Wednesday, May 27, 2009

The Atlanta Thrashers - If A Franchise Falls in the Forest, Does It Make A Sound?

Season Summary: The Atlanta Thrashers once again stumbled and bungled their way through the 08-09 season, finishing second to last in their division, third to last in their conference, and fourth to last in the league. Only Toronto allowed more than Atlanta's 280 Goals Against - Kari Lehtonen managed to finish the season with a 3.06 GAA and a .911 SV%, which meant he saw far too much rubber. The good news is that Atlanta can score some goals: Bryan Little had a very solid and unheradled sophomore season, posting 31 goals, and waiver find Rich Peverly scored nearly a point a game after coming over from Nashville. The Atlanta fan hopes it's always darkest before the dawn.

Key Unrestricted Free Agents: C Marty Reasoner, C Eric Perrin, D Nathan Oystrick

What Needs Upgrading: Everything. Except maybe goaltender, maybe. General manager, especially.

What's The Cap Situation Like?
Italics denote Estimates - $Sp is Money Spent, $Av is Money Available, PS is Players Signed, PN is Players Needed (for a full NHL roster)

Season $$Sp $$Av PS PN
08-09: 43.5 13.1 - -
09-10: 36.3 8.20 17 6
10-11: 24.1 20.9 10 11

Cap Grade: B-

The Thrashers are clearly not going to spend up to the salary cap, so they've been given here a personal cap of $1 million more than they spent last season. This is likely generous, but there aren't many teams who can afford to take on bad contracts, so the Thrashers have made their bed. The good news is, the Thrashers are going to have a lot of cap space coming up anyway in 2010-11, the bad news is they may not be in Atlanta to spend that money. Players like Zach Bogosian and Bryan Little will remain inexpensive for next season, providing some hope if this franchise can somehow get it together.

Thrashers' Projected Lines in 2010

This denotes a player RFA in 2009
This denotes a player UFA in 2010
This denotes a player RFA in 2010

Kovalchuk-White-Vy. Kozlov
Peverly-Little-C. Armstrong



Who They Might Go After:

C John Madden (2/6)
C Sami Pahlsson (3/7.5)
LW Taylor Pyatt (3/5.5)
LW Travis Moen (2/3)

The Thrashers aren't looking to contend next year, so why bother trying to make a sexy signing? They will just back a dumptruck full of money on whatever veteran feels like spending his remaining days hanging out with T.I. and Outkast. Their offense doesn't look bad, but unless Salmela or Valabik is headed elsewhere, Atlanta's unlikely to make a big signing on defense - perhaps a depth signing like Shane Hnidy or Jason Strudwick. Beyond that, it should be a race to the bottom of the Southeast Division between Atlanta and Tampa Bay again next year, and see you at the 2010 Entry Draft.

Relevant Links:

Atlanta's Salary Cap Numbers
Atlanta's Team Scoring

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