As we get ready for Thrashers optional practice Sunday morning following last night’s win over Philadelphia, here are some of the highlights from my interview with GM Don Waddell following the first period.
1. As I first posted last night, prospect Angelo Esposito is out for the season after tearing the ACL in his right knee for the second time.
Here is what Waddell said on that: “We are going to fly him in [Sunday]. He’ll get re-examined by our doctors here this week and we’ll go from there. I’m very, very disappointed for the kid.”
2. As I also first posted last night, Boris Valabik will return from his rehab stint in Chicago on Monday.
“His two weeks down there are up this weekend,” Waddell said. “He’s played well down there. He’ll come back here on Monday.”
When I asked if the Thrashers planned to carry 23 players once Valabik returned, Waddell said: “We’ll see. I will initially. We’ll see after that.”
3. Waddell on the on-going contract talks with Ilya Kovalchuk: “No update. The last conversation we had involved term. What’s a long-term [deal] mean? Describe long term. That’s our discussion right now. Once we nail term down, we’ll get to the salary.”
I asked if it was true that once the season was underway, Kovalchuk told his agent to start real negotiations. Waddell said: “Into the season, once he got a good feel, after we played 10, 12, 15 games he told his agent see what kind of contract we can get.”
Waddell also said there are currently no negotiations with other players.
4. Update on Kari Lehtonen: “Not close to being on the ice. He’s in the gym here. Everything is going well.”
Those are the newsworthy highlights.
The players on the ice for the optional skate are: Chris Thorburn, Eric Boulton, Jim Slater, Evander Kane, Anssi Salmela, Colby Armstrong and Ondrej Pavelec. Noah Welch, who continues to rehab from offseason knee surgery, is skating as well.