Valabik departure could mean another ‘Face of the Future’ becoming part of the past

When I saw the news today that the Thrashers had placed defenseman Boris Valabik on re-entry waivers, my first thought was that the 6’-7” Slovak was heading back to Atlanta…possibly because Freddy Meyer’s mid-body injury was going to keep him out for a longer period of time. But it seems as though Valabik’s placement on waivers has nothing to do with his return but instead looks as if the move was made to give him a chance to be picked up by another team.

Boris Valabik, seen here slugging it out with Shean Donovan last January, may be the latest first round draft pick to depart Thrasherville (AP Photo/John Amis)

Boris Valabik, seen here slugging it out with Shean Donovan last January, may be the latest first round draft pick to depart Thrasherville (AP Photo/John Amis)

I guess Rick Dudley tried but could find no takers in a trade and is simply clearing the field a bit for other defensive prospects such as Arturs Kulda, Paul Postma, Andrei Zubarev, etc.

Valabik, drafted in the first round in 2004, would leave after playing in a grand total of 80 games at the NHL level… scoring no goals, 7 assists, collecting 210 PIM to go with a –14 rating. That’s a disappointing return for a 10th overall draft pick.

But that’s not unusual in these parts, as I’m sure you’re all aware of…painfully so.

So, at the risk of subjecting myself to having you toss cyber-bricks in my direction, allow me to take the opportunity of yet another first round pick departing Thrasherville to review the list of others that have done so.

1999- Patrik Stefan: The first ever “Face of the Future” in Thrasherville, Stefan was selected over both the Sedin twins. He scored a total of 59 goals, 118 assists and was a –41 in 414 games while with the Thrashers before being shipped off to Dallas in 2006 along with Jaroslav Modry. In return, Atlanta received Niko Kapanen and a seventh round selection in 2007. Then-GM Don Waddell then used that pick to draft Will O’Neill.

sigh… Yeah, I know. I know.

2000- Dany Heatley: I really don’t want to go down this road again and rehash in great detail the circumstances that led to this number two overall pick’s departure from Atlanta. The long and short here is that he asked for a “Get Out of Atlanta Free” card shortly before the 2005-06 season. He claimed the desire to move on with his life after a terrible accident took the life of his friend and teammate. Heatley was dealt to Ottawa where he signed a long-term deal with a no trade clause.

Then in the summer of 2009…he demanded to be traded.

What Atlanta got in return from the Senators was forward Marian Hossa and defenseman Greg DeVries…the big name there being Hossa. At the 2008 trade deadline, Hossa bolted for the door after not being convinced this organization was on the right path with Don Waddell at the helm.

In return for Hossa…and Pascal Dupuis…the Thrashers got two NHL players, a prospect and a draft pick from the Penguins. One of those players, Erik Christensen, was traded for a prospect. The other, Colby Armstrong, left Atlanta as a free agent last summer. The prospect obtained from Pittsburgh, Angelo Esposito, is now playing with the AHL Chicago Wolves after having healed from his second ACL injury in as many years. The player selected with the Penguins pick, Daultan Laveille, is currently playing at Michigan State University.

DeVries departed in the summer of 2007 when he signed as a free agent with the Nashville Predators.

2001- Ilya Kovalchuk: Coupled with Heatley, this first-overall pick made up Atlanta’s dynamic-duo whom the franchise would build the foundation of success. Kovy was the new “Face of the Future” from the day he was draft…right up to the day he was traded, that is.

The much-drawn-out Kovy drama that engulfed Thrasherville for the better part of a year ended last winter when he, along with defenseman Anssi Salmela, were traded to the New Jersey Devils in exchange for Nic Bergfors, Johnny Oduya and prospect Patrice Cormier. There was some draft picks exchanged as well, which were used in the big trade with the Chicago Blackhawks last summer.

For Salmela, it was a return back to a Devils organization that had traded him to the Thrashers a year prior in exchange for veteran defenseman Niclas Havelid.

New Jersey then owned the rights to try and re-sign Kovalchuk before the July 1 free agency period…something they eventually got around to doing in September after considerable tossing and tumbling with the NHL and the CBA

Kari Lehton was the second overall pick for the Thrashers in 2002. He's now a Star in Dallas with a record of 5-4-0, with a .908 SV% and 2.93 GAA (AP Photo/LM Otero)

Kari Lehton was the second overall pick for the Thrashers in 2002. He's now a Star in Dallas with a record of 5-4-0, with a .908 SV% and 2.93 GAA (AP Photo/LM Otero)

2002 – Kari Lehtonen: The Thrashers “goalie of the future” was selected with the second draft pick…right before some dude named Jay Bouwmeester. However, Kari would have issues with a tender groin and back…and conditioning in general. After being pushed into the starting role when Pasi Nurminem suffered a career-ending injury, Lehtonen debuted as the number one goalie on opening night 2005 in south Florida. He lasted one period before Kari-Down ’05 began.

A relatively successful 2006-07 season helped the Thrashers to a playoff birth, but Kari-Down ’07 and Kari-Down ’08 began early in those seasons and limited his ability to suit up for lengthy periods of time. Last year, Kari-Down ’09 began in the summer following back surgery, something he would not fully recover from until shortly before his trade to Dallas in February 2010.

In return for the goalie, Atlanta got defenseman Ivan Vishnevskiy and the 4th pick in last summer’s draft. Vishnevskiy was then traded away to the Blackhawks, along with a number-two selection in 2011, for forward Andrew Ladd.

Oh yeah, Jimmy Slater was a first-round pick in ’02, but he was Don Waddell’s choice with the 30th overall.

2003- Braydon Coburn: The 8th overall pick in ’03 was defenseman Braydon Coburn. In February 2007, he was sent packing to Philadelphia when Waddell hit the panic button during the playoff stretch of that season. Heading over to the Thrashers…ducking for cyber-bricks…Alexei Zhitnik.

Now, the Thrashers did make the playoffs…and Zhitnik did actually help his new team do so. But the next fall he then became the poster-child for trades gone bad as his play dropped off significantly. He was relegated to the press box for much of the last few weeks of the season.

