Five Questions With … Eric Boulton

Eric Boulton enters his second straight summer as an unrestricted free agent after his sixth season with the Thrashers. This time he is coming off a career-high in goals with six, which included a hat trick against New Jersey on Dec. 18.

The forward was one of three full-season Thrashers to finish with a plus rating.

In the next of a series of interviews with Thrashers players following the 2010-11 season, here is some of what Boulton had to say about his desire to return next year and the potential he sees in the young team.

Q. How would you describe your season and your expanded role, which included a career-high in goals?

A. I played a lot more than I have in the past. I think that each year I’ve played here, I’ve played more and more. [Coach Craig Ramsay] likes to roll four lines so that was great for a guy in my role. I think I proved to him, the coaches and management that I can contribute besides just the physical side. Obviously we are not happy with the outcome, not making the playoffs but we have a lot of potential here. We can turn it around, for sure.

Q. What is it that you see in this team that makes this more than just another year the Thrashers didn’t make the playoffs?

A. I think we are such a young team and we lost a lot of one-goal games. I can’t count how many. There were just a lot of mistakes made. In terms of the talent and youth and potential that some of these guys have is overwhelming. I think if we play as a team like we were down the stretch we gave a lot of teams a hard time. I think with the experience of this year, we are going to build and grow as a team year after year.

Q. Why did this team have success against the top-level teams like Washington and Philadelphia?

A. I think guys go into those games thinking I better be on my best game or we are going to get stomped on. You might not think that going in against a team below you in the standings. That’s part of learning. Teams are so good in the NHL right now every game is a must-win. You have to win hockey games. You have to put points together whether it’s Washington or Florida. You have to be ready to go. When we play well against those teams it shows we are capable of doing it. When everyone gets on the same page and a little wiser and smarter, I think we will be all set.

Q. It’s another offseason for you as an unrestricted free agent. You’ve made a home here. What are your thoughts, hopes, plans?

A. Hopes are to re-sign with the team. We’ve made this our home. We obviously love it here. The potential of the team is very attractive too. I think there is a bright future with a lot of young kids who can play. I definitely would love to come back.

Q. Your negotiations last year went late into the offseason. Is that why there was just a one-year deal then?

A. I’ll take as many as I can but you’ll have to ask [management] about that. But we definitely want to stay here. We want to be a part of this.

The series will continue over the next couple of weeks. Coming Friday, Anthony Stewart.

27 comments Add your comment

Yuvno Ballzerdik

April 28th, 2011
8:04 am

Please re-sign him, Duds!

surgeobanana

April 28th, 2011
8:15 am

I’ll second that YB. Keep Boults in the uniform.

Thrashers27

April 28th, 2011
8:20 am

Skip Anthony Stewart. He need not have a future with this team.

Flames

April 28th, 2011
8:46 am

Boults is a class act! He gives you everything he has every night! This guy will fight anybody on any given night. He is a vocal leader in the locker room and is respected and loved by his team mates. He was the reason that Duds could trade Ben Eager. Plus he doesn’t bitch and complain when he is a healthy scratch. Boults knows his role on this team and he performs it well.

Mat"T"

April 28th, 2011
8:55 am

He seems to be a good middle of the road all purpose vet who can mix it up to send a message when you need him to. Probably a great attitude in the locker room!

Ox Baker

April 28th, 2011
9:00 am

Boults can deliver the Heart Punch!!!

Duke

April 28th, 2011
9:07 am

I dont understand why Chris is not updating Thrashers immenent departure while all other media outlets are??

Daculafan

April 28th, 2011
9:57 am

Because the departure isn’t imminent like all other outlets (mostly in Canada) are hoping it to be.

HockeyCanada

April 28th, 2011
10:02 am

Winnipeg will dig yo team!

Sam

April 28th, 2011
10:10 am

Boults is a solid guy with a consistent effort, game in and game out. How many other players could the team really say that about this season? He has always worked and created a way to make himself neccessary to this franchise…whether its scoring, speed, intimidation or community service. He’s very smart in that regard. Teams need “enforcers”, but versatile ones. Boulton knows that, plays a smart game, and finds ways every season to prove his value. That’s the kind of guy any team should want.

Savannah Blueland Fan

April 28th, 2011
10:36 am

Favorite….Thrasher…ever!!!!!!

Hoof Arted

April 28th, 2011
10:44 am

Canada will “dig” our Thrashers next season the way they always have…..via Center Ice.

Cornbread

April 28th, 2011
11:30 am

Eric Boulton is one Hell of a hockey player.

Winnipeg Jet

April 28th, 2011
12:51 pm

The time is near. Say good bye to Hockey for the third and last time Knight fans.
http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/breakingnews/Winnipeg-only-option-for-Thrashers-sale-120815069.html

Thrasherjet flight 2012 on final approach to YWG.

Zombie Steve

April 28th, 2011
1:16 pm

A Whinnerpeg “news article” on the Thrashers is like reading the Onion News: zero credibility and funny as hell.

Frosty the snowman

April 28th, 2011
1:37 pm

That winnipeg article is a terrible read. Did this guy go to journalism school?
Thrashers arent leaving Atlanta, the market is here, Bettman knows it, he has seen it. Owners are the problem.

