Stopped by the Thrashers practice facility in Duluth on Friday to watch a little of an informal skate and talk to a few players about their offseason. It will be enough material for some fresh blogs after the weekend (more on that later).
I talked to Bryan Little and one of the things we talked spoke about was his contract. The Thrashers made him a qualifying offer this offseason and I’ve been told that re-signing him, and Niclas Bergfors, were next on the team’s priority list. It sounds like they are close on a deal with Little. This is what he told me: “I’m letting my agent handle that, like everyone else does, I’m just worried about the season. It’s looking like it hopefully is going to be done pretty soon and I can start concentrating on this year. It would be nice to have it done as soon as possible. No matter how much you want to concentrate on the season its still in the back of your head that it’s not taken care of. I know it’s going to be pretty soon so I’m not worried about it. I’m just concentrating on getting ready for the year.”
Defenseman Andrei Zubarev was one of the players taking part in the informal skate. The Thrashers have been in talks with him for a few weeks, but I would expect an official announcement of a signing in the next few days.
Couple other items of interest:
* I talked to Boris Valabik and he said he would be 100 percent healthy by training camp. The defenseman underwent surgery last season to repair a torn ACL in his left knee. Valabik said he is looking forward to the season and especially a physical style of play.
* In addition to Little, Zubarev and Valabik, other players taking part in the informal skate were Eric Boulton, Chris Thorburn, Chris Mason, Ondrej Pavelec, Patrice Cormier, Alexander Burmistrov, Vinny Saponari and former Thrasher Eric Perrin.
* I also talked with new strength and conditioning coach Barry Brennan so I will have a profile of him soon.
* As for this weekend, I am chaperoning my daughter and three of her friends at Maroon 5 concert at Verizon Amphitheatre Saturday. Wish me luck.