Who would you put on Thrashers All-Time Defensive Team?

During the first ten Thrashers seasons, there have been a number of outstanding players that have passed through the organization. Names like Ilya Kovalchuk, Marian Hossa, Marc Savard, Peter Bondra and Dany Heatley come to mind. Regardless of how you might feel about some of them personally, or what kind of bad taste they left in your mouth upon their departure, those names represent some very fine hockey talent.

But what do the names above…and possible the others that might come to your mind… have in common? I mean, besides the fact that they represent the Retention Deficit Disorder that this organ-I-zation has suffered from for the past decade.

Yeah, they are all forwards.

If you put your mind to it, I’m quite sure you could come up with 12 forwards who have played for Atlanta that could comprise a theoretical Thrashers All-Time Offensive Team. Some would be considered more “shoe ins” for the honor than others, but I’m certain the debate would be quite entertaining to say the least.

Niclas Havelid, seen here with Slava Kozlov, played in 303 games on the Thrashers blueline (AP-Stanley Leary)

Niclas Havelid, seen here with Slava Kozlov, played in 303 games on the Thrashers blueline (AP Photo/Stanley Leary)

But something that just might prove to be a skosh more difficult might be trying to find six defensemen that could comprise a Thrashers All-Time Defensive Team. I mean, lets face it folks, the term “fine defensive play” and Atlanta Thrashers have rarely, if ever, been used in the same sentence.

Nonetheless, I am going to challenge you do just that. See if you can come up with six players who have spent a significant amount of time with the Thrashers that you would place on your Thrashers All-Time blueline.

Now first of all, I will take off the list of possibilities the name of Chris Chelios. Yes, this Hall of Fame defenseman “finished” his NHL career as a Thrasher. But we’re only talking 7 games here. And even though I enjoyed seeing someone of his talent play in a Thrashers uniform, it’s not like those games made much of a difference…except maybe take seven games worth of NHL experience away from Arturs Kulda.

Would you place on that list, say, someone like Nic Havelid? He played in 303 games in Atlanta between 2005 and 2009 and was a +13 during his time here. He chipped in with 10 goals and 72 assists as well. In my mind he would definitely be on that list.

What about Jaroslav Modry? He only spent one season with the Thrashers back in 2005-06. But in 79 games played he notched 38 overall points, though he did finish a –9. To me, he played a key role in what I still think was the best overall team that the Thrashers have ever iced.

Then there is Pavel Kubina. Like Modry, he spent but one year in Atlanta, but he played well while here. He played in 76 games last year and netted 6 goals, 32 assists with an EVEN +/- rating. I would have loved to have seen this guy return for another season or two, but he instead decided to bolt to Tampa Bay.

Toby Enstrom deserves a nod here too, in my opinion. He has yet to miss a single game in all three seasons played…knocking wood…and his 104 career assists is tops for all Thrashers defensemen. He is a +4 during his 246 games, including a +14 showing two season’s ago.

Toby Enstrom has searched high and low for pucks during games. He's played in all 82 games during each of his first three NHL seaosns (AP Photo/The Canadian Press,Jeff McIntosh)

Toby Enstrom and the Thrashers have had to search high and low at times to find wins. But in his three seasons so far, Enstrom has yet to miss a game (AP Photo/The Canadian Press,Jeff McIntosh)

Maybe Zach Bogosian has done enough in his first two NHL seasons to wind up on your list of top-six Thrashers defensemen all-time? The third pick in the 2008 draft is a powerful force when he is pushing the puck up-ice. And does Garnet Exelby merit consideration, even if for no other reason than the fact he was such a huge fan favorite? He played in 357 games here… scoring 6 goals, 40 assists but was a –20. In 2005-06 he was a +11 during 75 games.

How about a defenseman who spent five seasons in Thrasherville and only once finished on the negative side of the +/- rating? Not too many out there that can say that. In fact, this defenseman was a +11 having played in 273 games in Thrasher blue, including a +13 effort in 2005-06. He also finished with three 20+ point seasons to boot…87 points overall…and was a part of what were arguably the two best defensive squads in the ten seasons played, 2005-06 and 2006-07. Would he get consideration from you?

Well, I just described Andy Sutton.

…dodging cyber bricks hurled from the blogosphere…

Hey, I’m just offering up the possibilities and asking the questions here.

