested Peverley could also be a trade option. I (nor he) would like to see Pevs get moved, but he is cheap.

Russ

September 10th, 2010
12:22 pm

“Craig Ramsay confirmed to me that Dustin Byfuglien will come to camp as defenseman.”

Great, now they definitely need another top six forward and they have just added to their glut of interchangeable average defenseman. Idiots. So, if Byfuglien isn’t considerably better than the likes of Sopel/Kulda/Valabik does that mean he takes his turns as a healthy scratch? The centerpiece of the big offseason trade has been put into a position where he might as well be a healthy scratch…and why is it this organization has never won a playoff game??? As I’ve said before, if motivated Buff can be a difference maker as a forward. On defense he’s just another body. Hopefully, Ramsay figures this out sooner rather than later.

Joe Friday

September 10th, 2010
12:37 pm

After hearing from Coach about this idiotic decision to play Buf at D, I thought, that sounds like a Waddell idea. Now I get this email, anyone still suffer under the delusion that it’s not still Don calling the shots after hearing more dumb ideas and now who’s front and center at the season preview event for fans:

You are invited to a Thrashers Season Preview Event on Thursday, September 23rd from 7 – 9pm at Philips Arena to discuss the new direction of the team and the exciting changes the team has undergone over the course of the summer.

The event will feature:

• A 2010-2011 preview from Thrashers President Don Waddell, General Manager Rick Dudley, Head Coach Craig Ramsay and Goalie Chris Mason

Smoothie

September 10th, 2010
12:53 pm

Antropov’s career high is 26 goals playing wing in TOR. He scored 24 after going goal-less in the first 17 games of the season. He is capable of scoring 30 in this league. He just needs to shoot more. His career shooting % is .140, pretty damn good.

Smoothie

September 10th, 2010
12:57 pm

They used Bogo and Kaner at the Draft Party. I don’t think they want to wear those two out on public appearances as they will be used in that capacity quite often throughout the season. Why wouldn’t Waddell be there? He’s actually good at working the room and pressing flesh.

I’d find it more troubling if Waddell were there and Dudley didn’t make the appearance. We all know he’s not the most people-oriented person. He’s a one-on-one guy. Waddell’s the natural salesman, as Sage loves to remind us incessantly.

Smoothie

September 10th, 2010
12:59 pm

Oooops! I’m sorry, Antro scored 28 goals the year before he came to ATL. It was split between TOR (21) and NYR (7). And I believe he had one or two in the playoff series loss to PIT.

GaVaHokie

September 10th, 2010
1:01 pm

I agree with Smoothie… nothing out of the ordinary here.

I also think Buff’s move to Defense was also a Buff decision, not just Coaching and Management.

GaVaHokie

September 10th, 2010
1:03 pm

I think SOMEONE on this team will score over 30 goals, I just averaged them out to 25 in my projections.

I also think one of our Defenseman will hit 15 goals this season, but I averaged them out at 10 goals.

Bogosian was well on his way last year before breaking his hand.

Smoothie

September 10th, 2010
1:07 pm

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qTr6lgvbLck&feature=related

I could really get used to this. And I like hearing Daren Eliot wax eloquent about Dustin-ey Byfuglien.

kracker

September 10th, 2010
1:13 pm

idk, JF, I think you are reading too much into a meet, greet and answer session. I got the same email.

Besides, you left off that there will be Light hors d’oeuvres and refreshments and Complimentary Parking too boot.

kracker

September 10th, 2010
1:17 pm

Chris tweets that he did his interview w/ Ramsay and he will have a blog on the Byfuglien move up shortly.

Never a dull moment!

Joe Friday

September 10th, 2010
1:17 pm

“Light hors d’oeuvres”

Yeah, but how many are gonna be left after Don eats them all?!?!

Alan R.

September 10th, 2010
1:17 pm

Why wouldn’t Waddell be there? He’s actually good at working the room and pressing flesh.

But don’t you get it??? Any appearance Waddell makes at a team event means he’s still calling the shots!!1! After all, if some guy on the internet believes it to be true, then it’s GOTTA be true!!1

Did you know Waddell is also the antichrist? He doesn’t just burn bibles, he smokes them! Nothing but the finest ganja hits the Old Testament! To top it all off, I have it on good authority (Bleacher Report, E5) that Waddell sustains himself by drinking the blood of newborn bats!

Cornbread

September 10th, 2010
1:23 pm

One of the Thrashers biggest weaknesses has been lack of a true number one pivot. Bring one in and it addresses a lot of past problems but at what cost? The biggest weakness I saw from the Thrashers when Kovy left was their ability to bring the puck up ice and set-up the PP. Do they have someone capable of doing that? Will Ramsay’s simplified PP address this? The Thrashers will be fine scoring goals; they need to cut down on the goals against. Get that down to the 200-230 range and they make the playoffs.

Ladd is quite capable of top 6 duties. Check the guy’s career shooting percentage. He’s young, got the skills, smarts, experience, and two Stanley Cups. Put him on the first/second line with some PP time and he goes over 20 goals.

Big Buff will come to camp really BIG. That’s just my feeling. It’s happened before. I doubt if he has skated much if at all since winning the Cup. He is raw talent and can play anywhere when he’s in shape. Training camp will be his time to get into shape. Skating on D is less of a physical excursion than skating up. Maybe he’ll see PP time standing in front of the net.

Bergfors needs to be signed. If he does not then yes they definitely need to bring in a top six. If management truly believes he’s the “Real Deal”, then get the deal done. I never got the feeling with his play last year that he did not want to be here or was unhappy with his bigger first line role. Oduya seemed displeased at first but that changed after 8-10 games when he gelled with Hainsey.

Modin and Thorburn are an interesting pair on third line wing. Not with Slater at pivot but dark horse Esposito. Slater has certainly earned the third line spot but the Thrashers have a little more depth bringing in the skill of Espo who could be bumped to second line if needed due to injuries. Is he healthy? He certainly has put on some really good weight working out with Bogo.

Cormier adds little depth if he makes the team as the fourth center. Does he have what it takes at this point to move up to the third line if called on? Burmistrov as second with Peverly moving to third and Slater to fourth certainly adds depth. But is he ready at this level? I don’t think he has the size or grit to play third line checking duties and would be better developed if sent to Juniors and dominate there.

Let’s mix things up a bit:

Ladd Antro Bergfors
Kane Peverly Little
Modin Espo Thorburn/Machachek
Eager Slater Boults/Rissmiller

Enstrom Bogo
Hainsey Oduya
Buff Sopel Valabik

Thrashy Thrashy

September 10th, 2010
1:25 pm

Why are people wringing their hands about Buff on D?

