Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Another 1st round pick traded away!

In less than a week, the Atlanta Thrashers have traded away two of their most high profile 1st round picks in the teams short history. First it was Illya Kovalchuk and now Kari Lehtonen! Lehtonen was traded to the Dallas Stars and in return the Thrashers get a defensive prospect (Ivan Vishnevskiy) and a fourth round draft pick in this coming draft.

Again, I feel like GM Don Waddell might have pulled the trigger a little too quickly. I understand that Kari has not played this year since he was recovering from two back surgeries and that our two current goaltenders are doing pretty well for us, but let’s give him a chance. After all Lehtonen, 26, is the franchise’s all-time leader in games played (204), wins (94), save percentage (.912) and shutouts (14). He is also the single-season record holder for games (68), minutes (3,934), wins (34), shutouts (4) – all set in 2006-07 – and save percentage (.916, 2007-08). He finished his Thrashers career with a 94-83-17 record and a 2.87 goals-against average.

I realize that due to the Olympic roster freeze that happens on Friday and then the trade deadline is on March 3rd, but if there is interest in Kari now, then there will be interest in Kari on March 1st. Let him play a game or two on this next road trip to see what he has got. If he throws a shut out in a game or gets a win then his interest level will increase and we can some real value for him. If he doesn’t play well, then we take the deal for a prospect and a draft pick. I just don’t understand why Waddell still has a job? Oh, I forgot, the owners don’t really care about hockey so it doesn’t seem to bother them that the GM is not making smart moves.

I expected the Thrashers to trade Kari eventually, but I also feel like he can be an elite goaltender in the league if he can stay healthy and has some decent help around him. Those are things that he hasn’t had while in Atlanta. I feel like the current duo of Pavelec and Hedberg are doing a decent job in net, but Hedberg is getting up there in age and could be a huge help for a team trying to go far in the playoffs. Believe me, I would hate to see the Moose (Hedberg) leave, but if Kari could return to the form he had in 2007-2008 he and Pavelec could be a great pair! But I guess we will never know.

Who knows, maybe in 5 years all of these trades for prospects and draft picks will pay off, but for a fan who has been here since the beginning, it is starting to get old! I am getting sick of seeing out big names leave the team without getting anything in return!

Thanks Kari for your time and efforts in the ATL!

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