167 comments Add your comment

Mikey

September 1st, 2010
7:16 am

El First-o!

What, no Zhitnik?

kracker

September 1st, 2010
7:30 am

X, Nic, Toby, Bogo, Kubina…and yeah Mandy if for not much more than his shot blocking.

kracker

September 1st, 2010
7:32 am

We could have had Coburn instead of Mandy perhaps but our player development has not been the best.

kracker

September 1st, 2010
7:38 am

This tweet from C Viv last night.

ajcthrashers Told that talks between Thrashers, RFA Niclas Bergfors are very slow.

Un-good. I would be happier to hear some positive news on the Berg front and get him here skating w/ the rest of the players. Does anyone know if Nic is even in-country?

rob

September 1st, 2010
7:40 am

A pylon, a bag of popcorn, some nacho cheese, some chewed bubble gum, a bag of pucks, and a…where did that damn brick go!!! Rawhide can I have my brick back? oh wait wrong list. Thought we were talking about great defenseman that wore an Atlanta jersey. 1 or 2 season people shouldn’t count. A length of service 1st and foremost, and as you said, not many people fit that bill in the revolving door here. Hopefully we are turning a corner here and in 10 more years we will actually have some names that jump to mind not only locally, but around the league. Until then…..

Matt

September 1st, 2010
7:45 am

This is a joke, right? I mean, have Le Thrash ever had “defenseman”? (not looking at the stats for Goals Against and Shots Given Up)

Dwayne

September 1st, 2010
7:58 am

We play D?????

World Be Free

September 1st, 2010
7:58 am

Aside from statistics, I am having a tough time thinking of a former Thrashers’ defenseman that I would want to have on my team. Ironically, the one that I really liked as a player was selected in the expansion draft but never played here-Mark Tinordi. Tinordi’s son was selected by the Habs in the 1st round of the 2010 draft.

I think Oduya is going to have a great season, he is a very underrated defenseman. Toby is OK, but too small. Bogo needs to step up this season.

kracker

September 1st, 2010
7:59 am

Yes, Rob, I would rather not have listed Kubina but my choices are limited. I do not know the defensive players from the first three years and they weren’t very sucessful anyway. Rawhide didn’t ask for a list of all-star caliber defensive Thrashers. He asked for our choices for the best six that they have iced thus far.

Riceowls

September 1st, 2010
8:01 am

Toby yes. Havelid yes. X pre-concussion yes. Sutton for what he did (plus/minus and shot blocking) and not removed for what he didn’t do but we all thought he should (be physical at 6′ 6″). I’m done.

Dwayne

September 1st, 2010
8:13 am

In honor of 2 of our lady bloggers.
Lola—The kinks
Sara—Fleetwood Mac

The Leningrad Cowboys with the Russian Red Army Chorus covering Sweet Home Alabama.

kracker

September 1st, 2010
8:19 am

BTW, in the Dudley interview, part 2, Rick was questioned about possible Thrashers defensemen that could move to forward, basically carrying on the conversation of Buff moving to defense. Bogosian and Mike Siklenka, acquired from Philly and is somewhere in our system, were mentioned as possible d-men that might could play forward.

Does anyone think Enstrom can move to forward. He handles the puck well, has a decent shot when he uses it. I would say he could shorten his stick if he changed which should help him control the puck better as a forward. Dunno….just wondering.

GaVaHokie

September 1st, 2010
8:22 am

Krupp Smehlik
Majesky Buzek
Reirden Slegr

Honorable mention… Vyshedkevich and Skopintsev

GaVaHokie

September 1st, 2010
8:24 am

If I had to pick another line-up, I’d say…

Enstrom Havelid
Bogosian Kubina
Sutton Hainsey

Sara

September 1st, 2010
8:25 am

Nik Havelid and Mike Weaver – only two I’d ever consider taking back (excluding anyone from the past one or two seasons/currently on the roster).

kracker

September 1st, 2010
8:30 am

Oh, I completely forgot about Hainsey, wonder why? lol …But he should be on my list in place of Kubina if we are discounting the one-year players, especially since he walked away.

glovesave29

September 1st, 2010
8:38 am

So now that Khabibulin got 30 days in the Arizona Tent City Jail, does that make my Winnipeg Jets puck he signed worth more?

Darkhorse

September 1st, 2010
8:43 am

What??? No more music talk? I was just breaking out some of the oldies on the ipod after the great mentions over the past few days. What is this, a hockey blog?

