Prospect camp observations and comments

First off…I hope everyone had a great weekend. I suppose a lot of you spent at least some of it at prospect camp in Duluth. If so, I look forward to reading your thoughts and observations. As for me…well, after spending Thursday and Friday out there I dealt with a few issues at home. Older son’s car had a water pump go out on it Friday night, and while that was being replaced we were out with the younger son looking for a car for him.

Ah…the joys of having teenage sons.

Anyway, here are a couple of quick remarks/comments about a few of the players that I was looking at during prospect camp.

I was impressed with the raw skills and talent possessed by Alexander Burmistrov. Very fast, smooth skater who seems to have good vision on the ice…head up and quick reactions.

However, I have to admit that I still feel the same way as I did before in regards to him playing in a Thrashers uniform this fall. Simply put, I don’t think he’s as far along as Evander Kane was this time last summer. When I first saw Kane at camp last year, there was this “something” about how he conducted himself on ice that just struck me…told me he had no business going back to Vancouver of the WHL. And since he could not go to Chicago because of that league’s age policy, it was all but certain he’d be in Atlanta.

I didn’t get that same vibe from Burmistrov.

JLH…a frequent contributor of this bog…pointed out to me that he though the number-eight overall draft pick appeared to be “trying too hard” out there. It was, he said, almost as if he were trying to work his way onto the team as opposed to just allowing his skills to do all the talking.

That may or not be so…but if the biggest knock against an 18-year old kid is that he’s trying too hard, that’s a forgivable sin in my book. Let’s see what he looks like with the bib boys at training camp.

Speaking of working and trying hard…that’s exactly how I would describe John Albert, the 5’-10”, 180-pound center who was the Thrashers 6th round pick in 2007, 175th overall. Albert was all hustle all the time out there and others had to work hard to keep up with him.

In the past three years at Ohio State he’s scored 21 goals and 69 assists in 122 total games. However, Hockey’s Future describes him as a “playmaking center with sufficient quickness. Has a better shot than his statistics show”. I have to say that I can see what they mean, so keep an eye on this kid.

In between the pipes…I went to camp looking at goalie Ed Pasquale, but I must admit that Chris Carrozzi caught my eye while there. This guy is a competitor who you could tell expects a lot from himself…very sharp and focused while on the ice.

Last season with the Mississauga St. Michael’s Majors of the OHL, Carrozzi was 19-10-5 with a 2.36 GAA and .916 SV%.

Patrice Cormier really impressed me with his play. Depending on whatever moves Rick Dudley makes between now and September, there very well could be a spot on the roster for him. I still think we could see a 4th line made up of him, Eager and Boulton/Thorburn.

Not surprisingly, Carl Kingberg was very impressive as well…great skills. Another year and we should be talking about whether or not he could make serious bit to play in Atlanta. As C-Viv reports, he’s looking for more ice time…either in Sweden or over here at the AHL level.

On defense, the best player in my opinion was Paul Postma, the Thrashers 205th overall selection in ’07. His 6’-3” frame brings with it a big presence on the blueline. Last season he had 29 overall points, was a +5 with only 24 PIM in 63 regular season games with the Wolves.

While there’s no room for him at Thrasherville’s Blueline Inn this season, look for him in the next coming seasons to make a serious push for the NHL.

And finally…I saw Angelo Esposito workout between sessions Friday. He looked good on the ice, no favoring the knee that has suffered injuries over the past two seasons. But then, he’s not participating in prospect camp because it’s still not 100% yet, I’m told.

This will be a very big year for him in Chicago. Whether or not he can make it through the season injury-free could very well determine his future hopes at the NHL level.

193 comments Add your comment

R. Stroz

July 13th, 2010
11:04 pm

I’m waiting to hear if Kovy agent contacts the team.

Flames – That would be very interesting.

Jack

July 13th, 2010
11:15 pm

Todd White would look great in a Rangers uniform :)

Tom Lysiak

July 13th, 2010
11:16 pm

“I’m really not sure if Duds is going to completely sell out to win this year. I just don’t see him doing that. He wants to be here awhile. Plus he has surrounded himself with his people.”

Flames – I hope you are correct. Reminds me of a previous trade of a young defenseman for an old defenseman, in order to win then. While that old defenseman might have provided some immediate help, we all know how the story ended.

Flames

July 13th, 2010
11:32 pm

With all the trades and signings We are still a young team. I think Jack/R Stroz favorite player Mr. White is the old man on the team at 35.

Jack

July 13th, 2010
11:43 pm

Well the fact that I hate the Rangers, plays in it too. Of course I would not mind Savard coming back, however the chances are slim and none, and slim just left for the beach.

litz

July 13th, 2010
11:56 pm

Increasingly, at least from Dudley on down, the Thrashers are indeed looking more and more like a 1st class organization. Ownership is most definitely still a circus …. but …. if they’re too busy sniping at each other to waste time screwing up the team, who are we to complain?

