Looking for a Defenseman?

12/30/2009
Carolina Hurricanes v Buffalo Sabres

As we approach the midway point of the 2009-10 season in the National Hockey League, many questions remain unanswered.

Which teams are serious about playoff contention?  Who needs a massive upgrade to make the push from a bubble team?  Which team should sell off the year and attempt a mini-rebuild?

Those are some thoughts circulating the League as we take a look at the state of all teams around the NHL.  Now, when perusing through certain rosters some names that could bring in returns which would benefit a team in need of depth.

Today, we look at the defensemen around the NHL likely to be moved by the March 3rd, 2010 trade deadline. As a side note, be sure to tune into “The Hockey Guys” on deadline day as there will be an all day live event with a live chat room for discussion on all the rumors and news as it breaks in the NHL.

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Ilya Kovalchuk Going NOWHERE

12/21/2009
Atlanta Thrashers v Florida Panthers

Unfortunately this is not an actual news story but simply one man’s bold prediction.  Before you blast me for the headline, lets look at the facts so you can see my thought process.

The latest from Chris Vivlamore of The Atlanta Journal Constitution states that the talks between the two are currently at a stand still.  However, Kovalchuk went on record to state, “he would like to stay with the same team his whole career. However, he understands that hockey is a business.”

Yes Ilya, hockey is a business.  You need to see that the business of the Atlanta Thrasher is Ilya Kovalchuk.  This team lives and dies by the blade of his stick.  The signings of Nik Antropov, Maxim Afinogenov as well as the acquisition of Pavel Kubina directly correlate to this team wanting to succeed with Kovalchuk.

So lets go over some facts.  The consensus rumors cite Kovalchuk wanting the league maximum over a ten year span, a total he certainly deserves.  By the CBA agreement, the maximum allows for 20 percent of the teams cap.  As the cap currently stands at 56.8 million and looks to stay within that range with our booming economy, our Russian star stands to make at least 11.36 million a year.

By my calculations even if Kovalchuk does sign at this maximum contract at the maximum cap hit, the Thrashers boast over 20 million worth of cap dollars left on their budget.  How many other teams can say they have this much room? Better yet, how many teams already have surrounded Kovy with teammates he thrives with due to both nationality and chemistry?

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Restoring the Rosters: Atlanta Thrashers

11/18/2009
Atlanta Thrashers v New Jersey Devils

Based on Matthew Pouliot’s series on Circling the Bases, I have decided restore the rosters for every NHL team.  Like Pouliot, I have established some ground rules for my selections.

  1. Each team contains players they originally drafted or signed before any other NHL team.  This includes players drafted and not signed, as well as European free agents coming over at an older age.
  2. I have chosen to leave retired players off the list, and lean toward players in the AHL rather than those deported (KHL, SEL, DEL, etc.).

Essentially I am choosing the best available players for a team to succeed in the current NHL season.  All 30 teams will be covered, with grades assigned to forwards, defense and goaltending.  After all 30 articles are written, they will be ranked in order.  This series’ intent is to reward or shame NHL scouts.

With 6 out of their 11 total drafts in the top 5, 2 more in the top 10 and 2 more in the top 15, the Thrashers drafting has failed them in the long run.  With Little more of a RW, the team is yet to develop a legitimate top 6 center at all.  The teams depth is lacking at both forward and goaltending with way too many question marks.

The lineup for the Atlanta Thrashers is as follows.

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