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

15 Responses to Report: Dafoe headed to Atlanta

  1. mikster says:

    Nurminen should be kept, he plays very similar to Richter sometimes.

    I guess signing Dafoe is a big upgrade in the crease, but i don’t think he will turn this team around. He played for a solid team the past couple of seasons, let’s see if he can do the same for the Thrashers.

  2. mikster says:

    Also….it’s a no win situation for Dafoe. I am sure he would have wanted to go to another team rather than Atlanta, but not only that, he also gets less money than what he originally asked for, $6M.

  3. pantherboy says:

    Why they didn’t offer him a contract in the off-season is beoned me. I don’t really think they should sign him, well at least not to a long contract. They have the #2 overall Keri LEthon waiting to join the team, and let me tell you, this kid is going to be good.

  4. leafwatcher says:

    I think they should try to hold on to Nurminen, sign Dafoe, and trade Hnilicka.

  5. cwhockey says:

    Someone on Atlanta will be released or traded if Dafoe is signed. The trade that is bringing Savard to Atlanta pushes the number of contract players in the organization to 50, the max any team can have.

    If Dafoe is signed, someone has to go. Could be a trade, could be a player is released. If they could get rid of at least one of their underacheiving goalies (Rhodes, Maracle and now Hnilicka), that would be the best case. Or any other minor trade. If not, then someone would probably be released. The likely candidate for that is Kallio, since he has refused to report to the minors and is basically doing nothing for the team at this point.

  6. mikster says:

    Scandinavian goalies take a while to play in the NHL.

    If this kid makes it in two years, he is definitely good.

  7. saksfan says:

    Rhodes was gone months ago…his contract was bought out.

  8. rojoke says:

    The Hockey News reported in the Oct. 11 issue he failed his physical. The Thrashers bought him out, but he’s filed a grievance against the team, claiming he’s not fully recovered from last season’s hernia surgery. Until that grievance is heard, he’s still technically under contract to Atlanta.

  9. rojoke says:

    TSN reported that the Rangers offered him a contract as well, or at least are talking contract. He’d be a definite number one in both cities, but the way things are shaking out, neither are playing like playoff teams right now. So he has to ask himself if he’s willing to sit out until the New Year, maybe the entire season, to wait for the right situation to arise. It’s too bad the IHL folded. He could have at least stayed in game shape there.

  10. wayne2 says:

    If Atlanta`s able to sign him,they`re going to be pretty close to making the playoffs.If the coach is smart he will play Savard centering Heatly and Kowalchuk,Savard is a great playmaker.I could see Macheacern-Koslov-Barteko as a number two line.And to think our du..ass Muckler traded Mac for Pothier.

  11. MantaRay says:

    That being the case they should package Kallio and Hlinka for a strong stay at home defensemen.

  12. MantaRay says:

    Signing Dafoe is a must as he will turn this team around. Just look at what he did in Boston and how they team performed without him the past several seasons.

    I agree with Leafwatcher 100% sign Dafoe trade Hlinka and Kallo for dependable stay at home D man.

  13. mikster says:

    Sure, Slats offered probably a 2 year deal worth $7M.

    Right time to get Dafoe, since he is in his prime, but….he should only come to NYC if Richter is out for almost the whole season and with thoughts of retiring.

  14. mikster says:

    By the way, Rangers never made an offer to Dafoe, false reports from TSN.

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