UFA Options: Atlanta Thrashers

Jonathan Willis
April 19 2009 11:15AM

Reasoner

UFA Options is a continuing series that gives a brief run-down of the unrestricted free agent market this summer, team-by-team. Our next team for consideration is the Atlanta Thrashers.

Ignoring a trio of minor-league journeymen, the Atlanta Thrashers have two unrestricted free agents that should be of interest to NHL teams: Marty Reasoner and Eric Perrin.

Notes

  • Age is calculated based on how old the player will be during the 2009-10 season.
  • QualComp/QualTeam are the Quality of Competition/Teammates rankings from Behind the Net; the number appearing is each player’s ranking by position (forward/defense) on his own team.
  • Def/Off Faceoffs is a comparison of the total number of shifts starting in the defensive and offensive zones, courtesy of Vic Ferrari’s Time On Ice. A positive number indicates starting more in the defensive zone, a negative number the opposite.
  • All advanced statistics are courtesy of Behind the Net.

Marty Reasoner

Vital Stats: 33 years old, 6’1”, 205lbs 2008-09 Cap Hit: 1,000,000 US$ 2008-09 Basic Stats: 79GP – 14G – 16A – 30PTS, +11 2008-09 Contextual: 5th QualComp, 7th QualTeam, +94 Def/Off Faceoffs 2008-09 Advanced Stats: -5.9 Corsi/60, 1.52 EVPTS/60, 2.17 GFON/60, 1.84 GAON/60

Marty Reasoner’s season has been something of an eye-opener. In 2007-08 he was one of a trio of forwards (Jarret Stoll and Raffi Torres being the others) who were tossed out against first-rate opposition with very little support, and were consistently sent out for defensive zone faceoffs while very rarely seeing time in the offensive zone. Oilers fans were often overly critical of Reasoner, percieving him as a coach’s favourite; often failing to recognize that MacTavish was playing him a lot but in the worst possible situations. When the defensive forward was not re-signed this summer, many were pleased.

Reasoner went on to have an incredible season in Atlanta, and was one of only three regulars to finish above the even mark in plus/minus. He is an elite penalty-killer with a solid reputation as a character guy, and he’s also one of the better faceoff men in the league (52.8% this past season). Edmonton missed him this past season and there are any number of teams who could use him as a depth player and to shore up their penalty-kill.  Don Waddell stated that he did not trade Reasoner at the deadline because he hoped to re-sign him in the summer.

Eric Perrin

Vital Stats: 34 years old, 5’9”, 180lbs 2008-09 Cap Hit: 750,000 US$ 2008-09 Basic Stats: 78GP – 7G – 16A – 23PTS, -2 2008-09 Contextual: 9th QualComp, 5th QualTeam, +50 Def/Off Faceoffs 2008-09 Advanced Stats: -6.5 Corsi/60, 1.23 EVPTS/60, 2.08 GFON/60, 2.69 GAON/60

Eric Perrin’s scoring disappeared this past season; in the two seasons previous he’d managed 12 and 13 goals and 45 and 36 points. His shooting percentage, which usually hovered just below the 10% mark, dropped to 6.4%, but he also took fewer shots (from 151 and 121 down to 109 this past season). He doesn’t play particularly difficult minutes and he doesn’t add size, so he may be hard-pressed to find another NHL job this season. Some team may roll the dice on him given his undoubtedly low contract demands, but it probably won’t be a particularly good team.

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Jonathan Willis is a freelance writer. He currently works for Oilers Nation, Sportsnet, 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 Mark
April 19 2009, 11:20AM
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I can say that I wasn't really a Reasoner fan when he was with the Oil, he never hits, avoids traffic, stays away from the boards, and really just seems to float around. I'm hoping we can find a harder working more aggressive player than Reasoner that can win draws to play 3rd line center.

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#2 Jonathan Willis
April 19 2009, 11:28AM
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@ Mark:

But can the Oilers find one who can hold his own against, say, Ryan Getzlaf? There's one or two out there, but that kind of player doesn't exactly grow on trees.

