Do The Thrashers Have Large Talons?

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Thrashers Sign Hainsey

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.

6 Comments:

  • ...and they still have $17.2M to spend, based on your numbers. Do we just give everyone a raise?

    By Blogger Andy, at 5:05 PM  

  • Here's hoping that we are through with FA's. Still some good/decent offensive pieces out there. Hainsey was a time eater in CLB, 22+ minutes per game. Not impact though, but a CLB blogger/analyst compared his puck moving ability to Rosival(sp).

    By Anonymous Bluto, at 5:36 PM  

  • We still have $17 million in estimated budget money.

    In terms of the cap floor we're about $5 million below it. Lehtonen will probably get a $2 million pay raise. So we still need to pick up another $3 million in cap hit just to reach the floor.

    By Blogger The Falconer, at 5:37 PM  

  • This is a great addition to the Thrasher lineup. Maybe overpaid, but that's the price you need to pay in addition to the Thrasher tax. I'd like to see either Exelby or Klee (preferably both) moved in a trade. I'd rather have Kwiatkowski fill a 3rd line spot than either of those two immobile defensemen.

    By Blogger Andrew, at 6:18 PM  

  • I like the Hainsey signing, especially as a complement to Enstrom on the PP. I saw him in person in a game in Anaheim and watched him several times on Center Ice late in the season since I thought he would be a good fit for the Thrashers. He is a strong skater, generally brought the puck up on the PP. The Jackets struggled on the PP but that's more due to the fact that Zherdev(traded today) and Nash are really one-on-one players in extremis. I like the fact that Hainsey lowered his PIM significantly this year: I think because of his size, he was expected to be something he isn't and he stopped trying to live up to those expectations and played his game (which is a little soft defensively) this year. To get to the +9 that Boston (8th place) had, the Thrashers will have to improve by 20% (GF/GA). That will almost certainly put them in the top 3 or 4 most improved teams, a tall order in an improving division.

    By Blogger Big Picture Guy, at 8:08 PM  

  • Big Picture: Your comments are encouraging, but as you point out improving the GF/GA to make the playoffs will require more than huge gains not incremental ones.

    Looking at Alan Ryder's PC numbers Hainsey rates higher than I would have expected so that is also a plus.

    I also expect some incremental gains from young players like Armstrong, Christensen, Little, etc who will all receive some portion of Hossa's PP ice time.

    These are all small positives though, if the Thrashers have any hope of making the playoffs they need to throw a huge 1 or 2 year offer at Demitra or Jagr (probably wouldn't accept it but worth a try perhaps). I also like Huslius but we already have two scoring LWs.

    By Blogger The Falconer, at 8:38 PM  

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