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Thrashers Sign Hainsey

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Here's my off the cuff reaction. I'll do some more digging and number crunching later.

Plus: He's 27 so the five year deal will cover his age 28, 29, 30, 31 and 32 seasons. Glad to see we're not gambling on another 33+ guy. He has some offensive upside breaking 30 points the last two seasons--which suggest he can make an outlet pass.

Even: The money is $4.5 per year which is probably more than he will be worth, but with the cap rising quickly who knows. If Hainsey proves to be a true top 4 guy this salary will look fine in another year or two. Right now I'd say Hainsey is overpaid but this contract doesn't strike me as a killer contract. Finished 2nd to last in plus/minus among the Blue Jackets regular defensemen.

Minus: He's not an impact guy and this club needs a difference maker badly. Hainsey replacing Zhitnik might save this team 10-15 goals against over the course of a season. That still leaves the Thrashers well short of respectability on the defensive side of the puck. Too bad we didn't acquire him when Montreal dropped him to waviers two seasons ago, that would have been a nice little pick up.

Botton Line: If Bogosian makes the club and both he and Hainsey push Exelby and Klee to the third pairing that might shave 20 goals against off last season's total. That would bump the Thrashers in the right direction defensively, but when you consider that the offense will be weaker with Armstrong replacing Hossa's on offense and penalty killing, the most rosey scenario I can spin out has the Thrashers simply holding their position in the standings. Even with this signing I anticipate competing for a top three lottery pick. This move isn't going keep Ilya Kovalchuk in Thrashers blue past 2010.