Archive for the ‘Atlanta Thrashers’ Category

The Sore Thumb: Atlanta Thrashers

October 11, 2009


For Atlanta Thrashers (and often St. Louis Blues) thoughts, I often go to Laura from Wazzupwitchu and St. Louis Blues Game Time and that’s exactly what happened this time around. On top of that blogging goodness, she also a very prolific person on Twitter to boot. Not too shabby.


All in-depth analysis aside, what flaw or weakness in your team sticks out like a sore thumb?

The biggest flaw? Defense. Not the people playing defense (thankfully, I can finally say that), but the system. Coach Anderson’s system relies on offense to a high degree, and he expects puck moving and playmaking (as well as scoring) from the defensemen. That is fantastic, but when you emphasize that too much, D starts to suffer. We’re still probably going to allow at least 30 SOG each game, and that’s concerning with Pavelec in net. I’ll reiterate my opinion of him being a good goalie in a few years, but he’s not 100% NHL ready. Of course, there’s Hedberg, who is a damn fine backup and a great person, but not a starter… and there’s that other dude… can’t quite remember his name, but I heard he used to be a pretty good goalie until he realized he was made of glass… yeah. Name escapes me. Been too long since I’ve actually seen him to confirm that he exists.

Huh. Apparently that makes 2 flaws. But by God, we are going to score. A lot. Hopefully it’ll be more than the other guys.

Pick #10: the Atlanta Thrashers

July 24, 2009

The Thrashers keep Vincent Lecavalier in the Southeast Division by selecting him with the 10th pick. (Pick by Matt Gunn. Follow him on Twitter.)

Cap Hit: $7,727,273

Laura of Wazzupwitchu covers the Blues and Thrashers Free Agent thoughts

June 29, 2009

Big thanks to Laura from Wazzupwitchu for being two team bloggers in one. Make sure to check out her spirited Blues-Thrashers blogging.

First, Laura’s thoughts on the Blues:

1. Which player, for the love of God, do you NOT want to see in your team’s sweater in the 09-10 season?

Danny. Freaking. Heatley. I’m sick and tired of seeing the Blues mentioned in trade rumors for him… and I really don’t care for the fact that Perron is constantly included in these rumors. We don’t need to break up the young core of the team, and Heatley, while good, is a pure goal scorer with no real oomph for playmaking (he floats a lot) and he’s not great defensively. Heater’s already been on one of my teams, he doesn’t need to be on the other one.

2. Conversely, pick a potential move by another team that would just crush your soul/favorite team’s chances.

Wait… hm… Detroit signing Hossa would make them a tougher team, but considering that Roman Polak almost broke him, I’m not concerned about his impact on the Blues. The Central’s pretty stacked as it is – even Nashville and Columbus put up a fight every year. It doesn’t boil down to what they get, it comes down to what the Blues do. Their success or failure is in their hands.

And then, her thoughts on the Atlanta Thrashers:

1. Which player, for the love of God, do you NOT want to see in your team’s sweater in the 09-10 season?

Any former NY Ranger that their fans always want to try to dump on us, either in a Kovy trade or just in general. NYC uses Jersey to dump their trash. They need to stick with that.

A lot of people are paranoid that Dapper Don will pick up Chelios. I think that comes from last year and us picking up Schneider from the Ducks last year. We’re moving towards youth, and there’s not a market for chili in Atlanta. We should be safe.

Another rumor that went around after someone saw Waddell at a Wild game was the acquisition of Gaborik. If he’s healthy all season and doesn’t act like Madonna when she’s told she can’t adopt that little African baby that she wanted, then he’s golden. But my money is on a failed trip to Africa and a trip to the ER. Please, don’t.

