This, apparently, is the state of media spin in Atlanta, where hockey fans have seen Dany Heatley turn into Marian Hossa turn into a couple of role players and a pair of mediocre prospects, all in the span of less than three years, and await the perhaps likely depature of Ilya Kovalchuk in 676 days or sooner (but who's counting?). As the Atlanta Journal-Constitution's Bill Tiller wrote last week:
According to nhlnumbers.com, there are a few teams that are currently at or above the salary cap. So, teams like Philadelphia, Washington, Calgary, Anaheim, Chicago, San Jose...and even Dallas, Detroit, Pittsburgh, Boston, the Rangers and New Jersey could be looking to shed some payroll. In doing so, they are more than likely going to be seeking prospects and/or draft picks along with lower-priced NHL players in return.
I would think that the GMs of those teams are going to be far more willing to make such deals with teams that they...perceive...will finish very low in the standing. That would give them a higher pick, possibly even the first pick, in next summer's entry draft. Thus, they would be getting more in return for the player they were willing to part ways with.
Atlanta, along with Los Angeles and the Islanders, are among those with both considerable cap space and the perception that they'll finish low in the standings.There are a couple of problems here. First of all, no organization is ever "in a very good position to make a deal" when it has Don Waddell playing the role of Monty Hall. Are the Thrashers going to take a $3.5 million Mike Rathje off the Flyers' hands? I think we've already seen how that one plays out.
Don Waddell and the Thrashers organ-I-zation are in a very good position to make a deal for one more quality forward or defender...or both... in return for future considerations.
Granted, a team trying desperately to make the playoffs and one in the middle of a rebuild have vastly different needs, which brings us to our next point -- why on earth would a bad Thrashers team with little in the cupboard move prospects and/or draft picks? These are assets to stockpile now, not to move for over-the-hill wingers who might, if you're lucky, help you finish 12th or 13th in the Conference instead of 14th or 15th. As the Penguins and Capitals have shown us recently, teams have to get bad -- real bad -- before they can get good. There are few short-cuts (despite the Koules-Aid they'll sell you in Tampa), and they certainly don't involve giving up youth for antique junk.
There are other concerns (read: attendance) in play, of course, and an Adrian Aucoin or a Kyle McLaren could help some, I suppose. But when a team (or someone covering the team) is spending the offseason trying to figure out which of its four lines Todd White will center, and ends up with "Crusher [Erik Christensen] as the #1 center, White [as] the #2 and [Marty] Reasoner the #3," it's not quite time to be throwing away picks and prospects and adding other teams' over-priced castoffs. It's time to stay the course... and pray for John Tavares.