Yesterday, Thrashers general manager Rick Dudley pulled the trigger on a trio of trade deadline day deals. He also re-signed newly acquired defenseman Mark Stuart and snagged a center off the waiver wire.
Here is a brief recap of what went down:
Sent to the Florida Panthers were forwards Niclas Bergfors and Patrick Rissmiller in exchange forward Radek Dvorak and a 5th round draft pick. Dvorak is 33 and has scored 7 goals and 14 assists in 53 games played. He’ll be a UFA come July 1 and is currently being paid $1.7 million this season.
Bergfors was a part of the deal with the Devils last winter that sent Ilya Kovalchuk to New Jersey. He scored 11 goals and 18 assists in 52 games and compiled a –11 rating. After coming to Atlanta last year he looked as though he could become a major piece in the Thrashers future, but things started to head south with him and the organization last summer during contract talks and he seemed to reside in coach Craig Ramsay’s doghouse all season. Hopefully this change will bring a new beginning for this promising young talent.
As for Rissmiller…his biggest accomplishment for the Thrashers is that he helped the team send Todd White to the Rangers.
Dudley also shipped Fredrik Modin to Calgary in return for a 7th round draft pick and swapped prospect goalie Drew McIntyre to Montreal for prospect defenseman Brett Festerling.
Lastly, there was the acquisition of Rob Schremp from the Islanders. He was plucked off the waver wire.
Did Dudley do right with his deals over the past two weeks?
Total Voters: 225
All this caps off a very busy two weeks for Dudley and Co. as we have seen several transactions that have modified the team’s roster. Starting with the trade that sent Rich Peverley and Boris Valabik to Boston for Blake Wheeler and Mark Stuart, Atlanta then moved Brent Sopel and Nigel Dawes to Montreal for Ben Maxwell and a 4th round pick. Then came yesterday’s deals.
What all of that leaves us with is this…
Where there was once Sopel on defense, you now have Stuart. Where there was once Peverley and Bergfors up front there is now Wheeler and Dvorak. Also, where there was Modin we now will see Maxwell/Schremp…at least until Jimmy Slater and Alex Burmistrov get healthy.
I’ll let you debate whether or not the team is in better shape now for a stretch run then they were two weeks ago. Personally I think ultimately that will be decided by how they perform over the remaining six weeks of the season.
However, looking beyond that I think Rick Dudley has done a very good job as far as the future is concerned. He did not deal away any significant prospect for an aging vet with multiple years left on a contract, nor did he conduct a fire sale in which he in essence threw in the towel on this season.
But even more than that, he was able to ink Stuart to a 3-year $5.1 million contract extension that will keep the soon-to-be 27 year old blueliner around here for the foreseeable future. The deal is not only a good one where the team’s payroll department is concerned, but it will also go a long way in helping to solidify the one area of this team that has always been a major issue…defense. Stuart has performed well since coming over here, showing a great deal of hustle and grit, and he can be a vital piece in the puzzle that is the Thrashers future.
Also not to be overlooked is the fact that Stuart was traded here only about a dozen or so days ago, but apparently has already seen enough to say, “Yeah, I like what’s going on here and would like to stick around for a while”.
We in Thrasherville aren’t exactly used to that and it came as very welcome news indeed.