2. Conversely, pick a potential move by another team that would just crush your soul/favorite team’s chances.

Tampa Bay to getting decent ownership who don’t need couples therapy and to find at least 7 defensemen to stick with the entire year would be horrible for the whole Southeast Division. I mean, that’s at least 4 sure fire intra-conference wins a season gone with the wind. *poof*

Laura from Wazzupwitchu on the Atlanta Thrashers’ Draft

June 16, 2009

Laura’s one of the true friends of the blog (umm … although we haven’t met each other … *cough*). She helped out with a couple of the playoff mini-blogs and quite a few features, mostly from the St. Louis Blues perspective.

Laura might be back for the Blues as well, but in the mean time, we asked her to pinch hit for the Atlanta Thrashers (another team she covers on her blog). We’d say that she ended up hitting for the cycle, but we’re too sophisticated for such a lousy pun. Of course.

ANYWAY, Wazzupwitchu is a great source for Blues, Thrashers and NHL related material so make sure to bookmark it and check it every day. Thanks, Laura!

1. Who would you guess will end up being the No. 4 pick for the Thrashers? What are the chances that the Thrashers will keep the pick?

I’m going to be completely original and go with Evander Kane. Wait… what? Everyone has us picking him? Hm. Poo. Honestly, he’s the best choice at what will be that position. He’s either a center or a winger depending on the situation, and the Thrashers could benefit from either a center to go with Kovalchuk (sorry, The Todd) or some secondary scoring on the 2nd line. Kane could work either place.

Current estimates are putting him between one and 3 years off as far as being in the big leagues, which of course is seen by some as a big deal for the Thrash, but there is something called free-agency. And there is someone else called Angelo Esposito who will be trying to make the team *really* hard at prospect camp. He has a label to shed of being a bust.

The Thrashers are about 110% likely to keep that pick. I don’t know of anyone beneath him that we would go for who would be a quick fix for the team. We have depth. We need something a little sooner than 5 years down the line.

2. Is there a chance that Atlanta might try to draft an offensive talent to appease Ilya Kovalchuk enough to stay in Thrasher-land? Could their pick have any effect on Kovalchuk’s decision to stay in (or leave) Atlanta?

Oh, absolutely. Last season we REALLY needed defense, and we got that plus more in Zach Bogosian. Waddell knows what he needs to do. He’s not horribly challenged. He’s not Simple Jack. He’ll go for the strongest offensive power he can not only to help Kovy and make him want to re-sign more, but also for the team. A lot of Kovy’s decision has to do with the progress that the team makes during the season, and a good offensive talent to go along with him would help.

3. Describe some of your favorite Thrashers draft memories. Is there a pick that stands out as the best one they’ve made? What, if any, steals come to mind?

STEFAN. There.

No, wait… oh. Good picks, not picks out of necessity… right. Of course, you have to love the Red Wings like steal that DW made in Tobias Enstrom. 239th overall, and he’s our top-paring franchise defenseman. Fantastic puck handler, good passing sense, booming shot from the point… he’s been reserved playing with Nic Havelid, who he learned a lot of defensive responsibility from. Since the trade of Havelid to Jersey for Anssi Salmela, Enstrom has opened up tremendously. Part of this is being paired with fellow offensive threat Bogosian. The first game together they were unsure… and then never looked back. Our top defensive pairing of Bogisian-Enstrom is a one-two punch of, dare I say it, Don Waddell genius. I guess DW learned something from the Red Wings after all.

Oops … wrong Tobias.

Bryan Little as well was also a good snag. Yeah, he wasn’t buried down in the draft (we took him 12th), but did ANYONE expect him to have the season that he had last year? Absolutely unreal. Also a random pick because people give him grief about being a first rounder is Jim Slater. Atlanta’s Captain Planet emissary is a very solid 4th line center who is focused, gritty, thinks he can fight, and can occasionally chip in a nasty goal. Everyone sees the Crosby goal that he scored from his butt against us in Philips. Slater scored one the exact same way but more impressively later on that same game. YouTube search “Jimmy scores from his butt.” I dare you.

