Everyone has their own unique way to fix the Atlanta Thrashers. I admit, they were a fixer upper at the end of the season before last. Three-fourths of last season seemed a wash too, until Waddell added Peverley - that extra player provided the spark to get the team going. This past off-season, Waddell and Dudley acquired some top name talent - Antropov, Kubina, and Afinogenov - and despite the 10th place finish, this season was an improvement. You can't renovate a home in one day, and you can't fix a team's struggles in a day either - look at how long it took LA to make it back to the playoffs, and how long it took the Blackhawks to contend again. Why people want us to make ginormous changes and then expect us to win the Cup is beyond me.
The Thrashers took an important first step by firing the coaching staff, who I (along with a lot of other individuals) questioned pretty heavily, especially regarding environment and how personality was impacting the players. Atlanta Spirit brought in Dudley as the successor for Waddell, as has been admitted by the team (and totally called by me), and he has manipulated the team into the first steps of reconstruction, a la his Blackhawks of a few years ago. There's a lot to be hopeful for. So yes, now's the perfect time to advocate huge changes.
Scuttlebut after the jump.
Bill Tiller (AKA Rawhide) over at the AJC usually writes really good stuff, but for some weird reason he allowed a guest columnist to post today's entry. This gentleman, "Joe Friday," as he is called, is a commenter on the blog. Myself, personally, I enjoy reading Bill's stuff, but comments on newspaper blogs are usually absolute dreck. Why they tend to invite odd commentary is beyond me, but there's a reason I don't look at them save for once in a blue moon. To be subjected to what amounted to a lengthy blog comment was a bit disconcerting.
I understand wanting to fix stuff overnight and get all the best players is every fan's dream. But what Joe suggests is fairly pretty much not going to happen.
1) Sign Nabby to a 2 year/$5mil contract. I really really doubt that the Sharks will let their bread and butter walk. They've been waiting until the end of the playoffs to negotiate, but I would be shocked if they allowed him to walk. We have Pavs, who while he is a work in progress, he's intended to be the number one.
2) Trading Jersey's 1st rounder and a top prospect for Patrick Sharp. Ok, this one I wouldn't have a problem with, but the list of people to not trade should include more than Patrice Cormier. Keep in mind, though, that we'd be getting a $4.1 million contract for 2 years.
3) Sign Frolov to a 4 year/$4mil deal. I really don't see him coming here, though if he does get traded I think he'd fare better in the East. I would see Nabby and Frolov as an incentive for Afinogenov to re-sign however (something that Joe doesn't make a priority at all - whaaaa?).
4) Re-sign Kubina to a 3yr/$5mil deal. I think he'll want a bit more than that. If we have Sharp, Frolov, and Nabby - along with a bunch of kids to re-sign - where's the money for it?
5) Trade Enstrom. HUH? Trade our franchise record holding defenseman - someone who will continue to grow into a great player? Does this go back to the "Toby never shoots" thing? While I'd like to see him try it more, it's not his style of play and never has been. He's responsible for setting up 44 goals in some way, shape, or form this year. I would say passing works pretty well.
6) Dump the Todd. I would be ok with it, but no one'd take his salary.
The rest of his suggestions I agree with, aside from changing our jerseys - I don't want to think about getting a new one, and I hate the RBK style. We do need a new jumbotron (which might be coming this summer), more perks for STHs would be kind of cool, and clothing the Blue Crew would be preferable to what they wear now.
I would love to have Nabby and Frolov and Sharp. Salary wise, it's not going to happen. With Armstrong, Afinogenov, Kozlov, White and Hedberg out, and Sharp, Frolov, and Nabokov in (I left Mac in for the heck of it), We'll have about $50,804,000 on the books as far as a cap hit goes, and $45,670,000 in salary. I'm all about spending to win, but I don't think your payroll has to be that high to win (see: Rangers, New York). When it comes time to sign extensions with Bogosian, Kane, et al, how much space will we have?
I'm always a little hesitant to go ga ga for the big contracts. Right now, re-signing Kubina and Max, both of whom have indicated that they would like to stay, is a priority. Take care of that first. I'd love it if Sharp came here, but I would prefer it if we got Frolov for free. We don't need every star player in the league - Frolov, Antropov, Afinogenov, and Kubina are some fairly large names. Kane, Enstrom, and Bogosian will be. Give what the front office is doing time. We're not going to fix everything in a day, but it's coming along pretty well so far. Things take time.