In a move announced at about 1:00 AM Eastern time, the Thrashers sent center Todd White to the New York Rangers for forwards Donald Brashear and Patrick Rissmiller. The move was one that myself, as well as many other Thrashers fans, have hinted at wanting to happen for quite a while, but a contract buy-out wasn't an option (the Thrashers couldn't buy out White unless he approved due to his injury at the end of the season). I had assumed that the team was going to have to continue to pay White his $2,600,000 salary ($2,375,000 cap hit) until at least the trade deadline, when he could be dealt for a pick or two. Color me shocked when I awoke this morning to the news that White would be wearing red, white, and blue.
The 36 year old center gives the Rangers some depth, as well as possible help and some familiarity to Rangers winger Marian Gaborik. What did the Thrashers get in return, other than a salary dump for a team that is already close to the cap floor? They got 38 year old fighter Donald Brashear (some might remember him from his welcome to Zach Bogosian a few years ago) who was promptly put on waivers. If Brashear clears, and all signs point to him clearing, he will be bought out for two thirds of his remaining contract, or $1.4 million. This works out to a cap hit of at or around $467,000, which is significantly less than White's. Rissmiller has a two-way deal with a cap hit of just $1,000,000. He has NHL experience, most recently two seasons (2006-2008) with the San Jose Sharks. He didn't quite cut it with the Rangers, but succeeded after being lent to the Grand Rapids Bulldogs of the AHL for this season. He's a solid addition to the Chicago Wolves, who will probably be losing more than one player to the Thrashers this season.
Suspect numero uno as to who will be the first Wolf forward to make the Thrashers out of camp is Patrice Cormier. Everyone has noticed how much he has been talked up since February by both Don Waddell and Rick Dudley. Cormier fits into Dudley's rock 'em, sock 'em attitude about a hundred times more than White could ever hope to. Dudley has made no secret of the kind of team that he wants to ice this coming season. Big, strong, and quite an impresser at prospect camp, Cormier is a lock to center either the third or fourth lines, depending on where Jim Slater is placed.
If you don't think that this is a vastly different Thrashers team than the one that was iced last year, then all you need to do is look at Chris Vivlamore's breakdown of the sixteen players who started the season with the team last year and who are now gone. This is nowhere near the same squad, and Dudley's not done yet.