Spencer Machacek was also a good pick, and I’ll never complain about Kulda.

4. On the other end of the fence, describe some of the lowest moments for the Thrashers. Which decisions stick out as some of their worst in the draft? Are there any bad choices (and missed opportunities) that hurt especially bad?

I would consider selling the farm in draft picks to the Blues for Walt a bad move, but I’m a Blues fan and ergo I’m cool with it. Valabik was probably drafted too high, but he’s a project and he has a valid role on this team that he just needs to grow into. Bourret was waaaaay too high. Oshie would have been a better pick (but again, I’m cool with the Thrashers not picking him for an obvious reason), as would have been Tukka Rask but apparently The Don wanted Pavelec which is about 6 of one, half of another.

Honestly, and I’m going to get flamed by some, but I think that we picked our Fragile Finn Kari Lehtonen a little too high. I love him. I do. He’s a great goaltender, or he will be. But he is, in retrospect, too inconsistent and too unable to play a whole season. If you look at the 2002 draft, it was like an all-you-can-eat buffet of talent. Bouwmeester. Semin. Yes, we needed a goalie. But look at who was drafted by Carolina? Mr. Conn Smythe himself, Cam Ward. CAM WARD.

I do thank God every day that DW didn’t draft Hannu “The Human Sieve!” Toivonnen, so yes, Kari’s a better choice. My opinion is totally based on hindsight, and that’s 20/20 (as opposed to my eyesight, which is so bad I can light things on fire with my glasses and the sun). Would I rather have Ward over Kari? Absolutely. Am I glad that we at least had a strong goalie prospect who turned into the occasionally brilliant goalie we have now? Yes.

Believe it or not, I don’t consider Stefan a bad pick. Yeah, he was a bust, but we were the expansion franchise, and we needed someone who could play NOW. He was about the only choice.

Soapbox Time Feel free to add whatever else you’d like about the Thrashers and the NHL draft. How do you feel about the future of the franchise?

The future of the franchise, basically based upon the turnaround at the end of last season, is bright. We’re one of the teams pushing an offensively minded youth movement. John Anderson is a proven winner, and so many of our young guys played for him on the Wolves and know the flow. The youth is working in places like Chicago and St. Louis, and is coming along pretty well with the Kings. I have no doubt in my mind, that with young guys like Bogosian, Little, Enstrom, Salmela, Armstrong, and the like, that we won’t be a contender here shortly. Maybe not next season, but there is no way that you can look at the team on paper and not be impressed. Let’s see what Free Agency (or as I call it Hockey Hanukkah to the trade deadline’s Christmas) has to bring.

Kari Lehtonen, master of the irrelevant

March 17, 2009

When it comes to largely anonymous Finnish goaltenders, Kari Lehtonen holds a high place in my heart. And like most of my hockey preferences, the reasoning is pretty stupid: he had a small part in my fantasy hockey team winning a championship.

Let me take you waaaay back to the 2003-04 season. Team Pants was an unstoppable juggernaut locomotive of a team, but their idiot GM (me) dropped Rick Dipietro under the assumption Ricky D would be injured for the rest of that season. Which turned out to be something like a 1-2 week injury. Yikes.

Reeling from the possibility of losing because of my own stupidity, I noticed that Lehtonen, the object of much praise from fantasy guru Chris Nichols, had just been called up by the Thrashers. Since I’m a fantasy hockey Lemming, I followed Nichols’ advice and snatched Lehtonen off the waiver wire.

Lehtonen was one of the main reasons my team was able to win a fake, meaningless title that nonetheless felt great, going 4-0 with an obscene 1.25 GAA, an absurd 95.3 save percentage and a shutout.


KL will never be forgotten after that effort, but playing on a shitty Southeast division team means that Lehtonen is like an old friend whose body odor and tasteless humor keep him from remaining in the rotation. He’s always been on the radar, but just never quite worth the risk.

