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Draft Day Roster Retooling

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The Thrashers dealt their first ever draft pick Patrick Stefan (1999) and Jaroslav Modry in a draft day trade for Niko Kapanen and a 7th rounder. For me this trade was an important moment because it demonstrated that the Thrashers management had taken a hard look at the roster and realized that these players just were not good enough and they were holding the team back.

When a team is in the building phase, I have no problem signing project players or giving ice time to not-quite-finished prospects. However, as a team begins to contend the management has to be ruthless in evaluating which players are helpful and which are standng in the way of moving forward. This can be difficult the GM acquired these players in the first and believed they could contribute. Not every move Don Waddell makes is going to work out, but the key is that the GM recognize when it is not working and move forward.

One potential consequence of losing Stefan, Savard and Modry over the summer is that the Thrashers are waving goodbye to three of their leading stupid penalty takers. Hopefully, this will result in decrease in the number of power kill situations over the course of the next season. Nothing was as frustrating as watching Savard, Modry and Stefan seated in the box after yet another unncessary hook, hold or ruffing call. If you're going to leave your team shorthanded, at least get whistled because you were trying to drill them into the boards (Holik, Sutton at times) not because you were out of position on the ice.

The player that the Thrashers received in retun, Niko Kapanen, is not someone I expect to set the world on fire. He shares some similarities with Stefan but he has two attributes Stefan lacks. First, he will make about half as much money (every dollar counts in these salary cap days) and he is Finnish and might give young Kari Lehtonen someone to hang with during the next season.
The other big news was the resigning for Nic Havelid who would have become an unrestricted free agent this summer. Don Waddell signed him for just under $9 million over three years. When asked if he got a home team discount by Havelid, DW declined to use that phrase but did say he thought Havelid would have fetched $10-11 over three years as an UFA this summer.