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
3:02 pm

Alan R. – Accepting your points, but I would love to see this team get a top-four defenseman. With that you could possibly see Bogosian sitting in the press box more, rotating with Sopel and Hainsey for those bottom 2 minutes. Enstrom, Buff, Oduya and the player to be traded for could then be your top-four.

And yes, we need help offensively as well. I totally agree with you there.


February 9th, 2011
3:03 pm

Burmistrov & Kane – 19
Cormier & Bogosian – 20 (and Klingberg)
Paul Postma – 21
Arturs Kulda – 22 (and Machacek)
Little, Bergy & Pavelec – 23
Ladd & Buff – 25
Tobes & Stewy – 26
Thorburn – 27
Slater & Pevs – 28

That’s a pretty young team for sure!

Joe Friday

February 9th, 2011
3:11 pm

“I know Bob’s good, but I would tend to lean towards the Canadian media blowing things out of proportion”

Of course, because clearly we can all see that Bogosian’s development shows they’re coaching him up and getting the job done.

Come on, think about it . . . that’s just more of Ramsay “everything is fine, we’re calm and ok, and you’re getting sleepy, sleepy, sleepy . . .”

Whoever said above they’ve never seen Ramsay rip on the refs is spot on, he never does it. I’m sure he never dogs his players, or Torch, either. That’s fine, it’s good to be a calm person and encouraging and uplifting (if you’re coaching 4th grade girls bball games, an NHL club though?!?)


February 9th, 2011
3:18 pm

Thrashy “Can I borrow you for glass of warm milk? It helps me go to sleep?

Owenership “You can bother me for a warm glass of shut-the-hell up”

Thrashy “Oh my….”

Ownership “You will go go to sleep or I will put you to sleep”

Thrashy “Dear…”

Ownership “Check out the name tag – you’re in my world now grandma”


February 9th, 2011
3:22 pm

Joe – it’s not like Ramsay completely denied there was any kind of disconnect. While Rammer may not yell and scream, he has hardly made excuses nor has he sugar-coated the issues. Players keep making a lot of the same mistakes over and over. Is that coaching or coachability? Say what you will about his game management (I think that is open to debate) because it has been suspect, but I tend to side with the HC in these instances if he’s been fairly honest and direct all along. It’s not like he’s been evasive and coming up with ways to sell us a bill of goods. Obviously he’s not going to tell us everything, but he could have flatly said, “there is no issue and there never was one, next question!” Of course, I still fully expect Bogey to get traded as I cursed him by putting his name on my jersey! ;)

HP Drifter

February 9th, 2011
3:23 pm

With this bit of no-game down time can possibly one of our astute and statistically endowed forum colleagues, i.e. Smoothie, Brendan, Red Light, Bill or (?) publish a list of players traded to ATL, offered a contract upon contract expiration, and decided to move on out of town to go elsewhere. Say from the pre-Holik era to current. I believe the list would be interesting to review. Thanks in advance if someone undertakes the task.

Also, would be interesting to see which once and former Thrasher is now not wanted in the NHL and playing in some other non-NHL league.


February 9th, 2011
3:31 pm

@AlanR: Krog and Haydar (by the way, Krog is on an ATL contract) have been split up for most of the season, and have been sprinkled throughout the lineup. Dawes (also on an ATL contract) has been with Haydar for the last month.

How about Atlanta quits signing an overabundance of fringe NHL’ers if they’re so concerned with player development. What forced ATL to offer contracts to Krog, Ross, Dawes, and Stapleton knowing full well they may spend most the year in Chicago? Why did ATL take on Rissmiller’s contract only to bury him in Chicago (and then move him to Lake Erie when he turned out to be a locker room cancer)? Take those away, and you can promote your remaining NHL contracted forwards in Gwinnett to Chicago.

You may be sick of seeing “Krog this” and “Haydar that,” but as a Wolves fan, I’m sick of ATL prospects thinking they have a direct shot to make the NHL on their entry level contract, only to quit caring and give up their development. Why was Coburn traded? Because he didn’t give a *. Why was Guilliame Desbiens never resigned? Because he didn’t give a * and got a wake up call when his phone wasn’t ringing in the off-season.


February 9th, 2011
3:43 pm

Hey, that’s the life of an AHL fan, so ya better get used to it. We dealt with it when the Knights were the top farm club for the Lightning. What’s best for the NHL club may not be whats best for the Wolves…oh, well.

As for trading #1 – yup, if it brings in the right player who’s signed beyond the end of this season, would do it in a minute. As many have reported here, we have a young team already. Some proven NHL vet vs. the crap shoot of the draft? As they said in the movie Fargo…,”yah, you betcha!”

The TSN acticle? Consider the source! Lazy writer pandering to a jingoistic audience.


February 9th, 2011
3:50 pm

JPinCHI… actually, what we need is Chicago to stop signing their own players like Haydar, Miller, Davies, Ross, Matheson, and Garbutt who have nothing to do with the Atlanta Organization.