Fast forward to this season and once again, the Atlanta Thrashers are just about eliminated from the playoffs and Lehtonen is once again among the hottest goalies in the NHL. He is on a five game winning streak with two shutouts and allowed only one goal on 49 shots against the Washington Capitals tonight. Looking for an under-the-radar stud? Lehtonen might be your man.

It’s a small sample, but here’s some rather stunning stats for Atlanta’s franchise goalie in the last month and a half of each season versus his normal production:

Career record in March and April: 32-16; Career record in other months: 61-65

March and April (08 – 09): 5-1; Other months: 13-19

March and April (07 – 08): 4-4; Other months: 13-18

March and April (06 – 07): 8-5; Other months: 26-19

March and April (05 – 06): 11-6; Other months: 9-9

March and April (03 – 04): 4-0; Other months: n/a

Again, it is a small sample. But a trend is forming in Hotlanta. Should the Thrashers invest in a high-end hypnotist to convince Kari that every month is March or April?

If you were the GM (Southeast Division edition)

March 3, 2009

(With the trade deadline upon us, Cycle like the Sedins decided to ask about 30 or so friends in the blogosphere to represent his or her team and answer the question: “What would you do if you were the GM during the trade deadline?”

Since things change in a heartbeat, the date of each person’s submission is listed next to each entry. So before you start screaming “BUT THEY TRADED HIM!” while food spills out of your mouth, we’re showing what they thought at the time.

Don’t like it? Then don’t buy it! Now get outta here you kids!!! This isn’t a library!!!)

Florida Panthers

(MAR 2)

Whale4ever from Litterbox Cats

If I were running the show, Jay Bouwmeester would be a Panther until July 1st. I understand the potential lunacy of allowing the guy to walk for nothing, but I’m firmly in the camp that demands keeping the team intact through the end of the season.

The Panthers desperately need playoff action, no secret there. The revenue, the local media focus, blah blah blah…all the usual tired reasons. Might make a depth move, but the club is pretty solid from top to bottom. Could really use a number one center (insert Olli Jokinen joke here), but again, I don’t blow it up.

If the Cats somehow don’t make the post-season, as Jacques Martin, I’m out of work.

Chris Kontos: This is the eternal debate… at least for the 2009 NHL Trading Deadline. Should Bow stay or should he go? Yes, the Panthers very well could make the playoffs this season and experience the revenue, money and local media windfalls. But when he signs with another team July 1st… will the Panthers make the playoffs next year? Ask the Atlanta Thrashers how that one year in the playoffs has paid off for them.

James O’Brien: It all depends on what they can get for Jay Bouwmeester. Honestly, they MUST receive at least one suitable roster player plus prospects. Is anyone willing to give that up? Perhaps we’ll find out tomorrow. The Panthers are on fire right now – way, way WAY more than the Thrashers ever were – and perhaps a playoff run on the team that drafted him would melt some of the ice off of Bow’s heart. Very thin ice for the Panthers.

***

Atlanta Thrashers

Totally awesome Photoshop from Aaron Brown of Blueland Outsider:

***

The Falconer from Bird Watchers Anonymous
(2/25)

The Thrashers have several pending Unrestricted Free Agents (Reasoner, Perrin, Havelid) all of whom are likely to be dealt. If I were GM I’d offer both Reasoner and Havelid one year deals for next season and if they decline trade them for draft picks or prospects.

As far as the non-UFA Thrashers, there has been some trade chatter about Colby Armstrong but the Thrashers have made clear they value what he brings and a team would have to overpay to get him in a trade. On the other hand, Erik Christensen who was obtained from Pittsburgh one
year ago has been mostly invisible all year, he’s probably available if anyone wants him. Others who could be available if the offer was right include Todd White (C), Jim Slater (S), Eric Boulton (W), Brett Sterling (LW), Garnet Exelby (D), Nathan Oystrick (D) and perhaps Johan
Hedberg (G). Note: Slava Kozlov has a no trade clause and from what I hear is not inclined to waive it.

