It seemed like Atlanta was thinking about next season rather than this one when they made a deal with the Boston Bruins a couple of weeks ago, but GM Rick Dudley apparently still has designs on a playoff spot now.
The Thrashers, who sent one of their top offensive threats Rich Peverley to Boston for younger players Blake Wheeler and Mark Stuart, have won only four times in their last 20 games. In the process, they'v blown a playoff spot they had much of the season and fallen to 11th in the East. Atlanta's owners are desperate to sell too, but the reality is that Atlanta is still only four points below the cutoff.
So Atlanta is still in the mix, and Dudley has pulled off a nice little deal to help the cause by getting Radek Dvorak and even a fifth-round pick from the Florida Panthers.
Dvorak isn’t a difference maker of course, but he’s a versatile 15-year veteran who went to the 2006 Stanley Cup Finals with Edmonton. Dvorak has very good speed, scores some and kills penalty very well And Atlanta is only on the hook for the balance of his $1.7 million salary this season.
For the Panthers, the key to this deal is Bergfors, a 23-year-old forward who has now been dumped by two teams in the last year. He was part of the package New Jersey sent to Atlanta last year for Ilya Kovalchuk, but he Bergfors has apparently worn out his welcome with the Thrashers, who made him a healthy scratch several times lately.
Still, Bergfors was a first round draft pick of New Jersey in 2005 and he’s young enough to have an upside. Florida also picked up Patrick Rissmiller. He’s a 32-year- old forward who has has spent much of the last three seasons in the minors after a few seasons with the San Jose Sharks.