(image by Ben Wright – Atlanta Thrashers)
GM Rick Dudley is the NHL.com top pick mid-way through the season for GM of the year this year. There was a lot of talk in the pre-season and first few weeks of the season, a lot of naysayers out there for the decisions made in the past, though one decision that was the most welcome of all, was the promotion of Rick Dudley from Assistant GM to GM. I am still not sure what was more exciting for Thrasher fans, the knowledge that Don Waddell was no longer the center of the game, or the left winger who started his NHL career with 13 goals and 26 points his rookie season, the health food nut who as head coach of the same team, The Buffalo Sabres, would lead his team to the playoffs in both the 89-90 season and the 90-91 season.
(image Joe Pelletier)
Shortly after taking over the reigns in Atlanta, GM Rick Dudley did the unimaginable. He took a quarter of the Chicago Blackhawks Stanley Cup Champions in a deal made possible with the Ilya Kovalchuk trade early in 2010, Dudley was given enough “extras” to help the Chicago Blackhawks lower their salary cap significantly.
And Blueland couldn’t be happier. There as a lot of anger and disbelief in Atlanta for a while. In this interview between Chris Vivlamore and, at the time GM, Don Waddell, the fans rather speak for themselves. What a difference almost a year makes. John Torchetti, one of many new faces in the Atlanta Thrasher system, highlights some of the incredible additions Duds has bought to Thrasherville in this Bleacher Report from Warren Shaw.
From Brian Compton’s piece today, Rick Dudley is quoted as saying “I don’t know that we are anywhere I didn’t think we’d be…We knew that in the early part of the season it would be a chore. We knew that there would be games when we’d play pretty well and we knew that there would be games where we would struggle. Are we a perfect team? We are a long way from that. There aren’t too many perfect teams that I know of. So are we looking to tweak things, to add things to make us better? Sure. But we are a team that’s learning and we are becoming better at certain things.” After the “game that didn’t happen”, that is quite a statement and one, I am certain, the Atlanta Thrashers are happy to know comes from their General Manager. Especially with the current slump the Atlanta Thrashers appear to have fallen in.