Friday, June 12, 2009

Stay Tuned

Tonight is the final game of the 08-09 postseason and the cup will be raised by one team or the other. For those of us whose favorite teams have been playing golf since the second week in April, that means that "next year" officially begins tomorrow.

The NHL Entry Draft commences on June 26, just two weeks from tonight. Expect big things around the league in the intervening 14 days. We've already seen big shake-ups behind the bench and in the front offices of the Stars, Avs, Panthers, Wild, and Habs recently. If there are other changes coming, expect them to happen in the next few weeks. Teams want to have their GM questions answered in time for the draft and coaching situations resolved by the July 1 free agency madness.

DW has all but announced that he is shopping a goalie, and chances are that one will move within the next two weeks. GM's are trade-happy in the days and hours leading up to the draft, and DW wants to bring in a top-line forward in order to entice the Czar to limber up his signing hand.

Make no mistake- the Thrashers have to bring in that top notch player through a trade, not free agency. Last season showed us all too clearly that our franchise is a tough sell to top-tier free agents. The biggest selling point to a top 3 forward is likely to be the chance to play with Kovalchuck. But the sticking point to resign Kovy is bringing in a top 3 forward to play with him. So Kovy won't resign until he gets a linemate, and we need a resigned Kovy in order to get him a linemate.

If a trade can't be worked out for a legitimate top center or right winger, then DW will have to get creative. Perhaps the best strategy in that instance would be to discuss with the Czar exactly who from the free-agent list he'd like to have passing him the puck, then have him in for a Sakic-Roy-Blake style joint negotiation wherein they each agree to sign contingent on the other signing as well.

In addition to a top line forward, who will most likely come in a trade and be making in excess of 4.5-6 million per year, the Thrashers need a D man to pair with Hainsey in the second tier of defense. Since the team will be putting its money into Kovy's new pivot and don't need to add marquee talent to the blueline, I'd expect DW to try and steal a second tier defenseman early in free agency while his colleagues are still wooing the Mike Komisarek's of the world. So look for an addition to the D corps coming on July 1-3, but don't expect it to be a blockbuster. It probably won't even phase us from our lingering excitement over our draft pick and the newly acquired forward.

We here at the Chronicle expect to have a lot to talk about over the next month or so before things slow down in late July leading into the awful drought of August. The draft, trade speculation, the actual trade, weighing what we got in the trade against what we gave up, potential free agent signings, actual free agent signings, and lamenting the ones we didn't get will keep us all busy as the mercury continues to rise outside and the Cup makes its rounds of Red Wing or Penguin off-season households.

Looking forward to it all, I'm Razor Catch Prey.


Anonymous said...

Is Kovy set on signing a linemate, or could he be satisfied with overall improvements through trades or something? I didn't catch the actual quote a while ago.

Razor Catch Prey said...

He didn't address specifics beyond the fact that he did say the checking line (Bolts, Thor, and Slats) is one of the best in the league. But he did say that we need to spend some money and bring in some better players. It's not hard to extrapolate that he means a true #1 center or winger to play with him - which he hasn't had since Savard left.

the jointhead said...

I just read a rumor on that pronger will be traded to LA for Jack Johnson and #5 pick. If this is true we should offer exelby and a ham sandwich for frolov because those fuckers are dumb!