(2/25)

Mortimer Peacock from Blueland Chronicle

Niclas Havelid and Marty Reasoner to playoff contenders for draft picks. One of the goalies needs to be moved; what we get depends on whether we move Lehtonen, Hedberg, or Pavelec.

Chris Kontos: Just trade Kovalchuk and get on with it. Yikes, when Marty Reasoner is your most tradeable asset things are either really good… or really bad. In this case… really, really bad.

James O’Brien:
Don’t, under any circumstances, trade Ilya Kovalchuk. Kidnap him from Russia to extend his contract next summer if you have to. Without Kovie the Thrashers might as well move to Kansas City. Seriously.

***

Tampa Bay Lightning

Cassie from Boltsblog
(3/01)

If I were GM of the Tampa Bay Lightning in time for the trade deadline….

The first thing I’d do is put the ownership on waivers, but not really expecting anyone to pick them up. I’d send them down to the minors after they’d cleared waivers so they can screw up an AHL team instead while they’re trying to get the hang of this ownership/management thing. Then maybe I’d give them another go here in the next couple of years – see how they mature in the minors and all of that, you know.

Okay, here are some trades that I think could benefit the Lightning:

LW Pettinger & C Craig (TB) for D Weber (Nash.)

Saw I and Saw II (TB) for D Skoula (Minn.)

RW Hall, a draft pick, and all of ESPN’s Lightning bashing this season (TB) for D Hutchinson (Dal.)

C Lecavalier for all of the Montreal Canadiens – as well as all 24 of their Cup wins, Beliveau, Richard, Blake, Robinson, & Geoffrion (all that history is just weighing them down, and who needs that?)

All of the constant Canadian hockey press bashing of the Lightning & the Southeast Division for an automatic 8th seed in the East

The entire Edmonton Oilers team (players only) for all of the Tampa Bay Lightning – except for Lecavalier and St. Louis, of course

Owner Len Barrie & GM Lawton to Canada for some poutine & beer

Fort Lauderdale should trade the entire Florida Panthers organization to Portland, Oregon, for some environmental know-how – the Lightning need a larger fan base in the state of Florida

Chris Kontos: I love the idea of creating an automatic 8th seed for the team that comes in 2nd in the Southeast Division. Also, the first 2 Saw films for Skoula would be an excellent pick up.

James O’Brien: Wow, what a brutal year for Tampa Bay. Vincent Lecavalier and Martin St. Louis both have pretty solid contracts. So, keep Lecavalier and St. Louis along with Mike Smith and Steve Stamkos. Everyone else is fair game.

***

Washington Capitals
CAPS chick from DC Cheap Seats
(2/28)

“If there was a way to get rid of Nylander, that would be my first move – there’s no way to sugarcoat the fact that he just doesn’t fit into the Caps lineup anymore. Sadly short of driving him out into the middle of nowhere and leaving him there, that doesn’t seem like a possibility. He’d probably just find his way back anyways, the little scamp.

Top of the list would be a vocal veteran presence and/or a puck-moving defenseman – someone like Kaberle or Pronger might be nice if they don’t ask too much in return. Package a prospect like Chris Bourque, maybe a pick or two or even one of the Caps’ current young defensemen for either one. And if a backup goaltender surfaced for the right price it might be worth exploring; Neuvirth and Varlamov have four games of NHL experience between them and that’s a little scary with the playoffs looming.

Of course, there’s always the old standby…more Russians!!”

Chris Kontos: Senator, I’ve seen Jose Theodore. I’ve known Jose Theodore. Jose Theodore is the goalie for the Washington Capitals. Jose Theodore… you are no playoff goaltender.

James O’Brien: This Capitals team is scary. It would be pretty cool if they made a Marian Hossa-type splashy signing only for a big name D guy or a UFA goalie. But it’s probably not going to happen.

