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  Therefore we have rescinded our offer and have been told that Joel will honor his agreement with St. Petersburg.”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 Saturday’s paper. He will not be skating, but will be there. I will also be working on a bigger story on Evander Kane for Sunday’s paper. That’s where we are starting from.

I should be able to check back in during camp with some updates. I’m not sure how the roster is divided, but Team Blue practices on-ice from 3-3:50 p.m. and Team White from 4:10-5 p.m.

49 comments Add your comment

Bob

July 10th, 2009
10:00 am

Esposito is the big story to me. Has he bulked up? When will he be ready to go? What’s his goal for this year?

Russian

July 10th, 2009
10:01 am

Thank you Chris!
I will be waiting some interesting news from you. Could you talk with Vinny Saponary? I am interesting what he is going to do.
Thanks again :-)

Chris Vivlamore

July 10th, 2009
10:16 am

Russian: Yes, Vinny Saponari is on the list of feature stories. His brother, Victor, is there also.

Smoothie

July 10th, 2009
10:21 am

Hey Chris, don’t forget to ask Postma if he “owned” Kane in their Vancouver vs Calgary showdowns in the WHL or see if Kane will talk some trash about how he used to beat Paul like a rented mule inside the blueline or below the circles!

ranallo10 (in AT)

July 10th, 2009
10:50 am

No surprise on the Kwiatkowski dealings…I’m glad Waddell took the high road (likely reinforced by an NHL phone call) and informed Kwiatkowski that he needed to finish his contract with the KHL team. Crisis averted, I would hope.

Robert

July 10th, 2009
11:51 am

Uh oh, Nittymakki just signed with the Lightning. Looks like the Thrashers will be 0-6 against them this season.

Thrash

July 10th, 2009
12:33 pm

Lightning suck… Who cares if they got Nittymaki.. they will still be awful

World Be Free

July 10th, 2009
12:33 pm

Chris, are there any rumors floating out there to bring NHL quality depth to the Thrashers? My fellow bloggers are going to be pissed that I am still pushing this issue, but, you me…..

Thanks

World Be Free

July 10th, 2009
12:34 pm

you know me…..

Duder

July 10th, 2009
12:36 pm

Nittymaki sucks. He only beat us because we were so bad. I think if he stays healthy Kari has a major opportunity to do something special this season.

Where will they play?

July 10th, 2009
12:53 pm

World Be Free considering we only have 1 spot open on the 3rd line and then maybe a spot or two on the 4th line is up for grabs that leaves me with 2 questions for you:

1) Who do you expect to sign with us or who should we target for those “NHL quality depth players” that you call for over and over again?

2) Why would they rush here only to play bottom line minutes?

Instead of making statements like “my fellow bloggers are going to be pissed that I am still pushing this issue” can you at least look at this logically and answer those 2 questions?

World Be Free

July 10th, 2009
1:22 pm

Where, I have explained my logic before, so I will not go into it again. I was hoping Chris could offer up some names that might be on our radar.

If you assume that nobody will come here, then the argument is pointless. If they do want to come here (like Reasoner did last year), then it is a different story.

Why should we assume that most positions on this team are set? All positions, except Kovy’s should be open to competitions. Most good teams are looking to add vet help, I use Stephane Yelle as a perfect example. There’s a list with NHL experience of guys that are going to be looking for jobs in the coming weeks. NHL vets that will be looking for opportunities in August and early September. Should we be happy with ehat we have? I remain open to the opportunity of having experienced players here in February when we need depth. Another example-Pittsburgh and Craig Adams. Other teams do this, why not us?

I am not satisfied with this roster. If Don can’t get more help, then I will live with it. But if he can, then why not?

I ask you Where, why not and don’t tell me nobody will come here.

Where will they play?

July 10th, 2009
1:36 pm

World Be Free we do this all the time (getting “NHL vets” who are looking for opportunities). It’s guys like Mattheiu Schneider and Peter Bondra. Then when they get here and they are all washed up it’s people like you who complain that we only sign washed up NHL vets.

Fact is that we are not going to go out and sign another top 6 forward when we already have those set and it will cost at least $4-5 million to do so. Then when one of them (since we would have 7) gets bumped down to the 3rd line getting less minutes in a checking role it doesn’t do well for the team in multiple ways (complaints about limited time, not playing with linemates that lead to goals/assists, bad chemistry in the lockerroom, etc.).

If you going going to post over and over again that we need some washed up NHL vet to compete with Bryan Little than I disagree with your logic.