Then in the summer of ’08… just after Don Waddell said Zhitnik would “play a big part in the Thrashers’ future”… Zhitnik was waived, his contract bought out, and he was then paid $1.16 million for the next two years to not play for the Thrashers.

Coburn, on the other hand, has become very acquainted with postseason play. Last spring he and his Flyers made it to the Stanley Cup Finals, losing to the Chicago Blackhawks…and Marian Hossa.

That would then bring us back to…

2004- Boris Valabik: Was Boris was ever labeled as the “defensive face of the future”?…shrugs…I dunno. But given he was the first defender taken by the Thrashers so high in the draft…and to date, only one of two who hold that distinction…it’s not a stretch to have looked upon his selection that way. However it seems now that six after slipping on a Thrashers jersey on the stage in Raleigh, North Carolina, Boris may indeed be leaving on that same train out of Thrasherville that Stefan, Heatley, Kovalchuk and Coburn did.

As for 2005…do we even need to re-hash the now infamous first-round draft debacle that gave us Alex Bourret?

No?

Good.

Alex Burmistrov, defending against Carolina's Zach Boychuk, joins Bryan Little, Zach Bogosian and Evander Kane as first round draft picks making an impact on this Thrashers roster (AP Photo/John Amis)

Alex Burmistrov, defending against Carolina's Zach Boychuk, joins Bryan Little, Zach Bogosian and Evander Kane as first round draft picks making an impact on this Thrashers roster (AP Photo/John Amis)

But with all of that said, this brings up to the more recent first round picks… the new “Faces of the Future” if you will. They are… Bryan Little, 12th overall in 2006… Zach Bogosian, 3rd overall in 2008, Evander Kane, 4th overall in 2009 and Alexander Burmistrov, 8th overall in 2010.

The Thrashers had no first-rounder in ’07.

Little, Kane and Bogosian have already played in more NHL games than have Valabik and it sure looks like we can say the same thing about Burmistrov by this time next year. These four are not only playing in games, but are contributing to sense of general optimism that prevails around Thrasherville.

That’s what you’re looking for from “earning” the right to obtain these kinds of players so early in the draft.

With Valabik’s perceived departure, these are the guys who will help close the book on the Thrasher “Faces of the Future” – 1999-2005 edition.

119 comments Add your comment

DW

November 2nd, 2010
8:09 pm

I take offense to this blog. Let me set the record straight.
Stefan was a good pick….I didn’t even give those Sedin boys a double look.
Coborn is no Zhitnik
Kari – well Duds trades him right when he’s groin in the right direction pus J-Bo was a big loaf.
Ilya and Dany just don’t like me
Boris is no Coborn
Bourret – OK that was a bad one, I’ll give you that one…

yeah

November 2nd, 2010
8:09 pm

Look on the bright side: we still have Jim Slater.

;/

BlueSpark

November 2nd, 2010
8:14 pm

So were these picks surprises? Or were they busts? Or did the organization fail to develop these picks?

DW

November 2nd, 2010
8:25 pm

I’m surprised that Duds wants to bust my rear end for failing as an organization in drafting these picks.

KLS1

November 2nd, 2010
8:41 pm

Terrible picks, terrible development system. We did get Marc Savard for nothing but of course he left.

English Teacher

November 2nd, 2010
9:48 pm

Let’s not dwell on the past. I like this team now more than I ever have.

Thrashers27

November 2nd, 2010
9:54 pm

Co-bUrn…Co-bUrn

jen

November 2nd, 2010
10:05 pm

Kind of in agreement with English Teacher. I think we can all give Waddell the epic fail and be glad he’s not the principal person responsible for getting talent on board. The parade of stars who have left the building can really all be traced back to the Heatly saga, which I think at this point the franchise is just now recovering from. I like the type of team we are now. I like the talent in the pipeline, I think its better for a team with our kind of budget to build around more role players than superstars. It works for Nashville, it works for Buffalo. It’s a fun style of hockey to watch. The tampa debacle aside (because you’re going to lay one every now and again), I enjoy watching a team playing a team game and wondering who’s going to step up tonight more than just watching and waiting for Kovy to do something brilliant or stupid

kracker

November 2nd, 2010
10:20 pm

Jen = right

Heatley’s driving blunder damaged this franchise immensely. Heatley + DW + Belkin + Kovalchuk bolting (which I consider to be a plus, except at the gate at the momment)….it’s a wonder there is now a competitive team on the ice.

Brendan

November 2nd, 2010
10:29 pm

Excellent blog, Rawhide. Excellent blog. Those are the things that needed to be said. I’m glad someone takes the time to do it. … And Dan Marr, Head Scout, is still here. Still drafting. And Waddell’s desk … still has his stuff all over it. I think we know why.

Gonzo

November 2nd, 2010
10:36 pm

I hate the what if game….but…..

What if Danny hadn’t wrecked that car…and
What if DW wasnt a tool…and
If DW wasnt a tool…what if we could’ve developed the talent that did come here and….
If DW wasnt a tool, talent got develope, Danny was still here…Kovy would have had a reason to stay (btw, I’m not a big Kovy fan because he went out like a punk).

then we would have lto have a whole room to store all the Cups.

Bottom line is that ASG screwed this pooch, DW was their puppet. So what if Dudley is the real deal…hope springs eternal.

Brendan

November 2nd, 2010
10:47 pm

Look, not wanting to go off on a rant here, but honestly, this franchise had completely moved past the Snyder tragedy by 2005-06. The one MAJOR obstacle to a playoff berth in 2006 … was “Kari-Down ‘05.” It wasn’t as if the Snyder tragedy put us 5 years off pace for a playoff berth.

Think about it. Bob Hartley, a former Cup-winning coach, albeit with a star-laden Avalanche team, was at the helm. When Kari returned, the Thrashers blazed a trail straight towards the playoffs, after making the best of it with Michael Garnett, Steve Shields, and Adam Berkhoel. Had the Thrashers, for the sake of argument, made the playoffs instead of missing them by 2-pts, in 2006, and won a playoff series, who … would possibly say … the Heatley/Snyder event had derailed the franchise?