Dudley’s making moves, and so far, I think my only complaint is, why couldn’t we have done this 5 years ago?

Rawhide

July 14th, 2010
12:07 am

Todd White would look great in a [INSERT NAME OF ANY TEAM NOT NAMED "THRASHERS" HERE] uniform.

Jack & R. Stroz – There…I fixed that for you two.

Brendan

July 14th, 2010
12:09 am

Smoothie, if you think about it, Steinerbrenner spent how many billion between the World Series win in 2000 and the next one he finally got in 2010?

Brendan

July 14th, 2010
12:17 am

WBF, we saw how TB handled the NTC/NMC with Dan Boyle. They told him, flat-out, if you don’t waive your NTC, we’ll put you on waivers, and with six years left on your deal, you’ll be trapped on a bottom-feeder team. And there’s nothing Boyle could do about it. Other than what he did. And that was to accept the trade to San Jose. It was that, or BEG the team that claims him to trade him.

It’d be a pretty bad situation for Kovalchuk, if the team who signs him feels so badly about the contract they made with him, that they’d actually put him on waivers, down the road. How hilarious would it be … if some team waives Kovalchuk and Atlanta reclaims him? Okay, look. That’s not gonna happen. But I’d laugh, if it did. Then again, if Kovy were doing that badly, that a team’s only option with him was to waive him, then something went terribly wrong with his skills, and I’m not too sure it’d be wise to claim him, at what would be a hefty price tag.

Brendan

July 14th, 2010
12:34 am

Last I heard on Simon Gagne, he changed his mind about waiving his NTC. But, there was a time he was amenable to that during this offseason. I have no idea what team he had in mind, but he must have had some team in mind, or he wouldn’t have tempoararily decided to waive it.

I would think that the asking price for Gagne will be steep. I don’t anticipate the Flyers moving Gagne at the trade deadline. I see Philly as a playoff team next season. And because of that, he’ll stay in Philadelphia, at least through the year. Okay, look. If the wheels fall off, that changes things. Of course, they’ll move him then. Maybe even in a ‘rental’ situation. If I were the Flyers, I’d try to lock up Simon Gagne for at least another 3-4 years. He’s still relatively young. And just look what he did in the playoffs this year.

I don’t think Atlanta could get into trade discussions with Philly. We’re not close enough to be making a run at the Cup. And rent him for all of one year, at the cost of a 1st and 3rd, plus a prospect or some other conditional draft pick, is not the way a team that’s still building should proceed.

World Be Free

July 14th, 2010
5:39 am

White to the Rangers-that might be a possibility if you look at the contract the Rangers just gave Booghard.

Tom-getting Sharp would be a very good thing.

Biltong-I think Krejci is off limits with the Broones; he would be if I ran the club.

Red Light

July 14th, 2010
7:50 am

Happy Bastille Day!

Krejci is definitely off limits. Philly’s price for Gagne keeps going down because of his cap hit number. They need to shed money and he’s a much cheaper alternative to Sharp in terms of what you’d have to give up to get him, and I don’t think it’s anywhere near what Brendan suggests.

Seems like the NHL has become very strange in terms of contracts. They’re either really long-term deals or one-year deals. The most ridiculous one? A one-year deal with a no-trade clause.

I think Moose got one of those. What, 60 days in another city is too much to ask for him to pocket $1.5 million? Amazing. He’s a career back-up. What’s he done to deserve a NTC? He’ll be in Jersey seven months. Hell, I lasted 17 years there. Where else can you go and identify yourself with an exit number. Moose: You’re exit 14!

World Be Free

July 14th, 2010
8:06 am

Brendan-I did not realize the Lightning forced Boyle out of Tampa Bay, only months after signing him to a long term deal when he could have been an unrestricted free agent. TB may consider that as good business, but it is bad player relations. We keep talking about making Atlanta a preferred destination for free agents. Part of that comes with winning (like Detroit), the other part of the equation is treating players correctly. The Slava Kozlov situation could have been real ugly, but both sides, management and Slava handled it pretty well-in my opinion. You can’t underestimate the power of chatter between players and agents when it comes to picking a new city.

Kovy has painted himself into an unfavorable situation. The “painting” started months ago with his approached the Thrashers and their fans. He kept saying he wanted to be here when in truth, he did everything he could to get out o here. Other general managers took note of his double talk, which is why he is where he is today. Waddell gets most of the blame here, but you have to also include the Kovalchuk camp – it takes two to tango.

