Dudley doesn’t need to wait for June to use his first round pick

According to the latest weather report, it seems likely that the metro Atlanta area is looking at yet another round of frozen precipitation overnight. What this means of course is that on their way home tonight, the masses will flock to grocery stores and strip the shelves bare of milk and bread. That, plus tomorrow morning local insurance agents busy fielding claims from their clients who went slipping and sliding all over the roads…much like what we’ve seen during previous snow/ice events this winter.

But motorists in and around Atlanta have not been the only ones experiencing slippery conditions this winter. Indeed our Thrashers have been in the process of slip-sliding away from their winning ways of last fall. As of this morning, they we find they have wound up in the ditch with six other teams who currently do not hold a playoff position in the Eastern Conference.

Given the Carolina Hurricanes overtime loss in New Jersey, they now lead the Thrashers by one point and have two more games left on the schedule than have Atlanta. The rattling sound coming from behind is coming from the Buffalo Sabres who, thanks to their 7-4 win over Tampa Bay, are now three points south of us with four games in hand. Also, the Florida Panther remain within scratching distance…just six points behind the Thrashers having played three fewer games.

All this simply adds to the pucker factor that comes along with Atlanta’s current 5-11-5 slide, one that has seen them win only two…count them, one-two… games in regulation since December 20 of last year.

What it also underscores is the fact that Rick Dudley must do something…and quick…if his team is to regain it’s traction necessary to get out of the ditch and again motor down the road towards the playoffs.

Should the Thrashers use their first round draft pick to trade for needed help?

  • YES! If it helps get a proven commidity, do it! (72%, 133 Votes)
  • NO! The first round pick is more important than making the playoffs now! (28%, 53 Votes)

Total Voters: 186

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I past years, anytime the subject of trade deadline deals is breached in these parts, there are many in Thrasherville who quickly pipe up to insist that the organization should not “trade away the future” buy including certain prospects or the first round pick in the upcoming summer’s draft. While that’s made a great deal of sense in the past, I don’t necessarily hold fast to that rule now. As such, if a deal were to be had that could bring in much-needed help for the Thrashers…a top-six winger and/or help on the blueline…and in the package heading the other was is included our first round pick in June, I would have absolutely no problem with Dudley & Co pulling the trigger on it.

I my view, the Thrashers as an organization simply have to make the playoffs this season…or at least put forward every effort to do so. Eleven seasons coming and going with but one foray into the postseason and no wins to show for it will makes for quite a cranky fan base. And while most level-headed types out there understand that making moves are no guarantee of success in and of themselves, it’s clear that doing nothing at this time will almost certainly guarantee failure…again.

I know…I know…some of you are afraid that we might spend too much of our future currency for what amounts for a spring rental or that we’ll get “Zhitnik-ed” again. This is obviously understandable given this franchise is still walking with a limp from what happened to us around this time in 2007. But Rick Dudley is not Don Waddell and, as such, I have tried to put aside the fears of being burned once again by way of the GM pushing the panic button. However, I will note that any such trade package that involving our first-round draft pick should preferably be used to procure a player(s) who are signed at least through next season…or at the very least, one who will be an RFA this summer.

Regardless, standing pat prior to the trade deadline will simply not do…unless one is actually of the belief that the likes of Tim Stapleton, Fredrik Modin are the answer here. Given Zach Bogosian’s play for the better part of this year, one might easily add his name to that list as well.

What doing nothing of real consequence over the next two and a half weeks will also ensure is that Philips Arena will continue to look more and more like what the bread and milk aisles at Publix does just prior to the snow falling… empty and barren.

Of course, the same could be said of the words spoken by Bruce Levenson during previous town hall meetings in regards where the franchise finds itself and his appreciation of the paying customer’ concerns …but I digress.

In short, while first round draft picks are nice to have…especially when they come so early on…this time around the GM needs to be more concerned about not “trading away the present in light of the future” than the other way around. This Thrashers organ-I-zation has used up its grace period with their fans and their collective patience has met it’s end waiting for a future that seemingly never materializes. It’s time for those in charge to give them a new sense of hope. And I’m not talking hope for the “future”… but hope for the “now”.

