Thrashers ‘fire’ Ben Eager all the way to San Jose

The last time we saw Ben Eager play was on January 7th when he skated off the ice of Philips Arena after receiving a match penalty for sucker punching former Thrasher Colby Armstrong. 14 of his team-high 77 penalty minutes came during that forgetful game…and afterwards I made it clear I would not mind it if he never donned an Atlanta jersey again. If GM Rick Dudley traded him away for a fifth or sixth round pick, that suited me just fine. Many of you agreed.

Well… looks like we got our wish.

Ben Eager celebrates one of his 3 goals as an Atlanta Thrasher last November. On Tuesday he was thrown to the Sharks by general manager Rick Dudley AP Photo/Gregory Smith)

Ben Eager celebrates one of his 3 goals as an Atlanta Thrasher last November. On Tuesday he was thrown to the Sharks by general manager Rick Dudley AP Photo/Gregory Smith)

As I’m sure you’ve heard, once he served his four-game suspension for that incident, the Atlanta Thrashers traded away Eager to the San Jose Sharks Tuesday. The move really came as little surprise given the amount of time he had already spent in coach Ramsay’s doghouse this season. In exchange for the 23rd overall pick by the Phoenix Coyotes in the 2002 draft, the Thrashers will get to use the Sharks fifth pick in this summer’s draft.

To place that return in some perspective, let’s try to see exactly what such a pick might procure for Rick Dudley down the road, shall we.

As of the time the deal went down between the Sharks and Thrashers, San Jose was 21st in the NHL standings with a .543 points winning percentage. If they were to wind up at that spot in the standing after the season ends, that would mean they would own the 10th pick in each round. So, here’s a list of players taken at that spot in the fifth round over the past five drafts.

2006: The Minnesota Wild took goalie Bryan Pitton with the tenth selection in round number five that year.

2007: Defenseman John Lee was selected by the Florida Panthers.

2008: The Vancouver Canucks took center Prab Rai.

2009: Forward Matt Kennedy heard his name called by the Carolina Hurricanes.

2010: Last summer, the New York Rangers picked up Jason Wilson.

Now, I’m in no way shape, matter or form trying to degrade or insult any of the above mentioned players…certainly they are talented and promising enough to be drafted by an NHL team and that’s an accomplishment in and of itself. Plus, there really is no way in predicting just where that pick will eventually land. But to see the Thrashers basically give Ben Eager away to another NHL team in exchange for a prospect that will be chosen with the 130th or so pick in five months pretty much says all that needs to be said about what the Thrashers organization felt about Eager’s time with us.

Ben Eager...You're FIRED!

Ben Eager...You're FIRED!

If there is a way to “fire” a player in the middle of a season…then basically Dudley just “Donald Trumped” Ben Eager’s butt all the way to the San Francisco Bay area.

Truth be told, I’m just fine with that. If Eager was not going to be a part of the whole collective effort to help push this team to the postseason, then it’s best to go ahead and get him out of the way as soon as possible. Better to get a 5th rounder for him now then let him clog up a roster spot while waiting for something only slightly better. After all, that’s a roster spot someone else…at this point and time, Spencer Machacek…could be filling.

And if Eager…after being ‘fired’ all the way to San Jose…finds himself in a better place for his own personal and future growth, then that’s fine too.

115 comments Add your comment

ATLREP

January 18th, 2011
4:12 pm

ATLREP

January 18th, 2011
4:14 pm

wow! That was the first time I ever tried to be first and I was!!

I always liked Eager, I thought he was a hard working player and I kinda wished he would’ve stayed.

Also, I would have rather traded him for something that can help us now, rather than a future player.

R. Stroz

January 18th, 2011
4:17 pm

I wonder how well Heatley and Eager will get along.

Chris S

January 18th, 2011
4:18 pm

@ATLREP,
Remember, Dudley’s trades most often have another move depending on them. Don’t be surprised if come March or the draft we don’t still have this pick.

R. Stroztradamus

January 18th, 2011
4:20 pm

I predict Eager will NOT get a hat trick for the Thrashers this season.

Darren

January 18th, 2011
4:24 pm

Prab Rai’s got to be a pseudonym. Or an anagram. Or a witness protection idea.