That team was old, but it was capable enough, with a healthy Kari and a healthy Pasi, of pulling off a 1st round upset of someone. I opposed the Heatley trade for Hossa and deVries because I knew, even back in 2005, that Hossa would never elect to stay here. So, I was angry about it. But, if we look at the very real possibility that Heatley, had he stayed, would have also bolted for free agency in 2008, then Heatley for Hossa really was a “wash.” And if you accept that it was a “wash,” then how was the franchise derailed? Point of fact, in 2007, the Thrash DID make the playoffs. Granted, it took a series of DISASTEROUS trade deadline moves, but they made it in. By then, the old players from 2006 were another year older, I’m looking at you, Holik, Sutton, Mellanby, Kozlov, etc. And Bondra had left, maybe Modry, too. I can’t remember anymore. But the point is … the team … had successfully moved on from the Snyder tragedy. In terms of a “3 year window,” Heatley for Hossa + deVries worked. Hossa put up his career-best season in 2007, with 100-pts. I don’t even really think we felt the loss of Heatley, given what Hossa did provide for us, generally-speaking. When I think of the loss of Heatley, I think about how we lost a player who we should have kept for 10 years, as a “foundation” piece. Now, obviously, my opinion of Heatley has changed dramatically since 2003, at the time of the accident. Heatley’s “character” has revealed itself. No less than four (4) times, he’s asked an existing team for a release, if you count the times he did it … during the Lockout year, while playing in Europe. And should the San Jose Sharks falter and become uncompetitive, Heatley will be right there … to request yet another trade out of town.

The one and only thing we’ve yet to fully overcome and turn the corner from … is the lingering presence of Don Waddell … and the UNCARING, incapable ownership.

The Real Thrash

November 2nd, 2010
10:49 pm

Thanks again DW

kbatch

November 2nd, 2010
11:06 pm

If you want to play the what if game… What if the octotards never traded for Joe Johnson, and this Belkin debacle never went down… Perhaps these clowns wouldn’t be at the helm… Or at the least, we wouldn’t be worried about the cap floor…

rob

November 3rd, 2010
8:23 am

jen and others are right. This epic failure of the past has been gone over again and again and again. We know the ASG sucks. We know Dumb Wad is a collosal wash up who should never have been in charge as long as he has been. We get it.
Who cares about what the past has been here? Is it sad to sit back and think about all the what-ifs? Boris being waived just makes sense at this time. He has had the time to develop and hasn’t panned out. Is it his fault, is it the development here fault? Doesn’t matter it’s over. Past here has been a failure, but new pieces are bringing change….for the better.
Look forward. The team needs a good home stand this month and support from the FANS! The Boys In Blue are coming around. Still some kinks to work out but I like what I see. I want to see Modin either put up or be put on the waiver line too! He is NOT helping us out and we have enough people waiting for a chance to prove themselves to allow him to continue this way for much longer.

kracker

November 3rd, 2010
8:30 am

Sweet!!! The kid’s got game.

ajcthrashers Courtesy of Brandon from Fox Sports, Alexander Burmistrov has drawn NHL high 13 penalties.

Always Hoping

November 3rd, 2010
9:25 am

Enough of taking Stefan over one of the Sedins. The Sedins made it very clear they would only play together. Had we taken one of them it would have been a wasted pick. Stop looking behind you and start looking ahead.

Acer

November 3rd, 2010
9:33 am

Valabik was considered a Top20 pick at best in 2004! Taking him 10th overall was a near-shock experience for me. Chara comparisons, who emerged as a top D around this time, fueled the move to take the big Slovakian. Wolski was a much better choice at 10th, despite his off-ice issues at that time. The Thrashers “made my day” when they picked the most overrated player in the draft in the 2nd round.

1999: The Sedin’s insisted on continuing to play together. You can’t risk such a move as an expansion franchise. Stefan was thought of being one of better prospects of the terrible 1999 draft class. Can’t fault Atlanta for that decision.

2000: I pay money to see all offers that Waddell received after Heatley made it clear that he wanted out of Atlanta! Remember that Waddell wanted a legit NHL’er in return and not a package of picks & prospects.

→ Nobody really saw the possibility that this legit NHL’er never wanted to be a Thrasher. Management was blind in recognizing the way the wind blew in the 2008 off-season. Hossa’s summer interviews with the Slovakian press made it evident that he wasn’t going to re-sign with Atlanta. Edmonton reportedly approached the Thrashers about Hossa at the 2007 draft.
→ You get a mediocre deal when you wait too long (also see Kovy.) Wasting the 29th pick on an overrated (AGAIN) player Leveille was just [censored.] All under consideration that a projected top two-way Dman like John Carlson was still available when the draft moved in the Top20.

2001: It was ludicrous to assume that Kovy changed. We had already witnessed what happened in 2005 when his new contract was up. Things got ugly. Atlanta two-headed monster of a terrible GM and terrible owners struck between 2007 and 2009. The franchise was approaching the 2008 draft while it was in terrible condition. I projected that it was not possible to get back in the playoffs between 2008 and 2010. Here’s where you need to take full advantage of turning your 50-goal scorer into a combo high picks and/ or a combo of picks & high prized prospects.

→ The return from Jersey was a disappointment, especially for a player like Kovy.

2002: Rawhide, Atlanta had a deal with the Panthers. Waddell promised not to draft JayBo. Lehtonen was never really given the chance to succeed in Atlanta. Why draft a good goalie when you intend of supporting him with a NHL/ AHL defense over the years? Why draft a good goalie when you intend of never providing him with a decent goalie coach/ adviser?

2003: The Coburn selection at the draft was plausible. Only a very minority of Thrasher fans questioned the trade with Philly.

2005: I have no words.

One of biggest problems around Atlanta is that people bought this “Faces of the Future” crap.

Nowadays, things are looking a bit brighter and not only because of the NHL performances of the Thrashers. The prospect pipeline features a couple of decent players. Is Atlanta over the hump? No, you need to prepare for the possibility of losing key contributors via RFA and UFA. One of the easiest ways is via the draft.

IMO, there’s still a long way to go for Atlanta. First of all, you need to play consistently well over the course of entire season and not just portions of it. Secondly, you need to prove that one solid season is a fluke. It will take at least three seasons of successful Thrashers hockey before I’m fully in love with the Thrashers again.

