Atlanta Thrashers trade Jason Williams

Jonathan Willis
January 14 2009 09:00PM

Puck-Rakers, hands down the best source of information on the Columbus Blue Jackets, has reported that Columbus has acquired Jason Williams from the Atlanta Thrashers in exchange for prospect Clay Wilson and a sixth round draft pick.

First, let’s look at the contracts involved.

Williams –- $2.2 million for 2008-09, pending UFA

Wilson –- $650K for 2008-09, pending RFA

Williams has struggled in Atlanta this season, recording only 18 points in 41 games after scoring at a nearly point-per-game pace last season. According to Behind the Net he’s played the toughs this season, ranking fourth among Thrashers forwards in Quality of Competition, and he’s done it with the worst linemates of any Thrashers forward. He has a -7 rating and a lousy Corsi number, but he’s been a decent player over his career and I’d suggest that most of his even-strength struggles can be chalked up to playing tough minutes on a lousy team. He isn’t putting up power-play numbers either; he’s fallen off the first unit (he’s traditionally played the point on the power-play) and the results haven’t been there on the second unit.

Williams is a pretty good pickup for the Blue Jackets; the team has been in need of a right-shooting point man on their power-play, and with their forward corps decimated by injuries (including Rick Nash and Derrick Brassard), one would imagine that Williams fits in nicely and has a bit of a rebound over the second half of the season. He may even get a chance at centering the team’s first line. Here’s how Ken Hitchcock described Williams:

“We know quite a bit about Jason, he’s a very serviceable player who can really help us. He brings an element to our team will help us at 5-on-5 and on the power play. He’s got an excellent shot and he looks to shoot.”

This acquisition is a pretty good sign that the Blue Jackets haven’t given up the chase for their first-ever playoff spot.

Clay Wilson is an extremely vanilla prospect; he’s an undrafted defenceman, but over the past few seasons he’s generated considerable offense in the AHL, more than he generated in college hockey. He turns 26 this season, and has played for three different AHL teams in three years, suggesting that he isn’t especially in demand by NHL clubs. A sixth round pick isn’t much of a return either; I’m a fan of teams stockpiling draft choices, because you never know, but in reality it’s far more likely that a sixth round pick turns into nothing than an actual NHL player.

It isn’t surprising to see Atlanta (14th in the East and 14 points out of a playoff spot) throw in the towel; it’s just unfortunate that the team’s general manager since day one, Don Waddell, still has a job. I’d call this trade a hands-down win for the Blue Jackets; they get a useful NHL player who fits a team need in exchange for virtually nothing,

Aside from the obvious playoff race implications, this suggests that the Thrashers might be willing to ship away their checking line centre, a proven veteran with experience winning face-offs, killing penalties, and a sterling plus/minus facing the opposition’s best players on a bottom-feeding team.

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Jonathan Willis is a freelance writer. He currently works for Oilers Nation, the Edmonton Journal and Bleacher Report. He's co-written three books and worked for myriad websites, including Grantland, ESPN, The Score, and Hockey Prospectus. He was previously the founder and managing editor of Copper & Blue.
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#1 mikemc8
January 14 2009, 09:21PM
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Hahaha... I certainly predicted a Reasoner return at the deadline ever since he signed with ATL. At the time, it was a joke. Right now it's sad, but he actually would help this team with two of the problems they have.

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#2 Deans
January 14 2009, 09:34PM
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An NHL trade?!?! This is probably one of the signs of the apocalypse.

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#3 The Towel Boy
January 14 2009, 10:01PM
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As a certain internet prognosticator would term it: "This may be the first domino to fall. (e4)"

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#4 Jonathan Willis
January 14 2009, 10:42PM
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@ The Towel Boy:

No, I think it's more of an E2. He leans towards E2 when he uses the word "may". If he says "possibly" it's E3, and if he says "likely" it's E4.

And if Ryan Smyth is involved, it's E5.

As a side note, in my little comparison between his wild guessing anyd my wild guessing, I'm fairly sure the Oren Koules & Len Barrie have a substantial lead.

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#5 Wanye Gretz
January 15 2009, 12:01AM
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E1 E2 E3?

Is this when I yell "Bingo?"

What is anyone talking about?

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#6 Jack Bauer
January 15 2009, 02:07AM
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Its a rating system that this internet rumor blogger Eklund uses. I believe is on The Hockey News website. Anyways hes a joke, actually thats insulting people who are a joke, hes a disgrace on the internet and hes generally dead wrong. If you go on youtube there is a thing where PJ Stock makes up a rumor involving Marian Hossa going to Montreal, he tells Eklund, Eklund posts up the rumor as having a lot of weight behind it, only to have PJ come back and say he made it all up.

