Thrashers newcomers have ‘been there, done that’

So what do Jimmy Slater and Eric Boulton have in common? Well for one thing, they are the only two players that remain on the Thrashers 2007 playoff roster. The pair were held without a goal or assists in the four game sweep to the Rangers and were a combined –3.

Since then, we’ve seen the other twenty or so players depart Thrasherville, including Ilya Kovalchuk, Slava Kozlov, Kari Lehtonen and Garnet Exelby in the last 14 months.

But Boulton and Slater will be surrounded this season by a number of players who have “been there, done that” in regards to the Stanley Cup Playoffs… a total of 365 collective NHL playoff games in fact. Add that to the 8 between Bolts and Slates, and what you have a roster that could represent a grand total of 373 NHL playoff games worth of experience.

Upon learning that number, I set out to see if there were any rosters of Thrashers-past that compared to the one assembled now. To be honest, I thought I would have to make my way back four or five years in order to find a squad with near as many playoff games under their collective belts…back to the 2005-06 or 2006-07 teams that consisted of Marian Hossa, Peter Bondra, Greg DeVries, Nic Havelid and Kozlov just to name a few.

As it turns out, I only had to go back twelve months.

The Thrashers entered last season with a group of players that had suited up for 370 NHL playoff games in their careers. And that’s not counting the two that Kari Lehtonen started in 2007 given the fact that Kari began last season on injured reserve. He did not play in a single game for Atlanta before being traded to Dallas in January.

However, almost one-third of those 370 games belonged to just one player, Slava Kozlov who played in 118 during his long NHL career. All but four of which came while wearing Detroit’s red winged wheel. Maxim Afinogenov and Pavel Kubina took with them another 87 career playoff appearances.

Now the Thrashers’ leader in playoff game experience is defenseman Brent Sopel with 64. Then there is Freddy Modin with 57 and Andrew Ladd with 53. Add in Dustin Byfuglien’s 39 playoff appearance, Ben Eager’s 37, Nic Antropov’s 35 and Chris Rissmiller’s 30, and you can see the Thrashers have a decent amount of players who have “been there, done that” when it comes to participating in the annual hunt for Lord Stanley’s Cup.

Buff, Ben and Brent won the Stanley Cup just last June along with Ladd. For Ladd it was the second time skating the Cup, his first being in 2006 with the Carolina Hurricanes. Freddy Modin was a part of the 2004 Cup winning Tampa Bay Lightning, making it a total of five Thrashers players who not only have “been, there, done that” but have their name etched upon the Cup to show it.

Brent Sopel kissed the Stanley Cup last June. His 64 career NHL playoff games now leads all others on the Thrashers roster (AP Photo)

Brent Sopel kissed the Stanley Cup last June. His 64 career NHL playoff games now leads all others on the Thrashers roster (AP Photo)

Another big difference can be found behind the bench. New head coach Craig Ramsay has experienced not only 89 playoff games as a player, but he’s also seen significant action as an assistant coach for NHL teams in the playoffs. He sipped Champagne from the Cup in 2004 along with Modin and the rest of the Lightning.

Last year the Thrashers had a coach who had played in 37 NHL postseason games. Prior to that they had a coach in Bob Hartley who had coached the Colorado Avalanche to a Stanley Cup championship in 2001. But this will be the first time they have ever had a bench boss who has played in and coached during the NHL playoffs. They also have an associate coach, John Torchetti, who won an NHL championship, coming to Thrasherville after last spring’s successful run with Byfuglien, Sopel, Eager, Ladd and the rest of the Chicago Blackhawks.

Also worth mentioning is assistant coach Mike Stothers who played in five NHL playoff games as a member of the Philadelphia Flyers back in the 1980s.

The question is, can this collection of players and coaches who have “been there, done that, got my name on the Cup to show for it” make a difference for those Thrasher players who have not done so yet? Can players like Evander Kane, Zach Bogosian, Toby Enstrom and possibly a handful of rookies like Arturs Kulda and Patrice Cormier benefit from their experiences should the Thrashers find themselves in a playoff push or…dare I mention it…playing past the scheduled 82 games?

These are the answers that will be revealed as the Thrashers 11th season finally gets underway next month. But going into it, the organization is deeper than it’s ever been in regards to those bringing with them previous experience…and success… playing in games 83 and beyond, both at the playing level as well as coaching.

And that certainly can’t hurt.

162 comments Add your comment

R. Stroz

September 13th, 2010
8:25 am

World Be Free

September 13th, 2010
8:29 am

It should also be noted that Ramsay was a good playoff performer. What about Dudley’s playoff numbers as a player and coach? Nice to have a team with Stanley Cup rings. They know how to get to the post season and make an impact at money time. No promises, but it sure does not hurt our chances this season.

J.B.

September 13th, 2010
8:52 am

Pierre LeBrun of ESPN just tweeted that Bergfors is close to re-signing.

waffleboy

September 13th, 2010
8:53 am

I felt like team depth wasn’t an issue last year. We simply did not have the skill level on our top 2 lines to be competitive. We need another top 6 forward to challenge the Caps.

Russian

September 13th, 2010
8:59 am

**to J.B.**
I heard the same news. I hope he will sign today.

Russian

September 13th, 2010
9:01 am

**to waffleboy**
Not only Caps. Tampa will be very strong a nd good team this year. Carolina migth be suprised also.

DWTOO

September 13th, 2010
9:13 am

I’m more worried about Carolina than Tampa. On paper Tampa always looks good. But, they never seem to form the “team” that enables them to suceed. To many individual players not enough teamwork.

Would like to see Bergie signing a multi-year deal. Maybe he’s realized he has the chance to shine here.

DWTOO

September 13th, 2010
9:16 am

See Chris V’s tweet – Bergfors to sign 900,000 deal. Damn, good to have him signed bad that it’s just one year. But, Thrashers do own his rights for a number of years to come. Think he could be a key to the Trash success. He seemed overwhelmed by the trade originally, but, seemed to be comfortable here by the end of the year.

rob

September 13th, 2010
9:19 am

Hopefully this all rubs off on the young guys and reminds everyone what the ultimate goal here is. I know it isn’t the goal of the Octotards, and Dumbwad was “handcuffed” by them, but Duds has the same idiotic owners to deal with and has already gotten things looking better in a short time. Previous success does not gaurantee anything but it certainly can give something to fall back on when things do start to go wrong…..and let’s face it over the course of 82 games, things WILL go wrong!

kracker

September 13th, 2010
9:20 am

Yes, it is good to have Bergfors signed today. I am assuming this deal is done or agreed to, just not announced yet. There was no real doubt that he would sign, but still….it ain’t over till the fat lady signs, er…something like that.

The term and how the payment escalates will be interesting to learn.

kracker

September 13th, 2010
9:27 am

Oh, wow! C Viv thinks the Bergfors contract is for only one year at $900K!!1 ugh Bergy wants to earn a bigger contract, I guess. Well, that’s not so bad if he does just that!

http://blogs.ajc.com/atlanta-thrashers-blog/2010/09/13/ramsay-offense-will-be-team-effort/

Smoothie

September 13th, 2010
9:33 am

I understand that Bergfors still has something to prove in this league as a young scoring winger, but $900k? Uh, Burmie will make more than that this year conceivably with bonus comp. Then again, we’ll prolly low-ball him too on his ELC. Dumb. This is hardly the kind of deal that engenders any long-term goodwill.

Joe Friday

September 13th, 2010
9:38 am

Another 1 year deal? I guess they couldn’t get the Thrashers to cough up big money that they felt he’s worth, so Bergfors and his agent opted to try to bank some numbers this year and then get a large arb. award

Joe Friday

September 13th, 2010
9:39 am

“This is hardly the kind of deal that engenders any long-term goodwill.”

“Meet the new boss. Same as the old boss”

kracker

September 13th, 2010
9:40 am

Smoothie, I think Dudley is changing the climate here: No more over-paying players. That goes for rookies, young vets and apparently FAs also.

If Duds moves work and his teams compete with some success like, for example, the Preds then it’s all good. With a competent GM (IDWT), the Thrashers can/will equal the Preds, with one big advantage: Atlanta > Nashville. Make the Thrashers into a winner and the corporate support should enable the Thrashers to at long last compete with many of the other teams in total salary allocated, FAs attracted (w/o grossly over-paying), etc..

kracker

September 13th, 2010
9:46 am

So we have Berg joining Ladd on the pay-me-later plan. I am good with that – if they can earn the bigger/longer deals.

Duds is smart. He knows there are several more young player contracts on the horizon to be negotiated in the next few years. Start paying Little, Ladd, Bergy big RFA contracts and that trend will never end.

We need bigger corporate support and more playoff $$$ and a full house many more nights before we can compete financially and be tossing out huge RFA contracts, folks.

R. Stroz

September 13th, 2010
9:47 am

The ASG is CHEAP, CHEAP, CHEAP.

The “new management” really knows how to make a negative impression lowballing the “new talent.”

Watch the revolving door continue to go round and round.

Joe Friday

September 13th, 2010
9:49 am

“Start paying Little, Ladd, Bergy big RFA contracts and that trend will never end.”

