My final prospect updates

Sorry folks for neglecting the blog last week. It’s been a little bit crazy with some other assignments. I had to cover Tim Hudson rehab start for the Gwinnett Braves last Monday and spent three other days with the Falcons.

I did check in with the Thrashers today. There is not much going on. Some players might start trickling in to work out in advance of training camp so I’m hoping to start talking to them.

Before I leave for vacation next week (while the Thrasher prospects are in Traverse City, Michigan), I’ll give you the updates I have left on Daulton Leveille and Eric O’Dell from last month’s prospect camp.

LEVEILLE

The Thrashers other first-round pick (29th overall) last year played at Michigan State. The forward, listed at 6-feet, 165 pounds, had 14 points (8 goals, 6 assists) in 36 games and was the CCHA Rookie of the Month for October.

He will report back to Michigan State at the end of the month.

This is what he said about last season: “It was a really good year. The team didn’t finish the way we wanted to. Personally, I made a lot of strides. It was definitely a building year and learning the fundamentals.”

On his time at development camp: “It’s definitely good to get that experience playing against the older players that you are one day, hopefully, get to play against. You have to work that much harder playing against men. You get a real taste of what the pro game is going to be like.”

He said his strength is his skating ability and his weakness was a need to put on weight. I heard that from nearly everyone at camp.

Here’s Don Waddell’s take: It was a very, very weak year for Michigan State, which is unusual. He was one of their leading scorers there. Another guy that skill-wise is unbelievable. He’s a real small guy, but we knew that. That’s why you draft a guy. If he was going to play junior hockey and he could only be there two years, we probably wouldn’t have drafted him that high. Going to college, it’s like putting a player in the bank because we own his rights four years of playing college hockey and the summers in between it’s going to be a huge benefit for this player.”

O’DELL

The Thrashers obtained O’Dell from Anaheim last March in the Erik Christensen deal. The forward, listed at 6-feet, 175 pounds, was drafted in the second round (39th overall) last year by the Ducks.

He played junior hockey for Sudbury of the OHL last year. He had 63 points (33 goals, 30 assists) in 65 games. He will go back for another year of juniors at the end of the month. He played for Canada’s Under-18 World Championship team last year.

Here is what he said about being traded: “I didn’t really know what to expect. I heard that I’d been traded and I was talking to them on the phone right after. There were a lot of things that went through my mind when it happened but now I’m pretty happy about it. I want to do my best here.”

His strengths: “I read the ice pretty well. I’m a good scorer, pretty smooth with the puck.”

His weaknesses: “I think I need to get a bit stronger and faster.”

Here is Waddell’s take on him: “I’ve watched him play some games. We watched him play his draft year. Skilled player. Point-producing player. I’m anxious to get to know him.”

44 comments Add your comment

Toby

August 3rd, 2009
3:59 pm

First…

I’m looking forward to what Dub has to say this time around when the STH town hall meeting goes down…

A27

August 3rd, 2009
4:10 pm

A27

August 3rd, 2009
4:11 pm

DAMN YOU TOBY!!! LOL!!!

Buzilla in CT

August 3rd, 2009
4:44 pm

prrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrt

Buzilla in CT

August 3rd, 2009
4:44 pm

R. Stroz

August 3rd, 2009
5:01 pm

Tony C.

August 3rd, 2009
5:41 pm

Toby

August 3rd, 2009
8:12 pm

So far…. A+ blog

World Be Free

August 3rd, 2009
8:58 pm

Looks like we finally have a depth of prospects. Only took 10 years!

Wayne stuck in AL

August 3rd, 2009
9:09 pm

Yeah, we have a depth of prospects…too bad, they’ll all be in the juniors or in college next season.

GaVaHokie

August 4th, 2009
8:32 am

Ouch… the Wolves just lost Cheveldayoff to the Blackhawks… this is pretty considerable news Chris Viv! You should follow up on this with Waddell.

http://www.chicagowolves.com/news/features/index.html?article_id=954

The Earl of Bud

August 4th, 2009
9:54 am

I used to see somewhere on one of the blogs that he is the “secret” asst. GM of the Thrashers. I guess we can scratch that out now.