Joe Friday

November 3rd, 2010
9:35 am

How about “what if Turner had hired Brian Burke, as Burke expected, instead of Waddell back in 1998″.

Ifs, buts, candies, nuts, just drop the puck and lets go forward.

The tiny budget does make one hope that we’re buyers at the deadline if they boys can stay in the playoff hunt, if this group of boys can compete and get there, a top center or sniper and a dman could propel us to a little bit of a run, not Cup contending, but a run.

Remember Mark Mulvoy?

November 3rd, 2010
9:39 am

History provides the ability to examine past successes and failures, so that the information could be used to form a sound strategy going forward. You simply can’t, with rose-colored, half-full glasses simply say let bygones be bygones and lets move forward. There was plenty of evidence in the first five years of the franchise to know that this scouting staff-personnel dept., which is largely still employed, couldn’t draft. Outside of some of the first round picks and those occasionally found in the later rounds (XLB and Nurminen for example), the draft was a virtual wasteland.

How many 2nd- or 3rd-round picks have played significant minutes for this team since 1999? Pavelec is the lone ranger. 4th through 6th rounders? Nurminen and Hordichuk.

Outside of Rich Peverley, which of the current players represents a “great find?” In fact, were it not four Dudley engineering the trades with the cap-strapped Blackhawks, and two roster players from the Devils, think of what the current roster might look like? That is a scary proposition!

So, lets look forward, perhaps to March, where the contracts of five key restricted free agents and at least two unrestricted free agents must be re-negotiated. Keep them all and 2011-12 looks great on paper. Lose one or two, and more questions arise.

Belief in the future is a great component for fans, yet historical evidence is the reason you can’t gather up enough people in Sec. 101 for a good poker game on most nights while watching the Thrashers.

J-man

November 3rd, 2010
9:50 am

We’ll see at the end of the season if Bryan Little is still considered to be a source of optimism or not.

Acer – lots of good points. Waddell drove me nuts with his constant poor selections. Just look at the abysmal 2nd round picks in team history. I share your feelings about Leveille.

As bad as Stefan was, the 1999 draft may be the worst in NHL history. Stefan was actually quite a bit better than most of the 1st round picks in that draft.

Mikey

November 3rd, 2010
9:53 am

Painful review there, BlogMaster.

Valabik leaving is simply one of the few draft leftovers from the Waddell era we are slowly closing the door on. I wish him good luck wherever he ends up.

I agree with the Little, Kane, Burmistrov and Bogosian comments. These are great new “faces of the future” to have for the team and this community.

jen

November 3rd, 2010
10:18 am

My point on the Heatly/Snyder tragedy is that if that doesn’t happen, the likelihood of Heatly re-upping long term and becoming the captain he was supposed to have been provides stability and a draw for other players. You have better gate, because you have an established face of your franchise and not a revolving door at C, which in turn leads to more cash flow and the player stability attracts more free agent talent at reasonable, not over-inflated pay more to play here money. Since Heatly’s departure, the TEAM has struggled to find an identity. We were Heatl’s team, then Hossa’s team, then Kovalchuk’s team, not the Atlanta Thrashers. Which is why I like the fact that now, we are the Thrashers, and while we have some good quality pieces, ALL of them could be replaced and plugged with someone else, because no one is looking to one individual player to lift them up and carry the load. Everyone is responsible. Look at Detroit. Datsyuk and Zetterberg are superstars because of the system they play in, not because the system was built around them. You could plug a Kane or a Kelser or either of the forward Staals in there, and it would probably work just as well.

Alan R.

November 3rd, 2010
10:25 am

the likelihood of Heatly re-upping long term and becoming the captain he was supposed to have been provides stability and a draw for other players.

Unfortunately, you’re assuming Heatley would have even re-upped with Atlanta to begin with. For an example of what I’m talking about, look at what happened in Ottawa last year.

Russ

November 3rd, 2010
10:27 am

Knowing what we know now, Heatley would have made a horrible captain and probably wanted out, accident or no accident, because the team wasn’t a contender.

Zombie Steve

November 3rd, 2010
10:34 am

I’ve only really starting following the Thrashers since 2008…. reading this article and looking back at the trail of destruction, it’s no wonder why so many of you guys hate Teflon Don.

Mr. Rhetorical

November 3rd, 2010
10:37 am

11 years of first-round draft picks, normally very high ones, and almost NOTHING to show for it1

What the [Buffalo, New York] have we been doing with all this opportunity to build through the draft?

kracker

November 3rd, 2010
10:58 am

Sadly, we can never know how the franchise would have fared if Heatley doesn’t crash on Lenox Road in Sept. 2003 but we can be pretty sure it would have fared a lot better than it did following the crash.

Yeah, Heatley has been an erratic turd since the crash, we know that. But wipe out that crash where Heatley killed one of his best friends, Dan Snyder, and it all would have gone down differently. Heatley probably does become team captain in a year or two. He and Kovalchuk were two very talented and competitive friends as Thrashers players and they would have been proudly leading “their” young team as it matured. Like Jen outlined above, the team would almost certainly won more games, possibly a lot more, and it’s then a different world of larger crowds, playoff appearances, playoff games and series won, better free agent signings, etc….yes it all could have been different.

da' boomer

November 3rd, 2010
11:02 am

Acer

November 3rd, 2010
11:12 am

@Alan: Great point. Both Heatley and Kovy needed new contracts after the lockout.

glovesave29

November 3rd, 2010
11:18 am

“Ifs, buts, candies, nuts, just drop the puck and lets go forward.” – Joe, I totally agree. We’ve had this discussion ad nauseum. We all know DW was a major screw up. Changes have been made and we seem to be going in the right direction. Truest test of the new regime is to see who will resign here once their contract is up.

“It will take at least three seasons of successful Thrashers hockey before I’m fully in love with the Thrashers again.” – Acer…really? So you are only a fan if the team is good? We all want a winner, but I cannot hold the current roster responsible for the mistakes of the past. This really smacks of being a fair-weather fan, and it’s radically contrasting to the rest of your comment.