I just don’t like no-trade clauses and I wouldn’t sign players who insisted on them. Pay the players well and make them work every day.

Darryl Sutter

July 14th, 2010
8:10 am

Enough of the “Todd White will look good in so-and-so’s uniform”! I am trading Iggy to secure the invaluable services of Mr. White and placing him on a line with Jokinen and Tanguay.

Badger Bob

July 14th, 2010
8:18 am

My favorite quote on players contracts comes from John Schuerholz. When asked about giving a young player a mid-season raise because of his outstanding play, he says something like “The day a guy having a crappy season comes in my office and requests a pay cut is the day I renegotiate a players contract because he’s having a good season.”

Jay Feaster

July 14th, 2010
8:28 am

Oh, do you don’t Darryl, I AM in charge here now!

rob

July 14th, 2010
8:29 am

So the Kovy drama is holding up a bunch of deals as we all wait to see where he lands……sad that players today see the money as so much a part of it. How many MILLIONS and MILLIONS of dollars are enough for one man and his family? He can’t go to a winning team and demand so much money over a long time….there will be none for the rest and he will be right back where he started, a one horse show figure skating around and getting nothing accomplished other than a few nice goals. Unless he just whores himself out to teams for a season or two at a time….

rob

July 14th, 2010
8:31 am

Tom,
I agree Sharp would be a nice pickup but at what cost? Obviously he won’t be cheap…..and maybe it’s just me but I think we have enough players from Chicago now. We obviously needed a major overhaul purging the team of players who did not fit a mold Duds envisions but I don’t want it to seem as though we took all our players from Duds old team and transferred them here. I wouldn’t mind rolling with what we have now and seeing where it gets us. If it is obviously not working then look at other parts being brought in but I think we have a good group that should make for a very entertaining season that brings HOCKEY back to the ATL.

Red Light

July 14th, 2010
8:38 am

I’ve got one in purgatory from about 45 minutes ago. Help Trixie!

rob

July 14th, 2010
8:39 am

Trixie,
Can you help me out? I think I know what caused it but wasn’t thinking when I wrote it. How about “soliciting” instead? LOL

Badger Bob

July 14th, 2010
8:49 am

NHL article on Burmistrov – nothing new, but a good read (sorry if it’s been posted already):

http://www.nhl.com/ice/news.htm?id=534317

Trixie (Rawhide's Secretary)

July 14th, 2010
8:57 am

Mr. Red Light & Mr. rob - Your posts have been freed from Blog Purgatory.

Red Light

July 14th, 2010
9:07 am

Merci beaucoup!

rob

July 14th, 2010
9:13 am

Trixie,
Thank you ma’am, no need for the “Mr.” part though, only my kids friends call me that :)

World Be Free

July 14th, 2010
9:15 am

On contracts-Ricky Henderson was once asked why negotiations were so difficult on his new contract-his response was-

“I don’t know why, I am only asking for what I want”. Seems reasonable-Ricky “I am the greatest” and he is also very humble.

Sparky Anderson once stated that he wanted an entire lineup made of players in the last year of their contracts.

Badger Bob

July 14th, 2010
9:26 am

WBF – gotta love Sparky! Keeping them on a short-term leash certainly has some appeal. Along those lines, looking at 2011 team salaries has to make Flames fans even madder – $50M already committed to just 14 guys for a mediocre line up! Not much chance to remake that team for a couple more years…

World Be Free

July 14th, 2010
9:48 am

Badger-does this mean we might even hear a fan boo at a Calgary Flames game? Doesn’t happen too much-Flames fans need to get angry and demand change. Calgary is like some other Canadian cities-fans show up no matter how bad the product is and do not demand change. Fans invest int he team, time and money and should receive value for their entertainment dollar. Time to get off the soap box.

The Smooth Spark

July 14th, 2010
10:05 am

“Smoothie, if you think about it, Steinerbrenner spent how many billion between the World Series win in 2000 and the next one he finally got in 2010?”

Brendan – so true, so true. Much easier to be a Yankees fan when they won titles in ‘96 and ‘98 mostly with their own prospects like Jeter, Bernie, Rivera, Girardi, Posada etc. But then again, they had their fair share of free agents like Key, Cone, Boomer, Brosius, Knobby etc. However, they weren’t buying every top-flight free-agent out there at the time…they seemed more selective than after the title in 2000. Of course, once Clemens became a Yankee, I was done. Hated him.