Thrashy Thrashy

April 28th, 2011
1:58 pm

I do think it’s funny that most of the vets who have been interviewed so far do hold to the party line about this being a young team that is learning. It really is true. It’s easier to swallow that than the excuses made for the washed-up, vet-filled teams Waddell would throw out there.

Yuvno Ballzerdik

April 28th, 2011
2:06 pm

Dudley has managed only one real washed up vet like Slow-Modin and some argue trading for Dvorak. I’m thankful Duds doesn’t go the DW route but both like those career AHL’ers.

Boults deserves at least a year, guy has taken less money to stay here, loves the city and fans, one of the most popular players for good reason. It’s a shame the last two whispering soft coaches we have had have both tried to exile Boults to the pressbox every year and he plays his way into the lineup and never looks back. Our coaches and GM seem intent on upgrading the 4th line every year when it’s not the problem, especially Boults..no one ever questions his effort because he plays hard unlike some on this team named Ron Hainsey. Our 4th line is actually great when healthy.

Cornbread

April 28th, 2011
2:22 pm

New NBC/VS. NHL deal means corporate America knows the sport is going to grow. The only place for that to grow is in big market cities like ATL, PHX, MIA. Cities that each have over 4 million people. The Peg? 750,000. Hey Canada, get a clue. Corporate America does not care that 99.9% of you are crazy – and delusional – fanatics about hockey. There are not enough of you. What’s more, most Americans have never heard of or care about you. How do you expect corporate America to make money off of you when no one will ever tune in to watch your games?

See, this is about potential growth of not only the game but the holy dollar. Hockey in the Peg has no potential. Going back there does not grow the sport. In fact, it likely will regress the game. Hockey in Big Market America has huge potential. Not only in the big cities but filtering down to smaller ones as well. It is already happening and will continue to do so. In just ten to fifteen years in the South, the game is still in its toddler stage.

You may not like Bettman, but he is a very astute business man. He has not even begun to fight to keep the team in ATL. Why, because he knows they are not close to relocating. And under his watch, or any other’s with any business sense, they never will. There’s too much money to be made.

Midfield

April 28th, 2011
3:43 pm

“You may not like Bettman, but he is a very astute business man. He has not even begun to fight to keep the team in ATL.”

That sounds self-contradictory to me. If he’s so stute, he should have already dealt with ASG long time ago.

Brett

April 28th, 2011
3:49 pm

Agree with Midfield!!! Bettman should’ve dealt with those A$$ Clowns years ago!!

Brendan

April 28th, 2011
6:51 pm

I think Bettman wanted to deal with them earlier, but there was pending litigation. That clogged not only the docket, but the Commissioner’s ability to reign in these clowns. That’s my opinion; I could be wrong.

Brendan

April 28th, 2011
6:54 pm

Re: Boulton, I won’t cry if he’s re-signed, but I definitely think there are upgrades out there. And no, it doesn’t have to be Matt Cooke. Though Cooke, if able to control himself, could be a great addition. That’s a huge if, however. That’s a contract that pays him $1.8 million per annum, until 2013. Always pots a minimum of 10 goals a season. But he’s older now. He’s a “mark’ now. And if he takes penalties, which he surely will, it’ll put our PK unit out there even more. Like I said, doesn’t have to be Cooke, but there are upgrades to Eric Boulton out there.

East Point Bob

April 28th, 2011
8:15 pm

Keep Thrashers, Do not resign Boulton. Nice guy, hustles, but too old, and we need consistant players who can turn this thing around, Boulton has been here long enough to prove we cannot win with him on the roster, a better player who can contribute, rather than beat people up.

Adios

April 29th, 2011
1:58 am

Just read the Winnipeg article. Looks legit to me, especially about ASG being desperate to sell the team without regard to who or where. I hope all the people on this blog that remain delusional about the Thrashers staying here are also season-ticket holders …. as I am.

Yuvno Ballzerdik

April 29th, 2011
5:51 am

..again delusional fans pinpoint our enforcer as a roster player responsible for a team that implodes every year. seriously if you think one of the hardest working players on the Thrashers (Eric Boulton) is the primary reason this team doesn’t succeed you really have no clue. I can think of several players with questionable effort not to mention actual lack of skill that can be pinpointed rather than Boulton who is severely underpaid to boot. Like I said..if we upgrade him with an Enforcer I am all for it, not a glorified pest in Matt Cooke of all people, you have to be kidding me. When someone decapitates Kane, you are gonna send Cooke after him..to do what? Get suspended? No.

If this team does move to Winter peg I hope the bizarre logic of some fans go with it. Every year there are complaints about toughness and commitment and the answer is to get rid of the toughest player and most committed. Yep, makes a lot of sense ! Please don’t anyone knock DW, some of you are just as asinine and completely oblivious. What’s next..gonna demand to trade a 20 year old D man because he has had to play under John Anderson and Rammer which makes him run around like a chicken with his head cut off most games? Sound about right? The Thrashers are soft EVERY YEAR..so lets get rid of the toughest player coming off a career year. Yep !! I think Burmistrov should get booted also because some games he played like a rookie..oh wait. :)