I hear you folks. I haven’t gone anywhere. Just jumping between different stories during the offseason. Covered the Braves, covered Tom Glavine’s rehab start and I’ll be at the Falcons OTAs this week.
That doesn’t mean there isn’t any Thrashers coverage. Been keeping track of the Reasoner situation. Also I had a story on the draft in Tuesday’s paper from my interview with Don Waddell. I don’t see that it got posted here, so I’ll include it below.
I’ll have another story on Waddell coming soon, just not sure of the run date yet.
But in the meantime, here’s the draft story:
With the No. 4 overall pick, the Atlanta Thrashers select …
If the Thrashers keep that selection in June’s draft they will likely take one of three players: Matthew Duchene, Brayden Schenn or Evander Kane. That player may well be NHL-ready by next season.
General manager Don Waddell told the Journal-Constitution that he will take the best player available and it will likely be one of those three centers.
[Center John] Tavares and [defenseman Victor] Hedman, will go 1 through 3. They say 1 through 2 but I’m not so sure it’s not 1 through 3. Then you have Matthew Duchene, Brayden Schenn, Evander Kane. Those five guys are just a step above,” Waddell said last week. “… For our pick we are looking at one of those top five guys.”
In the first round, the Thrashers pick behind the New York Islanders, Tampa Bay and Colorado. Waddell mentioned defenseman Jared Cowan, who tore a knee ligament in February, and Swedish winger Magnus Paajarvi-Svensson as “wildcards,” but said his focus is on his list of top five players.
While most draftees are several years away from playing in the NHL, the Thrashers selected 18-year-old Zach Bogosian last year with the No. 3 overall pick. The defenseman made the Thrashers roster out of training camp and played in 47 games, missing time with a broken leg.
“I going to say picking at four, we are going to pick the best player there,” Waddell said. “As you get further in the draft, I think you start thinking more about needs. Right now we are not so deep at any position – although right now I can tell you we are not taking a goalie – where we can pass up the best player available for a player at another position. Most players in the draft … take time. Even when we drafted [Dany] Heatley, he went back to school for a year. This year there is a chance that the player we take at four could come here and make our team in training camp, but we’re not counting on that.”
This year’s draft, which Waddell labeled “great,” may include another NHL-ready player like Bogosian.
“Bogosian is off the charts with his maturity physically,” Waddell said. “He was ready to play. But if [the draftee] shows a sign that they can hold their own in this league, my tendency would be the way our team is right now, a younger team, I would let him come to our team and build with him.”
Four of the possible picks are junior players and one (Hedman) is European. By rule, all could play up to 10 games with the Thrashers at the start of the NHL season before a decision was made to send him to the minor leagues.
The Thrashers also have two second-round picks. They have the 34th overall pick and a conditional pick from Montreal obtained in the Mathieu Schneider trade. According to Waddell, the Thrashers will fill needs with those picks. He is specifically looking for big wingers.
The seven-round draft will be held June 26-27 in Montreal.