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

Wayne stuck in AL

September 1st, 2010
1:33 pm

How about NO ONE?

Lord Stanley

September 1st, 2010
1:35 pm

5pm countdown continues

Rawhide

September 1st, 2010
1:37 pm

rob – Her name was Lola, she was a showgirl…. :lol:

GaVaHokie

September 1st, 2010
1:38 pm

Smoothie

September 1st, 2010
1:41 pm

Mikey – that I.M. Toast dude could really skate, but had no depth perception and took poor angles…whatta bust? LMAO Nicely played sir.

GaVaHokie

September 1st, 2010
1:42 pm

I think Rawhide is trying to torcher us worse than the month of August is anyway.

Getting Barry Manilow songs stuck in our head and then asking us to recount the history of Thrashers defense.

Rawhide

September 1st, 2010
1:42 pm

Here’s what the press release that was sent to me by the Thrashers reads:

“The Atlanta Thrashers have acquired forward Ian McKenzie from the Nashville Predators in exchange for defenseman Grant Lewis, according to General Manager Rick Dudley.
McKenzie, 23, appeared in 24 American Hockey League games last season with the Milwaukee Admirals, scoring one goal and collecting 14 penalty minutes. He also posted five points (three goals, two assists) and 48 penalty minutes in 24 regular season ECHL games with the Cincinnati Cyclones and added six points (three goals, three assists) in 15 playoff games, while helping the Cyclones capture the Kelly Cup Championship.
The 6-5, 235-pound right wing has earned five points (four goals, one assist) and 45 penalty minutes in 50 career AHL games with the Admirals, and 20 points (15 goals, five assists) with 104 penalty minutes in 64 ECHL games with Cincinnati during two professional seasons from 2008 to 2010.
Prior to his professional career, McKenzie earned 76 points (39 goals, 37 assists) and 276 penalty minutes in 228 games with Moose Jaw and Seattle of the Western Hockey League from 2003 to 2008. He reached the WHL Finals in 2006 with Moose Jaw, and led Seattle in points (14) and goals (eight) during the 2008 postseason.
McKenzie was originally signed as a free agent by Nashville on May 6, 2008.
Lewis, 25, appeared in 36 AHL games last season for Chicago and Hershey, recording six points (one goal, five assists) and 29 penalty minutes. Lewis also appeared in one post-season game with Hershey.
The 6-3, 190-pound defenseman made his NHL debut for the Thrashers on March 3, 2009 against Florida, registering one shot on goal. Lewis tallied 44 points (three goals, 41 assists) in 133 career AHL games with Chicago and Hershey from 2007 to 2010.
Lewis was originally selected by the Thrashers in the second round, 40th overall, of the 2004 NHL Entry Draft.
Lower level season tickets for the 2010-11 Atlanta Thrashers are now available starting at less than $23 per game.
For more information, please call 1-866-715-1500 or visit http://www.thrashersseasontickets.com.”

Hmmm…apparently I-Mac grew an inch and put on 8 pounds or so since HockeyFutures.com last wrote anything about him.

R. Stroz

September 1st, 2010
1:43 pm

Is there are a malaise speech coming?

GaVaHokie

September 1st, 2010
1:47 pm

“Checker. McKenzie is neither agile nor possesses great hockey sense…unlikely to make it out of the minors”.

Well, Grant Lewis wasn’t about to crack the roster either, I suppose it’s a wash.

Smoothie

September 1st, 2010
1:50 pm

Do people really care about this trade? It means nothing. Hate it for Grant but the shattering of his knee-cap pretty much ruined any future he had in the big leagues. Looks like I-Mac will be our ECHL goon and call-up for AHL if Kaip or Paquette get hurt. Or if Paquette gets a call to ATL at some point.

five hole

September 1st, 2010
1:50 pm

Rawhide – Barry Manilow? You allow Barry Manilow in your house? I don’t care if your wife looks like Scarlett Johanson and pulls down mid-6 figures. (looking back, if she looked like SJ and pulled mid-6 figures, I might make an exception).

If you allow Barry Manilow, next she’ll want to bring in the Kenny G.

Rawhide

September 1st, 2010
1:53 pm

five_hole – Yes…it’s that whole Domino Theory thingy in action. I have to stay vigilant and make sure her brand of music remains contained to what and where it currently is.

Joe Friday

September 1st, 2010
2:14 pm

She looks like Scarlett and pulls in 6 large, she can blow Kenny G.’s sax and call me at the golf course when she’s done, for all I care . . .

kracker

September 1st, 2010
2:33 pm

tweet – Something must be going down, else it would have already been approved…I feel sooo bad for Jay Grossman!

Eklund Sounds like NHL and NHLPA going to do some more tweaks on kovalchuk contract.