Continue to not lock up your RFA’s long term and watch them bail out of town as soon as they hit their UFA years, and that trend will never end . . . the smart clubs lock up their core RFAs into their UFA years. Then, there’s the Thrashers

Joe Friday

September 13th, 2010
9:50 am

“Watch the revolving door continue to go round and round.”

Great minds think alike, or sumthin like that, eh Jethro?

R. Stroz

September 13th, 2010
9:51 am

If the organization hadn’t been run into the ground for ten years with no accountability, they might have players that want to stay and reasonable contracts to offer.

This problem is a symptom of ten years of poor management and nepotism.

Jethro

September 13th, 2010
9:51 am

h

September 13th, 2010
9:53 am

it only makes sense to lock up RFAs to longer deals if you can pull in a couple of UFA years as well.

Red Light

September 13th, 2010
9:53 am

The most intriguing stat is that not only do the Thrashers now have the most Cup winners on the roster than any team in the division, but the Caps have NONE!

Caroilna…Staal, Ward, Cole and Larose
Florida…Stillman (2) and Reinprecht
Tampa…Lecavalier, Kubina and St. Louis.

kracker

September 13th, 2010
9:56 am

Kane doing his training camp prep today, via twitter.

EKaneATL9 Golfing today at East Lake.

Joe Friday

September 13th, 2010
9:58 am

“This problem is a symptom of ten years of poor management and nepotism.:

Yep, it’s foolish to expect this club to make better decisions when the decision maker at the top is the same guy that’s been screwing the pooch for 10 years.

Dudley has helped Waddell make better personnel decisions in the past two years, but we’ll continue to be hamstrung until real changes are made at the top.

kracker

September 13th, 2010
10:06 am

Yes, it is as h suggests. You want your long RFA deal to also include 2 or three years of a players UFA eligible years. Just as the Thrashers did with Kovalchuk. Obviously, the team has to look competitive to convince an RFA to sign a long-term deal which eats into his UFA years. In this, it is no different than attracting FAs or keeping your FA eligible players.

No matter if the topic is attracting or retaining players, or attracting fans and support for the team, it always comes back to the same thing in any sport. A team must consistently win more games than it loses. Nothing else matters.

TableHockey

September 13th, 2010
10:11 am

Good read Rawhide – though unless I’m missing the meaning there is a typo: “Add in Dustin Byfuglien’s 39 layoff appearance”

Red Light

September 13th, 2010
10:20 am

Until arbiters learn how to evaluate performance, placing a future contract in the hands of one of those (such as the one that forced the Thrashers into dumping MacArthur, nice return for the 3rd and 4th round picks, eh?) knuckleheads isn’t good business. The point is to avoid player-elected arbitration, and not allowing players to walk away without compensation. So, in a perfect world, you lock up an RFA into the first couple of potential UFA seasons, but if you can’t then every year you have to go through these machinations.

Obviously, Dudley and his cohorts don’t think Bergfors is worthy of a five-year deal yet. Same with Little, same with Ladd, and Bogo, Kane, Byfuglien and Pavelec all are going to put us through this again within the next three seasons, and that’s why arbitration can be dangerous.

If you negotiate from a position of weakness year-in and year-out, you might win a few battles with agents but you won’t win them all. And, what happens when this CBA is tossed out in two years and you have a list of 10 free agents? Not sure I’d want to be in that scenario.

Smoothie

September 13th, 2010
10:21 am

“Smoothie, I think Dudley is changing the climate here: No more over-paying players. That goes for rookies, young vets and apparently FAs also.”

kracker – I certainly agree that the culture here must be changed, but when the actions of the folks in the front-office don’t change and they continue to under-value talented players (who are supposedly important pieces to the puzzle for the future) and there by tick them off in the process, how is the organization moving forward in a positive direction?

If Bergfors has been overtly disgruntled since he stepped foot in the locker-room, then perhaps this is a good strategy as you certainly don’t want a cancer like that polluting the whole room and then get rewarded for it with an inflated deal. But his market value is FAR from $900k! He should be getting at least $1.5 M as that is slightly more than MacArthur made and as we know the Thrashers felt that was all he was worth. No way that Bergfors, if cut tomorrow, wouldn’t be claimed off of waivers at $1.5 M…bargain deal for sure.

BTW, if Kaner and Bogo only hit say, 1/2 of their bonuses, the team is still dangerously close to the Salary Cap floor of $43.4 M (do I have that number right?). I’ve added up all of their highest salaries for the “top 22″ veterans and youngsters who are locks and I only get $43.67 M using 1/2 of the bonus compensation for those two.

h

September 13th, 2010
10:27 am

Agreed Kracker. Winning doesn’t solve everything, but it solves alot of things, or at least helps make personnel decisions a little easier. I think you need to see a young player give you at least 2 consecutive very good seasons before you consider signing him to a long term deal. However, you also have to look into the future and make sure you don’t have several top players up for renewals in the same year or you are forced to make trades.

Smoothie

September 13th, 2010
10:28 am

*I’ve added up all of their highest salaries for the “top 22″ veterans and youngsters who are locks and I only get $43.67 M

I’m sorry, correction, I only get $43.39 and that’s even when I add in Nigel Dawes as the 14th forward at $600k. Oh yeah, this number includes the $1.4 M cap hit for Brashear’s buy-out as well as Rismiller on the roster as a 4th line winger. Someone may still get traded and his name rhymes with Bergfors.

World Be Free

September 13th, 2010
10:37 am

I’ll just be happy when the guys is signed. Can’t worry about the other things right now, maybe later.

h

September 13th, 2010
10:38 am

Consider this as well….I wonder if Duds told Bergfors’ agent he’d trade him before season starts but it would have to be in exchange for a top 6 forward on a team needing a salary dump, so it might only work if his salary was low enough……I know…..maybe reading too much into this, but it wouldn’t surprise me. I am surprised that the contract is only for $900K. Isn’t he worth at least $1.25M?

Smoothie

September 13th, 2010
10:43 am

h – he’s worth at least that if not a little more. The market value was set pretty well with the recent RFA signings although I guess his deal isn’t much different than the wait-and-see contract for Andrew Coglinao ($1 M for 1 year). But last time I checked, we don’t have Taylor Hall and Jordan Eberle waiting in the wings.

Joe Friday

September 13th, 2010
10:46 am

“I wonder if Duds told Bergfors’ agent he’d trade him before season starts but it would have to be in exchange for a top 6 forward on a team needing a salary dump, so it might only work if his salary was low enough”

You know, this is logical and the only thing that would make sense here. The inane rambling that we’re not going to overpay players is simply that, inane. As Red Light clearly stated it’s just bad business to put next year’s contract in the hands of an arbiter. And if we’re going to play Bergfors on the top line this year, he’s going to put up plenty of points and get $4m plus awarded to him for next year.

So either Dudley is being wiley here and they did sign him low to be able to trade him to someone that needs cap relief but also needs a player to fill out their lineup so he can’t cost much, or our management is incompetent (and frankly, it’s 50/50 on which one is the case here).

Darkhorse

September 13th, 2010
10:47 am

Wasn’t last year’s budget somewhere around 49.5-50.5 mil for most of the year? If your #s are close to correct Smoothie, and the rumors are somewhat acurate that the ASG is mandating a win now order to Dudley, even with the bonuses, then there’s still some room to be made for someone before camp ends. Disappointed the Bergfors deal was only for a year. Is he still an RFA after this year?

Also, Rawhide whatever happened to the rumor of potential investors buying into the Thrashers? That’s been a few months ago and there was some chatter……then nothing. Any clue what the deal was?

TableHockey

September 13th, 2010
10:47 am

Good point H. I haven’t been on Cap geek to look at the Devils current condition since the Kovy deal was approved. I’m sure they need to move salary and would love to have Bergfors back. Maybe they would be a good trade partner for a top 6 guy.

Tony C.

September 13th, 2010
10:47 am

I know it’s been mentioned already but; from twitter:

“”The Blueland Chronicle >> BERGFORS WILL RETURN http://buzztap.com/-xhVH3B “”

Tony C.

September 13th, 2010
10:49 am

forgot to say: Nice work Mort

kracker

September 13th, 2010
10:51 am

LOL We are all trying to read the tea leaves through a very fogged up shower curtain. It can’t be done. We probably have at best half the relavent information about the circumstances of any given player’s situation. It is still fun to speculate though.

Winning is the number one constant to establish here in Atlanta. The only way to do that, especially on an underfunded team, is with a competent GM that can make more good decisions than he makes bad decisions. Add in some luck and good corporate support. But, make no mistake, it is like I said on C Viv’s blog, no young RFA is going to dictate terms to Ken Holland. It must be the same with Dudley.

Tom

September 13th, 2010
10:58 am

Hey Stroz, speaking of nepotism, where did our 9 year goalie coach Steve Weeks end up this season?

Rhytnmpenguin

September 13th, 2010
11:01 am

Nice analogy kracker. Tea leaves and a foggy shower curtain! Ha Ha Ha =)

Jack

September 13th, 2010
11:01 am

Tom I dint think he was picked up as of yet.

Tony C.