If you want to think of it this way, by trading the first-rounder for a proven commodity, and it helps propel this team into the playoffs, then that’s a good way of using that pick without having to wait until this summer to do so. But doing nothing and possibly finishing south of the playoff line for the fourth year in a row and tenth time in eleven seasons… well, all that will get you is this…

pointing to the empty milk and bread aisle after it’s been emptied by the pre-snow panic

And that’s the way Philips Arena will look…snow or no snow…for a very long time.

By: Bill Tiller – AJC.com Thrashers Fan Blog

200 comments Add your comment

Hoof Arted

February 9th, 2011
12:59 pm

FIRST! And oh yeah BTW, who started this little “first” thing around here?

GaVaHokie

February 9th, 2011
1:04 pm

Beauchemin to ANA for Lupul, Gardiner and a draft pick.

GaVaHokie

February 9th, 2011
1:05 pm

… wonder if we can see anything close to that for Sopel to Chicago?

Chris S

February 9th, 2011
1:06 pm

Brilliantly said.

Best Team Evah?

February 9th, 2011
1:09 pm

Didn’t you say, back in December on this blog, that this was the best Thrashers team we’ve had in ATL?

You should never blog when the team is too high or too low. It leads to embarrassment. Wait a few weeks.

ZAvalanche

February 9th, 2011
1:09 pm

It always (almost, i.e. Vancouver) to do something rather than nothing at all. This team is in that position. Somebody needs to be moved for some top talent and it needs to happen PDQ. Shake the place up and rattle some heads.

Nice segues and analogies Bill, well written.

Oh and BTW Thrashy, minus -15 with icy roads and a foot of snow in Denver for the morning commute and it is business as usual so don’t complain :)

Rawhide

February 9th, 2011
1:09 pm

So I see that Pittsburgh’s Matt Cooke actually got suspended for 4 games as a result of his game misconduct boarding call. Color me impressed.

But I think what happened was he was offered a choice between 4 games or 4 rounds with Evander Kane. I’d say he chose wisely.

Hoof Arted – The “first” thingy is a holdover from my very first blog posted back in October 2007. When it was announced that yours truly was placed in charge of this little online hockey forum, there was a contest of sorts as to who would be the first ever to post a comment.

For the record, it was Buzilla Baby Blues…now known as Buzilla in CT…I believe. I think I still owe him a beer for that, too.

Hip Czech

February 9th, 2011
1:10 pm

This team currently has:

2 18 year olds (Burmistrov, Cormier)
1 19 year old (Kane)
1 20 year old (Bogosian)

and other youngsters (Pavelec, Little, now Kulda) logging heavy minutes. Not that this is an excuse, but why would we expect this team to be significantly better than say, Edmonton?

I don’t really want to see a trade for trade’s sake involving any current roster player. ESPECIALLY not Enstrom (as some rumors have had it)….with the possible exception of a Bogosian for a Penner or Hemsky type deal.

I say instead acknowledge the youth movement and dump the baggage (Modin). Trading picks I don’t necessarily have a problem with, the cupboard is fairly well stocked at this point. If you package some picks, Modin, and Bogosian see what you can get.

Has Brayden Coburn really turned into a top shelf D-man except for the nice playoff run he had a few years back?

Sage of Bluesland

February 9th, 2011
1:10 pm

I’m generally against it, as it’s too much like ‘robbing Peter to pay Paul’.

I’ve seen it happen so many times in the NFL draft, where that pick turns out to be very high in the round, thus losing out on a consensus star (i.e. Falcons take Ravens’ 2nd rounder in 1999 to draft Reggie Kelly for their 1st in 2000…which turns out to be the 5th pick in the round, leading to Jamal Lewis…Kelly for Lewis?)

Nope, I’m generally against it. I hear what you’re saying–it ‘can’ bring a proven commodity as opposed to a crapshoot. True.

I’m curious what the relative market value of our 1st round pick is this year?

If we were ‘only’ a player away from the top, then that’s one thing (and if we were any good, it would be a ‘late’ 1st round pick, thus eroded of real value to begin with)….We are NOT one player away from being respectable!

We’ve lost just as easily with the vaunted Buff and any of the other Blackhawks our current GM has brought on board…It would take a player of the magnitude of The Great One to make a significant impact on the ice…and we’re not getting anything close to that in return for our 1st rounder this year…

ZAvalanche

February 9th, 2011
1:11 pm

insert “better after always. Having grammar problems today.