You may have to include Hossa on the top six dmen list as well. Even as a forward he played a tough, effective two-way game, and did a better job than the majority of the defencemen who’ve come through here.

Smoothie

September 1st, 2010
8:44 am

Slim pickins here eh? I’ll go with:

Enstrom / Havelid

Sutton / deVries
(Sad aint’ it?)

Hainsey / XLB

Bogosian (eventually, and hopefully after this season he’ll be top 2 but I want a turn-around season 1st)

five hole

September 1st, 2010
8:44 am

I’d say Tamer, Trembley, Tsvarquist, Zhitnik . . . . oh, you wanted good defensemen?

I can only think of 2 that deserve to be there; Enstrom & Havelid. I think they have to have outstanding play here for at least 2 years to be considered.

Fireball

September 1st, 2010
8:54 am

Mike Weaver actually paired up well with Sutton.

World Be Free

September 1st, 2010
8:56 am

lola is just waiting for #36 to hit the ice

Smoothie

September 1st, 2010
8:57 am

Did Staios play D or fwd suring his time here? Honestly, does anyone other than X deserve to be on this list pre-2005?

DWTOO

September 1st, 2010
8:58 am

There’s Nic Havelid, and then there’s…..Nic Havelid. About the only effective D Man we’ve ever had. And Honorable Mention goes to Marty Reasoner – the best defensive oriented forward we’ve had.

Wonder how the Bulin Wall gets back into Canada. Don’t they have some kind of rule about convicts, especially DUI’s, who are not citizens getting over the border?

hip czech

September 1st, 2010
8:58 am

how about the all ‘Could-a-been’ D team:

Staios – Kaberle
Pothier – Havelid
DeVries – Coburn

Rawhide

September 1st, 2010
8:59 am

DeVries…Yes, I would probably put him on my list too.

Five_Hole – Man, I thought for sure you would have chimed in on the previous blog…

Smoothie

September 1st, 2010
9:01 am

Didn’t DeVo play here 2 years? Or am I remembering wrong?

lola

September 1st, 2010
9:05 am

WBF: Today I will see the fan who won Mr. 36’s jersey last year on Fan Appreciation Day — putting on my best blue dress and I will beg — have camera ready :)

HP Drifter

September 1st, 2010
9:09 am

Geez….we have been really stretching it out here, huh ? Look at the previous 10 year record and can we really make a list of an all-defensive team ?? Come on, leave that up to the teenagers. Hopefully more posts will not be in the vein of “10 best PP goals”, “All-time best PK’s”, “Best reasons why ATL is hockey friendly”, “Best BHolik interview quotes (now that is a good idea)”, “All-time worst face-off moments”, “All-time. . . whattever, ~ yawn ~”. Sometimes when there is nothing to say better it is to say nothing.

GaVaHokie

September 1st, 2010
9:10 am

Dr. Dre – Snoop Dog
Eminem – 2Pac
Chuck D – B-Real

World Be Free

September 1st, 2010
9:16 am

lola-good luck!
Staios and DeVries could both be on my list.
No idea why Staios was allowed to let go, gotta have heart players.

kracker

September 1st, 2010
9:16 am

Yeah, Devo came in w/ Hossa. He was considered a salary dump by the Sens so they could try to keep both Chara and Redden.

You can consider him one of out best d-men, instead of young Bogo, I suppose. I choose to include Bogosian who should be a top defenseman for years to come. Certainly he will the best ever for the Thrashers to this point.

Rawhide

September 1st, 2010
9:16 am

Smoothie – deVries was indeed here for two seasons. Played in all 82 games both years, 10 goals, 49 assists and a -2.

“10 best PP goals”, “All-time best PK’s”, “Best reasons why ATL is hockey friendly”, “Best BHolik interview quotes (now that is a good idea)”, “All-time worst face-off moments”,

HP Drifter – Hey, thanks…you’ve just given be a week and a half’s worth of material there.