September 13th, 2010
11:01 am

Well whatever mgmt has up their collective sleeve, according to capgeek we’ve got just under $18M in cap room still even factoring in the reported $900K for Bergfors (I personally was looking for 2-years at 1.5M-1.8M)!!! I’m not going to be a bit surprised if there’s not a trade where we take on the last year or two of a questionable contract in return for a proven 25-30 goal scorer.

Joe Friday

September 13th, 2010
11:02 am

“no young RFA is going to dictate terms to Ken Holland.”

Uh, Holland is the guy that locks up his young RFAs, he’s the antithesis of what’s being done here . . .

Tony C.

September 13th, 2010
11:04 am

Trixie would you mind cleaning that up? I’ve got too much emphasis going on there! also, who all is going to the scrimmage tomorrow?

Smoothie

September 13th, 2010
11:09 am

Not so sweet tweet from Pierre LeBrun: “Bergfors’s agent J.P. Barry of CAA Sports confirms his client Bergfors has agreed to one-year, $900,000 deal with Thrash”

So there you have it, the low-balling is official. Something is not right. This reeks of a future trade. Either Dudley is absolutely brilliant in paying him low to make him more attractive in a trade with a Boston, New Jersey, Vancouver etc or he is completely FOS with respect to what he said about paying someone their value if they were to be waived and claimed tomorrow.

Smoothie

September 13th, 2010
11:17 am

“If your #s are close to correct Smoothie, and the rumors are somewhat acurate that the ASG is mandating a win now order to Dudley, even with the bonuses, then there’s still some room to be made for someone before camp ends”

I can assure you that my Excel spreadsheet that tracks salaries does not lie. I like to keep up with this crap so I can reference things easily when I write blog entries for my own blog. But aside from that, even if we end up on the hook for 75% of the bonuses due for Bogo and Kaner, we’re going to be hard-pressed to inch up above the floor.

Here are the players I’m using to get to a number of $44.835 (I forgot to include Valabik the last time):

Bergy, Antro, Lits, Kaner (75% bonus), Pevs, Buff, Ladd, Slater, Modin @$800 k, Eager, Cormier (sheer guess), Thorbs, Boults, Burma (36 days and 9-game cup o’ coffee) and Dawes (80% after replacing Burma).

Sopel, Enstrom, Hainsey, Oduya, Bogo (75% bonus), Kulda, Valabik and Brashear’s buy-out ($1.4M), Mason & Pavelec.

Even if you substitute Rismiller’s $1.0 M for Cormier who stands to make $846 k if he sticks the whole year, they would be right at $45 M. But that is dependent upon those bonuses. I don’t think that’s allowed, but perhaps there is some leeway at the start of the season. Wouldn’t that seem like playing with fire for a team that is dependent upon revenue sharing (and spending over the cap floor to earn it)?

Tony C.

September 13th, 2010
11:23 am

I don’t know-it may be that Bergofrs’ camp wanted the term and the money and we’ve seen that management isn’t handing out anything longer than two years this summer-rumor had Bergfors looking for a 4-6 year deal. Maybe it’s something similar to the Ladd deal-both sides are evaluating the other. That being the case, it makes sense that Bergfors/Barry would be willing to accept a “low” (sorry, but $900k just isn’t “low-ball” to me-I know the salaries are skewed but c’mon!) offer as that would allow maximum mobility for the player should he decide that he doesn’t want to be here-$900K is something almost any organization could handle and certainly would for a player with Bergfors ability and potential. Meanwhile it doesn’t make the break-up super painful for Le Thrash when/if Bergfors hits the bricks.

In the meantime, unless Dudley has serious reservations about his durability, I’m thinking we make a strong play for Boston’s Bergeron (would rather have Krejici, but I doubt they’ll let him go). Another idea that cme to me would be for us to send Vancouver Kulda +PTBNL and get Erhoff in return-may not be super attractive, but those boys have themselves right up against it, and pretty much anybody they’d like to move has a NTC/NMC

Rhytnmpenguin

September 13th, 2010
11:25 am

Which indicates that there has to be something in the works.

Trixie (Rawhide's Secretary)

September 13th, 2010
11:30 am

Mr. Tony C. – There…is that the way you like it?

Cornbread

September 13th, 2010
11:32 am

Of course this experience and success will matter. This aspect of the off-season acuisitions have been the most overlooked, especially by the Canadian press. The Thrashers proved that they did not have the leadership or experience when they wet the bed several times when it mattered most while in the hunt. The old leadership of Kozlov, White, and Chelios was innefective.

Smoothie

September 13th, 2010
11:38 am

Tony C – considering ELC for the top 10 picks will pay in the neighborhood of $800 – $925 K for base salary this season, I’d say $900 K for a 20+ goal-scoring, All-Rookie Team player is a bit of a low-ball contract. The idea of the two parties still “feeling each other out” seems like a stretch when he’s only 23 and the CBA is up in 2 years. Why not do at least a 2 year deal for similar money? Paying him $1M – $1.25 M hardly makes him un-tradeable if things don’t work out.

But I agree with you that a trade could certainly be in the works. His agent could be making this negotiation very difficult knowing that any commitment of additional years brings more leverage their way. So perhaps Dudley told them “take it or leave it for now” or else you’re going to slip on the depth chart behind Kane, Little, Ladd, Pettersson etc. They can always re-open the negotiation process if Bergfors scores 10 goals in his first 20-25 games.

I full expect a trade. It may not be Bergfors, but we need to add salary. Dudley is in a good position of strength now with such a low payroll and so many “value” contracts at his disposal. Makes complete sense that he will test the trade market again.

kracker

September 13th, 2010
11:41 am

Joe, I can’t imagine who you are referring to on the WIngs aging roster. They have two players on their current roster (Ritola and Kindl) inked for 3 years each that still will be RFA. They have played a combined total of 10 games for the Wings. Frankly I am wondering why they are even signed for 3 yrs each. They have a couple of more promising players (Helm and Abdelkader) signed for 2 years.

Maybe I missed somebody but it appears that the Wings have no stud RFAs signed for 4 or 5 years as you expect to have Dudley accomplish for the Thrashers.

Red Light

September 13th, 2010
11:42 am

NHLnumbers.com had the Thrashers salary total at $49.189 million last year, with a total cap hit as $51.266 million, including Kovy’s $4.178 million hit into February, Zhitnik’s $1.167 million buyout and Lehtonen’s pre-trade hit of $2.036 million. Including Bergfors, the figure they have listed right now is $45.229 million (Valabik at $775,000). That includes Krog’s $550,000 but none of the rookies or Dawes. And, it doesn’t include Brashear’s buyout either.

“Are we clear?”

“Crystal!”

Red Light

September 13th, 2010
11:50 am

kracker…

In recent years, Holland locked up Filppula when he was 24, Hudler earlier this season, Zetterberg when he was 26-27, Franzen at 27, Kronwall at 26, in addition to the two-year deals issued to Helm and Abdelkader this year.

Tony C.

September 13th, 2010
11:50 am

Smoothie-exactly my point-$900k is a song for a player with Bergfors’ potential… My personal feeling is that this contract is easily amended during the season (Holiday break most likely), and if the feeling is that Bergfors is just counting the days until he can get out of ATL, then it’s a very palatable contract to other teams. I wouldn’t be surprised that we see Bergfors get a new deal once the (hopefully) impending trade for another scoring forward is completed. In the meantime, that number allows Dudley to fish with some pretty attractive bait in the form of Bergfors and the other “value+” contracts we have on the books.

Trixie you know it!

Alan R.

September 13th, 2010
11:51 am

Re: Bergfors signing. This is something I actually expected. I think it was Flames who said something about Bergfors being willing to take less on a shorter term. This year he gets to prove himself, as last year’s stint in Atlanta had a small sample size.

Bergfors can be extended starting on 1 January 2011. If he doesn’t live up to expectations, there’s always the trade deadline.

Rawhide

September 13th, 2010
11:55 am

Bergfors can be extended starting on 1 January 2011. If he doesn’t live up to expectations, there’s always the trade deadline.

Alan R. – There’s no pressure to have to deal Bergie away at the deadline. He’ll be an RFA this summer, so we still have the negotiating rights with him.

As for the signing it’s self…I have no real issue with it. If the two parties could not agree to a long-term deal at this time, then getting him signed to a relatively decent salary for one year is good. It gets him in camp to prepare for the season and takes away this little ‘mini-drama’ for now.

Let him prove his worth throughout the season and he’ll get his payday this summer.

Tony C.

September 13th, 2010
11:56 am

Also, just got an email from Le Thrash inviting me/us to the 2010-2011 season preview; lecture and brief Q&A with Dudley, Ramsay and Mason(?!?). 23 september 1900-2100hrs. comp parking and hors d’ouevres.

RSVP here

Red Light

September 13th, 2010
11:59 am

Bill…that illustrates the contrary point perfectly, if he scores 30 and goes to arbitration, you’re looking at a sizable salary hit next year. Again, I think it smacks of being reactive rather than proactive. And, if you go by that logic, then why in the heck did you ask for him in the Kovalchuk trade?

Joe Friday

September 13th, 2010
12:05 pm

“I can’t imagine who you are referring to on the WIngs aging roster.”

Why does this not suprise me?

