Boris Valabik now waits for a phone call.
The Thrashers defenseman was waived by the team on Friday. He hopes to be informed that he was claimed by another team (by noon Saturday) and will get a second chance. However, if he goes unclaimed he will be assigned to AHL Chicago and work toward a return to Atlanta.
“I have been preparing for the last month or so,” Valabik told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “Professionally, I know it’s part of the game. It’s also tough knowing that people I respect, the coaches, [GM] Rick Dudley, didn’t think I could play there.
“Whatever happens, happens. If some team picks me up, I will look forward to a second chance. I feel like I owe a lot to Atlanta for drafting me. I had hoped to win a Stanley Cup here. There were 24 guys on the roster and they could only have 23.”
The Thrashers made the move when they activated forward Jim Slater from the injured (non-roster) list.
The Thrashers made Valabik, 24, the No. 10 overall selection in the 2004 draft. He has been plagued by injury throughout his career, including last season when he missed time with a broken ankle and torn knee ligament. Valabik’s draft position and size, 6-foot-7, 245 pounds, could me he his picked up by another team.
“I would like to get picked up because that means somebody wants you,” Valabik said. “I hope a lot of people realize that I’m still young and I can play. … If no team claims me I will go to Chicago and work on my game. I have some work to do, but mostly I need to play. For me, it’s more about getting the chance to play and building my confidence. The mental part of the game is so huge for me. I know when I’m on top of my game I can be very successful.”
Valabik and Freddy Meyer have been the seventh and eighth defensemen on the roster. Dudley told the AJC Thursday that it was his intention to only carry seven blue liners. Meyer has played parts of six NHL seasons, 266 total games. He spent the past three seasons with the New York Islanders.
In another roster move, the Thrashers activated prospect Andrew Kozek from injured reserve and assigned him to AHL Chicago. The forward has been out with a groin injury since being invited to Thrashers training camp.