That leaves only room for guys who are worthy of a direct call-up, anyone else needing development time gets forced to Gwinnett.

Hockey Biltong

February 9th, 2011
3:50 pm

by jingo, i think i’ll have a double!


February 9th, 2011
4:01 pm

With this bit of no-game down time can possibly one of our astute and statistically endowed forum colleagues, i.e. Smoothie, Brendan, Red Light, Bill or (?) publish a list of players traded to ATL, offered a contract upon contract expiration, and decided to move on out of town to go elsewhere. Say from the pre-Holik era to current. I believe the list would be interesting to review. Thanks in advance if someone undertakes the task.

HP Drifter – That would be an interesting list indeed. Shooting from the top of my head, here’s the three big names I can come up with right now. I’m sure othere will/can add to it.

Marian Hossa, Marc Savard and Colby Armstrong.

Clark McCarthur left when the Thrashers decided not to accept the arbration ruling and other players like Erik Christensen and Anssi Salmela were traded away.


February 9th, 2011
4:01 pm

I was encouraged at the start of the year when Ramrod said that we would adjust to the 1-3-1 trap and use our own when we needed to tighten up. Has anyone seen any changing tactic or strategy? I haven’t and I am a long time hockey fan. We are simply terrible on D. And, D-Buff belongs on the wing where he can stir things up and on the point on the PP. He is a liability on D.


February 9th, 2011
4:02 pm

I voted AGAINST using the 1st round pick. If we trade that pick, we STILLL might not make the playoffs. Then, we’re outside and there’s no 1st rounder coming back. At least if there is a sale of this franchise in the offseason, the new ownership has that 1st round pick, potentially a lottery draft pick at #5 overall, to make a fresh start.

Generally speaking, I wouldn’t support trading a high-end first rounder. But that’s just meeee. Here are my exceptions: (1) We’re knockin’ on the door of a Stanley Cup title, and have been for YEARS without actually landing the big silver trophy, and moving this pick to a “bottom feeder” type team for their “un-signable in THEIR market” Tier I, pending UFA. In that case, YES! Trade the pick. Our 1st rounder in that scenario will go 20th overall to 28th overall. That’s the “crapshoot” area of the draft anyway. But, we are not in that scenario, WHAT-SO-EVER. So, here’s another exception: (2) we’re landing a young, RFA player in his early 20’s who has already shown flashes of brillance, but his current roster is flush against the cap and there’s just no way that they can afford him, so … they’re shopping him for a high-end (lottery) draft pick. In this scenario, the Thrashers would control this player’s rights for another 4-6 years, while getting a very promising player, as opposed to the “whatever” might be available at the Draft.

That’s about it. This notion of needing to blow the rights to a quality player for the next eight years just so Atlanta can squeak into the playoffs at # 8, just to be swept out by the Flyers … is extremely short-sighted. Think it over. You know I’m right.

Diego from Lilburn

February 9th, 2011
4:04 pm

I’m a little encouraged to see the offense has decided to score more than 2 goals per game again!

They had a 9 game stretch where they only scored 1 or 2 goals. They only won 2 of those contests (duh!).

I think the team needs a veteran or two (defense or offense, I don’t care) who has grit and can be an influence on this very young team. I’m tired of seeing Kane get clobbered and nobody sticking up for him.


February 9th, 2011
4:21 pm

Brendan – its short sided to get a 35 year old rental just to make the playoffs. If the trade lands a guy in his mid to late 20’s who still has a lot to give – not so much.


February 9th, 2011
4:23 pm

Brendan – how quickly you forget the Canadiens and Flyers advancing to the ECF from the #7 and #8 seeds. And the Canes winning in 2006 from the #6 slot or something like that. And the Oilers were an #8 seed that year. “Knocking on the door” of the Stanley Cup isn’t always obvious. But I know what you mean w/r/t the Thrashers.

Alan R.

February 9th, 2011
4:26 pm

Krog and Haydar (by the way, Krog is on an ATL contract) have been split up for most of the season, and have been sprinkled throughout the lineup. Dawes (also on an ATL contract) has been with Haydar for the last month.

So, you insinuate that I think Krog and Haydar are on the same line, and you come in here to lambast me?

Have a seat, kid.

First and foremost, I made no insinuation that the two were paired up. However, the two are on the same club, and are the Wolves’ leading scorers with 47pts each. Second of all, you must know that Atlanta has stocked your cupboard before. They did so again with signing Krog. Note how Aliu was demoted to Gwinnett due to, as Dudley stated, a lack of ice time. He went further, and said that more prospects may be moved to Gwinnett for that reason.

Our new GM is aware that Chicago is not playing well with our guys, so he’s said he’ll move our guys if that continues to be the case. This organization can bring the pain, and the Wolves are our farm club. They are owned and operated separate from the Thrashers in nearly all aspects, but that doesn’t mean there should not be a good developmental relationship between the clubs.