It’s not like he has Kane and Toews playing with him in Atlanta. Besides, don’t you get the feeling that he’s going to be a swingman?

Dudley keeps talking about his powerful shot, but my guess is that Buff will find himself down low on the PP. That’s exactly where he should be. It’s a good thing to have a player who can contribute up front and on the blue line. Buff is not a superstar, but he’s a big guy who’s got a good deal of talent. It’s up to Ramsey to figure out the best way to get the most out of that talent. Until he fails at doing so, I’ll give the move the benefit of the doubt.

World Be Free

September 10th, 2010
1:25 pm

five hole-I am with you, I just don’t see anyone taking Hainsey’s salary for the next 2 seasons. Boris may draw some interest for 3 reasons-
1. Size 2. Age 3. He was a top 10 pick.
Some clubs think they can work their magic, get Boris for a song then turn him uinto a sound defenseman. We all know he doesn’t use his size and so fa his play doesn’t justify being a top 10 pick. Maybe the Leafs will give us Phaneuf for Boris.

rob

September 10th, 2010
1:26 pm

IS IT OCTOBER 8, 2010? Take a deep breath….hold it….now breathe. If we are this nervous already, what will happen when someone gets hurt in camp? And with this glut of players that won’t suprise me. Sit back and watch, you might be enlightened.
As for the NEED for 30+ goal scorer…, I am not buying it. Crazy I know, hear me out. How many legit “top 6″ forwards do say, the Sabres, have? Now I hear you, they have Miller, but even with a better than average goalie that system works well. Their problem is their lack of grit and toughness. What is it we seem to have brewing? A bigger, tough team in that same strain. The problem here is there has been that one guy who scored a lot that everyone relied on. 10 years of that, and you still can’t see that this change is good. It isn’t “exciting” high scoring, end to end rushes….no, it should be, good, old fashion, grind them into submission and win close games hockey.
TEAM play will elevate everyone to better their game BECAUSE there isn’t that 1 guy anymore. The only real problem I see is Antropov’s hip giving out, which is why I would rather have him on the wing.

Not really my .02 worth, more of a penny for my thoughts, thought.

Brendan

September 10th, 2010
1:39 pm

Kracker, I do understand what you’re saying, but say our trading partner were the Devils. Do you think that trading his RFA “rights” wouldn’t carry some weight with them? Bergfors, at a minimum, would understand the Devils are pressed flush against the cap, and might be more amenable to a lesser dollar contract to return to them. Those are my thoughts. I just don’t want to get fleeced by Lamoriello. I’m not interested in Bryce Salvador or Colin White, or really Zubrus, Elias, or Rolston, even if they could be moved. Like Red Light and Joe Friday, and even I have been saying, we’re weak up the middle. We need Travis Zajac.

Now, look. I’m not saying the Thrashers are going to do, well, anything. Rawhide asked us what’s needed, in terms of Top Six forwards. I answered based on the question asked. Which was, about forwards, not defenders, and irrespective of who owns the team, and where they set the budget. If Rawhide had asked, “If the Thrashers can pick up a Tier I player, should it be a forward or a defender?,” I’d say a defenseman. To me, this is just “Year Four” of the 4-year building project. And really, the budget reflects that sort of “building” ideology.

I crunched some numbers, which I hate doing, really. Last year’s 234 Goals For equates to roughly 2.85 goals-per-game. Like Alan R. said, we could win games, 3-2, or 2-1. Shoot, I’d stamp my seal of approval on a whole lot of 1-0 games. Winning is winning. But I don’t think a lot of 1-0 or 2-1 type wins is reasonable. Our 256 goals against, one of our better years, defensively, by the way, equates to approximately 3.12 goals against-per-game. If the Thrashers shave off 30 goals from 256, like I think they will, that’s 226 for the year. That comes to roughly 2.76 goals-per-game. Now, maybe you see why I think we’ll need to score roughly 2.9 per game to be playoff bound, or at least winning more games than we lose.

I repeat, I think this is still Year # 4 in the building process, since the sweep by the Rangers in 2007. I get it. I understand that. And I’m not a fan who demands Stanley Cups every year, or even playoffs every year. But what I don’t support … is year, after year, after year of bluster about the playoffs from the GM and ownership. What would it hurt, honestly, to say, “Build with us. We’ll discount tickets. We’ll keep you apprised of our plans. We’re going to be inclusive. We want you onboard with the plans.” But, like Sage of Bluesland says, it’s amazing just how little the ownership regards the hockey fanbase in these parts. That hockey survives here, through the decade it’s had, is a testament to the “interest level” in hockey, in Atlanta. In a lot of other cities, the team would be gone by now.

ss, I wouldn’t even worry about getting the players we need in here in time for camp. It’d be more important just to get them here. It’s seven month long season, nine for quality teams. The last thing I want the Thrashers to do is “peak” in November. Any team that does that, is doomed. The idea is to be playing the best hockey you can in March and April, and then in the playoffs.

Joe Friday, all your posts have been great today. Byfuglien on D? Aye, aye, aye. You’re absolutely right. Big Buff creates space for Little or Peverley or Antropov. Hopefully, they’ll realize that before it’s too late. I still use the “blueprint” of 250 or more goals scored while surrendering 200 or fewer as the measure of a potential Stanley Cup champion. Giving up 200 goals against equates to roughly 2.44 goals-per-game. That’s not easy for any team to do. It’s not like we have Pronger, Niedermayer, Lidstrom, Rafalski, Doughty, Phaneuf, and Hedman, or any of them, on our blueline. For a Cup winner, the blueline must have not one, but TWO (2) Tier I defenders, to be a serious threat. And we’re nowhere near that, in Year Four of the building project. I think Rawhide is right. If we’re going to get that Top Six forward, or a defender for that matter, we’ll have to get via trade. Joe Friday, do you like anyone on Vancouver or Calgary or Boston? I’m drunk to think we’ve got a shot at Travis Zajac, but I like to have to my “fun.” Your thoughts for a center that WaDudley could procure via trade, please.

One last thing. What I like about Sopel is … he was playing, pretty much, over 20:00 per game in the playoffs, for the Blackhawks. That’s gets glossed over a lot. If he was good enough to do that, on the Stanley Cup Champions, then he should get big minutes here.

glovesave29

September 10th, 2010
1:48 pm

I just dont see Waddell being there as any indication that he has anything to do with hockey ops. I am as happy as the rest of the crowd here that he is no longer the GM, but as a person – well, he’s always been good with people and he will talk hockey while giving people generous amounts of his time. He was miscast as a GM, I think the team may have found a role that meets his skill set. He obviously likes these kind of meet-and-greets, so if he is willing to come and talk with the fans, I cannot see any reason for not allowing him to do so.

glovesave29

September 10th, 2010
1:56 pm

Brendan – the trades will come fast an furious once teams are in camp and they see what they have. The CBA allows teams to be above the cap during the off season. Once they are up against a deadline to get under, they will accept the offers that previously might have been scoffed at.

