It didn't take long before the dominos started to fall, and it looks like those in the ATL are ready to make a serious playoff run. First, the Thrashers picked-up defenseman Alexei Zhitnik from Philadelphia and then this morning, they finalized a deal to get Keith Tkachuk.
The Zhitnik deal was announced after the early games last night. It sent Zhitnik to his third team this year, while Philadelphia got defensive prospect Braydon Coburn. Zhitnik has 23 points this season with the Isles and Flyers, but we basically picked-up to help the awful puck moving defense in Atlanta and bring some veteran leadership to the fold. The Flyers will enjoy Coburn, who never found his nitch in the Atlanta organization. Coburn is a definite upgrade over Freddy Meyer IV who was traded to the Islanders to get Zhitnik.
Tkachuk waited a little bit to give Atlanta an answer, considering his no-trade clause; but he eventually lifted it. In return, the St. Louis Blues got Glen Metropolit, a 1st and 3rd round pick in the 2007 Draft, and a 2nd round pick in the 2008 Draft. Tkachuk has done well with the Blues with 20 goals and 43 points on the season and will add much needed depth to the Thrashers front line. Metropolit was in his first year back from three years overseas, and didn't do too shabby with 12 goals and 28 points, including a +9.
Now, the Zhitnik trade may be mortgaging the future for the here and now, but I can understand what the Thrashers wanted to. They needed someone on defense who knows how to play the position and can move the puck around too.
The Tkachuk deal is leaving me scratching my head. Draft picks, nowadays, are just a goldmine of talent. And considering that the Thrashers could be fighting for a spot, the Blues could have two nicely positioned first-round spots. Not only that, but the Thrashers will probably only get Tkachuk's services for the remaining 18 games and whatever playoff games they have, since Tkachuk is an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season. This is a scenario where it is mortgaging the future.
Let's be honest, the Thrashers have been in free-fall mode for the past couple of weeks, and the odds of them making the playoffs on this pace is not really a guarantee. If they spent all this for nothing; then the ownership may have to question the future of GM Don Waddell and head coach Bob Hartley.
When all is said and done, you really can't fault the Thrashers for trying....even if they do fall flat on their face.