After royally pucking things up with trades last season, a tip of the cap must go to Thrashers GM Don Waddell for his work at the 2008 deadline.
Waddell, now also acting as the team’s interim coach, overpaid badly for Keith Tkachuk and Alexei Zhitnik in 2007 by giving up Braydon Coburn, Glen Metropolit, a 2007 first round pick, a 2007 third round draft pick and a 2008 second round draft pick.
This season, despite similar pressures to make the playoffs, Waddell made an accurate assessment of his team, realized they’re not Cup – or even playoff – contenders and decided to get what he could for impending unrestricted free agent Marian Hossa, whom Waddell couldn’t get to sign an extension.
The return for Hossa (Colby Armstrong, Erik Christensen, prospect Angelo Esposito and a 2008 first round pick, with Pascal Dupuis also going the other way) isn’t mind-blowing, but it’s a good haul that gives the team more depth, something the Thrashers desperately need if they hope to take their game to the next level in 2008-09.
More importantly, it repairs – at least partially – the damage done to the Thrashers’ long-term future last season.
If Waddell had one failing, it was not dealing Bobby Holik, another summer UFA who could have brought in at least a second round pick.
Despite his earlier insistence he doesn’t regret his moves last season, Waddell made the right choice in keeping his eye on the future, rather than the present, this deadline.
Other winners and losers from Tuesday…
Buffalo – don’t feel bad, you would have got nothing back for Campbell in the summer.
Dallas – got themselves a new Mike Modano in Brad Richards.
Washington – small price to pay to win the Southeast; wouldn’t surprise me one bit to see Huet sign long-term.
Columbus – realized their time isn’t now (see above re: Atlanta).
Calgary, Anaheim, Vancouver, Nashville, Boston – nothing wrong with standing pat.
Pittsburgh – overpaid for a rental (Hossa); do you really think Conklin/Fleury can lead you to a Cup this season?
Colorado – Foote won’t make much difference at this point in his career.
Montreal – leaving it all on Price’s shoulders a big risk.
Minnesota – Chris Simon? Really? Good luck with that.
Ottawa – inability to improve may cost Sens shot at Cup.
ANOTHER THURSDAY LARF
If Penguins fans won’t miss Colby Armstrong for his scoring prowess, they should certainly miss his availability to do any more car commercials…
(you have to wait a few seconds for the black to fade)
Edward Fraser is the editor of thehockeynews.com. His blog appears Thursdays.
For more great profiles, news and views from the world of hockey, Subscribe to The Hockey News magazine.