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Trade Analysis: Part 1 The New Players

I'm going to cut right to the chase. If you're not expecting me to toss around some numbers today...well you came to the wrong blog. The Thrashers got cheaper, younger and bigger yesterday and added a prospect and a high pick in exchange for 2 months of Marian Hossa and Pascal Dupuis services. Let's break it down.

Colby Armstrong 25
2nd line winger who averages under half a point per game and can deliver some nasty hits.

Scoring Rate (Points per game) and Plus/minus
2007-08 0.44 +6
2006-07 0.43 +2
2005-06 0.85 +14

How he has been used in PIT
Total Ice Time/ Team Rank
2007-08 15:24 6th
2006-07 16:49 4th
2005-06 19:04 4th

His ice time has fallen a bit each season which is a bit concerning--on the other hand the Penguins have gotten better each season so you might have to fight harder for your minutes on a better team. In fact, he has ranked 6th in even strength ice team all three years in Pittsburgh, so the decline reflects a drop in special teams usage.

PK Ice Time/Team Rank
2007-08 2:06 5th
2006-07 3:53 2nd
2005-06 3:57 3rd

Armstrong was a top PK guy his first two seasons but slipped to the third PK pairing this year.

PP Ice Time/ Team Rank
2007-08 0:30
2006-07 1:22
2005-06 3:16

Armstrong was used extensively on the PP his 1st season, then sparingly in his 2nd and almost not at all this current year. I find it a bit surprising that a 2nd line guy sees so little PP time but a 3rd line guy like Christensen received more PP ice time in Pittsburgh.

Erik Christensen 24
Scoring Rate (Points per game) and Plus/minus
2007-08 0.41 -3
2006-07 0.54 -3
2005-06 0.39 -3

Has some scoring touch but not enough to break into the top 6. Strong in the shootout which could be worth a few standing points each season. According to numerous Pittsburgh fans Christensen has more offensive upside than he has shown so far in the NHL but he was stuck behind two All-Star centers with the Penguins. Looks like there could be a real battle next fall at training camp between Christensen, Little, T. White, Perrin over the top 2 center jobs in Atlanta next year.

Total Ice Time/ Team Rank
2007-08 12:36 9th
2006-07 11:37 12th
2005-06 14:16 7th

Checking line minutes for a guy who may have more than checking line talent.

PK Ice Time/Team Rank
2007-08 0:05 12th
2006-07 0:37 11th
2005-06 0:13 14th

Not really a PK guy.

PK Ice Time/Team Rank
2007-08 2:08 6th
2006-07 2:32 7th
2005-06 2:36 8th

Christensen plays on the 2nd PP unit at times, he never really shined in this role but since he's still just 24 there is a chance of a break through before he enters his peak years (late 20s).

Angelo Esposito 19
Scoring Rate (Points per game) and Plus/minus
2007-08 1.17
2006-07 1.32
2005-06 1.72 (playing with Alexander Radulov)

He has good size and a high skill level. His point production rate has slipped each season since teammate and future NHL star A. Radulov departed. Questions exist about his character or work ethic like many other Thrashers players from the Q (Bourret, Sharrow, Gamache, Desbiens). If he fulfills his potential the Thrashers just added a big chunk of talent to their base.

2008 1st rounder. Likely a low 1st round pick in a strong year. This pick probably has a 50-70% of producing a NHL player with a smaller chance of producing a NHL star player.

It all comes down to Esposito and the draft pick. If both develop and play well as Thrashers this trade was a major gain for the franchise. If neither pan out then the Thrashers got two complimentary pieces (2nd and 3rd line guys) but no impact players out of the Hossa and Dupuis rental trade. The good news is that all these players are inexpensive and will be RFA and thus their services can be retained for years into the future. This frees up a lot of payroll which could be used on other players--more on that in Part II.