Let’s fill that 3rd line winger with Joey Crabb or let him compete with one of the Wolves who are due for a call up (i.e. Machachek), not an aging vet even though that vet will come here for an opportunity.

kracker

July 10th, 2009
1:50 pm

Based on how you phrase your ideas, the thing I find puzzling about your vet-depth postings, WBF, is that you seem so certain that no attempts at acquisitions have been made or will be made. I rather have the opposite assumption: That mgmt. targets some players and for a variety of reasons those players choose to play elsewhere. DW may not be the most astute GM but I don’t think he is not making calls to agents and, where there is some interest expressed, submitting an offer sheet.

It’s not that I don’t agree about upgrading team talent where possible. Most players on any team could be replaced with a better player. If they are available. And if they will play on your team in the circumstances in which you desire them to play.

Brendan

July 10th, 2009
2:02 pm

I like Marcel Goc and Mike Grier. Are they taken?

Hockey Biltong

July 10th, 2009
2:09 pm

I beleive the process of attracting and signing players to a club is ongoing. Each GM has a budget and a wish list. They go out and do their best to bolster their roster. Teams with cap problems will shed players as the deadline gets closer. SO the opportunity is there. And if we knew the budget limits and DW’s bucket list, we wouldn’t be reading this all the time looking for a change, now would we?
So bring on Tanguay or whomever!!!

Tony C.

July 10th, 2009
2:14 pm

I would go after Goc, he’s the right side of 30, played a very responsible game on a team known for “up-tempo offense”….I don’t know how he is on the draw though, I would only go after him if he’s 47%+ … but that’s me.

Sage of Blueland

July 10th, 2009
2:16 pm

Let’s sign a few more has-been’s and we’ll be well on our way to mediocrity. And maybe better hotdogs on gameday will make up for those season ticket prices…

Adam Dunn

July 10th, 2009
2:29 pm

god shut the hell up sage im so sick of you and the other freakin debbie downers on this blog everytime i get on it. Just go away if your so sick of the Thrashers. This blog is for the true supporters who come on here and are optimistic about next year and root on the team. What the hell is bitc*hing going to do?

Just finished watching game highlights of most of our wins last year, man that Toronto game in January was something special huh? Down a few goals then Pevs comes to life for the first time man that was soo great….

Jarndyce

July 10th, 2009
2:35 pm

Here’s a question for consideration: What’s the marginal benefit of signing, say, Yelle over Slater, if we can agree that either one will center the fourth line?

Player A (3-yr avg): 7 goals, 11 assists, $78,000 per point.
Player B (3-yr avg): 7 goals, 10 assists, $50,000 per point.

Your choice?

World Be Free

July 10th, 2009
2:44 pm

I’m gonna leave the veteran help subject alone. Some of you are on board, some are not and I understand your thinking.

Has management tried? Yeah, probably but we don’t know. We have players under contract, I just think we can do better.

One last point-you cannot measure a guy like Stephane Yelle by points only. He’s a vet does that wins face-offs, kills penalties and chips in the occasional goal here and there.

Goc and Grier are still out there.

If you are all happy with where we are, then that’s fine with me. I’ll be away for a few days-catch you all next week.

Let’s move on the next subject.

Chris Vivlamore

July 10th, 2009
3:03 pm

Opening report from prospect camp. We are in a holding pattern. Looks like they are running a little bit behind. Should start around 3:30 p.m.

Smoothie

July 10th, 2009
3:06 pm

Jarndyce, I will gladly choose Player B because he is Jimmay “Slippin’ Slates” Slater!! Stephane Yelle-s at me too much. Screw him.

Smoothie

July 10th, 2009
3:11 pm

WBF, you just described Jimmy Slater too. Slater’s only getting better while Yelle is simply sliding into the past-his-prime abyss. Why do you think the B’s let him go? They still have room under their Cap if they really wanted him…they could make it work. But you see, they are going with youth (Sobotka, Lehtonen) just like we are.

World Be Free

July 10th, 2009
3:40 pm

smoothie-Yelle will be back with B’s when they get their cap situation squared away. Slater/Yelle I don’t see Slater’s name on the Stanley Cup.

Smoothie

July 10th, 2009
3:47 pm

At least Pavel Kubina’s name is on the Cup so there!

They’ve got to re-up Kessel then somehow manage to squeeze in Yelle, Axelsson, Hunwick and a 7th D-man even. I bet Yelle becomes expendable, Cup or no Cup.

Tony C.

July 10th, 2009
3:48 pm

Claude Lemieux’ name is on The Cup 4 times! Should we see if he wants to continue the comeback

(And before all you dead-wings d!ckriders start going off about how he cheap-shotted Slava, blahblahblahblah-realize the guy was the best pest of the past 25 years-maybe ever? Certainly, one thing you cannot discount is the fact that “Pepe the Turtle” was clutch as it gets-don’t believe me? look at his playoff numbers…then go watch why he won the Conn Smythe with NJD-hate him if he’s with the other guys, but if he was on your team, he was the man)

Tony C.