He locked up many of his key young guys when they were RFAs, they’re signed sealed and delivered. It’s his M.O., as a matter of fact (keep a core intact and sign them and keep them in the fold)

Smoothie

September 13th, 2010
12:06 pm

Again, I think it smacks of being reactive rather than proactive. And, if you go by that logic, then why in the heck did you ask for him in the Kovalchuk trade? <—— THIS.

Tony C – apologies if I misinterpreted what you were saying (writing). His $900k deal could be a very good thing for both parties. But I'm more in the Joe F, Red Light, stroz camp on this one. This smacks of silliness and short-sighted pettiness, AGAIN. However, it could just be a prelude to a trade or further evaluation. But hey, if y'all think nickel & diming RFA's till they get pissed and leave is a good way to build a hockey team, perhaps you're smarter than me! ;-)

kracker

September 13th, 2010
12:08 pm

Red Light and Joe, I agree that the Wings have in the past signed some of their RFA, though a 26 or 27 year old signing is much different to me than a 23 year old (Bergfors). The Thrash did sign Kovalchuk at a young age. They probably would have with Heatley as well if he had not permanently altered his future here by crashing on Lenox Road. Anyway, aren’t most of our promising young guys 24-25 or younger? I just don’t feel it’s the time to pull the trigger on the long deals for these still young RFAs that can tie your hands and quickly get you cap-strapped in the future. JMO.

Smoothie

September 13th, 2010
12:09 pm

Oooopsie!! Too many times to the well and I’m stuck in the filter. Eventually it gets you just like Troy Polamalu.

Joe Friday

September 13th, 2010
12:10 pm

“if he scores 30 and goes to arbitration, you’re looking at a sizable salary hit next year.”

Bingo.

“Again, I think it smacks of being reactive rather than proactive.”

Hit the nail on the head here.

” And, if you go by that logic, then why in the heck did you ask for him in the Kovalchuk trade?”

Yep. And I’ll say it again, either h is spot on with his idea that this sets up a trade for a cap stressed team, or our mgt. is continuing to be penny wise and pound foolish.

I will state right now that no one is this idiotic to sign Bergfors to a one year deal and leave yourself open to the arb. award he’ll get after banking pts playing top line and top PP minutes on the Thrashers. The only thing that makes sense is he’s the trade bait to be used to go snag a proven top 6 guy off a cap stressed club, and allow that club to replace a roster player with only a $900k hit.

And it makes sense in that Bergfors really doesn’t fit the mold of the style of play Dudley is developing here.

rob

September 13th, 2010
12:10 pm

It is what it is, isn’t it? He’s signed, so that thundercould is not hanging over us. It would be great if they would enlighten us as to why they do these things, but I don’t see it happeneing yet. Is he trade bait, is he proving himself for a big payday next year? If he does, well we will have the cap space for it, and if he doesn’t, no loss, right? Who knows, since Duds ain’t talking to any of us about the goings on of our favorite team.

World Be Free

September 13th, 2010
12:30 pm

I have been reading the reactions to the Bergfors situation. I agree with what has been stated, in general about the 1 year low budget deal for Bergfors. I expected more in terms of money and years. At the very least, I was hoping to break the trend of short term commitments. One year worked in Bob Feller’s day, times have changed. as rob stated, he’s signed and that in itself is a positive.

But I am leaving this in Dudley’s hands. He clearly has a budget that he needs to maintain, as low as it may be. All I can think is that there’s something else happening here that may explain the current payroll compared to what it may be on opening night.

h

September 13th, 2010
12:35 pm

It will be interesting to see how our front lines look by end of training camp….my guess is something like (assuming no trades)……
Bergie – Antro – Little
Pevs – Kane – Ladd
Modin – Slater – Burmy
Eager – Dawes/Petterson – Thorbs
Boults – Rissmiller/other

You can switch Slater for Dawes/Petterson, and maybe Cormier slips in, but certainly you don’t bring in either Cormier or Burmy unless you plan on playing them, so healthy scratch doesn’t do it….These lines seem ok, but they get a ton better if you use one of your “extra” D-men to solicit a trade for a top 6-er (from a cap strapped team) and then bump Ladd down to 3rd line. MHO.

Sara

September 13th, 2010
12:36 pm

How to explain this … you have to look at the big picture in the long-term. The budget was aroundish $50M last season right? So assume that’s the most Atlanta Spirit can commit to payroll in any given year based on current factors (a 30% partner in name only and crap ticket sales). If those factors do not change, and it would be foolhardy to just assume they will, then Dudley has to plan not only how to spend this years’ $50M but also how he’s going to spend that $50M 2 and 3 seasons from now. If he commits too much money now to players like Ladd or Bergfors, that could mean not being able to resign Kane or Bogosian down the road. Budgets are not done solely on a yearly basis and future projections have to be practical based on historical knowns. Maybe something changes in the next couple of seasons and there is a cash influx. But if nothing changes and Dudley overspends now, it could come back to bite him in the arse later. So yes, he has to be cautious about overspending. When there isn’t lots of money to go around, one has to watch every single dime.

It’s why I find people who complain about Waddell’s FA signings in 2001 and 2002 so funny. Payroll under AOL/TW was impressive if it even hit the $20M mark for the year. Knowing that in a couple years in the future he’d have to commit major $$ to Kovy and Heater, and having to presume AOL/TW would never give him much more to work with for payroll (after all in those years he had no way to know new owners would show up), he couldn’t exactly go blow a wad of dough on some fancy FA. Cause if he did, and that meant he had to move Kovy or Heater due to budget constraints, he really would have been crucified.

kracker

September 13th, 2010
12:38 pm

Hey Smoothie, are you at rookie camp? Or anybody there…give us jealous workers your thoughts, please.

kracker

September 13th, 2010
12:45 pm

Now there you go again, Sara, trying to introduce a logic-based reality tempered with sound financial planning into the blog again. C’mon on, where’s the fun in that?? We all know every pie has three halves.

Red Light

September 13th, 2010
12:48 pm

Nope, that doesn’t wash Sara.The expiring RFA contract of Bogosian is easily offset by the expiring UFA contracts of Sopel, Thorburn, Boulton, Modin, Rissmiller, Eager and Meyer after the upcoming season, and for Kane the expiring contracts in the following year of Oduya, Mason, Peverley and Slater.

We understand future budgetary concerns, which is why if you can lock up a guy like Ladd or Bergfors, rather than going to arbitration, particularly when you gave up “valuable assets” to acquire them (Morin, etc.), then I think you must try to do it.

Even if you’re planning to re-up several of those UFAs listed above, none are budget breaking contracts!

Smoothie

September 13th, 2010
12:59 pm

“And it makes sense in that Bergfors really doesn’t fit the mold of the style of play Dudley is developing here.”

If he does get jettisoned in a trade over the next couple of weeks, then we’ll have a pretty good indicator that Don Waddell did in fact have a big role in the Kovalchuk trade (shudders). I was hoping Dudley was steering the ship on that one or at least influencing greatly the outcome based on his “scouting expertise”…apparently not.

kracker – I’m not there today, but I plan on going up Wednesday to take a look-see. I’ll try to make some notes on certain guys like Espo, Cormier, Pettersson, Zubey and Burma of course.

Smoothie

September 13th, 2010
1:01 pm

Red Light – nail meet hammer. Money spent today for the long-term is cheaper than money spent later…locking him up early also saves you the headache of arbitration squabbles that can squeeze the life right out of any goodwill that may have existed prior to the hearing.

kracker

September 13th, 2010
1:09 pm

Red Light, what is the functionality of mentioning all those expiring contracts? The money for them – a quite resonable amount, in the aggregate – will be used to resign them or to bring in other players of their caliber. Or perhaps Dudley is able to sign better players for a higher salary. Either way, any way I look at it, I don’t see that expiring contracts of that size (small) have much effect on how we will deal with our promising young crop of RFA.

The problem with attempting to sign too-young RFAs to long-term contracts is that you can not sign them to a long enough contract to get them well into their UFA years. Or if you do, you may find out that you have hitched your wagon to the wrong showhorse not to the right workhorse.

I feel Dudley has no prudent way to go, as an underfunded GM, but to try to get these guys to within a year or two of UFA and then go for the four-five-six year deal. Signing them to three or four years of RFA years will surely set them up for leaving if their level of play exceeds that of the team.

glovesave29

September 13th, 2010
1:10 pm

Before I get all up in it with the Bergfors signing – does anyone here know if Duds has said anything about signing players to extensions during the season? I always thought that was a silly policy that DW had in place.

Sara

September 13th, 2010
1:19 pm

Red Light – except you have to replace Sopel and Thorburn and Boulton and Rissmiller and Modin and Eager and Meyer. Plus Oduya and Peverley and Slater and Mason. Unless you expect Bogosian to be an entire D-pair all on his own (and I’m being overly snarky there – I’m sure you don’t actually expect that). Those are by and large not big money contracts that will come off the books, so you aren’t going to save alot by resigning other 4th liners or rookies – it’s not like you’ll be replacing a $3M player with a $750K player under those circumstances so that you get back $2.25M to give some RFA a raise. The highest salary of that group is Oduya at $3.5M and in two seasons he’ll be 30 years old – not exactly a point in his career where I’d be kicking him out the door.

