16 July 2008


Depressingly, it's only a one year contract, for $3m. Which means he likely accepted the qualifying offer + 1 counter-offer. But Kari's staying in the A-T-L!


Knobler weighs in:

Goalie receives one-year deal with "a little raise"

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Published on: 07/16/08

Thrashers goalie Kari Lehtonen agreed to a one-year contract Wednesday but said he hopes to stay with the team for more than one more season.

Lehtonen, 24, said he got "a little raise" from the $2.2 million he earned last season but declined to be more specific. The Thrashers' top goalie had been a restricted free agent, meaning the team would have had the right to match another team's offer or receive compensation if it chose to allow another team to sign him.

Lehtonen had a 2.90 goals against average last season for the team that allowed the most shots in the NHL. His .916 save percentage ranked 15th in the league.

"I wasn't yet in position to make a many-year deal," Lehtonen said. "I still have some improving to do. Hopefully, I'll be able to do that, and then I can have a longer-term contract."

Thrashers general manager Don Waddell has tried to shore up the defense by signing unrestricted free agent Ron Hainsey and drafting Zach Bogosian. Lehtonen also applauded the hiring of coach John Anderson.

"I'm looking forward to playing for him," Lehtonen said. "I'm sure he's going to make me better as a goalie."

Goalie is one place the Thrashers have quality depth, with Johan Hedberg re-signed to a two-year contract and Ondrej Pavelec one of the top prospects in the organization. Waddell has talked about the possibility the Thrashers would make one or more trades, though he hasn't mentioned any players or positions. Might Lehtonen end up elsewhere?

"I don't think so, and I hope not," Lehtonen said. "I think the coach and Don and the whole organization, they trust me, and I think they're looking for me to have great success with this organization. I'm happy here, and I don't want to go anywhere."

And Craig offers up his thoughts as well:

Lehtonen deal gives Thrashers flexibility

Jul 16, 2008 05:46 PM
Just got word, and a confirmation from Thrashers GM Don Waddell, that the Thrashers signed goalie Kari Lehtonen to a new deal. The deal is a one-year contract worth $3 million. It's an interesting number because that means backup Johan Hedberg is on the books longer than the franchise goalie. You can't help but wonder if the short deal sets up a goalie battle down the road with top prospect Ondrej Pavelec. It also means Lehtonen has a reasonable contract if the team decides Pavelec is ready and wants to trade from a position of depth. Lehtonen has all the skills in the world, but injuries and inconsistencies have prevented him from being an elite goalie.


Suzanne B said...

Well holy crap it is about time. I'm not totally surprised that it is only one year.....

Now if we can just make a big splash in the FA market.. oh wait... too late...

nebcanuck said...

One year is best for both fronts, IMO. Kari has talent but has yet to prove himself. For his sake, a chance to prove himself would mean a pay boost next off-season. For the team's sake, keeping away from a long contract means they can ditch him if he still doesn't prove he's really their pas, present, and future.

Big Shooter said...

Sleep well tonight Maali.

Maali said...

suz: b-b-b-but Hainsey! Oh wait. Williams? Nooooo... well shit, we got the most important FA back.

neb: ouuuch dude. True! But ouuuch. Providing the defence is there I believe he will shine. SHOCKING, I know.

bs: Oh I will. Only 79 days til opening night!!!

HockeyWench said...

Ms. Lehtonen you did well on having him sign the contract! LOL Glad to see him back!