Sure Lou wants to keep Zajac. He’s the best chip they have at the table. When the other teams reject their trade offers for the aging players, he will realize the true cost of the Kovy signing. His hand will be forced and the Devils will have to let someone go that they’d prefer to keep.

I think hockey is surviving here because of the work of the Commissioner. I think he has told the ASG the team is to stay here in Atlanta. He’s not going to lose a top 10 media maket due to their incompetence as owners (sure different language was used). Bettman knows a winner will fill the seats. Half this city has moved here in since the Olympics were here – those of us who grew up around here are harder and harder to find.

BlueSpark

September 10th, 2010
2:05 pm

Rawhide left out Dawes, and wants to trade Thorburn too? Who’s going to play on the PK now that Reasoner is gone?

GaVaHokie

September 10th, 2010
2:05 pm

Waddell’s key job description now is Marketing… this is a Marketing event… what’s the big mystery?!

Smoothie

September 10th, 2010
2:10 pm

Technically we only gave up 250 goals last year, 6 of those 256 were S/O losses, the gimmick goal. 3.05 is a truer number for our GAA. In the 2nd half, our GAA was 2.88 or 118 GA in 41 games. We even managed to cut down the number of shots allowed going from an avg of 33.90 in the first half to 32.3 in the second half. Our SV% was a very respectable .911 in the 2nd half. Compared to the first half when we gave up an avg of 3.22 goals per game and a SV% of .905.

What’s my point? Or conclusion? This team IS capable of playing better D without Kovy & Max skating circles at the blueline. Especially with a man like Rammer at the helm. He WILL coach these guys up. Just hope Big Buf comes to camp motivated no matter what position he’s playing.

Alan R.

September 10th, 2010
2:14 pm

If the Thrashers shave off 30 goals from 256, like I think they will, that’s 226 for the year. That comes to roughly 2.76 goals-per-game

And if the Thrashers shave off 60 from that 256 number, it comes to 196, which is ~2.39 GA/G. Is this unrealistic? New Jersey scored 222 and allowed 191 last year. Boston scored 206 while allowing 200. Buffalo scored 235 while allowing 207. Playoff teams closer to your number include Montreal (217GF/223GA), Philly (236GF/225GA), and Detroit (229GF/216GA). Amongst others, of course.

Look, I get your point. I really and truly do. I just don’t think there is a dire need to being in another top-6 player. I don’t think we’ll have a scoring problem. At least, not a scoring problem like people seem to think we’re going to have. I think our defense is vastly improved, and as we all know, it’s defense that wins championships. You also have to consider the philosophy Ramsay is bringing in here. He expects our blueline to put up points, as well as prevent them. If there’s anyone in the NHL that can put something like that into motion, it’s damn sure going to be Ramsay.

rob

September 10th, 2010
2:16 pm

Thorburn said before the summer started he wanted to improve…..hands of stone are hard to fix but if he did it, good, but otherwise I can see Ladd and Kane, Slater and Pevs, on the PK.

Spud Webb

September 10th, 2010
2:19 pm

WBF, no way in h&ll do I want Dainius Zubrus, good luck moving that contract anyway NJ.
Yes, we need a top 6 forward, but I just don’t see it happenining at this point. Possibly at the trade deadline picking someone up?? I believe we’re going into camp with what we have…of course this means Duds will make a move within a day or two!!!!

Red Light

September 10th, 2010
2:21 pm

“Here’s an offer for tomorrow you can’t refuse!

The first three people from Rawhide’s blog that show up at TJs tomorrow (I’ll be there from 11 am to 4 pm) to watch the college football games, and make a donation to the 9/11 scholarship fund, and then correctly identifies the college where former Thrashers forward Bob Corkum is now an assistant coach, I’ll give you two club seats and a parking pass to any Thrashers home game this season!

I’ll even give you the answer…The University of Maine!”

The party begins at 11 am and ends at 11 pm! Lots of great college football games and a TJ’s taligate party!

Smoothie

September 10th, 2010
2:21 pm

Don’t forget that 3 of Chicago’s 6 best penalty-killers were 3 of their 4 best offensive players: Hossa, Toews and Sharp. Don’t be surprised to see Kaner continue along with Pevs and even Little. And Dawes will have a distinct advantage over Thorburn (cuz he can score) if he demonstrates the willingness to give up the body and play well on PK.

Red Light

September 10th, 2010
2:22 pm

You in Spud?

Joe Friday

September 10th, 2010
2:32 pm

“this is a Marketing event… what’s the big mystery?!”

dude, you can’t be this . . . never mind. Waddell is team President, not head of Marketing, let me help you connect the dots. the event is billed as “to discuss the new direction of the team and the exciting changes the team has undergone over the course of the summer.” “new direction”. “exciting changes” And they trot out in the lead role the most reviled man in the organ-i-zation who is the symbol of all that is wrong with the old direction and old guard of the club? Mabye you’re right, mabye Don is in charge of marketing, because that’s one dumb marketing idea right there, Hokie, trot out the source of the old problems to show the changes?.

Just like moving Big Buf back to d is one dumbass personnel management mistake.

Couple the two together and I see the current decisions being made today that are in the mold of the same old dumb Thrashers’ marketing, management, and personnel decisions.

Joe Friday

September 10th, 2010
2:33 pm

Brendan, I would love to see Ramsay be able to sway Savard into dropping his no trade to come back here, he’s one of the best puck distributors in the league and Boston was able to get him to play in his own end, his game has matured and he’s the top center that would be a difference maker here.

Rawhide

September 10th, 2010
2:34 pm

Red Light – Great offer…thanks!

Anyone in the area should swing by and check it out. Should be a great time. I was there Wednesday chatting with Tim Ecclestone about upcoming Thrashers events there and he was telling me about tomorrow’s festivities.

BlueSpark – Indeed I did mention Dawes in the last paragraph in regards to battling for a spot with some of the prospects. And I don’t really ‘want’ to trade Thorburn, just making a point about how the compitition and talent in house could possibly lead to a player of his ilk being on the outside looking in.

However, your point regarding the PK is very valid.

Smoothie

September 10th, 2010
2:35 pm

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fLu85tH4JGs&feature=related

Byfuglien with the natural hat-trick…playing defense? Wearing #52 and playing the point on the PP certainly.