Alas, there appears to be a gap there. Chicago would rather give tons of time to the leading scorers than work with our prospects. That’s fine, really. They can play all their veterans next season all the time, because I hope the kids are moved to Gwinnett. At least they’re willing to play the kids!

Red Light

February 9th, 2011
4:41 pm

Smoothie said…”That’s a pretty young team for sure!”

What he didn’t say…”That’s a pretty good young team for sure!”

I ask… “On Smoothie’s list, which of those is a dead-sure top-line talent?” Kane? Little?

Fred Brathwaite

February 9th, 2011
4:47 pm

I miss Atlanta!


February 9th, 2011
4:48 pm

R/L – kinda depends on how long you give them right?

I think Kane for sure, but Little may never be a top-line C, a very solid #2 pivot for certain, but it’s hard to say because his linemates often under-perform compared to him (especially Ladd & Bergy). Burmistrov has the skill level to become a #1 C, but it may take him another 2-3 years to not only fill out physically, but round out his game offensively. Kane-Burmy-Little might (emphasis on might) become a very good top-line for years to come.

Guillaume Desbiens

February 9th, 2011
4:49 pm

I played 12 games for the Canucks this season!

Cory Larose

February 9th, 2011
4:51 pm

I’m not related to Chad, but they thought I was!

Nathan Oystrick

February 9th, 2011
4:52 pm

Peoria isn’t as bad as people think.

Brian Sipotz

February 9th, 2011
4:53 pm

My 294 games with the Wolves were a blast!

Patrick Dwyer

February 9th, 2011
4:55 pm

I’ve played all 52 games with Carolina!

Keith Tkachuk

February 9th, 2011
4:56 pm

The worst six weeks of my life.


February 9th, 2011
4:58 pm

I almost forgot about Nathan Oystrick… actually I DID forget about him… funny how they just fade away.

Pavel Kubina

February 9th, 2011
4:58 pm

I’m 13 points ahead of where I would have been.


February 9th, 2011
4:58 pm

Where did the win-now moves led the Oilers after 2006? They were never able to build on that success.

P.S. Brendan…great post.

Eric Perrin

February 9th, 2011
4:59 pm

Need another fourth-liner?

Joel Kwiatkowski

February 9th, 2011
5:02 pm

And they said I was done! Enjoying life here in Bern after two years in the KHL. Pass the chocolate and give me back my watch please!

Eric Belanger

February 9th, 2011
5:06 pm

I miss Bobby Holik

Niko Kapanen

February 9th, 2011
5:08 pm

Ilya Nikulin and I wish you well from Kazan Ak-Bars.

Kyle Wanvig

February 9th, 2011
5:10 pm

Greetings from Germany. I play for the Augsburg Panthers.

Mark Popovic

February 9th, 2011
5:14 pm

Hnat Domenichelli leads our Lugano team in goals and assists.

Tom Lysiak

February 9th, 2011
5:15 pm

Who is posting as the SOB and not using the automatic buzzwords: “Waddell, ASG, dweaming, spweadsheets and sheep”????

Glen Metropolit

February 9th, 2011
5:21 pm

I play for Zug, also in the Swiss-A League.

Max Afinogenov

February 9th, 2011
5:29 pm

Vitaly Vishnevsky, Alexei Yashin, Sergei Brylin, Evgeny Artyukhin, Petr Cajanek, Denis Grebeshkov, Mattias Weinhandl, Alexei Semenov, Petr Prucha, Andrei Zyuzin, Danil Markov and I don’t miss Nabokov one bit in St. Petersburg!

Greg De Vries

February 9th, 2011
5:33 pm

Don’t forget about me!

Uwe Krupp

February 9th, 2011
5:38 pm

Ich könnte ein Anwärter Charlie gewesen sein. Ich könnte jemand gewesen sein.

Byron Dafoe

February 9th, 2011
5:41 pm

Well, there goes my new suit.

Pascal DuPuis

February 9th, 2011
5:44 pm

Pittsburgh hab been berry berry nice to me!!!

Danny Heatley

February 9th, 2011
5:46 pm

I think the shark, as a fish, is a very good pet..

Mike Weaver

February 9th, 2011
5:46 pm

I’ll see you guys Feb. 27 and March 5. Go Cats.

The Real Dany Heatley

February 9th, 2011
5:48 pm

I spell my name with one “N” and Pascal and I weren’t free agents.

Steve Staois

February 9th, 2011
5:49 pm

Didn’t you see me on right wing for the Flames last week?

Andrew Brunette

February 9th, 2011
5:51 pm

Not to boast, but I have scored 223 goals and added 396 assists since leaving your fine city.

Andrew Brunette

February 9th, 2011
5:52 pm

But, I was too slow and played the same position as Kovalchuk. Funny, but I thought there were four lines in hockey?

Shean Donovan

February 9th, 2011
5:57 pm

Studying to be a dentist, so I can fix my own teeth.

Geordie Kinnear

February 9th, 2011
5:58 pm

I’m an assistant coach with the Albany River Rats. By the way 100th!