This is old news since someone posted it on the Thrashers boards yesterday, but Zherdev has a very interesting interview out with Sport Express pertaining to his future next year. Within it the OP, Shepherd, caught this gem:
- North-American press assumes that you could nicely complement Kovlachuk and Antropov in Atlanta
- Yes. The most serious conversation is going on with the Thrashers. Although, threre are other options. Personally, I would like to come to Atlanta, where several good Russian players are. It would be more pleasant and comfortable to play with them.
- Have you discussed it with Kovalchuk?
- We are preparing for a new season together, and of course, I've asked him about Atlanta (city) and situation in the team. Of course, Ilya wants me to join the team (laughing). We could be a nice company (laughing). I played with Antropov in the Rangers last season, even shared the hotel room with him. There is also Slava Kozlov. Probably I will sign with the Thrashers for one year - first I need to look around and check things out.
Wait - what? Huh? Someone sees the players we have here and WANTS TO PLAY HERE? No. Freaking. Way. What a shock.
Seriously, this is pretty good news despite the fact that this means possibly re-tweaking the lines/not letting a kid play this season/shipping players off. Why do we have to ship players off if we're under the salary cap this year, you ask? Revenue sharing. If a team exceeds a certain amount of money spent on the cap, they don't qualify. Zherdev is expected to come with a hefty contract.
That news dovetails with the speculation from Andy Strickland that Manny Legace has been invited to the Thrashers' training camp week after next. We have five guys worth of depth in goal: Lehtonen, Hedberg, Pavelec, Mannio, and MacIntyre. Two of those are probable AHLers, and were specifically signed by Waddell this off-season for a reason: to fill Turple's hole as backup, and to possibly step in as the Wolves' #1 if something happened with Pavelec (injury,call-up, etc).
We're now having to work Kari's injury prone self into how to keep under the cap. Well, his $3 million or so salary would be more expensive than anyone else's. He just had back surgery. He has a SplodeyGroin. He has been known to be pouty when pulled from a game for the team's good. Occasionally he'll perform poorly for games that start before 7:00 EST (apparently he doesn't like to wake up early). If we want to do well this year, we need a goalie who can stay healthy all season and play strongly. The games that Kari missed last season contained some close scoring matches that frankly, I believe had he played in them, we probably would have won.
Manny is experienced and still has some gas in the tank. Don't put him into a situation where he has to deal with horrible direct competition (a la Mason last season), and he should be at least mentally ok. Keep him away from Sarah Palin and carpets, and he's golden. Oh, and he'd probably be about a million dollar cap hit, so there's that, too.