July 10th, 2009
4:05 pm

P.S. not really serious about getting Claude~I mean if I could get ‘93-’97 Claude sure, but uhhh 498750978-year old Lemieux? No dice.

pond scum

July 10th, 2009
4:34 pm

Thanks Adam Dunn!!!!!! I’m SO riding shotgun with you, and the others who frequent here that’s sick of all the crying and whining cause of any little nit-picking thing they can find.

As for the adding help- IF you wanna add one, how’s about Moen? Goc and Grier are both good choices,Yelle maybe is past due IMHO.

But, if we DON’T ADD another vet…… I’m perfectly happy with it. Cause when you really think of it,guys like Crabb, Machacheck(who i’m really hoping takes Stuart’s place on the 3rd line). It really is only fair to them to actually give them a shot after asking them to bust their a$$es to study up,bulk up, work on their skating,shooting ect. that Coach Anderson asked them to work on during the offseason.

But really, it’s time to be EXCITED and HOPEFUL for OUR TEAM!!!!

Brendan

July 10th, 2009
4:45 pm

That’s three (3) votes for Goc and/or Grier. Ranallo, are you interested in Goc or Grier? Bob? Sara? Rawhide? Vivlamore?

Marcel Goc. Mike Grier. I don’t think these guys disappear in the playoffs, either. Not that they’re stat men, mind you. They’re not paid to be 40 goal scorers. Or “point-a-gam” playoff producers. Or light it up for 100-point seasons. That’s not their role.

GaVaHokie

July 10th, 2009
4:52 pm

Damn, would have been interesting with Kiwi and Krog on Anderson’s depth chart again… they lit it up together… might have been an interesting 4th line experiment with Slater Krog and Thorburn, and throw Kiwi out there on whatever D-pairing.

Yes, Krog had many chances, but that was under Hartley and Waddell… might get different results with Anderson.

GaVaHokie

July 10th, 2009
4:57 pm

… oh, and I see the final roster spots coming down to Kane, Espo and Krog… Krog edging them out, because he’s at a point where sitting out games and playing 4th line minutes is acceptable.

Same with Oystrick on Defense… I don’t see anyone edging him out that would seem reasonable to scratch most games.

ranallo10 (in AT)

July 10th, 2009
5:01 pm

Brendan — If you recall I first mentioned Goc when it was announced he was not being tendered an offer by San Jose…we briefly discussed his qualifications and that’s when you also brought Grier into the conversation. So yeah, I’d be fine seeing him play in Atlanta, but I’d be concerned with what youthful player will have another year at the AHL level, development being stunted.

Alan

July 10th, 2009
5:09 pm

Let’s see how Krog performs at the start of the season. I’m not judging based on who grabs a roster spot, I’m judging based on staying power. Krog couldn’t muster it up under Hartley or Waddell. He couldn’t secure a spot in Vancouver last year, either.

In four games with Vancouver last season, he had 1g 0a. Judging on his TOI, it looks like he was playing on the fourth line. His lone goal was a PPG.

I’m not so optimistic about Krog. He’s more than proven he can tear up the AHL. He just has no staying power in the NHL.

R. Stroz

July 10th, 2009
6:04 pm

Don’t forget Sterling, Anderson may try and find him a spot, especially since he is in the last year of his contract.

Jimbo

July 10th, 2009
8:05 pm

What’s all the awakened frenzy for Krog. He and Haydar couldn’t cut it a few years ago and he is destined for Chicago. We certainly don’t need another Perrin type “smurf” that doesn’t add grit.

Alan

July 10th, 2009
8:52 pm

The “awakened frenzy” seems to stem from having Anderson coaching here instead of in Chicago. I can’t really see how that matters, since he ripped through the AHL again last season while playing in a different system.

Brendan

July 10th, 2009
9:15 pm

Ah yes, Ranallo. As Celine Dion sings, “It’s all coming back to me now.” I think we also discussed raiding Montreal and Anaheim, if they left guys unprotected or unsigned. I had thought of Komisarek for Atlanta, but at the price Toronto paid, they can have him. I would have loved Saku Koivu, on a 1-year deal. Shoot, I would have even offered $4.0 million, instead of the $3.25 million he got because Anaheim had such a great playoff run last season. (Pushed Red Wings to Game Seven, CSF, with 3:00 left in regulation.) Anywho, I’m leaning towards Grier, just because he brings such toughness and puck battle propensity. I agree that I don’t want to block the ascent of a prospect, but on the other hand, roster spots are earned. If Goc and Grier block someone like B. Sterling, so be it, if it helps keep Kovalchuk. We’ve all been saying, “Waddell’s offseason grade is a “A” or “A+” if he re-signs Kovalchuk. (And presummably Lehtonen.) Speaking of which, what’s the status of Lehtonen? Did he accept the qualifying offer? I don’t recall seeing his name slated for arbitration, either by the Thrashers or the player’s agent. What’s the story there?