And freaking out over arbitration is silly, as if that hasn’t occurred to either Dudley or Larry S. It’s “what if he scores a bunch of goals then we have to pay him big money” – except it sounds like he was already asking for the bigger money without having proven anything and that “what if” scenario goes two ways – what if they lock him up now and he’s making $3M+ in another year or two, except he doesn’t pot more than 20 or so goals a year. Then you’ve overspent on an asset that doesn’t produce, screwing your bang for the buck, and you violate Dudley’s rule cause if Bergie doesn’t score, no one’s going to take that contract off waivers.

Better to overpay for something that has value than to overpay for something that doesn’t.

kracker

September 13th, 2010
1:22 pm

Surely Dudley doesn’t have to mention it…but then you are right, that could be a policy that Waddell could definitely affect how Dudley deals with players. So I agree it does need to be clarified.

Smoothie

September 13th, 2010
1:30 pm

replace Sopel and Thorburn and Boulton and Rissmiller and Modin and Eager and Meyer

Let’s see, okay here we go: Kulda, Machacek, Paquette, Aliu, Pettersson? (Modin’s a stop-gap short-term measure), Klingberg and Zubarev. Done.

And I bet you can do it for the same money or less. The point is you don’t have to worry about future budgets as much if you have a talent-rich pool of talent to draw from in your system. We have that, or are closer to having it than ever before. We’re not advocating overspending on Bergfors, just simply paying him what he’s worth. Take a look around, there are several comparable contracts. Plus, you can tell from watching him play he’s at least as good as (or has the potential to be better than) Sam Gagner.

kracker

September 13th, 2010
1:36 pm

Plus, you can tell from watching him play he’s at least as good as (or has the potential to be better than) Sam Gagner. I am looking forward to seeing just that, Smoothie. And definitely, yes, I hope we always have a talent-rich pool of talent to draw from in our system.

TableHockey

September 13th, 2010
1:36 pm

The Devils have to shed several million just to make it under the cap (not to mention what they need to have extra for Parise’s contract next year). They’d love to have Bergfors back at at that price I just wonder if it’s not part of a deal for us to get a solid top 6 in return.

kracker

September 13th, 2010
1:40 pm

Are we involved??…

Eklund Was also just told to look for the NJ Devils Cap Space Deal in the next 36 hours. trying to hunt down who is involved.

kracker

September 13th, 2010
1:41 pm

If Lou wants Bergfors back, it follows that I want to keep him.

Smoothie

September 13th, 2010
1:49 pm

Tweetle dum: @ajcthrashers “For those asking, after agreeing to one-year deal Niclas Bergfors will be RFA with arbitration rights after the season”

Not calling C-Viv dumb, mind you, just this ridiculous 1 yr deal for Bergfors. Just don’t understand why we wouldn’t try to avoid ARB for a player that was supposedly the center-piece of the Kovy deal. Now watch him score 25 goals and get an award of $3.5 M / year when we should have locked him up for 2 years and $4.5 M TOTAL.

Smoothie

September 13th, 2010
1:51 pm

kracker – sorry for my redundancy…talent-rich pools o’ talent! Yes indeed, that’s what we need! Ben Wright says Zubarev and Freddy the Fly look really good at camp. Then again, they ought to right?

If we do trade with NJ, we better damn well get Zajac back!

kracker

September 13th, 2010
1:54 pm

This guy I will pay $2.3M (using McCarthy’s ridiculous award as an example) if he gets that, which I couild see if Nic has the season we hope and expect him to have.

ajcthrashers For those asking, after agreeing to one-year deal Niclas Bergfors will be RFA with arbitration rights after the season.

kracker

September 13th, 2010
2:00 pm

My comment about it isn’t worth retyping or retrieving. Here is what C Viv says about Bergy’s status:

ajcthrashers For those asking, after agreeing to one-year deal Niclas Bergfors will be RFA with arbitration rights after the season.

Red Light

September 13th, 2010
2:00 pm

Yes, Sara, that is overly snarky!

OK, lets just look at one very isolated situation…Bergfors vs. Patric Hornqvist, signed by kracker’s favorite GM, David Poile in Nashville, and I personally think he does a great job too.

Hornqvist
Age 23
Birth place: Sollentuna, Sweden
Seventh round pick in 2005, 230th overall
Games played 80
Goals 31
Assists 20
Plus/Minus +18
Played in 23 games prior to last season
Restricted free agent in summer of 2010, signed a three-year deal for $9.25 million; will still be a restricted free agent when current deal expires

Bergfors
Age 23
Birth place: Sodertalje, Sweden
1st round pick in 2005, 23rd overall
Games played 81
Goals 21
Assists 23
Plus/minus -10
Played in 9 games prior to last season
Restricted free agent in summer of 2010, signed a one-year deal for $900,000, will still be a restricted free agent when current deal expires

So, what are the differences here outside of the obvious stats? Commitment!

Red Light

September 13th, 2010
2:08 pm

And by the way, I’m not saying that Dudley is making a mistake — he very well could come out smelling like a rose in all instances — I’m just saying there are other considerations that are not so black and white (like perception by current players and those who might consider Atlanta in the future).

Joe Friday

September 13th, 2010
2:18 pm

Red Light and Smoothie get it, Sara and Kracker? Not so much . . .

Sara, you talk about setting budgets, which is precisely why you lock him out up now. Or you risk blowing your budget when the guy you’re planning on playing on your top line racks up the points and has arb rights next year.

No, this is all moot. It’s pretty clear that h has hit the nail on the head earlier today, Bergfors was signed to be able to trade to a club that needs cap relief. Sweet Lou has to move a forward making $5m (or more) and take Bergfors back to take the spot on the roster. Elias? Rolston? Neither one excites me and I’d guess that’s who Lou would want to move. I’d love to have Parise, Parise would fit right into this lineup, what are the odds that in Lou’s mind he’s “replacing” Parise with a younger Bergfors, solving his two problems with one fell stroke.

Dudley pulls that one off and you’re going to have to climb over me to shake the man’s hand . . .

Diego from Lilburn

September 13th, 2010
2:22 pm

Shake his hand? Shake his hand?

If Dudley gets Parise here I will kiss him on the face and I don’t care what you wanna call me for doing it! :D

kracker

September 13th, 2010
2:25 pm

That is a very nice comparison, Red Light. I can’t go so far as to say that ‘commitment’, or the lack of it, is the only difference in these signings but it may well be one of them. From what we heard from the grapevine, the Bergfors camp wanted a longer deal for higher money than Dudley was able to go. Or would go, whatever the case was.

Diego from Lilburn

September 13th, 2010
2:26 pm

off topic: What fantasy league should I join? I’ve never done that before and I see a dozen out there. NHL.com is promoting the Yahoo one. That’s fine with me but it says “join a league” or “create a league”. Do us Thrasher fans have a league that we mostly use? I’ll admit I’m very out of the loop in this. I’m happy to join a league where I feel like I know somebody even if the only people on this blog I’ve ever met are Tablehockey (we work together) and Rawhide (I introduced myself in the food court at CNN late last season when I saw you sitting there eating before the game).

Joe Friday

September 13th, 2010
2:31 pm

I’m not one for these made up trade scenarios, but there’s some serious smoke here:

To Atlanta: Arnott and Parise
To NJ: Bergfors and Peverly

What say you? Brings us the pivot and top LW we need, , NJ gets a pivot and LW in return and gets under the cap safely. We have the room even in our self imposed budget and that would bring us to $51m in salary on the year. Get ‘er done, Dudley
What say you? I t

five hole

September 13th, 2010
2:37 pm

I’m glad to see they signed Bergfors.

Here’s the thing with players and their salaries; they have a cost/value relationship. If they’re considered to be ‘overpaid’ then their relative value goes down. No one want them at that price. Witness Mr. McArthur, whom we walked away from because he was deemed to ‘not have value at that salary’. The same could be true of Marc Savard, after having signed the big money contract. Yes, Toronto signed McArthur, but not at what the arbitor awarded him.

Players need to worry that they’re ‘pricing themselves out of the market’.

And if he’s an RFA for another 3 or 4 years, he has time to establish his ‘market value’.

Smoothie

September 13th, 2010
2:39 pm

Joe F – that would be lovely, but really?? Parise?? He’s one of the best 10 forwards in the league IMO. And his overall game is better than Kostalchuk who I put at or near #9 or #10. That would be nice, but don’t you think a more realistic target would be Zajac to man our top line C position? Go with Kane-Zajac-Antro \ Ladd-Pevs-Buf or Little OR Lits-Zajac-Antro \ Kane-Pevs-Buf

In a trade for Zajac, we’d only have to give up Bergy and either a 2nd round pick or a mid-high prospect. The player swap gives them just about an even $3 M in cap relief. But then again, they are thin at C so Zajac may be out of the question. In that case I would only want Langebrunner. To hell with Arnott, Dainus, Rolston or Elias.

kracker

September 13th, 2010
2:47 pm

That’s above my paygrade, Joe. Neither guy is signed. Parise is RFA. Arnott is UFA and getting up there, he will be 36 in a month. I might prefer to go it with Pevs. I would have to be able to have an idea if Parise will resign. I (Dudley, I mean) already have an idea already about Bergfors.

