The Atlanta Thrashers move to Winnipeg is officially signed and sealed.
Now the only things left to deliver are critical decisions concerning the team name, management, coaching and scouting staff selections.
Once True North decides on the management team, decisions for the 2011-12 team roster will become a top priority.
"True North informed Atlanta Thrashers' GM Rick Dudley that he won't be retained as GM of the relocating team. Dudley met in Toronto with True North chairman Mark Chipman and hockey vice-president Craig Heisinger.
The GM's vacancy will be filled by current Chicago Blackhawks assistant GM and senior director of hockey operations Kevin Cheveldayoff, the Winnnipeg Free Press reported last Friday."
Dudley took on a difficult job of trying to trim the Thrashers payroll to save Atlanta Spirit LLC operating expenses and at the same time create a competitive team that could make the playoffs.
Ironically Dudley and some of his coaching staff and players also have ties to the Chicago Blackhawks organization.
Rick Dudley in his role as the Thrashers GM demonstrated his depth of hockey knowledge accumulated as a player, coach, and assistant GM.
To his credit Dudley masterfully trimmed down the Thrashers payroll to one of the lowest in the NHL and if not for some second half injuries to key players like Toby Enstrom he may have well pushed the Thrashers into the playoffs.
The Winnipeg team finds themselves in an excellent position to build a solid squad since the majority of the players are already signed to contracts and the total salary expense of the team leaves considerable room for the opportunity to sign a few tier one or tier two player to improve the teams mediocre offensive output.
Capgeek.com forecasts the Thrasher payroll at $ 35.9 million leaving $26 million which is considerable room to add personnel and re-sign the restricted free agents.
During the media frenzy concerning the Thrashers negotiations with True North Entertainment most hockey writers criticized the team performance forgetting that the Thrashers were competitive in the majority of games last season.
A great deal of the Thrashers losses in the 2010-11 season were by only one goal.
One of True North's major objectives will be try to improve the team's offense.
Signing captain Andrew Ladd to a new contract will be one of the new franchises priorities.
Last season Ladd had a career year and scored 29 goals. As the teams leading scorer it will be a good start for the team to re-sign him.
Other RFA's include Zach Bogosian, Anthony Stewart and Radek Dvorak.