Russian

November 3rd, 2010
11:22 am

Great Blog like always, but please do not put Salt on Wound! It is still hearts to lose all First Picks. It was PAST, we have to go forward.
One more thing about IF’s! :-)
Russians say: “If Grandma has a Dick, She will be a Grandpa!” :-)

Acer

November 3rd, 2010
11:28 am

Did you oversaw the “again” part?

Stuck in the past

November 3rd, 2010
11:37 am

Former Thrashers Clarke MacArthur and Andrew Brunette scored goals last night!

Polskidawg

November 3rd, 2010
11:38 am

Lots of great points being made, and it’s clear where the responsibility lies.

I’ll say this for Boris – he was drafted too high, and the rules of the game changed the year after his being drafted, BUT Boris has my respect because he never whined or complained or loafed or took shifts off. The guy works as or more hard than any Thrash has. He’s just not as good as expected.

I can’t say the same for others on the list.

American

November 3rd, 2010
11:38 am

Russian: We say if Aunt Francis had balls she’d be Uncle Frank!

Done

November 3rd, 2010
11:43 am

Jen – if you think DW is not involved and controlling the decisions, you are wrong. He was moved up to more power and he attended the draft.

What the past really shows is that Atlanta cannot keep the good talent to build a winning team. Every team has a shuffle every year and sometimes have to choose which of their best players to keep. But they are able to keep key players and work from there. No one stays in Atlanta once they are free agents.

What is more interesting are the players that DW bad mouthed and went on to play great on another team. There also appears to be a player development problem and a training problem here. Pasi had a career ending injury, his back up was injured and Kari was injured that year.

Heatly would have left no matter what. I like Hossa and think Atlanta got the best part of that trade.

kracker

November 3rd, 2010
11:46 am

Scotty (from Star Trek): “Aye. And if my grandmother had wheels she’d be a wagon.”

Russ

November 3rd, 2010
11:47 am

Is Little playing tonight?

kracker

November 3rd, 2010
11:53 am

Russ:

BenThrashers RT @dankamal: From BankAtlantic Ctr, lines are: Ladd-Peverley-Bergfors, Kane-Nik-Thorburn, Eager-Burmistrov-Stewart, Boulton-Slater- Modin.

Hoof Arted

November 3rd, 2010
11:55 am

That the Thrashers have only drafted 2 defensemen with all of those high draft picks speaks volumes about the mindset of this organization in the first decade. But as Bill points out, the more recent picks in the first round should have us feeeling better about the future.

Three games in the next four days. I want to see this team hit the ice in Florida tonight breathing fire from their nostrals and kick some Panther butt!

Russ

November 3rd, 2010
12:09 pm

Thanks, kracker. Looks like Little is out. Damn, that means Modin dresses.

Red Light

November 3rd, 2010
12:16 pm

Thrashers record with Modin in lineup: 3-4-2

Rawhide

November 3rd, 2010
12:21 pm

Per C-Viv tweet: Boris valabik has cleared waivers.

AtlFlamesFan

November 3rd, 2010
12:27 pm

Vancouver somehow managed to work trades to get the #2 and #3 picks. The Thrashers drafted first, so I think the Thrash would have been in a better position than the Canucks to get 2 of the top 3 picks and get the Sedin twins. Yes, it is all hindsight, but what we are doing is grading past performance, and the grade is a solid “F”.

Red Light

November 3rd, 2010
12:39 pm

Down on the Farm

News…
Gladiators rookie forward Michael Davies was called up to the Chicago Wolves of the AHL on Wednesday. Davies, 23, made his professional debut in three Calder Cup playoff games with the Bridgeport Sound Tigers of the AHL after Wisconsin was defeated in the 2010 NCAA National Championship game. Davies earned 123 points (54 goals, 69 assists) and 122 penalty minutes in 155 career collegiate games with Wisconsin from 2006-10.

Stats…
Games/G/A/P/+-
Akim Aliu 10 0 0 0 -5
Riley Holzapfel 10 2 3 5 4
Arturs Kulda 10 0 1 1 -2
Spencer Machacek 10 2 5 7 4
Fredrik Pettersson 9 1 1 2 -3
Paul Postma 10 0 3 3 -1
Andrey Zubarev 8 0 1 1 -6

Glean what you may from the above, but isn’t it about time to give Spence more than a two-game look?

Smoothie

November 3rd, 2010
12:44 pm

R/L – yeah, time to bring up Spence and see if he can be the anti-Modin: someone who hits, skates fast and plays with passion.

Diego from Lilburn

November 3rd, 2010
1:00 pm

I don’t mind reviewing the past ever so often. I only hope Dudley reads this!

“Those who don’t know history are destined to repeat it.” – Edmund Burke (1729-1797)

I agree with Jen about the Dan Snyder tragedy.

An unscarred Heatley might mean making the playoffs more regularly, which might mean someone other than ASG interested in owning the team.

Smoothie

November 3rd, 2010
1:23 pm

From zee tweety box! What to make of this?

@TheFourthPeriod I don’t know of a timeframe as to when an announcement will be made, but I can say new prospective ownership wants to keep team in Atlanta

@TheFourthPeriod On everyones ATL q’s: I can’t say who the new owner might/will be. I know how that sounds, but I’ll share as soon as I’m at liberty to do so

Thrashers27

November 3rd, 2010
1:31 pm

Weird…So, what now for Boris?

kracker

November 3rd, 2010
1:33 pm

Hope this new owners runor has legs. The other neccessary ownership requirements: love hockey and have very deep pockets.

JT from Columbus

November 3rd, 2010
1:38 pm

Smoothie: If true this is welcome news!!

World Be Free

November 3rd, 2010
1:39 pm

I have given Boris/Doris a hard time on thes blog, but in truth, I wish him the best wherever he ends up.

He can’t help he stinks.

kracker

November 3rd, 2010
1:39 pm

Ugh…he kills us.

ajcthrashers Stephen Weiss will return for Panthers vs. #Thrashers, according to coach Peter DeBoer.

Smoothie

November 3rd, 2010
1:48 pm

kracker – indeed, Weiss loves playing against us. The key match-ups will probably be:

Booth-Weiss-Higgins vs Ladd-Pevs-Bergie or Eager-Burmy-Stewie if DeBoer thinks they can exploit the rookie and Stewart. For us, we gotta hope that Kaner-Nik-Thorbs can get theirs against Stillman-Reasey-Dvorak and Dvorak has been another thorn in the side of the Thrashers recently.

