New GM Rick Dudley is re-stocking the Atlanta Thrashers with a lot of players who fit his own, imposing image but Dudley must realize that he also needs to add some slick scorers too. While Nigel Dawes hasn’t exactly set the world on fire (his career high is 14 goals), he could provide a nice bang-for-the-buck boost to a Thrashers offense that is still looking for its identity after trading away Ilya Kovalchuk.
Chris Vivlamore reports that the team signed Dawes to a one-year, two-way deal worth $600K if he remains in the NHL or $105K if he plays in the AHL.
Dawes put up 14 goals and 18 assists for 32 points in 66 games played with the Calgary Flames last season. He also produced 21 points in the 2008-09 season and 29 in 07-08. Obviously, Dawes isn’t going to be a huge difference maker, but the Thrashers could have a nice bargain on their hands with this contract.
I feel a little awkward pointing this out, but the Thrashers easily have the most black players of any team in the NHL as Dawes joins Dustin Byfuglien, Evander Kane, Anthony Stewart and Johnny Oduya. It’s not an awful strategy from a marketing perspective, considering the demographic makeup of the Atlanta area. Of course, that gameplan will look even better if the Thrashers turn their team around.
Dawes won’t do that by himself, but if he becomes a fixture on the NHL roster, the undersized forward might be a big help in turning things around.
In some ways, it really felt like their first-round series.
For all the talent on both ends of the rink with the Detroit Red Wings and Tampa Bay Lightning, each squad can really smother opponents defensively when things go that way.
Through two periods, the two teams were very quiet. Things really picked up when Justin Abdelkader unleashed a big hit, a moment that injected enough life into the proceedings for the Red Wings to eventually build a 3-1 win.
Maybe they’re slipping under the radar a bit compared to previous iterations of the team, but it’s interesting that the Red Wings are now undefeated in three games.
They’ve been impressive at times, too, outscoring opponents by a combined score of 11-4.
Call it a refreshing time after Mike Babcock or merely carryover from a subtly solid run last season, but either way, the Red Wings may just be able to keep up their end of a brewing rivalry.
Taking three games to score your first NHL goal isn’t a big deal, unless you’re someone like Connor McDavid.
The mega-hyped wunderkind must feel relieved to finally find the net, as he tied tonight’s Edmonton Oilers – Dallas Stars skirmish with a 2-2 deflection goal, which you can watch above this post’s headline.
To no surprise, there were plenty of reactions, including Pierre LeBrun’s tweet (which inspired part of this headline).
Of course, there were the inevitable Wayne Gretzky comparisons:
Interesting thing you might not consider: Stars fans will have to stomach this one even more frequently than that time Patrik Stefan biffed that empty-netter (also against the Oilers):
McDavid may have also delivered his first questionable check, too: