Bryan Little moved to center this season and finished with a career-high 30 assists. He finished with 18 goals and led all Thrashers with a plus-11 rating.
In the next of a series of interviews with Thrashers players following the 2010-11 season, here is some of what Little had to say about his new position, his need to improve his faceoff percentage and playing with Andrew Ladd and Blake Wheeler.
Q. What are your overall impressions of the season?
A. It’s very disappointing when you don’t make the playoffs. For me, it’s three years in a row now. It’s hard coming in this early and packing up your stuff. As far as the season went, it was strange because we had such a good start and were in playoff position early. Then we had that rough month or two where we were struggling to get wins and that put us behind and it was too much to make up.
Q. How about for you personally with a new role [playing center]?
A. It was the season I was the most happy with as far as my all-around game. I got a chance to penalty kill this year and do more things. I think I improved a lot, especially playing in my own end. I thought it was one of my more complete years, but there is always stuff you want to do different and work on in the summer.
Q. What would those things be?
A. I’m going to be a centerman again next year so I want to continue to get better at faceoffs. I was pretty disappointed with how they went this year. I do feel they got a little better but I need to get over that 50 percent (win percentage) if I’m going to be taking that many. I also want to shoot more, especially when I’m in a slump I can definitely shoot more.
Q. So the coaches have told you they see you as a centerman again next season?
A. Yes, especially with the success we had with that line (Andrew Ladd and Blake Wheeler). We clicked real well. As the season went on, I became more and more comfortable at center and I’ve come to like it a lot. I think I will stay there.
Q. Why do you think your line that line was so successful?
A. We had real good chemistry. We moved the puck well to each other. The good thing was anyone could be the shooter. Those guys have great shots. You set one of them up, there is a good chance they are going to score. It’s easy to play with those guys because they are so good at controlling the puck and doing give-and-go plays. It was pretty easy.
The series will continue over the next couple of weeks. Coming Thursday, Blake Wheeler.