Lots of news from the last two days. Here are the items from Tuesday’s practice and some leftovers from Monday that didn’t get mentioned because of the roster moves.
*The Thrashers signed first-round pick Alexander Burmistrov to a three-year, entry level contract on Tuesday. It clears the way for the rookie to start the season in the NHL. Here is what coach Craig Ramsay said about Burmistrov following practice.
“He’s a great kid and he’s played extremely well,” Ramsay said. “… At this point in time he looks like a National League player. We feel really good about the way he’s grown into his role, his progression and his willingness to do whatever it takes.”
* Here’s is what Ramsay had to say about the four players cut on Monday:
On Fredrik Pettersson: “I thought Pettersson had a really good camp. He started out great. Wonderful enthusiasm. He shoots the puck, which we love a lot. I can really see this kid playing in the league. There is an adjustment. We had other guys play well. It will be good for him to go down and have a crack at the pro game on this side of the [world]. He had a good start.”
On Aturs Kulda and Andrey Zubarev: “I thought Kulda had an excellent camp. Both defensemen (including Andrey Zubarev) played very well. I think Kulda showed a little more experience because he’s been over here. Both of them, to me, showed they can play in this league and it’s great for the future of the organization. We have two defensemen that came right down to the bitter end and have a chance to play in this league.”
On Patrick Rissmiller: “Rissmiller, he did great defensively. We need to see a little more offense out of him. If he comes up we are going to be all right.”
* Ramsay said the Thrashers will not have a captain to start the season and will rotate alternates. “I haven’t come to grips with anyone or anything at this point in time. We are probably going to have rotating people in all positions. We are going to have a lot of people taking a crack at it.
“It’s difficult. I’ve seen many teams try to force a captain on somebody before he’s ready or in an effort to make him a better player and neither one is good. We don’t want to do that. We are going to take our time and try to do something that’s more comfortable for everybody. There is pride involved in having a C or an A on your sweater but we feel we have lots of leaders and we want to reward them all with an opportunity to lead.”
*Ramsay would not name the opening night starter in goal Friday or even if the team would rotate with another game Saturday. It does appear that one goaltender will see more action over the course of the season. Management has indicated in the past that they see a near even split in playing time between Chris Mason and Ondrej Pavelec.
“I’m not going to get into a particular goalie,” Ramsay said. “We want to use both goalies. Every team, one is going to play more. … We are going to pick a goalie and one will play more than the other.”
* All indications are that Jim Slater will start the season on Injured Reserve (along with prospect Andrew Kozek). That would get the Thrashers to a roster of 23 players. That is the maximum allowed by the 3 p.m. Wednesday deadline. It means the team may keep both defensemen Freddy Meyer and Boris Valabik on the initial roster. However, once Slater is able to play, one of those two will be sent down.
*Here are the line combinations the Thrashers used in practice on Tuesday. Ramsay said these lines, although not set in stone, will likely be used to start the season.
The defensive pairings were:
* Look for Nigel Dawes to move over to right wing. “I think what Nigel found out is he can play on either side,” Ramsay said. “Nigel wasn’t sure. I asked him if he had played on the right. He told me he was a left winger. I told him he was going to play right wing and he did extremely well. Players are often surprised themselves what they can do given the opportunity and encouragement and have to find a way to do it.”
*Patrick Rissmiller cleared waivers and will be sent to AHL Chicago.
*Thrashers goaltender prospect Chris Carrozzi will start the season at ECHL Gwinnett.