 ***

Carolina Hurricanes
Cory from Canes Country
(2/27)

A rational person who watches a team all season knows whether or not the team has “a shot.” This incarnation of the Hurricanes, in my mind, has little chance to win the Cup. That being said, a hot goalie can go a long way toward strengthening a cause — as people who watched the Hurricanes in 2006 know. But given the play of the team this season, I’d stand pat.

If the Hurricanes were going to win, it would be riding the waves of Cam Ward and Eric Staal, not on some mid-level rental player. With the farm system improving, it wouldn’t be prudent to sacrifice a prospect or draft pick for a player like that.

The team’s trade-able assets (Dennis Seidenberg, Chad LaRose) probably wouldn’t fetch enough return to justify removing them from a team that wants to make the playoffs. Anton Babchuk and Tuomo Ruutu are RFAs at season’s end, but the team will definitely want to make an effort to keep Ruutu and will likely do the same for Babchuk, which means it would take an impressive offer to pry either out of Raleigh. Now, if some former Plymouth Whaler becomes available, Jim Rutherford might possess me and make me do the deal. I wouldn’t be responsible for any move like that.

Chris Kontos: Excellent analysis from the deep south. Carolina is a decent team that would serve no benefit from a playoff rental.

James O’Brien: Could the Hurricanes benefit from a cheap trade for one of their old Stanley Cup run rentals? Maybe go after Doug Weight, Cory Stillman or Mark Recchi just for old times sake? Overall this team is pretty bland and should probably just hope for some kind of random lucky break.

Tavares watch: Islanders could rebuild in a hurry (1 of 2)

January 8, 2009
Not very long ago, I uttered something like this to a buddy of mine: “Man, I hope Tavares doesn’t end up in a hellhole like Long Island.”

However, while researching my Mike Milbury = Matt Millen post, it was hard to ignore Garth Snow’s NHL draft wizardy. Doing the math is a little tricky so here’s a visual aid from Isles info.com’s Islanders’ GM history:

06/20/08: NYI trade 2008 Entry Draft first round pick(fifth overall – D Luke Schenn) to TOR for first round pick in 2008 (seventh overall), TOR’s 3rd round pick in 2008 (68th overall) and TOR’s 2nd round pick in 2009.

06/20/08: NYI trade TOR’s 1st round pick in the 2008 Entry Draft (seventh overall – C Colin Wilson, previously acquired) to NSH for FLA’s 1st round pick in 2008 (ninth overall – C Josh Bailey, previously acquired) and FLA’s 2nd round pick in 2008 (40th overall – D Aaron Ness, previously acquired).

06/21/08: NYI acquire CHI’s third round pick (72nd overall – D Jyri Niemi)and fourth round pick (102nd overall – W David Ullstrom) in 2008 for TOR’s
third round pick in 2008 (68th overall – D Shawn Lalonde, previously acquired).

Impressive. Snow basically moved the Islanders first round pick for Florida’s first and second round picks, Chicago’s third and fourth round picks in 2008 plus Toronto’s 2009 2nd-rounder. As good as Luke Schenn and Colin Wilson could end up, that’s a hell of a leap in the rebuilding process.

Tavares + big name free agent could really accelerate the Islanders rebuilding process (and Tavares + huge cap space could help the Islanders land that big free agent).

So that alone gives the Islanders a light at the end of the tunnel, but now let’s get hypothetical:

Semi-plausible moves that could reignite the Islanders

Step 1: Winning the Tavares lottery

Obviously this is the portion that’s dedicated exclusively to random chance. The Isles are the worst team in the NHL right now and will likely finish with the most lottery balls at the end of the season, but that in no way guarantees that they’ll get the #1 pick.

Getting the second pick wouldn’t be horrible since the only spot locked up long term is #1 goalie thanks to Rick Dipietro‘s life sentence long-term deal. But as tall and talented as that Swede might be, the Islanders need a shot in the arm only Tavares can provide. Badly.