Reasoner's one of the best positional players in the game; that's not something that a lot of people appreciate because he isn't throwing big hits, but we sure noticed his absence on the penalty kill this year, didn't we?

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#3 Archaeologuy
April 19 2009, 11:41AM
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ugh. The Oilers need an identity as a whole and each individual line needs one as well. If Reasoner can help define the 3rd line's role then it's a step in the right direction. Try to trade for a guy who can do it better than Reasoner, if not, get him for fairly cheap and start filling the next hole. No more spending 2+ Million on the bottom 6 though. Who knows, maybe after the draft day (with trades and such) our 3rd line Centre will be Horcoff. I can always dream.

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#4 canucklehead
April 19 2009, 11:53AM
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My question is how much of Reasoner's resurgence is due to playing in the South (L)East division?

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#5 Jonathan Willis
April 19 2009, 12:09PM
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@ canucklehead:

That's a fair question. I don't know the answer, though.

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#6 esa tikkanen
April 19 2009, 12:22PM
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who are the elite defensive forwards today? used to be peca, draper, carbonneau, keane and lehtinen. are they now pahlson, malhotra and who?

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#7 Loxy
April 19 2009, 12:33PM
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I may be the internet's biggest Reasoner fan... so I figure I should pipe in.

I have never understood why the Oilers let him go for free at a time where they lost Stoll. He works for cheap and does all the things described in the post above. But I have never noticed him avoid the boards (as described by Mark) in fact, quite the opposite.

Regardless of playing in the SW, his plus/minus on a subpar Atlanta team has to count for something.

I harp on this to anyone that listens but the Oilers were awful on the PK and in the faceoff circle this year. Yet they could've had a guy do that who wanted to be here.

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#8 Jon K
April 19 2009, 01:07PM
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Jon you're going to have your work cut out for you when it comes to Montreal. I suspect Gainey loses his job after they're eliminated.

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#9 Mark
April 19 2009, 01:08PM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

@ Mark: But can the Oilers find one who can hold his own against, say, Ryan Getzlaf? There’s one or two out there, but that kind of player doesn’t exactly grow on trees. Reasoner’s one of the best positional players in the game; that’s not something that a lot of people appreciate because he isn’t throwing big hits, but we sure noticed his absence on the penalty kill this year, didn’t we?

I won't cry if we resign him. We are definitely looking for someone who can win a face-off and kill a penalty, but Tambo wasn't with the organization when Marty was, and Tambo might have some other guys in mind.

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#10 Jonathan Willis
April 19 2009, 01:27PM
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@ Mark:

Marty's not the only option, but he's going to be a useful piece for whoever gets him. The Oilers might be better off acquiring a Pahlsson-type, assuming that the difference in money isn't ridiculous.

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#11 misfit
April 19 2009, 02:24PM
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Again, if I'm making the decisions come July 1st, there are two Thrasher free agents I keep on the radar. Marty Reasoner and Colby Armstrong.

Reasoner because he's cheap, he can kill a penalty, he wins faceoffs, he does the thankless jobs without complaint, and he keeps things light in the dressing room. All while being easy on the cap. He's not an elite 3rd liner, but of the options available to us, he could be one of the best.

Armstrong fits more what Tambellini seems to be looking for, but I like him too. He brings size, physicality, and he can play too. He's not a candidate for an RFA offer sheet, and I doubt there's much interest from Atlanta in trading him, but he's a free agent who'd be a great fit for this team. He'd also be a great replacement for Pisani when his contract is up.

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#12 Lofty
April 19 2009, 03:59PM
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Archaeologuy wrote:

ugh. The Oilers need an identity as a whole and each individual line needs one as well. If Reasoner can help define the 3rd line’s role then it’s a step in the right direction. Try to trade for a guy who can do it better than Reasoner, if not, get him for fairly cheap and start filling the next hole. No more spending 2+ Million on the bottom 6 though. Who knows, maybe after the draft day (with trades and such) our 3rd line Centre will be Horcoff. I can always dream.