Darren

January 18th, 2011
4:27 pm

In all seriousness, he did seem to get off to a decent start, but costing Atlanta a game in the standings amid rumors of creating unrest in the locker room is certainly more than enough reason to give him the boot.

Oh, and Prab Rai can be arranged to spell Bra Pair. I’m pretty sure that’s what his dad meant, anyway.

Cornbread

January 18th, 2011
4:30 pm

Not surpised by the firing either. I’m also not surprised or “shocked” about last night’s win. Some who don’t know much about the game are about both.

Lee

January 18th, 2011
4:30 pm

It needed to be done and it happened. He certainly wasn’t our best player but I pay him much respect for his service here. As for the 5th pick, eh, I don’t think it will be much now, but in 4 or 5 years once the prospect has developed, he could be useful….

Good luck Eager. GO THRASHERS

Brandon

January 18th, 2011
4:32 pm

Excellent move by Doug Wilson

Rawhide

January 18th, 2011
4:32 pm

Oh, and Prab Rai can be arranged to spell Bra Pair. I’m pretty sure that’s what his dad meant, anyway.

Darren – LOL! :lol: Only someone on this blog could come up with that. Very well played indeed!

Emily

January 18th, 2011
4:33 pm

Wow lets ease up a little on Eager. i honestly love him! I love that he is aggressive yet a good skater and he is an aggressor that can find the back of the net. I miss hom being with a team i actually enjoy watching. Go Ben Eager! :)

Red Light

January 18th, 2011
4:36 pm

The Thrashers have had a total of three 5th-round draft picks appear in an NHL game for the team, Colin Stuart, Derek MacKenzie and Brett Sterling. From 1997-2007, all NHL teams have had a total of 96 players appear in an NHL game, the most notable of which are listed below.

2007 4 Jamie Benn
2006 4 Olivier Magnan
2005 11 Darren Helm
2004 10 Kris Versteeg
2003 10 Lee Stempniak
2002 7 James Wisniewski
2001 11 Kevin Bieksa
2000 12 John Michael Liles
1999 7 Ryan Miller
1998 13 Jaroslav Spacek
1997 7 Jason Chimera

Fan from Carolina

January 18th, 2011
4:40 pm

Totally off topic but someone please steer me in the direction of safe, not horribly expensive parking for the game Thursday night (and approximately where it is in relation to Philips Arena. Thank you for any assistance.

Lee

January 18th, 2011
4:40 pm

Wow never knew some of those players like Versteeg, Stempnniak, and Miller were all 5th round picks…Who knows? We could pick up a great player from the 5th round this year.

It’s the NHL, anything can happen.

Hoof Arted

January 18th, 2011
4:44 pm

Can’t say I’m unhappy about Dudley saying bye-bye to Ben. Better to get rid of a malcontent sooner rather than later. I hope it works out for him in San Jose, he could be a hell of a player of properly motivated.

Laura

January 18th, 2011
4:52 pm

Fan from Carolina – park in one of the lots or garages off Spring Street. Close to the game $5-$10 depending on the lot. There is a lot and a garage at Spring & Walton that are $5
http://maps.google.com/maps?ie=UTF8&q=philips+arena&fb=1&gl=us&hq=philips+arena&hnear=Atlanta,+GA&cid=0,0,14919096780273986234&ll=33.756886,-84.391791&spn=0.005584,0.008272&z=17

Fan from Carolina

January 18th, 2011
5:00 pm

Wow Laura!! Thank you so much. I can’t believe you took the time to give me a nice link as well. I have it printed out. Deeply appreciated!

World Be Free

January 18th, 2011
5:19 pm

Carolina-I normally park in the Red Intl deck across from the Georgia Dome. It’s an 8 level dock buried in the ground, easy to get in and outta town, like Ben Eager. Cost is 10 bucks.

Sometimes you just have to move on and that’s what Ben just did.
Ironic that his last act as a player in ATL was to slam Colby CheeseHead into the boards. This is a small move, hope a much bigger one is in store for the Thrashers.