In all seriousness, isn’t Waddell the one getting him his best players?

Duder

August 4th, 2009
10:09 am

Prospects are nice and all, but I want Kovy insight.

lee

August 4th, 2009
10:38 am

great blog buddy!

Duder-yes, it would be nice to get some news about kovy, but prospects are a big part of where we need to be right now. those prospect are gonna help us a lot this year. yes, kovy is a big part of the team, but he isn’t the whole team. we still are gonna need to trade players before the season starts and we are gonna hav to take a look at those propects.

GaVaHokie-yeah, that’s definetly gonna slow them down. It’s about time though.

GaVaHokie

August 4th, 2009
10:47 am

Earl… the only issue is that Chicago doesn’t have to make any decisions based on what Atlanta wants. So, I’m not sure what say-so we’ll have with his replacement. We already saw a setback with Don Granato taking over coaching duties from Anderson… we might see more setback with a new GM on top of that.

For once we had some familiarity between Chicago and Atlanta with Cheveldayoff and Anderson (same wavelength)… I’d hate to see that disrupted, especially since we’ll have some key prospects there this year.

The Earl of Bud

August 4th, 2009
11:13 am

GaVaHokie, I have to disagree with you on your analogy of Don Granato. First off, when John Anderson was coaching the Wolves, he wasn’t getting Curt Fraser (ok that’s a good thing) or Bob Hartley to sign off on what kind of system he was running. It was pretty much just John Anderson and his assistants. So to lose a coach is a significant blow to a club. But the GM on the other hand, if he won a Calder Cup with Kari Lehtonen as the starting goalie, it wasn’t him who went out and drafted or signed Lehtonen, it was the GM from the big league team. If Sterling scores a ton of points, who drafted him? And on and on. So yes you will have a major setback with a change in coaches, but the GM in the minor league team can be much more easily replaced when it comes to building a team. Who are the best players in Chicago right now and how many of them were signed/drafted by Waddell? And what exactly does Anderson have to be on the same wavelength with Cheveldayoff for anyway? I would much rather he be on the same wavelength with Granato as they can be playing the same system, running similar practices, etc. And if we have Dudley now he can keep an eye on things down there quite easily to make sure the ship is right.

Duder

August 4th, 2009
11:14 am

Lee,

First off that is my name as well, so kudos. Second off, I am well aware that the foundation of any professional organization lies within that organization’s depth. I am also aware that this team has never had that really at any point. I am as excited as anyone here about the prospects of our future. I really do believe we finally have some guys that will make good NHL’ers.

What I meant was it would be nice to get an update on Kovy’s situation. It seems like anything I hear or read about potential negotiations comes from a site other than this one.

GaVaHokie

August 4th, 2009
11:29 am

Earl… because the GM of Chicago can go out and sign all the journeyman he wants to if he decides winning in Chicago is more important than developing Atlanta’s prospects. That was never a problem with Cheveldayoff.

The GM is the one that can send Holzapfel down to Gwinnett and replace him with Jeff Hamilton.

My point is, he doesn’t have to field one single Thrashers prospect if he so chooses. Will that be the case? Probably not… but you still have to worry about who he might surround our prospects WITH.

GaVaHokie

August 4th, 2009
11:32 am

Atlanta is one of only two teams that has no say-so to what the farm system is doing… I forget who the other team is. Help anyone?

Buzilla in CT

August 4th, 2009
12:05 pm

Not sure if anyone else posted this yet but Atlanta made it to #1 last year on the NHL.com’s hit list…I am so proud…

http://www.nhl.tv/team/console.jsp?id=45106

ranallo10 (in AT)

August 4th, 2009
12:38 pm

Hospital pass + staring at puck = #1 NHL hit.

And I remember discussing this hit immediately…despite what many want to assume it was a very clean hit.

GaVaHokie

August 4th, 2009
1:07 pm

Hmmm… not sure that deserved #1… and a very questionable #4 also.

