Valabik looks forward to second chance

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.

9 comments Add your comment


October 15th, 2010
2:14 pm

I hope he gets a chance somewhere in the NHL. Was a little suprised Dudley couldn’t package him with a pick and a prospect for something.

[...] How bad is the Ducks defense? Well…their defense is so suspect, that many who frequent this online forum have suggested Anaheim might have been tempted to trade anything of value for Boris Valabik…that is, before he was placed on waivers today. [...]

Andy B

October 15th, 2010
2:56 pm

Well now a chance for Thrasher fans to see what a great move it was to pick up Freddy Meyer.

Puck Like A Porn Star

October 15th, 2010
3:18 pm

The only moves I’m concerned with this team making involve putting pucks in the net.

[...] For more on Boris and from Boris himself check Chris Vivlamore’s AJC blog post. [...]


October 15th, 2010
5:20 pm

Okay, couple of things strike me here. (1) Boris Valabik actually said, “I hoped to win a Stanley Cup here?” Boy, is he out of the loop of current events. (2) He is an 10th overall selection of the Atlanta Thrashers, from 2004. Yes, that qualifies him as a “Top 10″ first round draft pick. A move like this, which exposes him to a waiver claim, really is tantamount to an admission of failure, on draft day. I don’t know too many teams that would allow a former 10th overall selection to be claimed off waivers … for nothing but salary relief. And let’s face it, folks, the Thrashers are at the floor of the cap, as it is. I hope they don’t go too far UNDER it, in violation of the CBA.

Of course, if Valabik works on his game, down in the minors (Chicago), to the point where he would get called up by the Thrashers, then some other team can STILL claim him, at 50% of his salary.

What does that mean for the Thrashers? It means that Atlanta pays half his salary for Valabik to play for some other team, with ostensibly no tangible result for a Top 10 overall, 1st round draft pick, from 2004. But nobody thinks that our scouting department is flawed? Isn’t Dan Marr still part of the organization? Isn’t Waddell, too? Allright. Enough of that. Dead horses, can’t rise up.

If claimed, Valabik would join Patrik Stefan, Dany Heatley, Ilya Kovalchuk, Kari Lehtonen, and Braydon Coburn as 1st round draft picks of the Atlanta Thrashers, a decade old team, to depart the organization. When people say, “Brendan, you can’t trade coveted draft positions …,” I’m apt to respond, “Why not? Weren’t all these players … coveted draft positions?” Stefan and Kovalchuk were 1st overalls. Heatley and Lehtonen were 2nd overalls. Coburn was a 8th overall. Valabik went 10th overall. And let’s not forget that in 2005, the Thrashers owned the 8th overall pick, which they traded to San Jose, to land Chad Denny, a defensemen, in the 2nd round. Chad Denny’s skate has never touched NHL ice in any regular season game. San Jose used the 8th overall pick to land a goal scorer named Devin Setoguchi. Bygones.


October 16th, 2010
4:12 am

2005 1st round pick, Alex Bourret, was also traded out of Atlanta. I believe he was traded to the NY Rangers, for Pascal Dupuis and a 3rd round pick. That 3rd rounder … got traded to Pittsburgh for Chris Thorburn.

Hockey Steve

October 17th, 2010
11:58 am

I have serious doubt that Boris will make it through the waivers to the Wolves. Someone will snatch him. The kid has Chara-like tools, he’s just gotta get right between the ears.

[...] • Boris Valabik was also placed on waivers by the Atlanta Thrashers, and Chris Vivlamore has a good piece with him: "I have been preparing for the last month or so… 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." [AJC] [...]