Report: Dafoe headed to Atlanta

The Canadian Press says the struggling Thrashers will pick up the former Bruin and either try to trade Milan Hnilicka or demote Pasi Nurminen.

Goaltender Byron Dafoe appears headed to Atlanta. The Thrashers have offered the unrestricted free agent a contract and the deal could be finalized Monday or Tuesday, according to a source.

Dafoe has missed nearly two months of the NHL season while waiting at his Boston home. The 31-year-old was fourth in the NHL with 35 wins last season, while sporting a 2.21 goals-against average and a .907 save percentage with the Bruins.

But his stock fell when he struggled in the first round of the playoffs against Montreal.

The Thrashers, 4-10-1-1, have had lacklustre performances in goal from Milan Hnilicka and Pasi Nurminen. Hnilicka, who started the year as No. 1 before being usurped by Nurminen two weeks ago, is 0-9-0 with a 4.16 goals-against average and an .882 save percentage. Nurminen is 4-3-1 with a 3.45 GAA and an .878 save percentage.

Signing Dafoe is made a little easier by the fact that Nurminen has a two-way contract, worth $630,000 US in the NHL and $82,500 US in the minors. Nurminen would probably be bound for the AHL unless the Thrashers can move Hnilicka and his $1.25 million US salary.

Thrashers GM Don Waddell was looking for a proven goaltender to come in and bridge the gab while 2002 first-round pick Kari Lehtonen of Finland takes time to develop.

A call to Waddell wasn’t immediately returned