Lord Stanley

September 1st, 2010
2:38 pm

Grossman gets what he deserves.

jimbo

September 1st, 2010
2:43 pm

Five_Hole- great reminder for the Terrible T’s- Tamer, Tjarnquist and Trembley. Pickins for good D-Men for the Thrash are mighty, mighty slim. A couple of folks picked the Big Road Cone- Sutton. He was a joke and so was Exelby. Threw a few great hip checks but could be counted on to be out of position (and without his stick) at clutch times. Havelid gets my nod for being the most dependable and I loved “Weaves”. What a great hustler!

Alan R.

September 1st, 2010
2:46 pm

I do believe the Sergeant has made a funny. Good show, Joe Friday.

kracker

September 1st, 2010
2:47 pm

jmanasso What does the future hold for #Thrashers prospect Angelo Esposito? GM Rick Dudley thinks an NHL career. NHL.com http://bit.ly/9RPboV

Hockey Biltong

September 1st, 2010
2:50 pm

you meant the Flames, not Trashers, on D? Right???

five hole

September 1st, 2010
3:18 pm

I was reading the last blog (which I couldn’t participate in) and I gotta tell you that I’m PO’d. As we all know, FM radio in Atlanta for “classic rock” blows. In a city of 5.5 million residents, the best they can come up with is “classic hits” and “DAVE-FM”?

My current contract is in Oklahoma City, a town of maybe 750K, and they’ve got 2 really good classic rock, 1 pretty good classic rock, plus the “oldies” channel, which amounts to a second pretty good station. If anyone can get KRXO or BOB-FM over the internet, they play stuff I haven’t heard on radio in over 20 years. Yesterday was a salute to motorcycles; they were playing Montrose “Bad Motor Scooter” and I forget which Allman Bros, but it was kicking butt!

And Bill to achieve harmony at home, I would suggest you pursue “Peace with Honor”. Otherwise, you may end up with another “Tet Offensive” on your hands.

Midfield

September 1st, 2010
3:20 pm

Sutton may have been a joke quite possibly, but a respectable one according to his stats with the Thrashers, which would put him at the top of the local list. The whole team has always been a joke defensively. All time joke at that.

World Be Free

September 1st, 2010
3:24 pm

Maybe the NHL is dragging out this Kovy announcement, milking it for all they can? You know, LeBron-style

MB

September 1st, 2010
3:27 pm

Funniest post ever, Bill…a Thrashers all-defense team. HA!

Like Mt. Puckmore and the thought of the first retired jersey, this cart is WAY before the horse.

five hole

September 1st, 2010
3:27 pm

Joe Friday well played, sir.

GaVaHokie

September 1st, 2010
3:27 pm

Niemi’s going to sign with SJ…

EJHradek_ESPN RT @RealKyper: Western source has confirmed Antti Niemi will sign with SJ as early as tomorrow. I hear 2M base, possibly for just the 1 yr.

Lord Stanley

September 1st, 2010
3:29 pm

Isn’t that where are friend nittymaki went?

kracker

September 1st, 2010
3:40 pm

tweet – Looks like the Niemi/Habs chatter was just a lot of talk…

RealKyper West coast source has confirmed Antti Niemi will sign with the Sharks as early as tomorrow. I hear 2M base, possibly for just the 1 year.

[Wait....is RealKyper more reliable than Eklund??]

kracker

September 1st, 2010
3:42 pm

oops sorry for the repeat post…I got interrupted here at work for 15 minutes while posting.

alex

September 1st, 2010
4:08 pm

back to all defensive atlanta team, sorry zsar donny for 11 years on throne not be able or recognize 6 real defensman. in my opinion been two – stauos and kaberle, both let go by idiot gm i don’t now why. bogo, enstrom, kulda – wait to see situation, and finally we get missing piece in forwards. welcome to atlanta mr mckenzie, problem solved.

Alan R.

September 1st, 2010
4:23 pm

Five Hole – Dave FM? Never tried them. The only two I know of is 97.1 and 106.7.

What gets under my skin, though, is the fact both stations seem to stick to a playlist that involves a dozen plays of “Sweet Home Alabama” throughout a workday, while “Wish You Were Here” might get one play in a week’s time.

A real buzzkill occurs when both stations are playing “Sweet Home Alabama” at the same time.

R. Stroz

September 1st, 2010
4:28 pm

Blue! Blue! Blue!

Mr. Willson

September 1st, 2010
4:33 pm

So, Bill. Is your next blog on the Thrashers’ All-Goalie Team? It would be just as humorous.

glovesave29

September 1st, 2010
4:34 pm

NHL has delayed the Kovy decision until 5PM Friday

Ilya Kovalchuck

September 1st, 2010
4:40 pm

I am tired if this crap I am going back to Russia

Smoothie

September 1st, 2010
4:41 pm

NHL has delayed the Kovy decision until 5PM Friday

Absolutely wonderful…can’t get enough. Not.