World Be Free

September 10th, 2010
2:37 pm

Spud, Sabres getting Zubrus as a rental for a 1st round pick was another brilliant Darcy Regier move. Then Lou, who is supposed to be so brilliant signs Zubrus for 5 or 6 years. No idea what everyone sees in Zubrus.

9.25 preseason game-can’t wait!

Red Light

September 10th, 2010
2:41 pm

Thanks Rawhide!

BTW, the comments here are eerily similar to those we bandied about on July 1 and July 2. Russ, Badger Bob, World Be Free and many others suggested going after a top-6 forward. Here we sit 72 days later talking about it again. I think that’s where the frustration lies.

I do believe Kane and Lane are the most obvious in terms of skill sets to move up to the top-6.

Wondering whatever happened to Pittsburgh Pirate Fan? I guess he’s still celebrating after the Buccos took two of three from the Braves this week!

Alan R.

September 10th, 2010
2:46 pm

Smoothie, according to Byfuglien’s wikipedia page, Byfuglien started that season (2007-2008) at Defense. He went on to score 19 goals that year, with an additional two goals in AHL-Rockford.

glovesave29

September 10th, 2010
2:46 pm

RL – that place is gonna be PACKED for the Nebraska game. Be prepared.

Trixie (Rawhide's Secretary)

September 10th, 2010
2:47 pm

100th – giggle

Red Light

September 10th, 2010
2:50 pm

glovesave29

I’m loading up the combine with extra grain for the Nebraska ladies!

kracker

September 10th, 2010
2:53 pm

Brendan, yes on NJ as being a possible trading partner for Bergfors’ RFA rights. Lou already knows him and Bergfors knows the Devils organization. So Bergy being RFA probably won’t really matter, they can deal as if Bergfors was under contract to Atlanta.

Now, Lou, about Travis Zajac….

[For my part, trading Bergfors for Zajac helps at center but hurts us at the wing, where we are a little thin on proven scorers.]

GaVaHokie

September 10th, 2010
2:54 pm

JF… wow, having a bad day?

Take a writing class or something… it’s typical PR writing. You’ll notice the order of each person was in order of hierachy. President->GM->Coach->Goalie… you read into things too much.

… you guys will find conspiracy in anything.

Waddell’s self-proclaimed duty (as President) was to work on Marketing.

Smoothie

September 10th, 2010
2:58 pm

Can we get some billboards with Buff in a Thrashers jersey laying out Pronger (photoshopped of course)?? That would be fun…and Kaner laying out Cookie would be quite fantastic as well. Hey, we’re supposed to be “brutally brutal” or something like that. ;-)

Spud Webb

September 10th, 2010
3:01 pm

yes, I will be there at 10:45 holding the door for you redlight! First round is on me. See you there.

Red Light

September 10th, 2010
3:13 pm

Good deal Spud. Just the first round?

Spud Webb

September 10th, 2010
3:17 pm

I’m a working man!!!!! kid on the way, playtime is over. ahhahaahhahaha!! Plus you drink the hard stuff, I drink PBR or Molsen!!

GaVaHokie

September 10th, 2010
3:17 pm

Perhaps it’s time to go back and revisit Waddell’s words from early this summer… again, I see no mystery.

http://video.thrashers.nhl.com/videocenter/console?catid=656&id=66143

glovesave29

September 10th, 2010
3:23 pm

Smoothie – have the ad campaign of clips of the opponents bloodied and bruised all to the tune of “Dont come around here no more”?

RL – a million comments come to mind, but none that will make it past the censor in m head!

Zombie Steve

September 10th, 2010
3:30 pm

I like Little at center as well – he’s much more mobile than Antro. Furthermore, a change of scenery might just be what he needs to get him out of his slump.

Concerning Big Buff – I predict we’ll see him on the blueline the first half of the season, only to get moved up to forward towards the 2nd half; just like in Chicago last year.

Rawhide

September 10th, 2010
3:32 pm

Spudster – When is the due date for the tax exemption??

GaVaHokie

September 10th, 2010
3:36 pm

Zombie Steve… so are you saying you like “Little in the Middle but you got Buff back?”

GaVaHokie

September 10th, 2010
3:37 pm

… “I like Big Buff and I cannot lie, those other brothers can’t deny.”

Smoothie

September 10th, 2010
3:41 pm

Hokie, just don’t change that ‘b’ to a ‘m’…well, that’s certainly a personal preference, but nevermind! ;-)

Spud Webb

September 10th, 2010
3:48 pm

Not till Febuary Bill!!

GaVaHokie

September 10th, 2010
3:48 pm

Smoothie… in that context, I prefer shaven… so would that be ‘buffed’?

Cogliano agrees to 1 year $1 million… could we see similar for Bergfors?

Alan R.

September 10th, 2010
3:51 pm

Hokie: “And when he sticks his big round thing in another goalie’s face, everyone gets sprung” …?

Brendan

September 10th, 2010
3:57 pm

Alan R., that was a good find on the OT winner by Biff Buff. What a glorious goal. Looks like he’ll have to do those end-to-end rushes from his defensive position.

Smoothie

September 10th, 2010
3:58 pm

Wow, that seems like a pittance for Cogliano!! Take note Bergy, you have NO leverage. He should be thrilled if we offer him 2 yrs, $4.5 M.

And yes, shaven, not stirred.

Zombie Steve

September 10th, 2010
4:05 pm

Hokie – thanks for getting that Sir Mixalot joke outta the way; we all knew someone was going to get busted out eventually!

So Buff is already confirmed back on D….I gotta catch up on the news here!

With this move, does anyone think that Dud’s and company already have plans in motion to lighten our load of defensemen via trade?

GaVaHokie

September 10th, 2010
4:09 pm

Where did we hear that Bergie was willing to take less for a short term deal, but wanted more in a long term deal?

… was that a Flames comment, or did we hear it somewhere else?

Hockey Biltong

September 10th, 2010
4:13 pm

Agreed with you Thrashy Thrash, about Buf.
Dawes takes Reasoners place, to answer anothers question.
Think one more trade is in place for a forward or center.

Flagstaff

September 10th, 2010
4:15 pm

Me speaking, I think that they do need a top-6 (hell, top 3) forward. Yet I think that this is unlikely (though not impossible) as Dudley has said that he is confident as he is happy with the roster as it is.

GaVaHokie

September 10th, 2010
4:16 pm

Zombie… I’ll answer your question by presenting the 2010-11 Chicago Wolves defense. :) …I personally think anybody who signed a two-way deal has sealed their fate.