But you are asking for an answer. I guess I do it if I know Bergy will not stay here and take my chances w/ Parise. But not if I feel confident of keeping Bergfors and Peverley.

Joe Friday

September 13th, 2010
2:50 pm

“they are thin at C so Zajac may be out of the question”

That’s what I was thinking, they’re thin at C and will want Zajac going forward. You have to give to get, and the giving here is us taking Arnott off their hands AND they get Peverly in return. And Bergfors can be good justification for letting Parise go. They’re not going to be able to pay Parise what he’ll demand next summer so might as well move him now and get value back in return (what smart GMs do, and Sweet Lou is smart).

Smoothie

September 13th, 2010
2:53 pm

Let me re-post something that got hung up in the filter to further accentuate Joe’s / Red Light’s point:

Just don’t understand why we wouldn’t try to avoid ARB for a player that was supposedly the center-piece of the Kovy deal. Now watch him score 25 goals and get an award of $3.5 M / year when we should have locked him up for 2 years and $4.5 M TOTAL.

Smoothie

September 13th, 2010
2:57 pm

Joe – I hear ya man. I’d gladly take on Arnott, and even give up Peverley, for a chance at Parise. He is sick. The thought of him crashing the net with Antro feeding and Kane driving the other side makes me drool uncontrollably. But alas I don’t think Parise will be available as Arnott’s salary relief next year should be enough to get him done at $7 M / year. Of course Lou Lam risks losing Langenbrunner if he does that. Interesting scenarios indeed. I wonder how Brian Rolston feels about playing in Albany, NY this season for his $5 M.

kracker

September 13th, 2010
2:59 pm

They’re [NJ] not going to be able to pay Parise what he’ll demand next summer so might as well move him now and get value back in return (what smart GMs do, and Sweet Lou is smart).

Dudley is smart, too, so no way he does this w/o first) having the green light to spend Kovy-type money for a guy he is second) sure that will sign here. Considering that, I have to say no, this is not a good trade for Atlanta. I really like Pevs for what he costs.

Smoothie

September 13th, 2010
3:08 pm

kracker – you do realize Parise is a better player than Kovy, Pevs or anyone else we have for that matter? Not that I expect Lou to ever entertain trading Parise, but he has 2 seasons with 80+ points and 4 seasons with 30+ goals. His caliber of player doesn’t come around very often and he will likely get Scott Gomez money at the very least.

You know, there may be a way to entice Lou into another trade without having to sacrifice Peverley. They need to think ahead to re-stock and re-tool their blueline and they seem to be a bit short on talented D-man prospects. Perhaps a Postma, along with Esposito if he shows well at camp, could be enough to entice Lou into trading Zajac?

kracker

September 13th, 2010
3:22 pm

On paper, sure anybody would love to have a Parise. But real world, and leaving the other GMs out of it, I don’t think we have a chance in you know what of getting a bonafide #1 anything to (re)sign here without first having demonstrated that the program is on a winning path. Maybe we get lucky and an RFA Bergfors is here long enough to like the city and sees that the youth is maturing and wants to grow with it. For a Parise, I just don’t know if it would work out to get him resigned.

That’s why I see us as trying to emulate the Preds success, with the extra draw of a larger, more cosmopolitan city with a bigger corporate base.

Smoothie

September 13th, 2010
3:26 pm

I certainly understand your fear when it comes to convincing players to sign here long-term. At least Parise is an RFA one last time. But yeah, it might be a tough sell getting him to sign more than 1 year going into the new CBA negotiations in 2012.

kracker

September 13th, 2010
3:36 pm

Oh, yeah, the expiring CBA. There’s another thing to muck up everything!!

Frankly, I don’t see how DW lasted as long as he did here w/o blowing his brains out. (Be nice, folks!) I mean, if you add his screw ups to all the things that happened that were not in his fault….

swede

September 13th, 2010
3:55 pm

Here is what Bergfors agent had to say: – We had hoped for a bit longer contract. But now, we still chose to run a year, so we go back in a year, “said agent Peter Werner Bergfors to HockeyExpressen.se.
- We are verbally agreed and are just waiting for that contract will come, “says Niclas Bergfors agent, Peter Werner HockeyExpressen.se.
- It has taken time for the hearing, we obviously had different views on Niclas value. But while Niclas said that he is hockey player and his only dream is to play hockey. He does not want to risk anything before this season, “said agent Peter Werner on the agreement.

Zombie Steve

September 13th, 2010
4:00 pm

no way we’re getting Parise….

kracker

September 13th, 2010
4:02 pm

Besides, we already have a ‘Zach’ player.

Ooook, so let’s get that contract over to Sweden or wherever Nic and his agnet are so he can get to camp by Friday.

Red Light

September 13th, 2010
4:03 pm

Personally, just to watch Parise play from Oct. 8 to the trading deadline is worth Peverley, Bergfors and two mid-round draft picks, and if they want to toss in Arnott for a year, I’ll gladly watch him too.

Yes, I’m only partially serious, but he is a great player and Arnott has Cup pedigree (Cup winning goal against Dallas for Jersey)!

Smoothie

September 13th, 2010
4:08 pm

swede – thanks for the post! we appreciate the info we get from our friends from the Norse! keep it coming if they’re are any additional quotes from Nick or his agent. Sound like he will be very motivated at the very least. That is one good by-product of Duds’ strategy. If he is truly serious about icing a team of guys who bring it every night and bring it hard, then what better way to weed them out than to have an open competition with a bunch of hungry guys on 1-year contracts?

I do hope this strategy pays serious dividends, this year and beyond!

Toby

September 13th, 2010
4:38 pm

“Just don’t understand why we wouldn’t try to avoid ARB for a player that was supposedly the center-piece of the Kovy deal. Now watch him score 25 goals and get an award of $3.5 M / year when we should have locked him up for 2 years and $4.5 M TOTAL.”

So….You’re not happy because Bergie might pot 25 goals and get paid for it?! It’s still a contract year for the future RFA. Make him work for his $$$. If he gets us a lot of goals, then both sides win. This is a great signing.

Smoothie

September 13th, 2010
5:12 pm

Who said I’m not happy? I’d be even happier if Bergy was locked up two years? Is that so much ask? Instead, we get to go to ARB again! Have we signed anyone in the last 3 yrs for more than 1 year coming out of arbitration?

The only pro-active contracts we’ve done are Little, Enstrom and Peverley, but as a UFA, I don’t really count his. But I give credit to D-Wad for being proactive, for a change. Yeah I said it. Good job Don.

Smitty

September 13th, 2010
7:27 pm

They just threw the book at the Devils. $3 Mil fine. Loss of one 1st round pick over next 4 years and I think loss of a second or third round pick.

HookyBob

September 13th, 2010
7:41 pm

Bergie is heading into his sophomore year. Duds may be playing the odds. All the while he has a player incentivised to prove him wrong, earn a bigger contract next year, and is a good value asset for trading partners.

My hopes are that Bergie beats the slump year, proves Duds wrong, doesn’t get traded, and he signs for about Hornqvist did.

kracker

September 13th, 2010
7:59 pm

Yes, Smitty is right!!

tweet – TSNBobMcKenzie NHL release now out: $3M fine, the max, plus a first rder in one of next four years and 3rd rder in 2011.

Jack

September 13th, 2010
8:16 pm

So sorry to hear about the Devils, may have to go into counseling for depression. Where do I send the sympathy card. :)

Jethro

September 13th, 2010
8:33 pm

Them devils dun got whut they deeserved.

Hockey Biltong

September 13th, 2010
8:36 pm

Trixie! Behave yourself…..

kracker

September 13th, 2010
9:27 pm

I was wondering how NJ losing the 1st rounder was to be determined.

tweet – TSNBobMcKenzie The Devils must inform the NHL one day after the Stanley Cup final in the year they choose to surrender the first rounder.

Wait…the SC final is after the entry draft. So he means they give up the following year’s 1st rounder, I am guessing.

Brendan

September 14th, 2010
1:53 am

The Stanley Cup Finals, generally speaking, is concluded in the 1st or 2nd week of June. The Draft is usually around the 20th of June, in the 3rd week. I question why the league gives the Devils the “choice” of what year they want to sacrifice their 1st rounder. It should be right now, for the 2011 Draft, irrespective of the results of the 2010-11 season. If the Devils think they have a Cup-winning roster assembled, then the 30th overall pick is the best pick to sacrifice.

Brendan

September 14th, 2010
2:00 am

Rawhide, the posters comments, today, have been among the best I’ve ever read. This is the truly the evolution of your site. Gone, are the days of, “Let’s trade J.P. Vigier, Serge Aubin, Ronald Petrovicky, and our 1st and 2nd round picks to Pittsburgh for Sidney Crosby.” Just re-read all the comments today. (1) Knowlege of the CBA, (arbitration rights, Jan. 1 for re-signing players on a 1-year deal) (2) budget management (salary cap), (3) RFA vs. UFA strategies/budget, (4) trade scenarios that are intriguing. I tells ya, it’s been a veritable pleasure to read all these intelligent comments. I bet if/when Red Wing, Leaf, Canuck, Devils, Flyers fans come here, they’re, surprised, at the level of discussion taking place. You posters are making the site better. The bickering has been minimal. No name calling, today. All clear signs of advancement. No trolls. This is the way a good blog should be. Truly.

