Desperate Thrashers Interested In Dafoe

It’s not what Byron Dafoe had in mind on July 1 when unrestricted free agency beckoned but the Atlanta Thrashers could end up being his salvation.

The Thrashers, last in the NHL standings, may turn to Dafoe if they don’t start to get better goaltending from No. 1 starter Milan Hnilicka.

Hnilicka was on the bench last night when Atlanta played the Toronto Maple Leafs as backup Pasi Nurminen got the start. That’s because Hnilicka is 0-8-0 with a 4.10 goals-against average and a .883 save percentage.

“We went through the whole summer and we believed Milan was our guy,” Thrashers general manager Don Waddell said yesterday.

“But up until recently, we really didn’t think it was the area that we thought we needed to improve on. What it comes down to now is that yes, if we are interested in Byron Dafoe, it comes down to a financial decision because you’re going to spend money that you didn’t plan on spending.”


19 Responses to Desperate Thrashers Interested In Dafoe

  1. mikster says:

    The Thrashers do not need to waste money on goaltending. Hnilicka is a solid goaltender for an expansion team and back-up Nurminen plays like a young Richter. The goaltending always gives this team a chance to gain points.

    The team needs to focus on better defense and a new coach. I find it too hard to believe that teams like the Wild, B’Jacks, and Predators (aside from the slow start, talent is a lot better) are way ahead of the Thrashers.

    Hnilicka isn’t such a bad goalie, and his numbers would improve on a better defensive team. His Saving Percantage last season was .908 which is better, of so little difference, than Brodeur’s .906 in the past two seasons.

    He had a bad start, but goaltending is not the number one problem. Dafoe will not make this team THAT much better. Dafoe will face the same defense and offense of his team just like Hnilicka has, and he too will have similar numbers.

    Sure, it improves the team…….but they still need better defense and offense. Probably a new coach too and better scouts.

  2. Blueandwhite says:

    How long can they use the excuse that they are an expansion team? I don’t think much longer.

    Hnilicka is a good goalie but I think you are giving him way too much credit. Granted his Defence sucks, but Dafoe would be able to steal more games than Hnilicka can.

  3. garry1221 says:

    true, the stats say he’s a good goalie, but he just aint doin it, yeah the team aint that great, but in my mind, the expansion team bs aint cuttin it no more, they’ve been round for a couple years, and like u said, all other expansion teams have improved put it simply, they need to spend a little, ….well find a way to get the money to spend, i’ve seen this coming, and i know i’ve said it here a couple thousand times lol, you can’t blame the coach for not having much to work with, that blame falls on the GM, the team needed help and they started by gettin the likes of kozlov, mceachern and smelik, like usual, dogsleddin season comes and krupp het’s ‘hurt’ so that don’t suprise me, and yes, as was already said, w/ dafoe they can steal a few more games than they could w/ either of the other two goalies, dafoe’s solid and he’ll help the team,

  4. Habs4ever says:

    Unless the thrashers spend less than 4 mil on him per year, its wasting money. If they need better goaltending, Hackett would be a better fit and probably cheaper than Dafoe. Hackett does make 3.6 mil per year, but now he’s playing like an 6-7 mil goalie. The only problem is he tends to get injured. If the Thrashers go for a goalie it will probably be Hackett, because let’s face it, Hackett is about as good as Dafoe, and Montreal will surely pick up part of Hack’s salary if he is moved.

  5. ggscum says:

    it’s really not that suprising, a desperate team talking a a desperate goalie that noone seems to want.

  6. mikster says:

    I am sure he can, but i’d rather see a tougher defense, a better coached team, than wasting $5 million on Dafoe.

  7. Tradedude says:

    i wouldn’t sign him just yet, nurminen looked spectacular against toronto saving 30 some-odd shots and being selected #1 for the three stars.

  8. MantaRay says:

    Some goalies stat’s look good on paper, but the end result they can’t win (steal) games from the opposition. Hlinka doesn’t even look that good on paper and I think he is just jaded with no help insight.

    Dafoe is the kind of player that makes his team play better. Just examine Bostons record in games Dafoe didn’t play. He actually solidified the team for what ever reason.

    Dafoe is a quality goalie that would help out Atlanta right away and they need SOMETHING.