Buzilla in CT

August 4th, 2009
1:10 pm

I think the XLB hit on Sundin should be #1 every year

The Earl of Bud

August 4th, 2009
1:11 pm

GaVaHokie, ok I understand what you are saying about surrounding them with gawdawful talent, I will give you that. But I don’t think ANY minor league GM is going to get away with sending Holzapfel to the Glads for Jeff Hamilton if he wants to have a career in hockey. Remember the Thrashers can jump ship and work with another team if things got out of control so it’s in both teams best interest to keep each other happy. Maybe this is why Waddell goes out an signs the Noah Welch’s of the world and gives the Wolves a chance to win every year.

If I had to guess who has no say I would say Florida given that when they joined with the Amerks Buffalo didn’t have a say in that and it’s what ended that perfect set up (and longest running up until that point). Just my best guess.

GaVaHokie

August 4th, 2009
2:27 pm

I think it’s Dallas… they have no affiliate at the moment. They’re waiting for the Texas Stars in Austin to get started up.

And actually, I might be wrong anyway… I believe only 10 teams own their AHL affiliates. Here’s the AJC write-up from last year…

http://www.ajc.com/sports/content/sports/thrashers/stories/2008/05/01/thrashers_0502.html

The Earl of Bud

August 4th, 2009
3:15 pm

GaVaHokie, I totally misunderstood your question so ignore what I said. But I would not disagree with you on Dallas not having an affiliate right now, only because when Avery came back into the league he was sent to NY’s affiliate with the idea they would take him back and I believed that’s how it all happened but don’t quote me.

GaVaHokie

August 4th, 2009
3:42 pm

The Rangers walked away from the Zherdev arbitration decision… I’d certainly love to give him a try in our offense.

Toby

August 4th, 2009
4:07 pm

Looks like our old friend Ken Klee retired.

http://hfboards.com/showthread.php?t=669718

Adam

August 4th, 2009
4:47 pm

It would sure be nice to be able to convert the Gladiators to an AHL team and cut ties with Chicago…

Troy

August 4th, 2009
4:57 pm

Actually Chicago can NOT assign NHL-contracted players to the ECHL, only the Thrashers can. However they can let a guy rot in the stands as much as they want.

World Be Free

August 4th, 2009
6:55 pm

Adam-I would support that, but I think the Thrashers may be concerned about losing fans to AHL games, mostrly due to cost. Just a thought, but I like your idea.

The Earl of Bud

August 5th, 2009
10:12 am

Did Gwinnett hurt the Atlanta Braves?

Duder

August 5th, 2009
10:49 am

The Earl of Bud,

the G-Braves have not hurt the Atlanta Braves at all because they are atually owned by the parent club, which is not the case here. Any money the G-Braves make is actually money the organization makes and if anything has made them money.

Adam

August 10th, 2009
7:03 pm

Sorry I haven’t check back here in a while…

I go to a fair number of Glads games, $10 and sit where you want, but I would actually pay more to see AHL quality games. The only thing that has stopped me from going to Phillips is the way the team is run. I’d rather watch the Thrashers lose on TV and go to games Gwinnett than spend 10x as much to go see the Thrashers. I haven’t been to Phillips in over a year and a half. I’ve even past up on fee tickets because I didn’t want to spend a dime on concessions there.

I love Hockey and I hope Dwad has done enough to get me back in a seat. But I keep looking to see another signing…

I honestly don’t think having an AHL team here would hurt ticket sales an Phillips. If the Thrashers are in the hunt and making the playoffs on a consistent basis the place will be full no matter what team is in Gwinnett. To have your own farm team here gives you so much more control over prospect development and cuts down on travel costs. Hell the Gwinnett players could even go to Thrashers practices and possibly participate at times. On nights off they could even go to the games in the press box. Talk about accelerating the learning curve!!!

A winning Thrashers team will out sell a winning Hawks team hands down. If the ASG could only figure that out. Here’s hoping they’re seeing the light and spend just a bit more on this years roster.