Brendan

September 14th, 2010
2:47 am

Joe Friday, right on the money, all day long. I like your trade scenario, Arnott and Parise for Peverley and Bergfors. I never allowed myself to contemplate Parise, just because he is so “untouchable” in terms of my thinking. I consider myself a fool to DREAM about Travis Zajac, much less Parise, in Thrasher blue. And Lou loves this guy. In his draft year, Lou moved up 4-5 spots to cough up some latter round picks to get him. I can’t imagine a scenario when Sweet Lou would trade him, before he hits his prime. Unless Parise wants to leave NJ, I think he’ll remain there for quite some time. Lou will find a way to keep Parise and Kovalchuk together. With the NHL cookin’ its books, saying they MADE MONEY in a bad economy, to GROW the cap?? Yeah, the budgets will keep getting bigger, ARTIFICALLY, and Lou will keep his players. New Jersey is essentially the New York City market. Therefore, the Commissioner’s office has a vested interest in its continued prosperity. Gotta have those “big markets” (NY/NJ, Detroit, Boston, Chicago, Montreal, Los Angeles) going DEEP into the playoffs, to get the TV-ratings. For Years, I tried to tell people what a big-time hockey market Chicago was, if the Commissioner would just step-in to fix it. Well, Wirtz died, and the philosophy about running that team changed. And voila! Stanley Cup within 3 years. Best TV-ratings in the Finals in how long??? I’m happy for the Blackhawks, truthfully. Forty-nine (49) years is a long time to wait, for an “original six” market.

I’d still do the Joe Friday-proposed deal if it were Arnott and Zajac for Bergfors and Peverley. I’m not thrilled to have a soon-to-be 36 year old Arnott, even if he is a good and well-accomplished player, because in my way of thinking … I just don’t want players past the age of 35 … because they become highly susceptible to injury, and slow down, in a league that emphasizes youth and speed. But if it brings 25-year old Zajac, under contract for 3 more seasons, it might well be worth it. I think Peverley did a 2-year deal, right? I really should research that before posting, but I’m too lazy right now. And Bergfors only committed to 1-year, at $900K. Great value, for Bergfors, I must say. This is close to his qualifying offer, which we discussed previously. But I’m with Smoothie in thinking that this is a $1.5 million player. I’m surprised Bergie came this cheaply! Unless there’s an unannounced deal pending, effectively making this a sign-n-trade, (Oh God! Here comes Brian, the troll!!!) then I am truly stunned by this value. Anywho, the player under contract for the longest period of time would be Zajac. Arnott and Bergie are 1-year dealies, though Bergfors would still be an RFA, and that’s important for NJ. Peverley was a waiver wire claim that “jumped” at a mid-season deal, that substantively underpaid him for the numbers he had. I think NJ would do well to acquire both players as salary relief. I mean, Bergfors and Peverley are decent. The trouble is coughing up Zajac. That hurts NJ. But, it is salary relief. Arnott makes $4.5 million and Zajac $3.5 million, next season. That’s $8 million, folks. Zajac will cost $4.5 million in 2012 and $4.8 million in 2013. Parise makes $5.0 million this year, and will be an RFA at season’s end. Would Parise even entertain the idea of re-upping with the Thrashers longterm? I’m unclear as to whether Parise would still be an RFA in 2013. This season will mark his 4th in the NHL. He is 25. I believe he can become unrestricted at age 27, which is two years from now. But I’ve not verified his exact birthday to know for sure. My guess is … he’s a UFA in 2013. My feeling is … neither Zajac nor Parise would sign their UFA years with Atlanta, unless Atlanta had “committed ownership” for pursuing the Cup.

Rhythmpenguin

September 14th, 2010
6:43 am

Great thoughts by all! What about other cap strapped teams besides NJ? Boston? Vancouver? Calgary? What would we want from them and what might they give up?

I would be very sad to see Pevs leave.

kracker

September 14th, 2010
7:48 am

Putting it all together: To get Kovalchuk, Salmela and a 2nd, NJ gives up Bergfors, Oduya, Cormier, 2-1sts, a 2nd, a 3rd, $3M in a fine and a $100M 15 year contract.

Not to mention all they lose in reputation as being a bit diminished as a 1st class organization, at least im my mind.

Wow! That’s one hefty price for a -75 player. However, I do expect that minus number to eventually change to a positive for Kovalchuk due to the strength of the Devils system. Kovy was a +9 w/ the Devils…and also a +1 (for the first time ever) w/ the Thrashers last season.

kracker

September 14th, 2010
7:56 am

help Trixie! (Unless the blogmaster is about to post a newr blog, then I will just post it there)

glovesave29

September 14th, 2010
8:40 am

” Edmonton in the fifth round (157th overall). Pettersson, 23, spent two years with the Oilers’ AHL affiliate Calgary Hitmen”

This is why I read here and not C-Viv. Bill, you just do a better job doing the research. The Calgary Hitmen are a Major Junior team. The Oilers farm team is currently the Oklahoma City Barons, and has recently been the Springfield Falcons and the Edmonton Roadrunners (moved there to fill the hockey needs during the lock out).

Nickpicking – maybe. But asking a reporter to get the facts right is not really asking that much.

glovesave29

September 14th, 2010
8:46 am

Interesting – Edmonton is not inviting Sheldon Souray to camp…

http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/story/?id=333711

Darkhorse

September 14th, 2010
8:59 am

I’m still of the thought another big deal to bring in a top 6, maybe top 3 forward is on Dudley’s wish list. While, as a Thrashers fan, I would love to see Parise, and do think we have the reasonable assets to give up for him, Lou won’t do it. Lucic, Iginla, Wheeler would all be great pipe dreams as well. Doubt any of those guys are availible, but it doesn’t hurt for Dudley to try. But here is the list of our top prospects from Hockeyfutures. Don’t you guys think there is enough talent and depth here that one of these prospects, plus a lower round pick or two, and an inexpensive roster player like Bergfors, Valabik, Pevs(don’t want to see him go either), or other can get you a top 3 forward?

Alexander Burmistrov, C
Carl Klingberg, LW
Patrice Cormier, C
Spencer Machacek, RW
Arturs Kulda, D
Eric O’Dell, C
Paul Postma, D
Angelo Esposito, C
Akim Aliu, RW
Daultan Leveille, C
Julian Melchiori, D
Ivan Telegin, C
Vinny Saponari, RW
Alex Kangas, G
Edward Pasquale, G
John Albert, C
Jordan Samuels-Thomas, LW
Fredrik Pettersson, LW
Zach Redmond, D
Danick Paquette, RW
Jimmy Bubnick, RW
Chris Carrozzi, G
Ben Chiarot, D
Yasin Cisse, RW
Michael Forney, LW
Riley Holzapfel, C
Levko Koper, LW
Andrew Kozek, RW
Tanner Lane, C
Nicklas Lasu, LW
Jesse Martin, C
Kendall McFaull, D
Will O’Neill, D
Sebastian Owuya, D
Fredrik Pettersson-Wentzel, G
Cody Sol, D
Peter Stoykewych, D
Andrei Zubarev, D

kracker

September 14th, 2010
9:20 am

I don’t know the details, glovesave, but apparently Souray was really badmouthing the Oil organization. They are done with him.

glovesave29

September 14th, 2010
9:27 am

Kracker – The Oilers are on the hook for $5M per year. Better figure something out as there will not be many interested in him at that price.

World Be Free

September 14th, 2010
10:01 am

Glovesave / on Souray-
Therein lies one of the differences between hockey and other sports. In other sports, when a player opens his big mouth (like Randy Moss or half the guys in the NBA) teams dismiss or tolerate the stupid comments. In hockey, say something stupid and you either get your brains beat in (at some point) or you are dispatched like Souray. I hope he rides the buses all season in the minors.

Smoothie

September 14th, 2010
10:05 am

RE: Souray, I guess they will waive him and hope that some desperate GM will pluck him off of re-entry waivers for 1/2 price? $2.5 M might be reasonable for some teams, but there aren’t very many big-spending teams left who aren’t up against the cap. Tough situation. Ha ha!

GaVaHokie

September 14th, 2010
10:16 am

Bergie’s deal falls in line with all the other recent RFA signings… you guys are the ones over-valuing him at $3 million a year. Theres a fine line between cheap and being a sucker. If I’m Dudley, I’m happy to take him to arbitration next year. Either he’s worth the award or he isn’t.

Smoothie

September 14th, 2010
10:31 am

Hokie, who’s advocating payingh him over $3 M per year? I haven’t seen anyone say he’s worth more than $2.25 – 2.5 M per at this point. The best comparable out there is Cogliano who got 2 yrs / $4 M with a $1.5 and $2.5 M spread. There you go, easy as pie.

Jethro

September 14th, 2010
10:37 am

Hokie, you been doin sum tokien?

rob

September 14th, 2010
10:50 am

OK, so we beat all this over and over and still no resolve. Vivs has brought up a good point, which falls right into the start of this blog.