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#7 OilerInPurgatory
January 15 2009, 05:26AM
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Wanye Gretz wrote:

E1 E2 E3? Is this when I yell “Bingo?”

You mean bingoE!

Which means cha-ching(oe) when the clickthrough revenue comes in for Eklund as everyone reads his rumours. Just don't go to his site.

Mmm, potatoe.

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#8 The Towel Boy
January 15 2009, 07:28AM
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It's not as golden as I thought it'd be...but it's still good when people screw around with Dwayne.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_RyPSW9qQmk

Oh, and I get all my rumours from this guy, amazing insight...must be a real player behind the scenes:

http://peklundthephoneyhockeyblogger.blogspot.com/

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#9 baggedmilk
January 15 2009, 09:11AM
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Wanye Gretz wrote:

E1 E2 E3? Is this when I yell “Bingo?” What is anyone talking about?

Wanye, refer here good sir. I speak of it.

http://www.oilersnation.com/2008/12/righteous-sack-beating-week-ending-dec-26/

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#10 Jonathan Willis
January 15 2009, 09:46AM
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Jack Bauer wrote:

I believe is on The Hockey News website.

No - he's got his own site. The only MSM outlet to use him were the wonderful folks at Sportsnet, desperate to prove that, yes, the Score has a chance at the #2 deadline show in Canada.

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#11 Colin
January 15 2009, 10:36AM
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Would the oilers really reaquire reasoner for a 3rd go?

I can't imagine the OBC admitting they made a mistake.

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#12 baggedmilk
January 15 2009, 10:36AM
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@ Jonathan Willis:

****EKLUND ALERT*****

****EKLUND ALERT*****

"Sources say that Ryan Smyth has in fact signed a 5-year deal with the Oilers in the range of $5.75 million per."

End Quote...

love baggedmilk

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#13 David Staples
January 15 2009, 11:35AM
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@Jonathan, the fact that you know that Columbus needed a right-handed shooter on the powerplay impresses the hell out of me.

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#14 Chris
January 15 2009, 11:42AM
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A potential point-a-game guy for 2.2 million? Seems odd: In Edmonton we pay those players 7 million.

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#15 Mike Krushelnyski
January 15 2009, 12:07PM
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@ Chris:

The key word there is potential

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#16 Jonathan Willis
January 15 2009, 12:10PM
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David Staples wrote:

@Jonathan, the fact that you know that Columbus needed a right-handed shooter on the powerplay impresses the hell out of me.

I'm a big fan of Howson/Hitchcock; and this Columbus team looks a hell of a lot like a bunch of gritty, litle-no-talent Oilers teams I watched for years.

They also have a bunch of players on that team that I follow fairly closely; suffice to say, I pay more attention to the Blue Jackets than most.

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#17 Travis Dakin
January 15 2009, 01:15PM
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Has anybody bought a shirt from this site? I'm trying to but it keeps sending me to paypal and it doesn't tell ne where to send the money. Dammit Wanye this is supposed to be easy.

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#18 Dana @ AgileStyle
January 15 2009, 01:27PM
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@ Travis Dakin: When you get redirected to PayPal it should ask you to login or register in order to continue payment. Have you tried logging in?

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#19 Travis Dakin
January 15 2009, 01:34PM
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@ Dana @ AgileStyle:

yup, I log in and then it tells me to fill out how much to send and asks for an address to send it to.

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#20 Dana @ AgileStyle
January 15 2009, 01:41PM
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I can't duplicate your problem--please email me so that I can solve this issue.

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#21 Travis Dakin
January 15 2009, 01:50PM
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@ Dana @ AgileStyle:

Thanks. Check your inbox.

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#22 Travis Dakin
January 15 2009, 02:09PM
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@ Dana @ AgileStyle:

You're the best! Thanks.

@ Wanye Gretz:

Don't you forget those toe clippings!

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#23 Hoodlum
January 15 2009, 02:16PM
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Travis,

Since I don't work tomorrow and you obviously do next to nothing in school, wcan I interest you in many, many cocktails and the promise of watching the game in a local establishment?

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#24 APE
January 15 2009, 03:07PM
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where is the gameday thread!?!?!

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#25 Travis Dakin
January 15 2009, 03:14PM
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@ Hoodlum:

Come over tonight. I have to stay home tonight but there is beer in the fridge.

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#26 Hoodlum
January 15 2009, 03:17PM
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I'll call you after work

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#27 B.C.B.
January 15 2009, 04:23PM
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Why didn't we attempt to get him?

Right Handed center. not needing to trade roster players. add depth to trade another one of our wee centers for a 1st line player.

Tambo missed the boat

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