Sunday, April 3, 2011

Countdown to draft day - Atlanta Thrashers

Atlanta’s first NHL entry draft was in 1999. With their first pick in franchise history and the world watching they selected Patrik Stefan first overall. I think they would like a mulligan on that one. I really believe it did set the tone for the franchise as they have struggled to be successful both on the ice and in the ticket office.

Looking at the positive, Atlanta’s best draft year would have to be 2001 which I think just edges out the 2000 draft year. I went with the 2001 year because with only 9 picks compared to 14 the previous year 4 players made it to the NHL for at least 20 games where the 2000 draft only 3 out of the 14 played in the NHL.

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Kovalchuk is by far the best player selected by the Thrashers and through yesterday has played 698 games and has scored 367 goals and 698 points. He will likely reach 700 games and 700 points this season. Michael Garnett and Colin Stuart are still both playing high level professional hockey. Garnett is a starting goaltender for Moscow Dynamo in the KHL and has a 17-12-2 record so far this season with a 2.24 gaa and 2 shutouts. Stuart has played for the Sabres this year but is currently playing in the AHL and has 41 points in 67 games with the Pirates of Portland.

Their worst draft year without a doubt in my mind is 2004. The reason why the choice is simple is because NONE of them have ever scored an NHL goal. That would make sense if they drafted 9 goalies but there are 8 skaters taken in this draft and they have a draft class combined total of 82 NHL games and 7 assists. Valabik is the closest to an NHL regular having played 80 games since getting drafted.

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Based on their draft history it is easy to say the scouting staff with the Thrashers could probably use an overhaul, or they could just stick to getting players from teams who are hard against the salary cap in exchange for their well selected "prospects"!

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