I'm comin' back, ready to score 30 goals again. Seriously. I am. Promise.
Chris Vivlamore of the AJC shot out a tweet and a blog (bong and a blintz?) regarding some of our pending RFAs. A rather large question has been when the qualifying offers would be released - as someone who was assistant GM when the Hawks forgot to get out the QOs on time, I kind of expected that Dudley'd push it to the limit. He did. The Thrashers extended qualifying offers to Niclas Bergfors, Bryan Little, Ondrej Pavelec, Clarke MacArthur, Ben Eager, Peter Mannino and Anthony Stewart, wrapping up three of our youngest players and a guy we just traded for. Some people were trying to figure out if we'd re-up MacArthur or if we'd persue re-signing Evgeny Artyukhin. Arty mentioned a while ago wanting to test the KHL, and I think financially and playing time wise, that would be best for him. He'd easily crack the top six on a KHL team, and there really isn't any room for him with Buff, Eager, MacArthur, Slater, Thorburn, and Boulton.
Yep. I said Boulton. Boults has been extended a UFA offer by the team. Dudley has made it a major goal of his to big up the size of the team. We have offense in the form of Bergfors, Little, and Antropov. Dudley wants to get a 15-20 goal scorer somehow too. Honestly, though, everyone expects Eager to take over for Boulton. Let's, um... let's inspect one of Eager's fights:
So, Moose is working on a re-upping, and Kubina seems to be pretty actively talking to Waddell and Dudley. Hometown discount or not, re-signing him needs to be a major goal of the team. If he re-ups, losing Schubert wouldn't really make a blip on the radar (losing Pops again isn't going to blip much either). Max, Arty, and Armstrong all seem to be gone, but we've already replaced two of those with Eager and Buff. We do need a replacement for Afinogenov if he does leave, and I do trust Dudley to find someone.
Finding a goalie if Hedberg leaves will be tricky, and I'll be looking at that later on in a post probably tomorrow here, or Wednesday on SB Nation Atlanta. Or both. Who knows... but we can't risk Pavelec having hiccoughs. Halak's obviously gone (the Blues have extended a QO to him rumored to pay up to $4 million a season for a few years), but could we be in the market for Captain Consistent Chris Mason? Or Dan Ellis? What about Jose Theodore or even Marty Turco? Of course, Turk said no to the Flyers, soooo...