Archive for July, 2009

Postma could start in Chicago

I talked to Paul Postma during the Prospect Development Camp, along with Daulton Leveille and Eric O’Dell, earlier this month so we would have something to blog about this summer.

It looks like Postma should start the year in Chicago. He did have some standout moments at camp.

“I think I will be in Chicago probably,” Postma said. “We’ll see how long I have to play there for but whatever it takes I’ll do.”

Here are his stats from last season playing for Calgary in the WHL. He had 84 points, 23 goals, 61 assists in 70 games. He set team records for single-season goals and points by a defenseman. He was also a league-high plus-67. In 18 playoff games he had 13 points, five goals and eight assists. He was a plus-9.

He was named a WHL first-team all-star in the East.

He really fits the Thrashers’ future. He’s big – 6-foot-2 – and is an offensive defenseman. Like most of the Thrasher prospect, he needs to add some weight. He’s listed at 175 pounds.

“It’s awesome for me,” Postma said …

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Kicking my way into the 21st century

OK folks. I have joined Twitter. Several of my co-workers just congratulated me on joining the 21st century.

Not sure how much I will use it, but I figured it was the best way to get you quick news bursts – like Kari Lehtonen’s minor surgery – before I can get it on the website. I’m vivlamoreajc. Follow me and I’ll give you updates, especially once the season starts.

Please pass on any advice as I navigate the new world. I just found out you don’t have to get up from the recliner to change the TV channel. They have these things called remote controls … OK I’m not that far behind on the times

So far I’m following Jeff Schultz and Craig Custance. That’s a dynamic duo.

I’ll be updating the Kari story, but it doesn’t look to be a major procedure.

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Valabik is back

The Thrashers have re-signed defenseman Boris Valabik to a multi-year deal Tuesday.

It will be announced later today. I will report back a little later with more details but, as always, I wanted you to know first.

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Evander Kane signs

Sorry folks, took a couple days off and juggling several balls today.

Just found out Evander Kane signed his contract. Three year entry level deal. I’ll know more in a bit and will write a story.

There should be a Q&A I did with John Anderson coming soon (if not already).

I’ll check back, but wanted you guys to know first.

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Final day of prospect camp … Lehtonen signs

Kari Lehtonen accepted his one-year qualifying offer from the Thrashers on Wednesday, the deadline for him to accept the deal.
Lehtonen, the Thrashers No. 1 goaltender, is a restricted free agent. He joins Jim Slater as Thrashers RFAs to accept their qualifying offer.
Colby Armstrong did not accept his offer and will go to arbitration later this month.

The six-day run is prospect camp is over. I will let Rawhide moderate your conversation about the schedule coming out. Tough start. Tampa Bay at home, five road games, and then Washington, San Jose and Washington.

Just finished the final 4-on-4 scrimmage. White Team finally won, 6-2.

The goal scorers:

White: Eric O’Dell, Jimmy Bubnick (2), Levko Koper, Daultan Leveille and Evander Kane

Blue: Doug Jones and Carl Klingberg

I have gathered some information for blogs later in the month. Also, had a sitdown with John Anderson, so I will have that soon.

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Prospect Camp Day 4 … and two more signings

I will report on Monday’s 4-on-4 scrimmage a little later, but first wanted to let you know about two more signings.

The Thrashers signed free agent defenseman Noah Welch and free agent forward Anthony Stewart on Monday, adding depth to the roster. Welch split time between Tampa and Florida last year. Stewart is a former first-round pick of Florida.

I will file an update after the scrimmage.

Update, 5:30 p.m.: The Blue Team won again, 5-4 in another shootout.

Carl Klingberg and Victor Sapanari scored in the shootout for the Blue Team.

Scoring regulation goals were:

Blue: Riley Holzapfel, John Albert, Andrew Kozek and Drew Paris

White: Spencer Machacek (2), Eric O’Dell and Kyle Reed.

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Prospect Camp Day 3 – The scrimmage

I did my best to follow the action but the Blue Team came from behind to win Sunday’s Prospect Camp scrimmage with a 7-6 shootout victory.

Paul Postma had the only goal in the five-round shootout to give the Blue Team the win.

The Blue Team tied the game with a goal by Andrew Kozek with 40.4 seconds remaining with an extra skater.

Also scoring for the Blue Team were Carl Klingberg (2), Victor Saponari, John Albert and Vinny Saponari.

Jimmy Bubnick had three goals for the White Team, including two goals in the first two minutes of the game.  White also got goals from Cody Crichton, Daultan Leveille and Evander Kane.

The scrimmage was a 4-on-4 game with two 15 minute periods. There was no stoppages for a single penalty or offsides call.

Now for some fun facts from camp, courtesy of Don Waddell.

In the testing, Kane was the prospect with the lowest body fat – 4.1 percent.

Kane also won the push-up title, doing a high of 55. Paul Postma was second with 53.

The fastest skater in …

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Prospect Camp Day 2 … And contract updates

Just back from Day 2 of Prospect Development Camp. Actually got a chance to watch some skating today. Came away impressed with several players.

On defense, Paul Postma stood out. He can skate. I talked to him afterward and might use it for another story following camp or a blog during the down time of summer.

On offense, Riley Holzapfel stood out. Waddell really expects him to compete for a roster spot during training camp. Others that stood out were draft picks Carl Klingberg and Jeremy Morin. Don’t know much about Andrew Kozek, but he can shoot. Evander Kane looked good. He edged out Daultan Leveille in their group of the dreaded mountain skate drill.

I just finished story on Kane for Sunday paper and will be back at camp on Sunday. My plan is to write features on Klingberg, Morin, Holzapfel and the Saponari brothers. In addition to Postma, I will be chasing down several others that you folks requested last week. I don’t think it will be a problem.

Oh, finally met coach John …

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First day of prospect camp

Today, I will be attending the first day of the Thrashers’ Prospect Development Camp. I will be there every day through Wednesday.

First, let me take care of a little more business. Not sure what happened yesterday, but the following news item failed to make it online or in print.

Joel Kwiatkowski won’t be rejoining the Thrashers afterall. The defenseman is headed back to Russia. Here is a statement from Don Waddell: “After agreeing to terms on a contract with Joel Kwiatkowski, we learned that he had already committed to a team in the KHL.  Therefore we have rescinded our offer and have been told that Joel will honor his agreement with St. Petersburg.”

Now, back to today’s events. This will be my first in-person prospect camp. Assigned plenty of stories from here in the past. I appreciate everyone’s input last week on what stories you would like to see me write this week. I have a list of nine players that I hope to get to. I will be starting with Angelo Esposito today for …

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Slater accepts qualifying offer

This just in: Jim Slater has re-signed with the Thrashers. He accepted his one-year qualifying offer.

Wanted you to know first. I should be talking to Slater later this afternoon, so this time I really can come back and update the blog.

Update: Just got off the phone with Slater. Hopefully, the complete story will be online soon. Obviously, he’s pretty happy to be back. I think he knows his role, although he said he could score more. He’s willing to do whatever the team needs.

He likes the Thrashers’ off-season moves, but was sad to see his friend Garnet Exelby go. “To get a good player, you have to give up a good player,” Slater said.

We joked a little bit if he would take over XLB’s role as a physical presence.

One of the other things we talked about was last year’s finish. Nearly everyone of talked to so far is really encouraged by the 12-6 end to the season. I’ve asked a couple people if the team really had gotten the new system by the end of the year or could it have been …

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