What better way to help the Islanders sell the idea of a new arena than to add the most hyped Canadian since Sidney Crosby?

(Quick aside for those hockey’s futures nuts out there: what is a reasonable estimate for a healthy first season for Tavares? Could his production be Crosby-like, Patrick Kane-like or more like Joe Thornton‘s rough rookie year?)

Step 2: Trade for Kovalchuk or throw the bank at Marian Hossa

Personally, I think Kovalchuk would be a better bet because his talents are “sexier.” Hossa’s a fantastic player, but you get the feeling that Kovalchuk would dazzle New Yorkers deeply. A rare victory for sizzle over steak.

If Atlanta decides to deal Kovalchuk, the Islanders have picks and prospects to spare

With Doug Weight ($4.5 mil), Bill Guerin ($4.3 mil), Mike Comrie ($4 mil) and Mike Sillinger ($2.2 mil) coming off the books this summer, the Islanders could transform their roster from washed-up, overpaid veterans to whatever image the “new” Islanders would seek.

($17 million from four players for non-math majors)

If NHLSCAP figures are correct, their overall cap would be right under $31 million with 8 forwards, 7 defensemen and 1 goaltender under contract (not counting minor leaguers … although you can argue many of their starters belong in the AHL).

In that dream scenario, Tavares would probably have a Stamkos-like cap hit. Let’s say $4 million to be safe. Let’s also assume that the cap goes down to , say, $55 million when factoring in the deadbeat economy.

The Islanders could throw a “horse head in the bed” offer at Marian Hossa or easily absorb the last year of Kovalchuk’s contract. Hell, if you really want to dream big imagine the Islanders somehow landing Kovalchuk – Hossa – Tavares or Kovalchuk – Gaborik – Tavares or something of that nature. Crazier things have happened.

[Note: decided to break this gigantic post up into two parts.]

Hockey Orphan: Atlanta Thrashers

January 5, 2009
It’s been a couple months since Earl Sleek and I tackled the Anaheim Ducks in Hockey Orphan, but now that there’s more time to kick around it seems logical to get back in the saddle. For the many who are new to this concept, here’s the basic idea:

Imagine a day when all your hockey memories are zapped from your mind. Feel free to create the scenario: maybe Tommy Lee Jones and Will Smith used a device to erase your thoughts. Perhaps you fell out of the top of a bunkbed and are suffering from amnesia (but you inherit sweet ass psychic powers).

Whatever the case, the conceit of hockey orphan is simple: using an equation that combines the objective with the wildly subjective, which teams would be the most and least appealing for a budding hockey fan? And so it begins (again).

———–

Not pictured: Kovie celebrating his Atlanta exodus

Atlanta Thrashers (take: James O’Brien)

During the first attempt at Hockey Orphan in my first attempt at a personal hockey blog, the Thrashers earned a “C” grade largely based on the merits of Ilya Kovalchuk. Of course, the team did have a little more reason for postivity coming off their first ever (and epically ill-fated) playoff berth.

Things have only gone downhill since then. Atlanta traded Marian Hossa for a 1st round pick turned project (Angelo Esposito) and two borderliners (most notably Colby “Beef” Armstrong). Sadly, they also traded promising young D-man Braydon Coburn to the evil Flyers for Alexei “Careers Gone to” Zhitnik.

Not surprisingly, the Thrashers devolved from playoff patsy to cellar dweller. Reviews of their third jersey range from “not terrible” to, well, terrible. Honestly, there’s not much to be positive about since the franchise will almost certainly lose it’s last superstar in Kovalchuk.

Just an awful, awful team. I’d be curious to see if a Thrashers blogger can bring some sunshine to the equation because it’s hard to find any.

Grade: D with Kovalchuk, F once he inevitably gets traded/leaves via free agency.