Rawhide

February 9th, 2011
1:13 pm

Best Team Evah? – I beleive what I did was ask the question IF this was the best team ever. It was chok-ful-o disclaimers and suggested that it had the “potential” to be so.

Russian

February 9th, 2011
1:14 pm

Dudley has to use 1-st round puck. if we get good player, we can be in PO and we will be somewhere around 16-20 pick. It is not much talent left. I vote to use first round.

World Be Free

February 9th, 2011
1:18 pm

Sage – your comparison of Scotty Bowman to Bill Belichick in the context noted is as right on as you can get. And I agree, not sure anybody could be successful udner the current circumstances. Started from day one with a very week 1999 draft, aside from the Sedins. Pavel Brendl was a 4th pick in the draft, I saw him playing in the Swedish Leagues when I was in Norway 3 years ago. Tim Connolly has been Ok at best. The negatives just snowballed from there.

I posted the other day that I believe we should be sellers for the balance fo the season. Hip Czech is correct, we have a bunch of young players. Time to school these guys into how to play in the NHL instead of expecting too much from inexperiences youngsters. I like Burmie, but he would have been just as well of with another year in juniors instead of struggling here-his magic has subsided.

So who is going to teach these guys to play in the NHL?
Shoud we call it “The Thrasher Way”?

Best Team Evah?

February 9th, 2011
1:20 pm

Living up to what the genius Spirit marketers came up with, this team is brutally bad.

j nes

February 9th, 2011
1:21 pm

Russian makes a good point. I have not heard that this is an extremely deep draft anyway. We will not be missing out on the next Stamkos even if we hold on to the pick and continue to slide to a higher draft slot.

JB

February 9th, 2011
1:21 pm

im not against using it necessarily but im curious who y’all would let it go for limiting answers to players potentially available. (e.g., not crosby, ovechkin, etc.)

ZAvalanche

February 9th, 2011
1:25 pm

@Best Team Evuh – your critical comparison skills are lacking. How many time have they made the playoffs? Thats right, 1. So WERE this team to make it it indeed would be one of the “best teams evuh” depending on the seeding.

Atladave

February 9th, 2011
1:27 pm

Hip Czech@ Trading picks I don’t necessarily have a problem with, the cupboard is fairly well stocked at this point.

According to Hockey Futures, the Thrashers are ranked 25th out of 30 teams for prospects. I don’t call that a “well stocked cupboard”.

The problem is that until the Thrashers learn how to develop players, Thrasher high round draft picture are going to be a bust or under perform to their true potential. Even the Maple Laughts don’t rush prospects into the NHL.

Hip Czech

February 9th, 2011
1:29 pm

Atladave, OK, I’ve been sipping too much of the Kool-ade :-)

Hip Czech

February 9th, 2011
1:32 pm

But, if you put Burmie and Cormier in the minors where does that put us?

Thrashers

February 9th, 2011
1:36 pm

Will the real sage please stand up!!!

Get The Puck Out

February 9th, 2011
1:41 pm

Looks like some rumor people believe we’ll be dealing with the Oilers. If we do i’m scared what we give up to pull it off. Gotta have D.

da' boomer

February 9th, 2011
1:42 pm

Zoomo

February 9th, 2011
1:44 pm

>>This Thrashers organ-I-zation has used up its grace period with their >>fans and their collective patience has met it’s end waiting for a >>future that seemingly never materialize
Amen, Brother Rawhide. You can only get kicked in the teeth by the same bully so many times before you change your path. My fandom is waning.

Rawhide

February 9th, 2011
1:48 pm

According to Hockey Futures, the Thrashers are ranked 25th out of 30 teams for prospects. I don’t call that a “well stocked cupboard”.

Atladave – Well played, sir. And to think that’s the case after being “blessed” with all top-ten draft picks year in and year out. :roll:

kracker

February 9th, 2011
1:54 pm

I voted to trade the #1 but as always, it is with a healthy dose of I.D.W.T. Unfortunately, every game we lose makes it harder and harder for Duds to leverage that [1st rounder + someone] into a player that will help us now. Look at it this way: The team trading for our #1 isn’t going to want to help our team devalue his just-acquired 1st round pick by trading back to Atl the caliber of player that we need. Good luck, Dudley.

Larry E

February 9th, 2011
1:56 pm

It is not going to make any difference at this point who you trade for. Unless the current players develop some pride and play like they did in the fall. The so-called owners are not going to spend the kind of money it takes to bring in top talent. So deal with what we have and hope we still have a team. The truth hurts.