Red Light

January 18th, 2011
5:37 pm

Fan from Carolina

I have an extra parking pass in the CNN Parking Deck, across from the Arena, and am glad to provide it to you if…we can figure out a meeting place prior to the game. If you know when you plan to arrive, I’ll come up with a spot we can meet. Totally your call. Advise here and then I’ll provide you an e-mail address.

Tom

January 18th, 2011
5:54 pm

Here is my off ice wish for the Thrashers this season:

We out draw the New Jersey (The More Professional Franchise) Devils

Right now we are averaging 12,848 fans per game but rising quickly.

The Devils are at 14,204 and dropping like a rock.

This would make me feel much better about everything.

Fan from Carolina

January 18th, 2011
6:27 pm

Thanks again guys! Red Light, your offer is extremely generous but sometimes meeting can be tough and I don’t want to keep you from anything in case we are late for whatever reason. No one else needs to respond as Laura, World Be Free have offered plenty of options. Sorry Rawhide for taking up your column after writing a nice update on Eager.

Lee

January 18th, 2011
6:37 pm

Hopefully the boys will rest up for the Tampa game. The Bolts are red hot right now and consitantly seem to find away around us and I think because they’ve beaten us so much they’ve kinda found the style that we’ve played. I’m pretty sure Rammer will change things up and I think Thursday’s game will be an interesting one….

Shark Fan

January 18th, 2011
7:40 pm

Thank you Nashville. Sharks need bad bad. They have lacked passion all year.
Hopefully, the Sharks will end the season more like 8th in the league standings, not 21st.
btw, on 2 game win streak since.

Rawhide

January 18th, 2011
8:53 pm

Fan from Carolina – Think nothing of it. I’ve been the go-between for e-mail swaps here many times for such things. One thing that’s great about this blog is that there is always someone willing to help out.

Thank you Red Light and Laura for doing just that for a fellow fan/blogger.

littlemsmonk

January 18th, 2011
9:01 pm

Rawhide,
Now that Eager is gone, you can tell us what REALLY was going on in that locker room! I had posted on another page that I had thought for some time that Eager’s problems were personal and they were effecting his on-ice play. Girlfriend issues, maybe? I do know that he got into some sort of altercation back in Ottawa over the Christmas break. He was thrown out of a bar there. It’s sad because this is the same guy who scored the game winning goal in game two of the Stanley Cup finals. Something is going on with this guy and I really hope he gets his s**t together. Too bad he become so toxic in the clubhouse.

Rawhide

January 18th, 2011
9:08 pm

littlemsmonk – I cannot respond to your comments about Eager’s girlfriend and what impact the relationship may/may not have played in his attitude as I wouldn’t know one way or the other about that. Even if I did I wouldn’t discuss it here.

What I have heard about Eager is that he was not liked at all by more than a few in the locker room. His on-ice effort laked at times and he was called out for it on multiple occasions. I’ve heard that from more than one person close to the organization.

Hopefully this can be one of those co-beneficial trades where the Thrashers gain by way of subtraction and Eager gets a fresh start with his career.

Badger Bob

January 18th, 2011
9:10 pm

So RL, that means there’s about a 4% chance of us really liking who we get in the 5th round…

Now didn’t Dudley have to give the Sharks a 7th rounder just to help us get under the contract limit on the trade that brought us Eager? So in some ways, all we got for Eager was an upgrade from a 7th round pick to a 5th round pick. In hindsight, I’m sure Atlanta and Chicago would have been happy to leave Reasoner and Eager out of the trade (since Reasoner > 5th round pick and Eager > Taffe).

World Be Free

January 18th, 2011
9:22 pm

Billy Jaffe giving the Canadians alotta love on Versus tonight.

CatThrashFever

January 18th, 2011
9:23 pm

Well, at least he’s in the West now…Do we even play the Sharks again this year? no… I actually thought he was nice to fans…at least he was at Fan Faceoff…but if he’s not happy here and cost us games! Goodbye and Good Luck!

littlemsmonk

January 18th, 2011
9:29 pm

Rawhide,
Fair enough. I actually wasn’t expecting you to be “gossipy”. I will say that at times watching Eager play was….painful. He obviously didn’t want to be playing for the Thrashers. I suppose that it’s one thing to make mistakes and then LEARN from them. Eager appeared to be making the same mistakes time and time again. My feeling was that he had been “talked” to time and time again, and it was falling on deaf ears and that was the reason he was riding the pine so much. If someone’s attitude is that poor, they need to go.

