Updated: Thrashers pick seventh in NHL draft

I spoke to GM Rick Dudley, coach Craig Ramsay and every player so be looking for those interviews as blogs in the near future. I’m thinking of a 5 Questions With … feature each day for the next month.

Here are the notes of the day:

The Thrashers will select seventh in this year’s NHL draft after the league held its lottery Tuesday night for the 14 non-playoff teams.

The Thrashers dropped a spot after New Jersey won the lottery. Edmonton, with the league’s worst record, will select first overall for the second straight year. It will be followed by Colorado, Florida, New Jersey and the New York Islanders to round out the top five.

The Thrashers, with the sixth worst-record in the NHL, could have moved up as high as the second pick had they won the lottery. NHL rules prohibit teams from jumping more than four places.

Ottawa will select sixth and the Thrashers will be followed by Columbus, Boston (via Toronto), Minnesota, Colorado (via St. Louis), Carolina, Calgary and Dallas.

This year’s draft will take place at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, Minnesota June 24-25.

Contract talks

The Thrashers will have a busy offseason that includes three unrestricted free agents and six restricted free agents from the NHL roster.

Unrestricted Radek Dvorak and Eric Boulton both said Tuesday their first priority was to re-sign with the Thrashers.

“Hopes are to re-sign with the team,” Boulton said. “We’ve made this our home. We obviously love it here. The potential of the team is very attractive too. We have a bright future, a lot of young kids who can play. I definitely want to come back.”

Dvorak said the Thrashers are “my first option.”

Freddy Meyer is also an unrestricted free agent along with minor-leaguers Jason Krog, Jared Ross, Jaime Sifers and Noah Welch.

The top offseason priority is to sign captain Andrew Ladd, a restricted free agent.

“With [Ladd], talks are further along than they were a year ago,” general manager Rick Dudley said. “They are much more what I would call civil discourse. I think we both want to get something done. I think Ladd wants to get something done. We definitely want him back.”

The other NHL restricted free agents are Zach Bogosian, Ben Maxwell, Rob Schremp, Anthony Stewart and Blake Wheeler.

“[Stewart] is an interesting guy because he had a productive first half and a not-so-productive second half,” Dudley said. “Both our side and their side has to take a look at that. I think he’s found a home. I think he likes playing for Craig [Ramsay]. We have to arrive at a number.”

The team’s minor-league restricted free agents are Brett Feasterling, Spencer Machacek, Riley Holzapfel, Andrew Kozek, Arturs Kulda and Ian McKenzie.

Concussion issues

The Thrashers had eight players suffer concussions this season, with the injury prematurely ending the season for three.

Jim Slater (41 games), Meyer (28), Patrice Cormier (23), Dvorak (6) and Rob Schremp (1) are all still feeling the effects of the concussions.

“It’s not as good as I want it to be right now,” Slater said. “I missed a big part of the season which was really difficult for myself, very frustrating. One I never want to live again.”

Meyer said he is still dealing with symptoms. Cormier said he is still a month away from being able to work out.

Ondrej Pavelec, Bryan Little and Evander Kane also missed time during the season.

“That’s kind of unusual,” Dudley said. “We are going to request that our people wear the best helmet they can. We can’t order them to”

Thrashers represented at Worlds

The Thrashers could have as many as eight players at this month’s World Championships in Slovakia.

Wheeler, Mark Stuart and Tim Stapleton will play for the United States. Dustin Byfuglien has been invited to play for the team but said Tuesday he has yet to make a final decision. Bogosian said he declined an invitation to play for the U.S. to concentrate on offseason work.

Ladd and Kane have accepted invitations to play for Canada. Pavelec will play for the Czech Republic. Alexander Burmistrov has been invited to training camp for Russia.

“Having an opportunity to play for Team Canada is always an honor,” said Ladd, who will also be getting married this summer.

Injuries will keep two other Thrashers out of the tournament. Sweden’s Tobias Enstrom (shoulder) and the Czech Republic’s Dvorak (concussion) will continue with rehabilitation.

The tournament runs from April 29 through May 15.

17 comments Add your comment

Dwayne

April 12th, 2011
8:52 pm

Trade the pick,,,,
Stewart likes playing for Ramsey??? Imagine that, Stewart never has to hit anyone or fight for the puck. surprise surprise

Buff-n-stuff

April 12th, 2011
9:16 pm

Stewart needs to be sent packing……toooooooo soft !

HillMan

April 12th, 2011
9:29 pm

Let’s not trade the pick if we can get a guy like Sean Couturier at the 7 spot. He is the youngest guy to lead the QMJHL since Sid the kid and at his current NA ranking of 6, he may be a big 6-4 center we finally can get to fill a huge gap.

World Be Free

April 12th, 2011
9:51 pm

Stewart is as soft as a jelly donut-for a guy who goes about 235#. What a waste.

Midfield

April 12th, 2011
11:30 pm

Bogosian is going to concentrate on the offseason work? I think he should be concentrating on learning the game. The worlds is not a bad place, barring the Stanley Cup playoffs.

