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Rumor: Dudley to become GM, Waddell Team President

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There are plenty of rumors floating around about Head Coach John Anderson, but even greater changes may be afoot in Atlanta. I have received information that one of the part-owners of the Thrashers remarked this weekend that Atlanta Spirit is considering moving Don Waddell up to Team President and giving Rick Dudley the GM duties this summer.

If Dudley is elevated to the GM job, he has one a major advantage--he spent the last year looking at the Thrashers current crop of prospects and looking at players eligible for the 2010 NHL Draft. He has had time to assess the organization's strength's and weakness in player development. He likely has an opinion on which players to keep and which ones to deal away.

On the other hand, one potential disadvantage might be having Waddell directly above him--it might be hard for Waddell to let go of day-to-day decision making. However, it should be noted that Waddell has always been very hands off with his head coaches. When Hartley refused to play Kunitz, Waddell didn't force the issue and tried to send Kunitz down (put lost him back to ANA on waivers). It appears that Waddell let Anderson bench Kozlov despite a long relationship between Waddell and Kozlov. Another factor is that Dudley and Waddell go way back and have worked together in the past. Perhaps there would be less tension than in some other cases where the GM moved up the ladder.

Finally let me add this note. As someone who writes about the Thrashers I hear a fair number of rumors and I rarely publish them. I consider this source to be credible and it is consistent with information I have received in the past, namely, that in the recent past Waddell was offered the choice of staying GM or becoming President and chose to remain GM. If both pieces of information are accurate, it sounds like it might not be his choice this time around.