Rawhide

January 18th, 2011
9:31 pm

CatThrashFever – We are done with San Jose for the season. The game last October out there was the one and only meeting between the two.

bTW…I like the username you’ve chosen.

CatThrashFever

January 18th, 2011
9:42 pm

Rawhide: Thanks on my username! And as I recall we did VERY well in our western sweep this year! We only lost to Canucks…? And most of the games were the home teams season home opener!!! tough! :)

Hokie P. Clisters

January 18th, 2011
10:03 pm

Mr. Rawhides, I too have been eager…….well let me start that over. I too have been anxiously ready for the Thrashers to part ways with Ben Eager. I think Ben’s a good player but he’s had trouble adapting to Rammer’s teaching. Now let’s get some fire in our bellies for the playoff push!! It’s amazing that the Thrashers are still hanging around with all the young players we have.

Hopefully Bogo will come to life sometime soon. I think Buff’s big season has Bogo thinking too much – he needs to play to his strengths (body checks, blocked shots) and quit thinking about what might have been. There’s no reason for his rapid decline after initial so much success his rookie year. He’s got to fight through it or its going to get worse before it gets better. Some players who are talented start getting the wrong attitude when things don’t go as planned…See Ben Eager.

Hokie P. Clisters

January 18th, 2011
10:16 pm

Oh now I see where Bogo is practicing at forward. Rammer is pushing the buttons. Good to see that the coach has not given up on him. Maybe this can be a fire in Bogo’s belly! I was thinking the same thing about putting Bogo at forward. See if he can clog up the offensive end….cause he’s sure not clogging it up on the defensive end. Would it not be crazy if Bogo takes off at forward like Buff did as a defenseman?

Brendan

January 18th, 2011
10:22 pm

I doubt anyone really wants to hear this, but that 5th rounder could become a nice fixture in the ECHL for the Gwinnett Gladiators. What? That’s possible.

As “iamtheratio” said on the Vivlamore blog, “at least it’s better that ‘future considerations.’” Well said.

R.Stroz, I have forgotten the relationship between Eager and Heatley? Did they have an incident? Or did you just mean … that they’ll have fun high-fiving each other that they both successfully got out of Atlanta, while the Thrashers held their rights?

Rawhide, I suspected Eager wasn’t well liked. I had no proof, of course. My basis for saying so were comments when he arrived here “It is what it is,” and the contract difficulty during the offseason. It was clear that Eager didn’t want to ‘go long’ with the Thrashers. I figured he’d be moved at the trade deadline. But trading him now … is okay, too. Is Eager worth more than a 5th rounder? Would he be worth more in six weeks, at the deadline??

I don’t know. He’s on the NHL’s radar as a multiple offender. He hasn’t played well enough to impress (m)any people this season. But, he does have a Stanley Cup on his resume. GM’s usually attach ’some value’ to that. I wish him well in San Jose. He’s on a team that, in preseason, hockey pundits picked as a Cup contender. The Sharks met Eager’s Blackhawks in the CF last year. Ya never know what the future holds. I’m sure Eager didn’t think he’d be a Thrasher, in the Eastern Conference, then get traded to the Sharks, where he might end up facing the Blackhawks in the playoffs, again, on the other side.

R. Stroz

January 18th, 2011
10:32 pm

Brendan – I’m just looking forward to two malcontents expressing themselves on each other’s face in the locker room.

Greg

January 18th, 2011
10:41 pm

Altlanta should just give this schenanigan and move their franchise to canada

Brendan

January 18th, 2011
10:46 pm

R.Stroz, ya never know. Heatley and Eager may wind up drinking buddies! Better hope Eager drives. And that comment is cheerfully withdrawn.

CatThrashFever

January 18th, 2011
10:58 pm

OMG Brendan! oh no you di-n’t….