If that happens we will have two players in our bottom 6 eating up over 11 million dollars of cap... must be nice for KLowe to have that kind of job security!

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#13 Dan
April 19 2009, 04:10PM
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Archaeologuy wrote:

Who knows, maybe after the draft day (with trades and such) our 3rd line Centre will be Horcoff. I can always dream.

That is some people's dream, other people's nightmare. I'm to the point where I just want Horcoff traded, just so I don't have to debate the merits of it anymore.

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#14 misfit
April 19 2009, 04:24PM
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Lofty wrote:

Archaeologuy wrote: ugh. The Oilers need an identity as a whole and each individual line needs one as well. If Reasoner can help define the 3rd line’s role then it’s a step in the right direction. Try to trade for a guy who can do it better than Reasoner, if not, get him for fairly cheap and start filling the next hole. No more spending 2+ Million on the bottom 6 though. Who knows, maybe after the draft day (with trades and such) our 3rd line Centre will be Horcoff. I can always dream. If that happens we will have two players in our bottom 6 eating up over 11 million dollars of cap… must be nice for KLowe to have that kind of job security!

So if Horcoff is $5.5M of that, who makes up the other 5.5?

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#15 Archaeologuy
April 19 2009, 04:25PM
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Lofty wrote:

If that happens we will have two players in our bottom 6 eating up over 11 million dollars of cap

Who knows where Penner will end up at the beginning of next season. The new coach will be looking at things with a fresh set of eyes. Maybe he institutes a system that better suits Penner's game and the guy goes back on the top 6. As far as Horc on the 3rd line, if him and his linemates shut down top lines and score a few goals along the way isnt that better than scoring 20 goals on the 2nd line? If he cant come back to his point per game success then his contract will have him in the minors after the cap goes down.

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#16 misfit
April 19 2009, 04:27PM
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Dan wrote:

Archaeologuy wrote: Who knows, maybe after the draft day (with trades and such) our 3rd line Centre will be Horcoff. I can always dream. That is some people’s dream, other people’s nightmare. I’m to the point where I just want Horcoff traded, just so I don’t have to debate the merits of it anymore.

If that's not a great reason for a player to be traded, I don't know what is.

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#17 Park
April 19 2009, 06:00PM
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Is it just me or do am I the only one out there that thinks Brodziak should be the 3rd line center next year. Hes our number 2 faceoff guy even though 90 percent of them are in the defensive zone, penalty killer, and a hard worker. Like much of the team, he didnt have a great year, but who can playing with guys like MacIntyre, Stortini, and Reddox?

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#18 Phil
April 19 2009, 07:57PM
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+11 for Marty in the SE? Good lord, where do I sign.

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#19 West Coast Oil, $Version=1
April 19 2009, 08:29PM
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@Park If im not mistaken Brodziak was benched this year for not working hard enough not for lack of production and Stortino received credIt for the hard work he put in this. I would like to see brodz on the 3rd line as well but he needs to want it and work for it. Reasoner had a good year because he played in the SE Div and also if I am not mistaken played on the 1st line for quite awhile with Kovy. Both these situations are enough to bump anyones stats and because of this he will be looking for a raise. Personally I hope Marty stays in Atlanta as I really like the guy and think that is a great fit for him and he can excel there. Lastly horcoff on the 3rd line? Give the guy the benefit of the doubt here people he was rode hard by MacT all year, played way to many high pressure minutes and came back from major surgery. I say next year he has a bounce season simply based on how hard he works.

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#20 Archaeologuy
April 19 2009, 08:42PM
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@ West Coast Oil, $Version=1: Hey man, we shall see where he is in 3 seasons, but my money says line 3 and then promptly into springfield to relieve Cap pressure.