Kulda Postma
Welch Meyers
Sifers Zubarev

Brendan

September 10th, 2010
4:17 pm

Smoothie, nice find on the Byfuglien natural trick. I hope he can replicate that kind of success on the Thrashers blueline. I guess we won’t know until they play the games. But I’d rather see Big Buff in a top six forward role.

Brendan

September 10th, 2010
4:18 pm

Glovesave29 & Kracker, I’m a fool to dream. But I want Travis Zajac in Thrasher blue. I’d prefer Parise, but that’s some non-sense talk right there, on my part.

GaVaHokie

September 10th, 2010
4:21 pm

I sense we’re getting close to a Bergfors signing… the RFA’s are quickly getting locked up.

Peter Mueller agrees to terms with Colorado on a two-year deal, $1.5M and $2.5M.

World Be Free

September 10th, 2010
4:30 pm

GaVa-Cogliono just signed too-another RFA finally locked up

Smoothie

September 10th, 2010
4:30 pm

C’mon Bergy, the market is set and you’re reaching if you think you’re worth more than $2.5 M in the next couple of years. At the age of 25, maybe, but not yet as a relatively unproven 23 y/o. Just because you replaced Kovy doesn’t mean you’re a top-line forward just yet. You still have to beat out Kaner, Little and even Pevs if Ramsay wants to move Antro back to the wing.

Slumdog Slogan-aire

September 10th, 2010
4:48 pm

The best marketing slogan would be “Let’s be brutally honest about the Thrashers folks”

Year One: 1999-00
“Lets be brutally honest about the Thrashers folks, playing with this roster was like asking Rosie O’Donnell to win the Miss Universe title.”

Year Two: 2000-01
“Lets be brutally honest about the Thrashers folks, when Waddell acquired Adam Burt, his crack scouting staff told him he was signing Batman (Adam West) and Robin (Burt Ward).

Year Three: 2001-02
“Lets be brutally honest about the Thrashers folks, 2001-02 attendance was so bad ushers were instructed to take roll call.”

Year Four: 2002-03
“Lets be brutally honest about the Thrashers folks, second-year pro Ilya Kovalchuk scored 38 goals and surrendered 78 by himself, and management suckered Bob Hartley into taking the coaching job.”

Year Five: 2003-04
“Lets be brutally honest about the Thrashers folks, the NHL awarded Atlanta the soon-to-be-canceled All-Star game, AOL Time Warner extended the olive branch to the “Eight Wonders of the World” just one day before April Fools Day, and then ASG bought the team and stared at an empty hockey arena for 19 months.” So long five-year plan, hello lock-out.

Year Five: 2004-05
“Lets be brutally honest about the Thrashers folks, this was the team’s most successful season.”

Year Six: 2005-06
“Lets be brutally honest about the Thrashers folks, the goaltending situation was so bad after losing Pasi Nurminen and Kari Lehtonen to injury, the team asked 75-year old Gump Worsley to come out of retirement.

Year Seven: 2006-07
“Lets be brutally honest about the Thrashers folks, the team won the Southeast Division by four points, outscored opponents by a collective one goal over 82 games, and teased its fans with its first playoff appearance.”

Year Eight: 2007-08
“Lets be brutally honest about the Thrashers folks, it was business as usual at Philips Arena as the team was eliminated from the playoffs when Marian Hossa and Pascal Dupuis left for Pittsburgh on Feb. 26, despite trailing the division-leading Canes by only 7 points prior to the trade.”

Year Nine: 2008-09
“Lets be brutally honest about the Thrashers folks, were it not for a 12-6 run to close out the regular season, assistant GM Rick Dudley might not have taken the job.”

Year Ten: 2009-10
“Lets be brutally honest about the Thrashers folks, Ilya Kovalchuk never intended to sign here no matter what the offer was!”

Year Eleven: 2010-11
“Lets be brutally honest about the Thrashers folks, while the front office has been shuffled around, until the Eight Wonders are committed to winning and don’t allow — the owner-less Coyotes, a market (Nashville) that’s one-quarter of its size, and the other four Southeast division teams — to outspend them in total payroll, and they don’t continue to depend upon revenue sharing to lessen their losses, you can expect similar results.”

Rawhide

September 10th, 2010
5:07 pm

This has nothing to do with today’s topic…or the Thrashers…or hockey. But I found this to be quite funny. I find it funny because I detest the “chest thumpers” in professional sports.

Here’s a soccer…excuse me, football…goalie whose chest thumping led to a bad case of premature celebration.

—> Look see for yourself <—

Brendan

September 10th, 2010
5:12 pm

I don’t especially think Bergfors wants to miss camp. If true, he’ll either re-sign, or get traded. And soon.

Re: Waddell. Heavy sigh. Look, the guy didn’t do anything to justify still being here. And the best way to turn the corner is to remove all traces of him. This way, every last employee knows it’s a NEW day. But, that hasn’t happened. And, probably, until it does … fans will think every bad decision is a Waddell decision and every good decision is Dudley, getting his way. I happen to believe that it was Dudley’s decision to want to play Byfuglien on defense. I can’t prove anything. It’s just a thought. I’m less confident that it was Waddell who told Dudley, play him on defense. But, I don’t know how the inner machinations of the offices of the Atlanta Spirit operate. All I can do is speculate, without facts to support it. What was explained to me, in the AJC anyway, is that Waddell had budgetary oversight over the Thrashers (Hawks,too?), and that Dudley ultimately answers to Waddell. Which, to me, prompts the question, “Who’s really in charge?” It was likewise explained to me, at Dudley’s first hiring, that hockey decisions are exclusively Rick’s, and that Waddell just approves a budget. Meaning? Well, if Dudley wants to raid the Devils and Blackhawks, he’s free to do so, provided he keeps the budget under $53 milllion. Or whatever it will happen to be. Later on, we heard Waddell say that he’s intricately involved in roster decisions, side by side with Dudley. Basically, that they collectively brainstorm. And that, ultimately, deals don’t get done without his consent. Or words to this effect.

Personally, I don’t think Don Waddell is a horrible human being. I think his heart is usually in the right place. He’s just a guy who didn’t have a lot of resources to work with in the first place, and couldn’t make it work, even if he did. He tried, though. I do believe that he TRIED his very best. He had horrible working conditions. And I’m sorry for that. No GM should have to endure the working conditions Waddell endured. But that still doesn’t absolve everything. I’ll never believe that, in 2005, any member of the AS, LLC could positively identify Devon Setoguchi in a police lineup. Owners don’t draft. Owners don’t trade. Owners set the budget, though. It’s their money. They might be as involved as saying, “Go get a Defenseman Free Agent, or trade for one.” If that person turns out to be Alexei Zhitnik, then it is what it is. If the owners read some Hockey News article saying Atlanta doesn’t have a centerman with grit that can win faceoffs, the poor GM might get marching orders to go fill that void. If the result is Bobby Holik on a 3-year deal, then it is what it is. Personally, I cannot speak to sports team ownership. I have no experience. But I know this much. If I’m giving someone my personal money, I expect results to come from it. I want playoff revenue. And I’m really not interested in excuses, other than … that I didn’t provide enough money to make it happen. In which case, I’ve got to evaluate how much more green I’m willing to spend, to make it happen. And/or, if I’ve got the right decision-maker at the helm. But, that’s just meee talking.