Chris Vivlamore

July 10th, 2009
9:23 pm

Sorry folks. Just getting home from a long day at camp. Things started a little late and then between interviews with Don Waddell, Angelo Esposito (that story should be online soon) and then Evander Kane (story from Sunday paper) I saw very little of camp – literally only about five minutes of one group of skaters. I can tell you that if some of these young guys make it some day, the Thrashers will be big. Cody Sol, that dude is huge. Carl Klingberg (whom I will talk to on Monday) is pretty big too. Never got a chance to see Kane skate. When I told him, he said “Good, that was the first time I skated in two and a half weeks. I’ll be better tomorrow.” Good kid. I brought back plenty for future blogs. I’ll be back there tomorrow, but don’t think I can do any live blogging. Thanks.

oldref

July 11th, 2009
7:53 am

Kane was impressive for being rusty. Very fluid skater and has great hands to go with it. Was also impressed with Kilingberg and Leveille.

Anti-Spirit

July 11th, 2009
9:20 am

I’d love to see Waddell/Dudley make a trade w/ Chicago to get Versteeg or Barker. They are both very young and only going to get better. Only way it works is to take more salary from Chicago than we give up & we have the room to do so!

Brendan

July 11th, 2009
9:55 am

Who do the Blackhawks want, Anti-Spirit? Are you thinking Valabik for Barker? Trouble is, he’s not signed yet. So we don’t know his salary. And that would bring forth the masses to say, “Yet A-NOTHER 1st rounder traded out?” Although, I’d argue, 3rd overall for our 10th overall. That’s an acceptable swap. Are you thinking Boulton, Thorburn or Slater, or some combination thereof, for Versteeg? If I were Chicago, I’d hold on to Versteeg. And Bryan Little is off the table of ideas for a trade. Are you thinking Rich Peverley? That’s intriguing. But Peverley, by many people’s estimation, will be Atlanta’s #1 center coming into this season, barring some miracle trade. So, are you thinking Pavelec for Versteeg? I like Kris Versteeg. And I like Cam Barker. But the most important position on the ice … is the goaltender. There’s nothing wrong with Pavelec, except that’s he’s still very young and developing. Once Pavelec is an established NHL goaltender, we’ll be glad we kept him. (Now, if Pavelec and his agent have said, PRIVATELY, “Trade me! Trade me RIGHT FREKKIN’ NOW!” Then slammed down the phone. I’d think about it. Since he’s not happy. But we don’t know that. At all.)

Brendan

July 11th, 2009
10:05 am

Another thought occurred to me, if Versteeg and Barker WERE actually UFA’s, not RFA’s, then … in every sense of the word, the CHOICE of when and where to sign … was exclusively THEIRS. Right? I think that’s reasonable to assume. Isn’t it a FACT that neither CHOSE Atlanta. Therein lies some difficulty. To trade for them … means to sign players who didn’t AGREE to be here. Who didn’t INTEND to play in our market. What’s the rule? “Don’t trade for players who don’t want to be here.” You’ll never keep them. And their heart’s desires lie elsewhere. Why am I now hearing John Belushi and Dan Ackroyd singing (Baby don’tcha wanna go, to that same ol’ place,) “Sweet Home, Chicago!” But I certainly agree there’s still cap room for players wanting to try Atlanta on a 1-year deal, with a “handshake agreement” that we’ll trade them at the deadline to a contender, if things don’t turn out so well.

Tony C.

July 11th, 2009
3:03 pm

How much?

Your women, how much? Your wife, your daughter-I buy them-how much? … ah man I love that flick-always amazes me to see Akroyd before the blow and the royalties ruined him

Brendan

July 11th, 2009
3:05 pm

It’s 106 miles to Chicago. It’s dark out. And we’re wearing sunglasses. “Hit it!”

Hockey Biltong

July 11th, 2009
3:39 pm

wereonamissionfromblueland…….

ChippersLoveChild

July 11th, 2009
3:40 pm

Liked Knobler, but you are miles better Chris… Thanks for actually doing stories on some of the young prospects and doing your best to feed the appetite of Thrashers fans during the offseason!

Sage of Bluesland

July 12th, 2009
11:14 am

“…This blog is for the true supporters who come on here and are optimistic about next year and root on the team….”

Laughing at Adam Dunn…Hey, genius, that WASN’T me…(psst, smart-guy, look at the name next time).

Now, onto your statement: Where exactly in the by-laws of this blog does it state this? Looking forward to your answer, if you care to play.

Ahh, don’t worry, simply play, “Shiny Happy People” while watching old, glorious, games while dreaming of bigger things! Hey, whatever gets you through the night…

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