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#21 misfit
April 19 2009, 11:06PM
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Even with Brodziak as the 3rd line center, we'll still need someone to relieve some of Horcoff's defesnsive duties. The way MacT did it, whenever there was a faceoff in the defensive zone, depending on what side it was on, either Horcoff (LH) or Brodziak (RH) was taking it. I don't know if the nex coach is going to care as much whether the center is a LHS or RHS, but if he does (as I'd assume most do), then having a guy like Reasoner to take the LH Dzone draws will really free up Horcoff to take a more offensive roll. But right now, when the puck is in our end, and the coach wants a LH center to take the draw, his only options are Horcoff or Cogliano. Getting a guy like Reasoner gives us another option. Plus, he can play the wing, so you can still keep Cogs at center.

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#22 alex t
April 19 2009, 11:17PM
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I Agree with most bring back Good ole Marty for a great price, He does the things you can ask of him PK< Faceoffs etc, and doesn,t take cheap, lazy penalties, like some current Oilers do, get him back if it fits in

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#23 DonDon
April 20 2009, 12:03AM
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@ Park: I'm not aware of Brodziak's stats in the last part of the schedule, but he certainly didn't impress anyone with his play. I recognize who played with him, but each player needs to show that he belongs. I don't know if Brodziak belongs. Perhaps Brodziak will become another of Tambellini's trades to upgrade the forwards.

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#24 Jayamania
April 20 2009, 08:41AM
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Is there really any difference between Horcoff and Reasoner, other then their salaries?

Think about it for a second. Both good on the PK, both can win face-offs, both have similar speed, both shoot left.

Horcoff probably has a better shot, when he doesn't whiff on it. I find that the play dies with Horcoff much more then it did with Reasoner. Obviously Horcoff plays against tougher lines, but to me, there's really not 4.5 million dollar difference.

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#25 Ender the Dragon
April 20 2009, 09:06AM
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Jayamania wrote:

Is there really any difference between Horcoff and Reasoner, other then their salaries?

I like Marty, but even I have to say that there is definitely a difference in skill level between he and Horc. Whether the gap is worth $4.5M, I'll leave open to debate, but whatever the gap is, it's significant enough.

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#26 Oilersordeath
April 20 2009, 09:41AM
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I know alot of us really harped on Reddox, but at least he brought it every night. Which is more than we can say about Brodziak, Penner, Pisani, and hell even sometimes more than Hemmer and Cogs. The day I finally see an Oiler win a battle in the corner I'll probably shit myself! We need to get meaner and stronger and I think Tambo's going to finally bring it via trades and UFA's.

Who's the toughest scorer available in the draft?

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#27 MB
April 20 2009, 11:37AM
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i can not help but wonder, if MacT had Marty Reasoner this season would we have made the playoffs?

I say YES! Oiler fans love to beat up on guys like this but if he was on the team to take face-offs, kill penlties, and check the other teams best line I say no questions we are in.

Yet all I read and hear is that we need a scorer??

The Oilers problems where in the face-off circle and the PK.

YOU FANS ARE WHAT COST THE OILERS THE PLAY_OFFS AND MACT HIS JOB!!!!!

YOU WOULD NOT KNOW A GOOD PLAYER IF HE BIT YOU ON THE NOSE

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#28 Archaeologuy
April 20 2009, 12:02PM
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MB wrote:

YOU FANS ARE WHAT COST THE OILERS THE PLAY_OFFS AND MACT HIS JOB!!!!!

I'm pretty sure MacT lost his job because he missed the playoffs 3 years in a row and averaged only 38 wins a season over 8 years. That and the fact that he couldnt get his players to put in the effort to win every night.

MB wrote:

YOU WOULD NOT KNOW A GOOD PLAYER IF HE BIT YOU ON THE NOSE

Are you talking about Marty Reasoner? The fans didnt see him off. Turn your rage towards Lowe, who let him walk away.

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#29 topshelf
April 20 2009, 12:06PM
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MB wrote:

YOU FANS ARE WHAT COST THE OILERS THE PLAY_OFFS AND MACT HIS JOB!!!!!

You just lost all credibility. What an idiotic statement.

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