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Gameday: Senators at Thrashers

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The Thrashers aren't technically eliminated from the playoffs, but if you're still clinging onto hope, here's a bit of bad news: to hit the 90 points or so necessary to make the playoffs, the Thrashers would have to go on a 13-4-1 run the rest of the way. While that's not impossible - they were playing hockey that good in November for a time - it certainly doesn't seem like something the 2011 Atlanta Thrashers are capable of pulling off.

That said, there are a lot of positive things we can take from this year, most notably the solid performance of Rick Dudley as general manager. For example, we acquired our leading goal-scorer and captain Andrew Ladd for... a 2nd-round pick and Ivan Vishnevskiy. (After that trade I wrote a quick post on Ladd, it's quite humorous to see what we all thought back then... have a look here.)

Or perhaps the trade that brought us Dustin Byfuglien and friends? Sure, we eventually shipped out Eager and Sopel, but Byfuglien will be here at least five more years thanks to his recent extension. What did we give up? Marty Reasoner, Jeremy Morin, Joey Crabb, a 1st, and a 2nd. It'll take awhile to see if those two picks (along with Morin) pan out, but we can all be pretty confident that Byfuglien has panned out. In a big way.

It's been a frustrating year - and to be honest, I thought we'd end up with about 86-87 points, so we're falling short of that - but it seems as though this team is building in a solid direction. Dudley and company have done a fantastic job re-signing key players. Our three major signings still to complete are Ladd, Wheeler, and Bogosian, and if we can lock up those three without issue (all are RFAs), we'll be in good shape for next year. We have only three NHL-regular UFAs: Boulton, Meyer, and Dvorak.

Whether it seems like it or not, this team is having more success in trades and more success in signing players. Eventually, this will mean results. (And hopefully soon.)