Does anyone have a problem with the number of guys coming to camp and what it could mean to some of our higher up prospects? Do you think this pushes them that much harder, or maybe discourages them a bit, especially guys like Kulda who seemed assured of finally getting a serious shot after all the hard work in the minors. Duds himself said some of them are getting nervous over all the recent signings. Does this make them hold the stick a little too tight, trying to be perfect instead of allowing them to focus on their game? Or is it maybe good because of the guidance they may get from the vets?
I guess I could see both sides but I was a little more excited about finally seeing some of these guys get their shot, and now I wonder if that is smoke? Season hasn’t started yet but it is getting closer…

GaVaHokie

September 14th, 2010
11:07 am

Smoothie… $2 million, $2.5 million, whatever… I’m pretty sure I saw someone say $3. It’s hard to research from my couch with a baby on my lap with an iPhone.

If you go back to Rawhide’s “Looks like we made it” blog. That’s where Tilly suggested $2-2.5million, and I said that was way over. The price was probably between $800,000 and $1.2 mill, and that’s when you and several others called crazy. ;)

GaVaHokie

September 14th, 2010
11:20 am

Cogliano is not comparable because he’s played three full seasons, same with Mueller.

If Bergfors falls off his number
s the next two seasons, he’ll be signing $1 and $1.2 million deals just like those guys.

glovesave29

September 14th, 2010
11:31 am

WBF – Souray at $2.5M…not such a bad deal. He may get sent down if no one gets him on waivers, but he still gets to cash that big check every week as he has a one-way contract.

kracker

September 14th, 2010
11:35 am

Hokie, I seems to me that Berg is under a million because it is only a one year deal. For a 3-5 year deal (which isn’t warranted at this point, imo, two or maybe three was warranted) his asking figure would have been somewhat higher and escalating for the out years. Whatever it was was more than Dudley was willing to go.

I am fine with Bergy manning up and saying he will earn it in the upcoming season. He could have done a Peverley (who is married and had a new baby or one coming at the time) and signed a modest Peverley-sized two-year contract, which is probably about what Dudley offered. (That would have been my preference as well, from a team standpoint)

Bergfors is arb eligible next season so he is putting his next contract out there on the ice. Good. I expect him to have a big year, 30+ goals, maybe 35+.

Smoothie

September 14th, 2010
11:43 am

GVH – apologies as I was confusing Cogliano and Gagner, can’t ever keep those two straight. But it was actually Mueller who got the 2 years and $4 M. Even with a history of concussions Mueller got $4 M from COL, who also committed $5.75 M over 2 years to the 1-year wonder Chris Stewart. Yeah, he has 2 seasons under his belt, but the first was hardly what I would consider a break-out year.

My bigger point is that based on a) what the player has produced — his .26 goals per game is higher than Mueller, Cogliano and Gagner — for you b) what he means to your top 6 as a crucial piece in the Kovy deal and c) his perception as a top talent (see his All-Rookie Team selection), it does not seem like a stretch to commit $4 – $4.5 M over 2 years to player who projects to be a 25 goal scorer (at least) in your top 6. Where is the risk in paying him even $5 M for two years when you have time to assess your other young players before giving them big raises. Yeah, Bogo is up for renewal next year, but as a D-man with goal-scoring ability, they already know they’ll have to ante-up big to lock him up long-term.

And only Cogliano fits the description of a player who has failed to maintain his perception as a burgeoning young player with upside. Not to mention EDM has guys like Hall, MPS and Eberle who figure to be even better. No wonder they didn’t commit anymore to Cogliano. Looks like the writing is on the wall for him. But Stewart, Mueller and Gagner all got more than $2 M per year. Bergy should get at least $1.5 M / year and you can make a case for low $2’s. That’s all I was saying.

World Be Free

September 14th, 2010
12:12 pm

Glovesave-I don’t know on Souray.
Once a player becomes a malcontent in this league, his reputation follows him wherever he goes. The news of him being unhappy in Edmonton is not news, he had issues last season before he got hurt. Souray has an attitude, he makes alotta money and gets hurt more often these days. We have to remember he chose Edmonton as a UFA and took the money, as he will for the balance of his contract. As a player, he has a great shot from the point, but is a defensive liability in his own zone. 2.5M isn’t the kinda money a low budget team can afford to waste on a guy who may poison your locker room if he doesn’t get his own way. Dudley has no patience for veterans that need rookie tenderness.

I’d pass on Souray.

World Be Free

September 14th, 2010
12:17 pm

Help me Trixie-

Not sure how much I would have paid Bergfors, all I know is that I wanted to see a 3 year deal to show the players and fans there is a long term commitment. I think Bergie is going to have a great year, which will force us to PAY him at the end of the season. Makes sense to make the 3 year, good dollar commitment now. We’ll see where this goes.

And I would take Cogliano tomorrow

Alan R.

September 14th, 2010
12:32 pm

I think Bergie is going to have a great year, which will force us to PAY him at the end of the season.

And? I think that’s a GOOD THING™, for both player and team.

World Be Free

September 14th, 2010
12:46 pm

Alan R-I would rather be proactive now and not leave the dollar decision to an arbitrator later.

Tom Lysiak

September 14th, 2010
1:40 pm

WBF – not disagreeing with you at all. But, until Dudley proves me wrong, I have to believe he knows how the game is played. He knows the exact budget and how much room he has, including possible deals he wants to make. He may be loading up for the trade many have mentioned, or just be building the team he wants within his budget constraints. I do know this though, it is a tough job. Had he signed him for 3 yrs, $7 million and he tanks, he would be crucified for overpaying. So, it’s lose…either way he goes.

kracker

September 14th, 2010
1:44 pm

tweet – BenThrashers Freddy Modin will wear #19 with the Thrashers. Nigel Dawes is #15.

Smoothie

September 14th, 2010
1:48 pm

Well, Modin will enjoy the fact that I’m wearing his number at the games this year. Nevermind the fact it says ‘Reasoner’ on the back, but it shares 2 of the same letters! Hopefully Dawes can put some of the good luck back in that #15 sweater.

Alan R.

September 14th, 2010
3:11 pm

WBF – I’m not sure where the whole arbitrator thing comes in. Bergfors wanted long term with big money, and the organization and player couldn’t come to terms what Bergfors’ future value actually is. A nice solution here is to force the player to prove his worth. If he does, I imagine he will reap the rewards in the end.

I just think everyone is making a lot out of absolutely nothing at all.

World Be Free

September 14th, 2010
3:21 pm

Tom and Alan-nobody trusts Dudley more than me. You may have noticed I did not say much yesterday about the situation. I think Duds knows the score, I was more angling for the organizational commitment to building long term by locking up a good young player for more than 1 season.

I am cool with the fact that Bergfors is signed, hoping we can get a deal done before the player and team have to go to arbitration. First home preseason game is one week away!

Smoothie

September 14th, 2010
3:28 pm

It’s a blog, we’re just talkin’ shop Alan! C’mon man, you know that.

Yeah, it’s probably no big deal, but ideally you’d want to lock him up at least for two years. Commitment is a two-way street.

Unless you’re Tiger Woods.

kracker

September 14th, 2010
3:39 pm

This is just a blog? Not serious?? :>\

World Be Free

September 14th, 2010
3:53 pm

I just wanna drop the puck-anybody going to the game next Tueasday!?

kracker

September 14th, 2010
4:02 pm

I plan to be there.

Smoothie

September 14th, 2010
4:53 pm

So does Fredrik Pettersson! Here’s a new bloggity blog to whet your appetite until Bill puts up a new one tonite:

http://thrashingbirds.blogspot.com/2010/09/oh-jesus-what-was-that-just.html

goose

September 14th, 2010
6:50 pm

Yotes sign Belanger 1 year

Red Light

September 14th, 2010
6:52 pm

My question is what has Sheldon Souray ever done to warrant the money they paid him in the first place. He had two very productive offensive years but his career plus/minus trails Devilchuk by only 23.

TSN said the five-year deal Bobby Ryan just signed with the Ducks is worth $25.5 million and does include one year in which he could have become an unrestricted free agent. Equitable deal for both sides. Imagine!

Red Light

September 14th, 2010
6:58 pm

Ryan on signing the five-year deal instead of one for a shorter term…

“I understood after speaking with Bob Murray a few times why he did not want to do that. Getzlaf and Perry are up at that time. They would like me to hold down the fort in case one of those guys goes elsewhere. The biggest thing for me was trying to figure out where those guys were going to be moving in three years. After speaking with those guys, they are both committed to this team and organization. I felt a lot better doing a five-year deal.”

Eric Perrin will be in training camp with the Lightning on a tryout. Eric Belanger’s deal was for $750,000 for one year. Unreal!

Red Light

September 14th, 2010
7:02 pm

Also, Larry Brooks says Paul Mara will sign with Phoenix, too. Don Maloney is doing a nice job for a broke team.

goose

September 14th, 2010
7:02 pm

XLB invited to Ranger’s training camp

Rawhide

September 14th, 2010
7:04 pm

So does Fredrik Pettersson! Here’s a new bloggity blog to whet your appetite until Bill puts up a new one tonite:

Smoothie – Well, really I wasn’t planning on a posting a new blog tonight. I’m tired…work has been hell…and…

Oh, OK…what the heck. How about a word association game and some Cup talk with coach Craig Ramsay?