Atlanta inks Hainsey
At five years and $22.5-million ($4.5-million cap hit), the Thrashers get defenceman Ron Hainsey on an overpay, plain and simple, but you can see why the move was made.
Atlanta needs someone, anyone, to fill minutes on the blueline, especially after the team bought out veteran Alexei Zhitnik, and Hainsey's a 27-year-old who logged big minutes in 2007-08.
Here's what you get, at this point, with Hainsey: He's a big body, but a soft player, someone who doesn't take a lot of penalties but is a strong skater and good enough defensively 5-on-5 to be a top four defenceman. He generates very little offence at even strength, but played big-time minutes on the power play in Columbus and produced the sixth-most goals on the man advantage by a defenceman last season.
Hainsey joins Tobias Enstrom, Niclas Havelid, Garnet Exelby and Ken Klee as signed Thrashers defenders, but I imagine they'll be looking to add at least another to the mix (unless they throw Zach Bogosian into the fire). Next up for GM Don Waddell is going to be addressing a paper-thin forward corps, that at the moment consists of Ilya Kovalchuk and not much else.
On a bad power play last season, Hainsey was an average producer on a per minute basis, but that could change in a more offensive environment alongside a wizard like Enstrom.
He was the best option still on the table given what Atlanta needs, and I imagine there were quite a few teams in the running.