GaVaHokie

February 9th, 2011
1:59 pm

I think we were rated much higher for Prospects when we still had Morin and Vishnevskiy… But I’m all for trading guys that will never see a Thrasher jersey, like O’Dell, Leveille, and Holzapfel.

GaVaHokie

February 9th, 2011
1:59 pm

… I meant to further that comment by saying, I’d like to keep our 1st Round Pick.

GaVaHokie

February 9th, 2011
2:01 pm

Dudley, I believe, is at the Blues vs. Panthers game tonight… let’s speculate… I’ll say Brad Boyes.

Joe Friday

February 9th, 2011
2:02 pm

Nah, foolhardy to trade the #1 now, UNLESS the return is a young player who has RFA years left, and who’s going to move one of those? Or, UNLESS the return is a solid veteran (either , top 2 dman, top line RW or top line center) who is signed for at least two seasons past this year.

The best move is to let this play out this year, this fanbase can’t be beaten down anymore, the hardest of the dies are the only ones left going to weekday games anyway, they’ll be back. Ramsay isn’t going to get this club in the playoffs and Dudley’s best move is to keep that pick and then trade it at the draft to some cap strapped team for a player like I described above.

Aren’t we already missing our 2nd round draft pick? It’s not like we have solid prospects, we already traded Morin to the ‘Hawks, can’t pass by a whole draft here.

Alan R.

February 9th, 2011
2:13 pm

Thrashers might be ranked low for prospects, but it has nothing to do with the prospects themselves. Nor does it have to do with the number of quality prospects.

We don’t own Chicago. We don’t even have any connections there. We can’t get our guys ice time there. It’s all Krog and Haydar.

Proposal: Move all our prospects to Gwinnett for 2011-2012. If the Wolves want to play Krog and Haydar for 24 minutes a game, while giving our guys five and six minutes, that’s fine. They can do it without our guys. Gwinnett will go undefeated, and at the same time, we’ll make Chicago feel pain.

If at first you don’t succeed, break a few knee caps.

Alan R.

February 9th, 2011
2:15 pm

Hokie – Is that really you, or is Eklund using your name?

Let’s not speculate :P

Hoof Arted

February 9th, 2011
2:15 pm

I’d rather part ways with the first rounder than an Arturs Kulda or Spencer Machacek, especially if we land somewhere in the 10th or higher spot in the draft. Duds has got to do something to add another quality winger and defenseman to this roster.

Smoothie

February 9th, 2011
2:23 pm

THIS –> “The problem is that until the Thrashers learn how to develop players, Thrasher high round draft picture are going to be a bust or under perform to their true potential”

Well played Atladave. Any #1 pick this year will likely fall into the 8-15 range again and super-star quick fixes are not available beyond the top 3 in most drafts (Jeff Skinner notwithstanding, but he’s not really a superstar yet except in the eyes of 12 y/o girls). If the Stupid Seven ownership clowndom think that reloading with another #1 to bolster this current line-up is going to win back fans’ support, they are sorely mistaken.

Besides, they will likely rush that #1 into action (a la Burmie) rather than wait the requisite 2 or 3 years for that player to enter the NHL. This team, among other things, needs a legitimate threat to score 25-35 goals in its top 6. Ramsay has gotten mixed results with this bunch but the potential is there for a solid supporting cast (Stewy, Thorbs, Slater, Cormier etc) of the young core. But they still need at least 2 players, a legit top 6 forward and probably a top 2 D-man (so Buff can drop to the 2nd pairing IMO) to address our blueline that has potential but isn’t getting it done.

While the odds are roughly 8 in 10 that a first round selection will become an NHLer, the odds of it being an immediate impact player are probably less than 5%. Even Stamkos took a year to get acclimated to the rigors and speed of the NHL. This team has barely enough talent to get into the playoffs IF they can bring in help, and I believe Duds is shrewd enough to make the requisite personnel moves in the next couple of years to reinforce the core. I don’t expect us to challenge for a Cup in 2 years, but I think they can be a factor in the Eastern Conf race for the next couple years if certain key weaknesses are addressed and shored up. But that is a big challenge in the current NHL landscape.

Russ

February 9th, 2011
2:27 pm

I think they should trade the 1st round pick for Alex Bourret.