I don’t really know how well Waddell’s comments were received by Dudley or other members of the Thrashers ownership and staff. There is, of course, the possibility that he was fibbing about the level of his involvement. Imagine a person with a noticeably thick, swarthy middle eastern accent. And they are speaking to you in English. And then, they ask, “I must sound British to you, since I studied in London.” You turn to your buddy, girlfriend, spouse, significant other, and cringe, while recognizing, at the same time, that you are now expected to provide a ’sugarcoated’ response. Or, at a bare bones minimum, nod of acknowledgement.

Brendan

September 10th, 2010
5:16 pm

Ummn, perhaps as Dudley read that Waddell interview in the AJC, he was shaking his head. But who’s the first to go public that his comments weren’t exacly truthful? Which, again, might point a person to ask, “So, who’s really in charge?” Enough of this, though. I think you all know how and why Waddell is not so favorably regarded by many hockey fans in Atlanta.

Brendan

September 10th, 2010
5:28 pm

Let’s be brutally honest, , the ownership of the Atlanta Thrashers isn’t committed to winning.

Twisted Wrister

September 10th, 2010
6:28 pm

The ASG:

So Brutal, the Smith Family Could Do Better.

kracker

September 10th, 2010
6:38 pm

ooouh TW, that is bad!

Someone send that to marketing

kracker

September 10th, 2010
7:44 pm

Oh foooo! There is a ref riff? I had no idea.

brysonsdad THN.com has learned NHL has approached ECHL officials as replacements for NHL’s referees & linesmen in labor dispute http://ow.ly/2CzyN

Chris

September 10th, 2010
8:17 pm

Buf is prob playing D, I think he will end up moving to forward, But if not it will be
Berg-antro-litts
Kane- Pevs- Ladd
Dawes- Slater- Thorburn
Eager- Cormier- Modin

There is no way Boulton plays over Thorburn, NO WAY, even ask Duds as he is very high on Thorsy. And as for Boone7’s comments that antro and Buf are the only top 6 proven talent, are you kidding me? Antro is, Buf is not. Buf is a 3rd line player that had 1 good playoff with Kane and Toews, Little had 31 goals, I would say he is closer to a top 6 player, and 1 more good season out of pevs and hes a proven top 6, same with Bergfors. Once buf moves to forward, which i no will happen lines will be,

Berg- Antro- Little
Kane- Pevs- Buf/ladd
ladd/buff- slater- thorburn
Eager- cormier- Modin
Boulton/Daws
Another top 6 forward would be great, but do not just go looking for the sake of it, if a team is willing to trade on for defenceman/prospects/draft picks then yes im down for it. Look at Avalanche and Coyotes of last year, we have prob better team on paper then they both had, hard work and grit/youth and a bit of luck and they both did amazing, so can we.

kracker

September 10th, 2010
8:25 pm

kuklaskorner RT @phoenixcoyotes: Coyotes Invite Hnidy to Training Camp for Tryout http://bit.ly/c8tD6c

Hnidy is still kickin’

GaVaHokie

September 10th, 2010
9:40 pm

Fedetenko is a camp tryout for NYR… bizarre.

Brendan

September 10th, 2010
10:07 pm

I hope Hnidy and Fedotenko both make it to the NHL this year. When Rawhide asked us to name our best six defensemen ever, I think I list Hnidy in my count.

Brendan

September 10th, 2010
10:12 pm

Chris, you don’t think Ben Eager is going to find a way out of here, in a package deal trade?

R. Stroz

September 10th, 2010
10:18 pm

Tom

September 10th, 2010
10:42 pm

I will be the contrarian here and say the moving Buff to defense is a good move. He has the history as a defenseman. He has shown that he does not have the drive to score regularly in the regular season.

And here is the kicker, on the power play Buff is still able to move in front of the net and do the voodoo he do so well as we saw in the Stanley Cup playoffs last year.

I doubt the move to defense is being done against his wishes. Buff must want to return to his natural position and if he does well he will get one heck of a payday for his next contract.

Add into the opportunity to get 1st team Powerplay minutes in front of the goal and Dudley and Ramsey are not going to piss of the big guy.

So for me this could be a great move for the Thrashers.

Tom

September 10th, 2010
10:43 pm

Oh, and WTF, I go to a conference for a day and there is a new post with 145 comments. This blog is going to rival the Braves for volume if we continue this trajectory.

World Be Free

September 10th, 2010
10:51 pm

2 players of interest still out there-
Ryan Johnson and Marek Svatos

Brendan

September 10th, 2010
10:55 pm

R.Stroz, that was an interesting read. The article left off Johnny Oduya, from the list of Thrashers of African lineage.

Brendan

September 10th, 2010
11:00 pm

Tom, where you you pair Big Buff? With Enstrom? With Hainsey? Bogosian? Oduya? 1st pairing, 2nd, or 3rd, maybe with Valabik? Doesn’t this move slam the door on Kulda and Postma? At least for another year.

Tom

September 10th, 2010
11:45 pm

Brendan, I would probably have him start the season on the 3rd line with Bogosian. But I would also have the 2 guys on the first team powerplay, This would protect their minutes a bit, allow the 2 to develop some chemistry, and then move them up the ladder as time goes by.

If, and it is a big if, Buff is as good a D-man as Ramsey and Dudley feel he is, then he should be a top pair guy. Bogo should also be a top pair guy as he develops so the combination could be set for the playoff run and they boys get their 23-25 minutes a game at the end of the season.

This theory would allow the Killer B’s (officially claiming the name now) to develop the chemistry that is needed to be a top level defensive pair.

Brendan, am I completely off base?

Tom

September 10th, 2010
11:50 pm

I think Kulda and Postma would be called up when we have some injuries and Valabek is officially designated as trade bait.