I hate not having Little’s speed and back-checking for this game. Burmy needs to be good and the defense solid to win this game 3 to 2 I hope.

Brendan

November 3rd, 2010
1:59 pm

WBF and other Sabre fans, if you want to see a pic of Craig Ramsay during his playing days, I found him as # 7 in the list of Buffalo’s “All-time Top 40″ players. http://galleries.buffalonews.com/photo.php?gname=gallery_1285003304.txt&item=7

Brendan

November 3rd, 2010
2:27 pm

Ya know, I can’t understand all this outpouring of respect for Dany Heatley, knowing what WE DO KNOW of the man. Do you honestly, deep down in your heart, BELIEVE … I mean TRULY BELIEVE … that Heater wouldn’t have asked for a trade out of Atlanta, even if there WAS NO ACCIDENT? That everything was progressing great, in Thrasherville, in Heatley’s eyes??

C’mon. The accident was a BELIEVABLE excuse, to request a release/trade. Twice in Europe, during the lockout, Heatley asked for a release. In Ottawa, he asked for a trade, saying he wasn’t being “used correctly.” What kind of drivel is this, from a respectable player. You do what you coach tells you to do. Dany Heatley is WHO he is. A leopard doesn’t change its spots. Yes, we certainly had trouble re-signing Kovalchuk, coming out of the lockout. Imagine what re-signing a “healthy, uninjured” Dany Heatley would have cost, at the same time? Gotta think it would have been about the same $6.0 million cap hit that Hossa was. Or, it might have been equal to Kovalchuk’s $6.5 million cap hit. And the performance of Heatley, on that 3-year deal, would have probably been about what Hossa’s was, including the “drama” over “will he or won’t he re-sign” in the 2008 season, if he even last THAT long, before requesting a trade outta here. In the end, folks, Heatley would have been dealt at the 2008 trade deadline, maybe to Pittsburgh, for Esposito, Christensen, Armstrong, and Pick # 28 in the 2008 draft. Heatley for Hossa was pretty close to being a “wash.” It’s at least … in the ballpark. Heatley might have just demanded his trade, right there, in 2005, asking for Dan Snyder to be part of the trade, for all we know.

My whole point is … the team was able to, and did certainly, move on from the departures of Heatley and Snyder by 2006. The team was NOT derailed, irreparably damaged. Barring the Lehtonen injury, 2006 was a playoff year. 2007, also, was a playoff year. The “irreparable damage” that set the franchise back 5 years … was the “standing pat” response by ownership on the heels of the 2007 playoff sweep by the Rangers. We are, still, to this VERY DAY, trying to overcome the INACTION of 2007, when SWEEPING REFORMS were clearly necessary. Bygones.

kracker

November 3rd, 2010
2:39 pm

Nice find, Brendan! No wonder Rammer likes Little :) It’s his number.

Brendan

November 3rd, 2010
2:44 pm

Kracker, I loved the sideburns. You don’t see that, today.

Flames

November 3rd, 2010
2:52 pm

I would really love a new owner for this franchise. Smoothie I just put in a call to my friend. Did you hear his name mention in this?

Adam

November 3rd, 2010
3:03 pm

“Balls!” said the Queen.

“If I had two I be King!”

JB

November 3rd, 2010
3:03 pm

Dave’s tweets do not mention a name. Other than those two posts, I can’t find anyone else even mentioning new ownership for Atlanta.

LAC

November 3rd, 2010
3:12 pm

Just more evidence on how Stupid don waddell has ruined this franchise, The owners stink, but waddell drafted and he showed us time and time again, HE Stinks at drafting. But he gets promoted, I liked what Stroz once said…. “waddell should have been fired before he was hired !”.

That says it all…

kracker

November 3rd, 2010
3:17 pm

I loved the sideburns, too, Brendan. Had to be a pic from the 70s.

kracker

November 3rd, 2010
3:19 pm

Or maybe the early 80s, he is wearing a helmet.

Spud Webb

November 3rd, 2010
3:29 pm

Redlight, so what does this mean about Boris? IS this essentially a cut? Why not let him play in Chicago? Even Gwinnett??? Not sure I understand why he’s essentially just cut???

Alan R.

November 3rd, 2010
3:35 pm

Flames, no name has been mentioned. The “new ownership” thing is being reported by David Pagnotta of The Fourth Period on Twitter: http://twitter.com/TheFourthPeriod

It’s a source better than Eklund, but it’s also something I’ve heard before a few times, as recently as this past offseason. So, at best, I am skeptical.

DWTOO

November 3rd, 2010
3:43 pm

WBF – Will have to disagree with you about Boris. He doesn’t stink, he just doesn’t have the talent to play at the NHL level. He’s probably a career AHL’er. I’d probably give up body parts to play in the A League, even the ECHL. You’re still one of the best 2,500 players in the world.

Red Light

November 3rd, 2010
3:45 pm

It means that Valabik is free to become the tallest dog sled musher in Slovakia!

World Be Free

November 3rd, 2010
3:49 pm

I have eased up on Heatley-time to move forward

DTWOO-if you woudl have seen him during the one preseason game he played, you would say he stinks. I expect more from a guy who was #10 overall, and pretty well rated going into the 2004 draft. Hee was awful in the game we saw. If he is one of the best 2,500 on the planet, let’s say he is way down the list. But I wish him the best.

Brendan-Rammer was one of the best all around players of his era or any era for that matter. He deserves his place in Sabre history that’s for sure.

Red Light

November 3rd, 2010
3:51 pm

Spud:

I think the Wolves/Thrashers want to give time to other d-men rather than tie up ice time in a guy that isn’t in their long-term plans. Nothing more.

Red Light

November 3rd, 2010
3:52 pm

Perhaps he’ll find a spot in the KHL?

Smoothie

November 3rd, 2010
3:53 pm

Flames – no names yet, but get on the horn!! I will start praying.

