Sunday, June 13, 2010

8th - Atlanta Thrashers Draft Preview

I'm assuming it's representing a bird, the basic shape is there, but it still looks like the Mercedes emblem in a dress to me. Does a non-hockey fan look at this and have any idea what this logo is representing? What about this says Atlanta (if there is something, please educated me)? It's not without any redeeming qualities though; it's colourful. It could work I guess as long as the team doesn't one day decide to start wearing jerseys with their name down one arm while the other one is a different colour. What? Oh... forget it.

1st pick last year: Evander Kane (Atlanta, NHL) Evander Kane could have returned to Vancouver and dominated the WHL and the World Junior Tournament. But a 48 goal season with the Giants in 2009 tells you he was close to doing that already. While he wasn’t one of the top rookies across the league, Kane put up respectable numbers with 12 goals and 14 assists in 66 games with a poor Thrashers club. The trading of Ilya Kovalchuk gives Kane a bigger role in the offence next year.

The Good: Zach Bogosian (3rd overall, 2008) After a 47-game rookie season, Bogosian missed just one game in his second year while scoring 10 times. That’s just one off from his best statistical season with the Peterborough Petes of the OHL. He now has 19 goals in 2 seasons with Atlanta. (Photo: Dave Reginek/Getty Images)

The Bad: Alex Bourret (16th overall, 2005) Bourret’s final season in the QMJHL saw him light the lamp 44 times and set up 70 more as a 19-year-old. But he never scored more than 16 goals in a season as a pro, with his best year coming as an AHL rookie. He was traded, then signed with the Coyotes but has since been released and split this year between the LNAH in Quebec, the ECHL and the Czech league.

The Unknown: Angelo Esposito (20th overall, 2007) Originally drafted by Pittsburgh, Esposito was part of the package Atlanta received for Marion Hossa. The last 2 years have been cut short by injuries, with only 12 games on the stat sheet this year. Esposito was always a point per game plus guy in the QMJHL but needs a little luck to get on track in Atlanta. (Photo: Frederick Breedon/Getty Images)

Coming Down the Pipe: Atlanta is patiently waiting for 2009 second round pick Jeremy Morin who torched OHL goalies for 47 goals this year. The strong left winger should probably stay in junior next year, especially as Kitchener will be one of the better teams in the OHL. After 43 goals in two AHL seasons, Spencer Machacek might be ready for prime time, while Atlanta is hoping 2008 first rounder Daulton Leveille finds his scoring touch at Michigan State. After scoring 9 times in his freshman season, he dropped to 6 last year, but did more then double his assist totals.

Draft Trends: For a team that’s only made the playoffs once, Atlanta has only drafted in the top 5, five times since 2000. Twice they’ve had the first overall pick and twice they’ve picked second. Atlanta has only drafted one player from the QMJHL in the last 4 years.

2010 Prediction:

Dean Millard: Ryan Johansen (Portland) - Winterhawks players feature prominently in my top 10 and just like Nino Niederreiter, who raised his draft stock at the WJC, Johansen was lights out in the WHL playoffs for Portland; he put up 18 points in just 13 games. Johansen is more of a play maker, but he did score 25 times during the regular season. All this in his rookie WHL season after a year in the BCHL where he notched just 17 points. He needs to get stronger but Atlanta won't rush him. (Photo: Soobum Images)

Guy Flaming: Jack Campbell (US-NTDP) - Goaltenders are such a wild card on draft day but few teams lack depth between the pipes like Atlanta and the Thrashers have the luxury of having two first round picks to play with this year. Campbell is the best goalie available this year and has done nothing over the last 12 months except win - gold at both the 2010 World Junior Championship and U18 World Championship in Belarus. At the latter tournament he was simply outstanding in helping USA defend their 2009 title. At 6'2 the keeper has the size teams like and he's headed to the OHL's Windsor Spitfires so he'll play a lot and probably well into next Spring. Quite likely a franchise player.

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