World Be Free

January 18th, 2011
11:22 pm

Brendan! Not expected.
Maybe time on the wing will do Bogo good-or maybe it will screw him up further!
Greg-troll

Smoothie

January 18th, 2011
11:35 pm

R/L – are you still rolling your eyes at me for suggesting last spring that we should try Bogey at forward?
Not that he’ll probably stay there but compared to Enstrom, Oduya, Sopel and Hainsey, he has the skill-set of a power forward IMO. At least that way he can finish his checks with a head of steam, unleash punishment on the forecheck and let ‘er rip with that bomb of his from the top of the circle rather than just inside the blueline. The less he has to think the better right now.

Tom

January 18th, 2011
11:49 pm

Brendan = I will spring for the cab… I don’t dislike Eager that much.

Wayne stuck in AL

January 18th, 2011
11:54 pm

From Greg: “Altlanta should just give this schenanigan and move their franchise to canada”

Dear Greg:
First, learn how to spell.
Second, learn how to make a decent sentence in English.
Third, if you’re Canadian, you’re what I call a Ca-neck. A Caneck is a Canadian internet troll searching hockey blogs demanding all Southeastern Division teams pack up and move above the 49th Parallel while perpetuating stereotypes about the South.

Hockey Biltong

January 18th, 2011
11:56 pm

Greg-spell check. Capitalize countries.

Runner

January 19th, 2011
12:20 am

Littlemsmonk – I can tell you that his girlfriend issues did not affect his play in Thrasherville, because there are no real “issues” at hand on his part. Easy come, easy go. That’s Benny’s style of play in both arenas. Based on your comments, I think you know that. I think we may have mutual friends.

ZAvalanche

January 19th, 2011
12:22 am

CTF – you lost to the Avs too. And BTW, the Avs beat the top team in the league tonight! Anyhow, I like the trade and thanks for the research RL, very insightful.

Rawhide

January 19th, 2011
12:39 am

Yes Greg, you’re really going to have to step it up a notch or five. We pride ourselves in attracting only the finest in aluminum-hat wearing “Make it Seven-ers” around these parts. You are simply going to have to do better, my friend.

Along with what others have said above, you have totally failed to bring in NASCAR to your trolling sessions. I mean, if you realllllllllly want to qualify yourself as even just another average, run-of the-mill Canatroll, you simply must accuse us all of only loving only NASCAR. This is, if I’m not mistaken, covered in chapter one of the Official Canadian Blog Trolling Handbook, both in the English copy and French. If you’d like, I can see that a copy is sent out to you.

Once you’ve gotten comfortable with that, then you can advance on to the usual tried and true “you all marry your cousins” comments and “banjo” references.

All this, of course, can be interlaced with such drival as “we ‘deserve’ an NHL franchise more than you do”, “You’ve already lost one NHL team” and the ever-so-popular… if not quite-overused… “Atlanta is not a hockey market”.

Once you’ve mastered those canned talking-points lines which are faxed out to all members of the Canatroll Union members, you could even advance to a level where you good enough to come up with your own original material. Now that would truly set you apart.

Of course, we haven’t really known of any such troll actually making it to that level. But I’m sure if you apply yourself, you could maybe be the first to do so.

See, it is much more enjoyable for us to read the comments of a troll if he/she is actually able to bring something of substance to the table. If you can do that, Greg, we might actually pay more attention to you. Then, once we’ve partaken of that which you’ve taken such care and time to present, we can all get a jolly good laugh at your expense in between discussing something we like to call…”OUR NHL franchise”. True, it hasn’t been a pretty one to follow over the years. But hey…at least we have one.

So work on your trolling skills, Gregory, and next time be prepared to bring your A game…or even just a B game would be an improvement. We are all rooting for you, we are sure you can do it and we just know you’ll make us all proud.

littlemsmonk

January 19th, 2011
12:42 am

Runner, would you happen to be talking about my comments on another page regarding Benny? The stories we could share! I would never post anything here, but, if you had an e-mail……..;)

littlemsmonk

January 19th, 2011
1:04 am

Brendan,
You naughty little kitten! “Better hope Eager drives”! You are so bad. I was thinking the same exact thing! Evil minds think alike. ;)