Flames – so sorry I didn’t know you’d be at prospect camp, but then again, we need to protect the identity of our resident mole! I’m glad to hear we are interested in Sharp should he become available. And how could you not be if you’re the Thrashers!? To heck with 1st rounders if that’s what it takes. Sharp is a PLAYER. If we get him, you’ve got to think we are a near lock for the playoffs and then what are we really giving up if the 1st round pick is in the 2nd half of the draft? Like you said, they want to win now. And if Duds gets them in the playoffs and wins a series, then he’ll probably have enough leverage to become our GM in perpetuity!! Do whatever it takes to get Sharp as long as it doesn’t cost Kulda, Postma or Burmistrov.

Adam

July 14th, 2010
10:08 am

“I wouldn’t mind rolling with what we have now and seeing where it gets us. If it is obviously not working then look at other parts being brought in but I think we have a good group that should make for a very entertaining season that brings HOCKEY back to the ATL.”

Rob – The problem with that decision is that by the time we know it’s not working the player(s) we could have pursued will be under contract somewhere else already. Teams will have to be under the cap by opening night. So any deals we make will need to be made by then, or sooner to get full benefit of camp.

The Smooth Spark

July 14th, 2010
10:13 am

“Where else can you go and identify yourself with an exit number. Moose: You’re exit 14!”

R/L – that was priceless. Bet you don’t miss those jug handles!!

Badger Bob

July 14th, 2010
10:22 am

WBF – You are right that there’s no chance of booing or boycott in Calgary (or TO or Edmonton, for that matter). Just lots of grumbling. Sagebrush would go absolutely NUTS in those markets! Perhaps the lack of “need” to perform is partly responsible for the lack of recent Stanley Cup champions up north.

Get The Puck Out

July 14th, 2010
10:27 am

Well –There’re at it again. Quebec City says they are going to get a new Nordieque team. GUESS WHO? On hockeyindependent.com they say an offer of 180 million has been put on the table. Check it out.

TableHockey

July 14th, 2010
10:27 am

I think tomorrow (the 15th) the deadline for our RFA to accept the offers that are on the table? Can anyone confirm that?

Tom Lysiak

July 14th, 2010
10:29 am

rob – Agreed. But again, if the price is right, go for it. While we got some great assets from the Hawks, it seemed like we paid a hefty price. Not what some envisioned as the “fire sale” that would be required to give them the cap relief they needed. What scares me is Sharp is arguably the “pick of the litter”. With several teams interested, the price might get ridiculous. Determine his real worth to the organization, and don’t exceed that price in a bidding war. Admittedly, from a mere fan’s point of view…..

The Smooth Spark

July 14th, 2010
10:31 am

TH – yes tomorrow is the deadline for accepting QO’s. But most of them don’t and negotiations begin in earnest to avoid arbitration which starts on the 20th and runs through August 4th I believe. Last year we signed our RFA’s right after prospect camp so expect some activity towards the end of the week. Pavelec and Little may take longer.

TableHockey

July 14th, 2010
10:34 am

thanks Spark!

Tony C.

July 14th, 2010
10:34 am

Looks like Sterling has found a new home… I hope it works out for the guy-I always felt he was mis-used when he was called up here.

Tom Lysiak

July 14th, 2010
10:37 am

Trixie, did I lose one in blog purgatory or is it lost in space?? Thanks

World Be Free

July 14th, 2010
10:44 am

The Yankees got back in the World Series hunt when they rebuilt their farm system. Steinbrenner and company got in alotta trouble during portions of the 70’s and 80’s by always trying to go for the quick fix, letting guys like Willie McGee go in exchange for washed-up vets. George got out of the way (as much as he could)and let the baseball people develop players like Phil Hughes, to compliment the free agents. Baseball and hockey require sound scouting, drafting and farm systems for success.

The Smooth Spark

July 14th, 2010
10:52 am

Just for reference, here are the dates on which we announced the re-signing of our RFA’s last summer:

7/15 – Lehtonen, 1 yr $3.0 M

7/16 – Armstrong, 1 yr $2.4 M

7/17 – Lehman, Lewis & Stapleton (all RFA’s) re-signed to 1 year deals

7/20 – Evander Kane signs his ELC (we can prolly expect Burmie to sign his sooner as he is slated to return to Russia after camp)

Rawhide

July 14th, 2010
10:54 am

GTPO – Sounds like a bored blogger to me. I mean…someone overheard someone while out at dinne? Whatev…

And now gang, for something only slightly off topic…All-Star Games determining home field advantage. Good idea or not?

The Smooth Spark

July 14th, 2010
10:54 am

Ooops, left off Vlabby. Boris re-upped on 7/21. So there you go. The next 7-8 days should prove to be quite busy for Dud-Wad and newsworthy for folks like us dying for some Thrashers news.

How many people here think we’re seriously considering Demitra?

Jack

July 14th, 2010
11:11 am

Rawhide since the nat’l league won and Braves are contender I would say yes. However I think the best record should determine who has home field advantage.