ChippersLoveChild

September 1st, 2010
9:18 am

Hmmm… I’d go…
Enstrom Havelid
Kubina Sutton
DeVries Kaberle

BLUELAND IN YOR FACE

September 1st, 2010
9:18 am

#1 Alltime Defenseman (Retire his Jersey to the Hallowed Grounds of Blueland) Andrea “Pretty Boy” Sutton who is getting his hair highlighted as we speak.

kracker

September 1st, 2010
9:18 am

Smoothie – Yes, Devo played here for two years.

hip czech

September 1st, 2010
9:26 am

Rawhide, how about a poll for who will be the first to have their jersey retired….my vote goes to Kozlov, after that not sure anyone else deserves it yet (Kovalchuk will be a hard pill to swallow, maybe the years will ease the nausea). Possibly Havelid.

Oh, and why not go ahead and officially retire #37 and hang it from the rafters?

GaVaHokie

September 1st, 2010
9:26 am

I liked Devo… I think I made my choices based on what could actually be on the ice right now.

Thrashers27

September 1st, 2010
9:30 am

X
Devo
Havelid
Bogosian
Enstrom
Hainsey

Red Light

September 1st, 2010
9:32 am

In order, my list is …

Havelid
Hnidy + 16 in 138 games
Sutton
DeVries
Enstrom
Hainsey

All played more than 125 games, which is the first criteria I used. I can cite many reasons why I left “X” off my list, but you wouldn’t like them.

rob

September 1st, 2010
9:33 am

I can see Kozlov now as his jersey is hung from the rafters. “I enjoyed the fans here, the owners however leave much to be desired, and are a key reason this team has gone nowhere in over a decade…..oh and coaches should only run 2 lines.”
No jersey retiring here anytime soon LOL

Russian

September 1st, 2010
9:41 am

Honestly, Atlanta Thrashers never have good and solid D-men. Yes, we had a good D-man like a Kubina, Shnieder, Krupp, Zhitnik, Chelious and etc. for short time, but they played horrible. Why it was happened? Because team did not have a GOOD Chemistry and Strategy. We had long time D-men as Havelid, Ex, Sutton, Mordy and etc., but they could not play well for same reason.
What I am seeing now, we have young team. Our D-men are young and Coaches and GM must Build a Chemistry and Must Build a Team. Management have all Power to do that. Most good players under contract or become as RFA next year. They can build a team. Why Detroit Red wings successful? Because they never changed team for 60-70%. We did every season. Every season we start all over again and again. I hope that Year 2010 will be a BUILD year for Atlanta Thrashers.
Well if we come back to Rawhide Question I will say that I like our D-men right now. We have solid and moveable corpse. I do not want to change anything on D-men.

kracker

September 1st, 2010
9:50 am

tweet – Change MPS to MP

reporterchris Magnus Paajarvi-Svensson will only have “Paajarvi” on his #oilers jersey. Why the change? “It’s too long.”

hip czech

September 1st, 2010
9:52 am

Russian, sorry, but this one had me “solid and moveable corpse”. We certainly have had our share of corpses :-)

I agree, this year’s D is as solid a group as we’ve ever had…I forget the article I say yesterday (maybe from a Caps blogger?), but this article had a run down on all SE division teams and actually had the audacity to say the Thrashers had the most solid top 6 Dmen in the division. Chew on that one for awhile.

Zim

September 1st, 2010
9:55 am

Thrashers all defensive team? The faithful Atlanta fans, because we are constantly having to defend this team year in and year out.

But seriously, my starting five would look-a like-a this:

Svartvadet – Reasoner – Hossa
Havelid – Kubina

Rawhide

September 1st, 2010
10:01 am

Thrashers all defensive team? The faithful Atlanta fans, because we are constantly having to defend this team year in and year out.

Zim – Very well played, sir.

ben

September 1st, 2010
10:06 am

I’ll pass. I can’t defend the indefensible.

Smoothie

September 1st, 2010
10:08 am

I predict that these five will make us all forget about any other defensive players, D-men or otherwise, in the years to come:

Kane – Cormier – Hossa (okay, perhaps not, Hoss was / is a stud)

Bogosian – Kulda

At least the future is brighter than before. Oh and Oduya will probably prove his worth enough over this 82-goal season to take XLB right off my original “top 6″ blueline.

lola

September 1st, 2010
10:10 am

Dwayne: Thanks! for the honor — You are very kind to this hockey newbie!

GaVaHokie

September 1st, 2010
10:12 am

They should invite Kozlov to have his jersey retired, show a long clip of all his highlights on the big screen. And then instead of hoisting his jersey to the rafters, they throw it under a bus… that should sum up his years in Atlanta.