Brendan

April 12th, 2011
11:33 pm

Couturier is fine, if no GM will give us a quality player of their roster for pick # 7. I think we take # 7 and trade it, then trade # 37, unless it’s already promised to someone. Did we do that, again, this year? I know a lot of picks went flying between the deals with NJ, Chicago, and Dallas last offseason.

Normally, let me clarify, I wouldn’t advocate trading a Top 10 overall pick. But we’re the Thrashers. We don’t cultivate talent well. And we don’t have a minor league feeder system in the AHL that mirrors the pro club, as so many posters harp on. Might as well see what NHL talent is available for the # 7 pick. Let it be known that we’re shopping it.

What I can’t support … is dropping back. Our best chance to land a player who can honestly help our team, down the road, is to make our selection at # 7. Or, I’m okay with trying to move up in the draft. The Islanders sit in 5th spot, and I wouldn’t be shocked to see them agree to move back to 7th, if we promise them a 2nd rounder or a package of picks. Rick Dudley has always said, “I like to think I’m good at my job, and can do it better than anyone.”

Fine. Prove it. Go get us a player with that pick.

Hockey Biltong

April 13th, 2011
12:13 am

Get us a top line scorer.
But how?
With what money to secure this savior?
I don’t think a pick will be enough….

Swede

April 13th, 2011
4:32 am

Just tell bogo to focus on the right off season training, not bulking up and getting jacked. I HOPE he improves his game instead of only building muscles, which wont help at all, atleast not in his case.

Swede

April 13th, 2011
4:34 am

Brendan
We gave away the 37th to chicago for buff.

Swede

April 13th, 2011
9:41 am

Ladd i mean.

Smoothie

April 13th, 2011
9:49 am

Bogey should play beer league hockey with Thorbs and Boulton as it is that realm in which those two learned the defensive nuances of the game! LOL

East Point Bob

April 13th, 2011
10:10 am

Midfield has it on the nose, about Zach. We need to purge the roster, not bring back players we did not win with. Why keep driving a broken record, when you can get a new one ? What I mean, is thispast season we were not good. So, Why should we have the same players on the team next season after the season we just went through ? We need change, flatout big changes. Two new goalies for a start, I have seen enough of the two we have employed. More defensive minded defensemen. But what we need most is a new style and a new coaach who has a fire to win and hit rather than this passive stuff. Be Eager, played tough, got a little over zealious in one game and got traded for a fifth rounder, But he is going to the playoffs ! Which raises the question, how many EX-Atlanta players will be in the playoffs this season, answer quite a few. Which says to me at least, how bad a coach we have, we have a terrible General Manager and the rest, well we all know that story. But big changes must be made and just because Eric Boulton hustles and plays hard, we need more productive players to win with, rather continuing to play with ones we have lost with.

KLS1

April 13th, 2011
10:15 am

Go draft a guy like Carolina did with Skinner…he was a #7 pick. Kid playeds in every game and had 31 goals. Thats how you build a hockey club.

drake

April 13th, 2011
10:49 am

Prediction:
islanders will draft a d-man w/ 5th overall pick (Hamilton, Beaulieu, or Seimons, but probably Hamilton) which would leave us a skilled forward…hopefully either Couturier or Ryan Strome.
Strome was third in ohl scoring with 106 pts. 1st and 2nd tied for 108pts. but Strome played less games, plus the kid is still only 17.

Michael B. Shapiro

April 13th, 2011
5:33 pm

OMG a number for Stewart? Give him the number of the Greyhound station downtown and buy him the bus ticket to anywhere.

Oh, and leave it to the Thrash to even lose the lottery…can’t believe the Devils moved up so far and we dropped down a spot. We can’t even with the booby prize.

Acer

April 14th, 2011
4:09 am

Trading for Ladd and Buff worked out well, eh. Missed the playoffs again and recored less points. In the process the team also lost depth and quality in the system and the chance to add more (draft picks.)

C’mon do it again Duds. Who cares about the draft anyway? Who cares about the playoffs anyway?

Sage of Bluesland

April 14th, 2011
1:30 pm

“Go draft a guy like Carolina did with Skinner…he was a #7 pick. Kid playeds in every game and had 31 goals. Thats how you build a hockey club.”

If it were ‘only’ so simple! I’m not disparaging the remark–as I want to agree with it–but no assumptions can be made on anything related to the draft (i.e. a #7 pick should look like this). Given the mixture, the unpredictability of the kids themselves, the training-structures in place, etc., there is nothing guaranteeing anything with the NHL draft.

I also take exception to those who say “all we have to do” is trade the pick for a “star”. Well, what on earth would possess a team with a known commodity (i.e. a “star”) to trade it for a complete unknown???

I do agree with the ending sentiment (i.e. that’s how you build). Indeed. The right decision-making on the right kids at the right time with the right support-system (which is all-inclusive from coaches to teammates to training facilities to feeder-system)….is all you need.

Heavens.

With Don Waddell at our helm, is there any wonder why we are a shambles from top-to-bottom?