  9. mikster says:

    Hnilicka gives his team a chance to win.

    It;s not easy to steal games, and Dafoe was one of the reasons why the Bruins didn’t get past the 1st round.

    He is a solid goalie, and yes he will help the Thrashers a lot. But, it’s a big investment in Dafoe and they might want to use that investment in defense, a new coach, and new scouts.

    Your bubble will be up soon. That means an article next week!

  10. garry1221 says:

    at this point in the season with all teeams pretty much locked on goalies, do u really think dafoe would be crazy enough to stand firm on the 5 mill. salary he originally asked for?… frankly i believe he’d take the best offer, low as it may be… i just can’t see dafoe being stupid enough to sit out a season cause of the money, hell, if he sits out this season he might as well retire…. but i don’t see that happening, true, he didn’t look so good in the playoffs, but remember, the habs were of fire then too, and it’s like u’ve stated before, the team needs offense and defence to help, and in that first round, there wasn’t much of either helping dafoe out…. fraser aint the problem in atlanta, he’s doing the best he can do, it’s the GM making the deals and signing the players, waddell will go before fraser does

  11. mikster says:

    Originally, it was $6M

    Rumors say it could be $4M $4.5M

    I say Dafoe can definitely fool a team and make it very close to, or exactly, $5M.

    I am glad you agree on the offense and defense though garry!

  12. MossRocks says:

    The Thrashers need a GM – Waddell is horrible. His offseason work was all smoke and mirrors and the team is proving that every night.

    How can you even evaluate Fraser with that team? Their personnel is awful all over the ice – that is Waddell’s work. He should have passed on Kozlov and kept his 2nd round pick. If he did this he could have picked Bouwmeester or Pitkanen and then used the 32nd pick overall to take Deslauriers, the #1 rated N.A. goalie prospect in the draft. Wouldn’t this have made more sense?

  13. SabresFanB says:

    What Atlanta needs is to trade Stefan and Kovoluck to the Sabres for Mika Noronen, one of our centers (maybe a defensive center like Curtis Brown) and a pick.

    Stick that in your pipe and smoke it.

  14. mikster says:

    Probably, but Fraser will most likely get fired.

    I don’t like Waddell, simply because his only good picks were Kovalchuk and Heatley, and they were no-brainers. Stefan was also a good pick, and i’d get him in a flash since he is their main trade bait.

    Waddell needs to be fired, Neil Smith might get the job, but he is a horrible negotiator with contracts and calls players to give them high offers without even negotiating.

    “Hey Leetch”


    “Would you take a contracts that has $8.6M and $9.6M without a trade clause?”


    “Ok, great! then come here so you can sign”

    That’s Neil Smith. Neil Smith would have probably signed Richter at again $6 million a season.

    Would the Thrashers want him? Maybe to attract UFA players. He is also not a good drafter. But hey, who else is really avilable? Bob Gainey is already the Leafs futue GM.

  15. big_booty says:

    When it comes right down to it, Byron Dafoe is a better goalie than what the Thrashers have now. While the team supposedly made improvements in the off-season, there is a need for an upgrade in net.

    Hnilicka just isn’t getting it done.

  16. Lint07 says:

    Who is your Kovoluk guy? The Atlanta trainer?? I know a guy named Kovalchuk though who is hell of a player and for who it would take half of your Buffalo players just to talk about it in a trade.

    Keep dreamin’ little buddy…

  17. MantaRay says:

    He deflats his team and they are scared to take chances. I think Hlinka will be a good back-up.

    Dafoe will win more games than Hlinka with the same team in front of him.

  18. mikster says:

    Win more games that mean little. Hnilicka is a great back, but a decent starter with a decent back up in Nurminen.

    Getting solid d-men would improve the team more than spending money on Dafoe, who missed trading camp and match practices.

  19. mikster says:

    Upgrade in net shouldn’t be more important than making upgrades for the defense. Give Hnilicka a better defense and he will get the job done, for million of dollars less.

    Signing Dafoe will just improve the goaltending, show a desperate move by Waddell, ‘assuring’ his fans that this expansion team will improve.

    I’d rather see them get Zyuzin (even though he is a pure bust who has to clear waivers) and Kyle McLaren than signing Dafoe.

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