Enstrom – Hainsey
Sopel – Oduya
Bogo – Buff

Kulda

Russian

September 11th, 2010
9:10 am

I heard a rumor that Berg will sign with Atlanta very soon. Deal will be done at Wednesday. My friend from Canada sent me a text message this morning. I hope he is right.

alex

September 11th, 2010
9:57 am

like everybody don’t like buff. move. i think after some time ram. going to correct this. unfortunatly it’s take a lenhtly losing streak to change wrong decision. hope it going not to late still to fight for playoff spot. on the other hand, remember last season how many game thrashers lost because not show up to play for 60 min. how many game we lost by 1 goal. sure if not ja, but ram. coached last year we been in playoff. my point: last year roster been good enought. in my opinion with this year roster need coach hero to be in playoff (out kovy, kubina, max, army, art. in buff, ladd, eager, sopel) also don’t forget, if ram coached last year no kozzy frustration and benching occur.

kracker

September 11th, 2010
10:51 am

That is perfect, Russian. Bergfors’ agent has pushed this far enough. I hope Nic has been working out in Sweden.

Alan R.

September 11th, 2010
11:21 am

That was a nice find, Stroz. Marketing 097. That’s all that is. I’m glad someone else took notice of it, and how no one is really getting all butthurt over it.

Brendan

September 11th, 2010
1:21 pm

Tom, I’d say you’re correct in thinking that Bogosian’s ultimate destination is the top pairing for defensemen, even if he doesn’t start out the year that way. Could Big Buff be a top pairing minutes guy? Shrugs. I don’t know. I want to see him play defense first. I trust Craig Ramsay to do what’s right. Dudley may be high on Byfuglien playing defense, but that’s not a GM-decision to make. It’s the GM’s job to get the players. I personally think that the coach should be consulted before the GM goes to the store to shop for the ingredients. Dudley disagrees. In Dudley’s view, “I go shopping. The cook prepares the meal based off what I brought home, without complaint.” But in the end, where and how to utilize players (cooking the meal) … is a decision … made by the Head Coach (chef). We won’t know if Byfuglien on D is the right thing … until we see how it works out there on the ice. If it isn’t working, I think pig-headed pride has to waltz out the door, and Byfuglien put back as a Top Six forward. That’s how I see it. It’s more important to win, than it is to be right.

World Be Free

September 12th, 2010
9:17 am

A bunch of teams needs to dump salary in the next week or so. The Thrash are at the minimum, even when they sign Bergfors. Something has to give.

Getting a big chuckle out of the people in Quebec, all the “passion” for landing another NHL team after letting the Nords leave tow without a wimper. The Quebec Government is willing to bankroll the arena, which makes no sense for a province that’s a financial mess. Kind of reminds me of Hamilton 25 years ago, building Copps Coliseum without a commitment for a team. Then the Hamiltonians turned around and blamed everyone in the world for not getting a team while they sat there with a white elephant arena which is now outdated.

Another season of Canadians crying, bitching and moaning about teams in the south that should be in Canada, at least in their little minds.

Badger Bob

September 12th, 2010
10:07 am

Regards from the Great White North. The Nuck fans out here are thinking they are this years Blackhawks, loaded to the point that someone should just mail them the Cup. Meanwhile, my Calgary friends are actually more interested in talking Thrashers than Flames – that’s unprecidented! Apparently, in Dudley they trust as well.

My trust would increase with one more legit top-6 forward, but don’t want Duds to deal as if he’s the one in need. It needs to be a very sweet salary dump move from BOS or NJ with us only giving up depth prospects (Bergeron’s still my fav). Otherwise, go to camp, let Rammer’s system take hold and let the younguns batte it out.

World Be Free

September 12th, 2010
12:42 pm

Badger-I’d take Bergeron in a heartbeat-
No idea why Canucks want to dump Bieksa, I like his game.
Dudley in Calgary, yup good, knolwedgeable hockey people know a winner when they see one and they have had enough of Sutter.

Don Fehr = work stoppage

Brendan

September 12th, 2010
1:13 pm

Joe Friday suggested Marc Savard. I definitely think he could help tremendously over the next two seasons. I’m concerned, however, about a contract that pays him until he’s 40. And, perhaps falsely, I fear Savard might mail it in, if the Thrashers aren’t committed to going deep into the playoffs. Savard’s already on his “final” contract. It’s done. It got grandfathered in. Marc is just playing for the love of the game, at this point. Whereas, Travis Zajac has 3 more years to go, then he needs a new contract. So, he can’t phone it in for 3 years in Atlanta. He’s got to produce. Blake Wheeler, as suggested by Smoothie, is also intriguing. Bieksa is worth considering, but I’m not gung-ho on that one, either.

Folks, I want to speak to negative-outlook people for a moment. Yes, this ownership is lacking. We’ve talked about it ad nauseum. But Dudley’s influence over Waddell is winning out some. Dudley is smarter than Waddell. He’s better than Waddell in every aspect. This year, which is Year Four of a 4-year project, the entire approach will be different. Anything different is GOOD. You really shouldn’t look at this team as the most pathetic in the NHL. It’s not. It won’t be in the lottery draft. It may not be in the playoffs, but moving in a BETTER direction is better treading water. This team should be close to .500 this year. But, for once, we’ll have a TEAM CONCEPT. That NEVER happened under Waddell. So, don’t plan parade routes, but neither should you think this is the “same ol’ Thrashers.” It isn’t. It might a while for all the new faces to gel, and for line combinations to sort themselves out, but we will be a TEAM this year. A TEAM. Not a smattering of coddled superstars. If you went to zero games last year, go to two this year. If you went to five games last year, go to 7-10 this year. If you went to 10 last year, go to 15 this year. Dudley and Ramsay aren’t losers. They want to win. They know the score. Of course they do. They know it’s an uphill battle. But don’t let the away team goals cause Philips Arena to erupt in applause. Give the home team … an advantage. They desperately need some support. Try to forget who owns the team. Try to realize that all the players and coaches and the GM staff … are trying overcome that problem, too. They’re trying. They have limited resources, but they’re trying. I can’t tell you this team won’t finish 12th in the East. They might. But they’ll come by the points they get this year, honestly. Harpooning them won’t help anything. One day, it will come to pass … that free agents will return our calls, because we’ve built a winner. It’s a rung the ladder. It’s a process. This year … is another step on the ladder, towards the top. You never know … at season’s end, this ownership could be gone, and replaced by another. And this team will have some decent young prospects and the budget room to make it better. Maybe even a very nice spot in the draft, to deal as well, for a proven star.

kracker

September 12th, 2010
1:30 pm

Don Fehr = work stoppage. We hope that is not true.

World Be Free

September 12th, 2010
1:56 pm

kracker-me too.
But I am a huge baseball fan, one that has not forgiven players and owners from the 1994 debacle. I still go to games and support the Braves, but I know the players and owners back in ‘94 did not care about the fans. Today, Fehr leads the NHL players; I suspect he will have the same contempt for hockey fans as he did for baseball fans.