Krebs

August 11th, 2009
7:43 am

Adam you are right. If the Thrashers should win a playoff series or even begin to win consistently, the place would be filled every night. I am an old Atlanta Flames fan and lived through years of frustration, losing in the first round of the playoffs almost every year. 2-19 playoff record (Flames + Thrashers). But for the first time I am encouraged by the progress made in the past year. I like Anderson and really like that we nabbed Dudley. He has a great rep for rebuilding (Chicago for one). I like the new additions from the Leafs, but we seem to be a little soft overall. I maybe opening up a can of worms but is anyone in favor of a jersey change. Our logo is Ok but the current jerseys are really busy. Would a traditional style jersey and colors be rejected by the fans?

Brendan

August 11th, 2009
8:52 am

I’d welcome a jersey change, including the logo. I’m sort of in favor of the “Stylized T” being the main logo, and say the Inaugural Season bird head logo as the shoulder patch, and temporarily getting away from the bird with the hockey stick under its wing.

Adam

August 11th, 2009
8:54 am

I’ve always thought the lights should be the home jersey and the darks should be away. I actually like the “dinner plate” on our whites. The change ups are to increase merchandising sales. But it’s been long enough now to go back.

Growing up in Chicago that was the way it was and after the Hawks started sucking in the mid 90’s and hating the Wings as much as I do the Avs became the team I followed in the post season. To me there is nothing like a sea of white in the stands during playoff games :)

Brendan

August 11th, 2009
9:32 pm

I agree with Adam. Plus, ya know what they say, “The GOOD GUYS wear white.” White was always the home jersey, in my youth. That’s what I’m used to. When I see classic NHL, I know who the home team is/was … because they’re wearing white. For the past several seasons, I have to remind myself the team in dark is actually the home team.

stendec

August 12th, 2009
12:13 am

Per poll. I will not attend any Thrasher games this season. Organization lost any finances from this hockey fanatic with signing of Kari Letemin. Promise I made to myself. Will continue to follow losers, uh, team, on television. Fully expect to miss playoffs again. Sigh. Know drop of puck still in near future but just wanted to touch base. Peace.

Toby

August 17th, 2009
1:47 pm

Final prospect updates…is this your final blog too?

B. Thenet

August 17th, 2009
11:34 pm

Just curious, did you completely forget about the reasons Don Waddell listed about the Thrashers not being a movable franchise, or did you just ignore them so you could tease readers with the idea that the Thrashers could be relocated?

Atlmilfluvr

August 18th, 2009
11:29 am

Any news/updates regarding getting Kovy signed to an extension?

Smoothie

August 18th, 2009
4:33 pm

Well played Toby and B. Thenet! Time for a new blog! Perhaps Mark Bradley should be in charge of this blog since he writes about 5 – 6 new ones every day??

stendec

August 20th, 2009
12:09 am

OPEN LETTER TO ILYA KOVALCHUK:

It is the dream of every hockey player to hoist the Stanley Cup above his head. Every hockey player wants to be part of a championship team at least once during his playing career. That will never happen for you in Atlanta as a Thrasher. You are a talented athlete. Sometimes you display pride and passion. Other times you give less than your best due to circumstances beyond your control. I do not blame you. I do not believe those times are intentional. A Stanley Cup contender must have a solid netminder. There is no way you can score enough goals to offset the liability known as Kari Lehtonen. Deep down inside you know that. You know the defense is defenseless. Besides yourself there are few dependable scorers. I respect you. I want to see you succeed elsewhere. You deserve that success. Reject any offer from the Thrashers. Money is not worth killing your soul slowly. Many wealthy former players would trade the big bucks they made for one opportunity to lift Lord Stanley’s Cup. The Thrashers will not reach the playoffs. Again. Do you really want that pain? Season after season after season? Cut your ties now. Set your sight on greatness. It is a decision you will never regret financially or professionally. Please consider what I have said. God bless you young man. May you make a wise decision. With utmost respect, Stendec. An unangry Stendec since I realize the Thrashers are the Thrashers. You should too