Seriously though, I generally would not have a problem with trading the pick, but this team isn’t going anywhere anyway, so I would hold onto it.

Sage of Bluesland

February 9th, 2011
2:28 pm

“…According to Hockey Futures, the Thrashers are ranked 25th out of 30 teams for prospects. I don’t call that a “well stocked cupboard….”

As RH pointed out, great comment.

It reminds me of, around 2003, the clownish John Kincade who used to bluster about some service having the Thrashers as having the best under-22 talent in the league, etc. (something like that).

I called him out on it via email–and told him it was because of three players: Heatley, Kovalchuk, and Lehtonen. I said the rest of our “talent pipeline” was nothing but a pipe-dream.

He, of course, attacked me. Naturally, I laughed at him via email years later….

So many things need to be ‘fixed’ in this organization. The minor-league feeder system is yet another big one.

Alan R.

February 9th, 2011
2:30 pm

Hoof – To be honest, I’m not even too concerned about defense at this time.

We’re near the top in blocked shots, but near the bottom in GA. That’s more of a team defense problem. I’d even say it’s more of an offense problem, since we can’t seem to keep the puck in the opposing teams’ zone for any significant length of time.

jp

February 9th, 2011
2:31 pm

the Thrashers are the Pittsburgh Pirates of the NHL

LAC

February 9th, 2011
2:46 pm

NHL hockey is a MAN’S sport, Too damn bad we do not have Men as owners, Just WTF are they ?

Smoothie

February 9th, 2011
2:47 pm

From John Manasso, former beat writer who does work for Fox Sports now: “I think John (Torchetti) is just trying to do what’s best for Zach and everyone. I trust John to pass on the appropriate information in the appropriate way. I think misunderstandings occurred that have been dealt with & I see nothing but good things.” – Craig Ramsay

Spin control or valid explanation vis a vis Bob McKenzie’s article for tsn.ca. I know Bob’s good, but I would tend to lean towards the Canadian media blowing things out of proportion.

Thrashy Thrashy

February 9th, 2011
2:47 pm

If you have Kane, Cormier, Bogo, and Burmistrov down at Chicago, the minor league system looks a lot better. All of those guys are kids. Hell, Pavelec’s a kid at 23. Buff and Ladd are only 25 apiece. Little is, what, 23? I just listed eight guys on the roster.

This is a young team, folks. As much as I’d rather not complain, I think it’s better to be complaining about a young team not getting it done than an older, veteran club. At least there is considerable room for improvement and maturing with younger players.

Nevertheless, a big move or two here for vets who are currently getting the job done at a high level could make this a playoff team this season. That’s what the fans want and need. That’s what the organization needs. Therefore, moves must be made to secure such players.

GaVaHokie

February 9th, 2011
2:49 pm

That Prospects list is bull$#!+…

http://www.hockeysfuture.com/nhl_organisation_rankings/

Look at Edmonton at #3 with Eberle and Paarjarvi listed in their Prospects… yet they don’t have Bogosian and Kane listed as Prospects for Atlanta from the same Draft years.

GaVaHokie

February 9th, 2011
2:51 pm

Free me from purgatory Trixie…

GaVaHokie

February 9th, 2011
2:56 pm

Edmonton has Taylor Hall, Jordan Eberle, and Magnus Paarjarvi listed as their Top Prospects.

Burmistrov is listed for Atlanta, but Bogosian (same draft as Eberle) and Kane (same draft as Paarjarvi) are not listed.

RG

February 9th, 2011
2:56 pm

Kane good vancouver boy..GO NUCKS

GaVaHokie

February 9th, 2011
2:57 pm

Sorry for the double post… didn’t know how long my purgatory was going to last. :)

Trixie (Rawhide's Secretary)

February 9th, 2011
2:57 pm

Mr. GaVaHokie – Your 2:49 pm post has been freed from Blog Purgatory. Of course, I did have to clean it up just a bit, as you can see.

You should know by now I have a very tight spam filter and something like that is going to do nothing but get caught up in it.

GaVaHokie

February 9th, 2011
3:00 pm

And here I thought it was the link that held it up. :) I thought fowl language was automatically corrected with PG and NC-17 approved words.

ZAvalanche

February 9th, 2011
3:02 pm

Yes, that is a very bad ranking list. Worst I have ever seen I believe.