MashaPlayer7

November 3rd, 2010
4:14 pm

Believe it or not, I’ll give Waddell a free pass on Valabik. He was drafted in the pre-lockout era, where big, lumbering defensemen who can stick-hold and interfere with skilled players were of high value. Valabik would be a top 6 D in the pre-lockout NHL….but definitely not know.

It pains me to think that the Thrashers’ 1st ever draft year was arguably the worst draft year in a generation. And remember, the Sedin twins were only going to play together. The Thrashers didn’t have any way of trading up to get the 2nd pick in that draft.

Russ

November 3rd, 2010
4:26 pm

Masha – Don’t give him a pass on Valabik. He was drafted right after the last season before the lockout. At the time he was drafted it was clear there was going to be a lockout and it was also clear whenever the game returned it would be with new rules in place and a crackdown on obstruction designed to open up the game. I knew this simply from reading my subscription to the Hockey News. If I knew this just from reading a magazine, don’t you think a GM of an NHL franchise should have known this? Oh, and by the way, DW even sat on the committee that approved the rule changes that would emphasize skating ability over the old clutch and grab mentality.

Brendan

November 3rd, 2010
4:50 pm

Russ is right. DW sat on the “Rules Committee” that designed the league to favor youth and speed. It’s hard to give him a pass on that. I’d rather that DW use the 10th overall pick to actually trade for a player with 3-5 years left on his contract, than to make this pick. And those of you who read my stuff know … I rarely advocate doing that. I prefer to build through the draft. I cannot rightly tell you who I would have drafted in his stead, so … I’ll stick with the “Gimme somethin’ off your roster for pick #10″ when it came to the 2004 Draft. Then listened to offers. The mulled it over with my trusted colleagues, and agreed to a trade. If I heard nothing but crap, I’d either make a selection at # 10, or maybe even move back, to stockpile some 2nd rounders, if I truly felt there was no dropoff in quality of players picked after #9 and before #12, 13, or 14, or something like this, that is. If there were a noticeable decline, like I said, I’d just make a pick at #10, then hope for the best.

ThrasherTim

November 3rd, 2010
5:04 pm

No sale is imminent unless Jon Kincade reports it as such…[eyes rolling]

ThrasherTim

November 3rd, 2010
5:09 pm

Brendan – I’m not sure why you thought management would take action after the playoff sweep. We had gotten better every year under Hartley and won the division. A banner was being hung in Philips Arena. Being in the playoffs would give Kovvy and other playoff newbies a ‘taste’ of what it took to play in mid-to-late April and the team would naturally improve again under Hartley. Did you foresee a 0-6 start the next season? And Zhitnik’s downward spiral? And Kari getting hurt again? {Wait, scratch that one}.

Cherokee

November 3rd, 2010
6:33 pm

I give DW a bit of a pass on Boris because the game really did change around him after the lock-out. Boris was drafted for a clutch and grab league that simply didn’t exist once he was ready for the NHL. The big guy just simply can’t keep up with the pace.

Hockey Biltong

November 3rd, 2010
7:01 pm

Hell, what if David McDavid owned the team????
We’d prolly have three Stanley Cups by now…..
BTW., Boris’ injuries have really held him back… this year compared to last year are way different. He had a jump to his step [yes and hold your tongue] that he did not have this year. He took his shot in the NHL and may now end up with Schroeder and Artuhkyin and ‘name that player’ who have moved below the level of top flight play……. sad to see, but it happens.

swede

November 3rd, 2010
7:54 pm

it´s fking chaos in our zone. They skate into it soooooooo easy and enable pressure, which we cant.

kracker

November 3rd, 2010
7:57 pm

Crap…we give Garrison his first goal of the year :( SOG 2-8…need to stabilize this one quick and pick up the pace. Time for Coach Ramsay to do some coaching.

kracker

November 3rd, 2010
8:17 pm

Woah! What a nice last few minutes by the Thrash! Nice little pass from Buff to Freddy and he buried it past Vokoun for a huge late goal. Out shot them 5-2 to finish out the 1st period. Time to exhale a bit…

Brendan

November 3rd, 2010
8:38 pm

Modin has scored??? (Peeking out the Window) Nope, no signs of the Apocalypse, so … I think we’re good. Remember what happened when Homer Simpson thought the Rapture was upon us? He frantically screamed, “Quick, Marge. Get Bart out of the house before God comes!!”

Thrasher Tim, I’d be LYING if I said that I would have bet my life savings on an 0-6-0 start for the 2007-08 Thrashers, back in April of 2007. That’s for sure. But, and this is a SIGNIFICANT but, if you couldn’t figure out … after mortgaging the future for a playoff berth, that resulted in a SWEEP, that reforms were needed … after SEVEN (7!!) years of Waddell … then … well …. No, I’m not good a ’sugarcoating’ things. You either see that, or you don’t. Especially, if YOU’RE the ownership … and it’s YOUR MONEY being squandered. If it were MYYYYY Money … being squandered by Waddell … he’d be fired. Over the results. Like, by 2003.

Brendan

November 3rd, 2010
8:41 pm

Biltong, always admire the enthusiam, but we really don’t know that McDavid would have been a Godsend for hockey. The Ilitches try, EVERY YEAR, to win the Cup, and they’ve got 4 Cups since 1993. And Detroit is favored to win the Cup for most of that time. I’d settle for one (1) Cup, per 10-15 years. That’s, actually, doing quite well.

litz

November 3rd, 2010
8:47 pm

Modin!

2nd of the night!

(anyone else missing the liveblogs?)

kracker

November 3rd, 2010
8:50 pm

Nice pass Boults to Freddy for his 2nd goal. Very nice to see and we go on top 2-1!

kracker

November 3rd, 2010
9:06 pm

What a crap goal by Fla! But they all count.

kracker

November 3rd, 2010
9:10 pm

Mason needs to sue (again) for non-support. SOG is 12-33 after two and his own guy (Thorbs) deflected in the first Panther goal while trying to stop it. Even being out shot, we could be leading this game.