Rawhide

September 1st, 2010
4:42 pm

So, Bill. Is your next blog on the Thrashers’ All-Goalie Team? It would be just as humorous.

Mr. Willson – That would consist of Pasi and the Moose.

NHL has delayed the Kovy decision until 5PM Friday

GS29 – Any word on whether or not the Versus Channel will air a 1-hour special around the announcement?

glovesave29

September 1st, 2010
4:49 pm

I think Bravo! is going to cover it on “The Real Housewives of NJ”. The Kovy clan will get out their latest out of fashion, skin tight and low cut duds, get about 10 gallons of hairspray on and announce they are on their way to New…J (psych!) SKA St. Petersburg. Will be moderated by Sam Neil and Sean Connery in their best Russian accents. Will show dozens of disinterested fans in the motherland.

kracker

September 1st, 2010
4:51 pm

In addition to The River and Dave FM, you can add 98.5 (80s weekends) and 101.5 for classic rock.

Now back to your Kovalchuk no-deal-today coverage…

glovesave29

September 1st, 2010
4:52 pm

“Pasi and the Moose”

Sounds like a really bad sit com – as opposed to bad hockey.

five hole

September 1st, 2010
4:54 pm

Alan R. The classic hits (don’t remember the frequency) is guarranteed to play Eagles, Billy Joel every hr. There was a time when I used to like the Eagles, but anymore can’t stand to listen to it. Same with Sweet Home Alabama.

Of course, I’m a guy who used to like Fleetwood Mac before Stevie Nicks. For those who haven’t listened, I recommend “Bear Trees” and “Sentimental Lady” (both off of the Bear Trees album), or “Heroes are Hard to Find”.

I actually hear BOB-FM play John Lennon’s “Imagine” and CSNY “Ohio”. They play Neil Young, Genesis, all the left wing music that gets edited out of Atlanta’s radio. In Oklahoma City of all places.

BTW, on a hockey note; OKC is now the home of the Barons, the AHL team for the Oilers. The 1st game I can go see is Oct 19 (against the Lake Erie Monsters). The first game against the Chicago Wolves is Jan 26. So at least I have that to look forward to here.

glovesave29

September 1st, 2010
4:55 pm

Anti Niemi is a Shark. Guess they weren’t that excited about Niitymakki

World Be Free

September 1st, 2010
5:10 pm

What about Thomas Greiss for the sharks?

Red Light

September 1st, 2010
5:14 pm

Since they both signed for $2 million, training camp will be let the best goalie win in San Jose, and they can waive the other one. Or, keep them both and send Greiss packing. Nothing wrong at all with that move as the Sharks had a little space left. After all, you are signing a Stanley Cup winning goalie, who also is Finnish like Niityymaki.

five hole

September 1st, 2010
5:16 pm

The Sharks; both goalies are “Fins”. There’s got to be a joke there.

Thrashers27

September 1st, 2010
5:24 pm

The extension on the Kovy decision is total BS. No single player warrants this much attention. Kovy’s good for the league, but he’s not bigger than the league itself, or even one team. Fish within the parameters of the lake, or cut bait Lou!

Sara

September 1st, 2010
5:28 pm

but I’m sure that was the owner’s fault, right Sara?

What’s that quaint saying again … something about you get what you pay for?

GaVaHokie

September 1st, 2010
6:32 pm

Can you imagine what these comments would be like if this Kovy situation was still our problem?

Budder

September 1st, 2010
7:07 pm

five hole said…Of course, I’m a guy who used to like Fleetwood Mac before Stevie Nicks. For those who haven’t listened, I recommend “Bear Trees” and “Sentimental Lady” (both off of the Bear Trees album), or “Heroes are Hard to Find”.

Good to know another Thrash fan respects the guitar-playing and singing Bob Welch (not the pitcher). Mystery to Me rocks, Christie McVie was smooth and fine.

All-time Thrasher D? Let’s go all the way back and put Gord Murphy out there – he could knock folks down with nothing but the power of Ugly.

rob

September 1st, 2010
7:59 pm

A&E or LIFE can cover Kovy’s little prima dona b!tcha$$ self. He plays for all the wrong reasons and will not care if he ever comes close to the Cup, as long as he gets paid. Hockey gods everywhere must be haunting Bettman in an attempt to make him void it again, but Bettman’s own greed will allow Kovy to stay here rather than run back to Russia for his payday. NJ’s toxicity is where he belongs.

World Be Free

September 1st, 2010
8:03 pm

Thrash27-how bad wouth the Kovy situation be if we as fans had to deal with the situation? I really don’t care cuz he is going to get his money anyway you cut it. I hope he gets boo-ed in every rink in the league next season.

Budder-forgot about Murphy; how about Maxim Galanov?