Brendan-Savard will not be leaving Boston, his contract works for the Broones. Bergeron is in the last year of his current deal, as is Chara. Z will get his contract and Bergeron will get the door, Boston will not have the money to resign both players next summer. I like Savard too, but he has a NTC and left here for reasons, I doubt he is ready to come back.

Red Light

September 12th, 2010
2:49 pm

Not so sure about that WBF. Chara is 34 next March and if he wants the same compensation next year as he received during the life of his current deal, then I’m not sure Chiarelli will pay it. After all, that’s another Albatross contract unless it’s for two years. If they let Bergeron and Chara walk, they’ll have cap flexibility and it’s not like they won anything with Chara!

kracker

September 12th, 2010
3:11 pm

The 94 bb strike left me never feeling the same about baseball. I guess I can survive another hockey strike/lockout.

Midfield

September 12th, 2010
3:54 pm

Brendan,

unfortunately, promises of the better future has warned thin in this market. I agree with you that the team cannot be successful without being a “team” in this day and age. However, for most fans here, the same spot at the end of the season – whatever the concept is – will spell out nothing more than frustration. There probably won’t be too many “pretty” goals to enjoy while at it either. Waddell’s continuing presence in the office does not help with the perception either. So, the way I see it, it’d better be some upgrade up front. As of now, I just don’t see enough scoring capacity, whether team concept or not.

World Be Free

September 12th, 2010
4:51 pm

R/L-I did not realize Chara was going to be that old! Still, I think the Brunes will give him what he wants, the Brunes fans would burn the place down if he walks. He’s a heck of a defenseman, another brilliant move by Mike Milbury.

kracker-it was tough for me to go back to baseball after the 1994 work stoppage. I was not living here at the time, in a non-MLB city. So there was a curiousity about having an MLB team in my town. Fehr had alot to do with that work stoppage, as he might if we have one oin the NHL. He’ll have ruined 2 sports.

EB

September 12th, 2010
4:52 pm

No way do I want Slater on the third line, he needs to get back to the fourth line where he belongs and let the bigger, younger Cormier join the third line with Ladd and Modin which could be a very strong line for us this season. Slater can skate with Bolts and Thor/Machacek. Now that Ramsey has confirmed Big Buff will be a defenseman, it’s a must that we sign a top six forward AND sign Ice Berg to a long term deal asap!! We could have a very solid top six group with Ice Berg, Antropov, Little, Kane, Pevs, and a 20-30 goal scorer addition. Hopefully Klingberg, Esposito, and our newest center (the Burmese Python) can be that guy for us soon but more than likely not this season.

EB

September 12th, 2010
4:57 pm

I would LOVE to see Bergeron in a Thrashers jersey as a top six guy for us for sure, if we could make a deal with the Bruins!! He can not only kill penalties but also help the PP and has the skill set we should covet at this point. He would help us offensively but also play solid defense, which is a must for any addition we make imo!

kracker

September 12th, 2010
5:56 pm

How do all y’all that are more closely following NE hockey than me feel anout Patrice’s noggin? Is it sound? Bergeron, I mean. There’s no way to really know for sure, is there?

World Be Free

September 12th, 2010
6:05 pm

kracker-it’s a crap shoot, especially the way the kid plays, just like Savard.

kracker

September 12th, 2010
6:22 pm

Yes, World, a crap shoot. I suppose the team doctors would have some idea. He did pass the tests to play again so it is not like he was playing while still overtly diminished. And he did put up some pretty good numbers for the Bruins last season, only missing some time with a hand injury.

Smitty

September 12th, 2010
8:31 pm

I have my doubts in regards to Bergeron and Savard due to the concussions. It seems the second concussion comes along easier than the first. I had two concussions in my younger life. One in a car accident and the second one came about two months later during a lacrosse game after a routine hit against the boards.

I have been a Sabre fan since their inception into the NHL and I have been a STH for the Thrashers since day one. If that does not prove my brains or what is left of them have been scrambled, I do not know what will.

SomaAtl95

September 12th, 2010
8:43 pm

Just remember that potential changes and key additions/subtractions could happen all the way to the first puck drop.
Thank you, drive through.

Jack

September 12th, 2010
8:45 pm

That would probably be a key factor why the Bruins are having an issues getting what they want for Savard. Concussions kill careers.

DT

September 12th, 2010
10:30 pm

What about getting James Neal from Dallas. He hasn’t signed yet.

World Be Free

September 13th, 2010
6:01 am

DT-James Neal will sign with Dallas, The Stars have a similar self-imposed budget as th Thrashers do, just a matter of time before Neal signs, I believe.
Smitty-I had 2 concussions myself playing hockey in WNY and the 2nd one was real strange, happened very easy. Concussions have made Tim Connolly more skiddish than he was before.

Sara

September 13th, 2010
7:06 am

Re: Waddell. Heavy sigh. Look, the guy didn’t do anything to justify still being here.

Apparently he did because he is in fact still here. As much as it pains so many here, Don Waddell does not answer to the fans; he answers to the people who sign his paycheck. It is what it is, right?

Badger Bob – if I was in Calgary I’d probably want to be talking about anyone other than the Flames as well. Sutter’s offseason moves can only be described as bizarre. Nevermind their cap mess.

Glad to know the boys are heading back to the ice officially this week. Looking forward to Saturday and seeing them in person.

kracker

September 13th, 2010
8:08 am

Spectre on James Neal

THE SPORTING NEWS: Craig Custance reports Stars management continues to negotiate with restricted free agent winger James Neal. Nieuwendyk said he’d prefer to have a deal in place before training camp opens this week but acknowledged the possibility talks could drag on into training camp.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Given the depth on left wing the Stars have (Morrow, Benn, Ott and Brunstrom) it doesn’t appear Neal has much leverage here. I wouldn’t be surprised if a contract is signed very soon. And no, I don’t believe the Stars will trade Neal for a defenseman.

kracker

September 13th, 2010
8:58 am

wooohooo!!

Real_ESPNLeBrun Hearing that Bergfors is close to re-signing in Atlanta.

Tom Lysiak

September 13th, 2010
10:19 am

Glad he is signing, but was hoping for a multi-year. Not 1 year for $900k.

Brendan

September 13th, 2010
2:37 pm

Sara, Don Waddell’s continued employment by the Atlanta Spirit, LLC tells me everything I need to know about the Atlanta Spirit, LLC. Can’t blame Waddell for accepting the paycheck. At least, I don’t.

Hockey Biltong

September 13th, 2010
8:21 pm

Good post Brendan, re; supporting the team…