Time for a locker room speech by somebody. Sopel again?

litz

November 3rd, 2010
9:25 pm

3rd is underway, we’ll see …

litz

November 3rd, 2010
9:30 pm

So far mason’s doing all the work … Vokoun could go play a round of golf.

litz

November 3rd, 2010
9:31 pm

And … not surprisingly … when they have all the shots (and we don’t), it’s now 3-2 FL

Nate

November 3rd, 2010
9:34 pm

This may be worse than the Buffalo home debacle. A very pathetic effort tonight considering the days off in between. Mason deserves some hazardous duty pay for the lack of effort being displayed by the guys tonight.

litz

November 3rd, 2010
9:42 pm

and Buff ties it up!

litz

November 3rd, 2010
9:42 pm

Yeah, it’s pretty damned stunning we’re sitting here tied 3-3 …

litz

November 3rd, 2010
9:44 pm

Wow! Bergfors, and it’s 4-3!

kracker

November 3rd, 2010
9:54 pm

Way too many sog being given up, 21-49. Hope the Thrash can hold on.

litz

November 3rd, 2010
10:00 pm

And it’s all over … dunno how, but they pulled out and won this one!

Joe Friday

November 3rd, 2010
10:02 pm

I turned it on with us down 3-2 and it was pretty good from there, but they had 55 SOG? Bergfors looked pretty good, Mason had an incredible save there with 1:20 left, wow.

Alan R.

November 3rd, 2010
10:03 pm

Ugly ugly win, but I’ll take it. WE NEED TO WATCH THESE SOG! Giving up 55 shots is UNACCEPTABLE.

kracker

November 3rd, 2010
10:06 pm

A WIN!!! But what’s up w/ the Florida scorer? He was apparently giving a sog for anything getting near the goal. Now that they mentioned it, I recall that the Fla scorer has done this in past games. That is pretty disgusting but he can pad the shots stat all he wants as long as we win the game.

Thrashy Thrashy

November 3rd, 2010
10:16 pm

This Byfuglien fellow is halfway decent, ain’t he?

I didn’t see a second of the game, but even if the Florida scorer padded the stats, my guess is that we were still outshot two-to-one. That is absolute bulls…great! We won the game!

kracker

November 3rd, 2010
10:21 pm

Oh, absolutely Rammer and the Torch need to get them playing a lot better defense. That’s way too many shots even of a lot were not scoring chances. As we saw tonight, throw enough of them at the goal and some will go in.

kracker

November 3rd, 2010
10:24 pm

BTW, we owe the CBJ some payback tomorrow night for beating us twice in preseason (when the score of the games really doesn’t matter.)

litz

November 3rd, 2010
10:25 pm

Something’s gotta be done … Tampa’s gonna take us apart if we let them shoot like that.

R. Stroz

November 3rd, 2010
10:26 pm

Considering the Atlanta Hawks just re-signed Al Horford in conjunction with Big Buff being eligible for a contract re-signing at any point in time, how many of you think the Thrashers management should get off their collective backsides and get Buff re-signed to address the player retention issue?

stendek

November 3rd, 2010
10:35 pm

Very impressive indeed! Was keeping up with Thrashers with bottom screen updates during football game. Tied after first period. Tied after second period. Became uneasy when I saw Thrashers had fallen behind by goal in final period. Overjoyed when I saw final score! Well done fellows. Have not read about victory yet. Just want to commend Thrashers for exceptional rally. Thanks. STENDEK

litz

November 3rd, 2010
10:37 pm

Hehe … just wait’ll Stendek sees the boxscore …

kracker

November 3rd, 2010
10:48 pm

Stroz…raising my hand yes on getting Buff re-signed. He can be the first of several.

Thrashy Thrashy

November 3rd, 2010
10:52 pm

Sori Letemin would have given up 10 goals out of them 55 shots, I do believe.

stendek

November 3rd, 2010
10:57 pm

Stopping 52 of 55 shots? WOW! That is an average of 17.3 stops per period. Just off a stop every minute. Defense anyone? STENDEK

Joe Friday

November 3rd, 2010
11:08 pm

So Mason finally stole us a win, nice. Stroz, they may not be re-signing anyone know if there is an impending sale, they’ve left things pretty loose for a new owner to be able to make their own financial decisions when they come in. But yes, sign him, Ladd, Bergfors to long term deals.

Speaking of Buf, they need to move him to forward, it’s clear he’s not going to be scoring from the blueline.

litz

November 3rd, 2010
11:18 pm

Speaking of the latest “sell the team” rumor … has ANYONE managed to dig up anything other than the two twitter posts?

Alan R.

November 3rd, 2010
11:22 pm

I’ve looked a bit, litz. The answer is no. Hopefully C-Viv can dig something up for us.

Brendan

November 3rd, 2010
11:32 pm

Sunrise, FL’s finest is chasing the Thrashers all the way to Miami Int’l Airport, screaming, “Stop, Thief!” But the Thrashers have secreted Chris Mason away, and are denying his whereabouts.

52 saves??? 52 … saves. This is highway robbery. But, what have I been saying? “We’re gonna have to get our wins by playing from behind, since we clearly can’t play with a lead.” Well, I guess we did protect a lead for 9:50. That’s not quite the same thing as a 43:00 lead to a win. But hey, wins are wins. Points are points. It is what it is.

Hey, I notice Bobby Holik on “OTF” again. He doesn’t anything nice about Chris Mason. He doesn’t comment on the Thrashers successes. What gives? He could at least say, “I played in Atlanta, and it’s great to see them having some success.” Nothing, from FrankenBobby.

Here’s your boxscore: http://www.nhl.com/ice/boxscore.htm?id=2010020167. Byfuglien was a +2. “Modin Watch ‘10-11″ continues. Modin is now just 11 goals away from the magical “14.” Byfuglien got his 5th of the year. Has he caught Kane?

Brendan

November 3rd, 2010
11:37 pm

Was that Anthony Stewart missing the empty net, at the end of regulation? I think it was. If so, thank goodness the Panthers didn’t come back to score. That’d be the worst feeling, for Stewart, in his homecoming.

Rawhide

November 3rd, 2010
11:55 pm

Great effort by Chris Mason tonight as he helps Thrashers scratch out 4-3 win over the Panthers.

R. Stroz

November 5th, 2010
12:44 am

Rawhide

November 5th, 2010
2:47 pm

R. Stroz – Nope.