Preseason is done and the regular season begins Friday. The only thing really left to happen between now and then is for the Thrashers coaching staff to make it’s final roster decisions…something C-Viv reports has not been done as of today.
The way I see things, given that Jimmy Slater is still nursing a wrist ailment and Andrew Kozak is coming off surgery, there’s only one forward and three defensemen left to trim off the roster to get the squad down to regular season levels.
The team is set between the pipes with Chris Mason and Ondrej Pavelec.
On the blueline, I think it’s safe to say Bogosian, Enstrom, Oduya, Byfuglien, Hainsey and Sopel are in, meaning one of the following four players are left to pick from to round out the defensive seven…Boris Valabik, Arturs Kulda, Andrei Zubarev and Freddy Meyer.
Personally, I take Valabik out of the mix right of the bat. His one showing in the first preseason match was enough for me…and given the fact that we never saw him in the other five might be telling that Ramsay and Co. saw enough too. I like Kulda’s defensive play, very sound positionally and not a lot of mistakes. So if he were to make the cut I’d be fine with that.
But I think Meyer gets the nod here for two reasons. He looked good as well during the exhibition seasons and Kulda and Zubarev would be better served playing everyday in the AHL then getting only spot starts here.
Up front, I think nine of the fourteen possible slots are already taken with Antropov, Kane, Little, Bergfors, Ladd, Peverley, Eager, Thorburn and Boulton. This would leave five open positions remaining.
So who is left to round out the forward lines?
Taking Jim Slater’s situation into account, one could see eighth overall draft pick Alexander Burmistrov starting the season in his place. That would give Jimmy a couple more weeks to get ready. Fredrik Pettersson has done more than enough to earn a spot on this roster and I believe Freddy Modin was brought in to play here.
Burmistrov, Pettersson and Modin bring that total up to twelve, leaving two more to fill out a line up plus healthy scratches. One of those will be Nigel Dawes, in my estimation, which would leave the last remaining decision being whether or not to keep Anthony Stewart or Patrick Rissmiller.
If I had to fathom a guess here, it would be Stewart stays and Rissmiller goes.
So to recap, here is my projected opening night roster:
FORWARDS: Antropov, Bergfors, Boulton, Burmistrov, Dawes, Eager, Kane, Ladd, Little, Modin, Pettersson, Peverley, Stewart and Thorburn.
DEFENSE: Bogosian, Byfuglien, Enstrom, Hainsey, Meyer, Oduya and Sopel.
GOAL: Mason and Pavelec.
What say you, Thrashervillians?