Thursday, September 16, 2010

Thrashers Ready the Troops

The Southeast Division is going to be a lot different, with Tampa Bay getting a makeover, the Hurricanes having a number of spots open, the Panthers making moves and now the Thrashers are fully into their post-Kovalchuk era with a number of brand new faces.  On Thursday evening, the eve of training camp opening up, the Thrashers released their camp roster and it definitely has my one eyebrow raised.

I've already made the adjustments in the roster, seeing Dustin Byfuglien move to the blueline and adding recent signings Nigel Dawes and Fredrik Modin to the picture, the Summer roster doesn't look too bad when you get down to it.  The Thrashers are looking like a very gritty team that should have some good compete levels.  You can definitely argue that the Thrashers may not have the complete finishing talent of the Capitals or the Lightning, which may end up costing them in the end, but they should be able to find a number of dirty goals with this team and make some games close.

Right now, I have the Thrashers will a pretty full Summer roster, so it really comes down to the bubble players at this camp and there may be a few.  Up front, Thorburn, Modin and Boulton may not be very safe to start camp, as they may face redundancy issues with their style of play and usefulness.  With Byfuglien moving to the back, the need for Valabik's size may be in question, as is Sopel's, so I would consider them on the bubble, since there is decent talent in behind.  The goaltending looks to be pretty safe right now.

Nikolai AntropovTobias EnstromChris Mason
Rich PeverleyDustin ByfuglienOndrej Pavelec
Niclas BergforsRon Hainsey
Andrew LaddZach Bogosian
Bryan LittleFreddie Meyer
Nigel DawesJohnny Oduya
Evander KaneBrent Sopel
Jim SlaterBoris Valabik
Ben Eager
Chris Thorburn
Fredrik Modin
Eric Boulton
Akiim AliuBen ChiarotChris Carrozzi
Alex BurmistrovArturs KuldaDrew McIntyre
Patrice CormierKyle McLarenPeter Mannino
Andre DeveauxSebastian OwuyaEd Pasquale
Angelo EspositoPaul Postma
Mike ForneyJaime Sifers
Riley HolzapfelMike Siklenka
Andrew KozekCody Sol
Enver LisinNoah Welch
Spencer MachacekAndrey Zubarev
Ian MacKenzie
Danick Paquette
Fredrik Pettersson
Patrick Rissmiller
Jared Ross
Anthony Stewart

Salary CapNext comes the discussion of cap space. The Summer roster up top and one buyout have a projected annual cap hit of only $44.2 million in 2011, which ranks 28th in the NHL at the moment.  This team also boasts one of the younger squads at the moment, having an average age of 27.4 years, so they are definitely not paying for much of a veteran presence in their line-up.  Unfortunately, they are also not paying for many points per game on average, having an average of 0.42 ppg (which includes pool scoring for goalies), which ranks 28th in the league as well, among Summer rosters.

The Thrashers definitely look like a team that will work hard and they have some good growing talent on their roster already in Evander Kane, Tobias Enstrom and Zach Bogosian, but everyone else may not be as comfortable to pick this year, because there are going to be many chemistry equations done, finding lines and seeing where natural talents flourish.  Like the rest of the teams in the Southeast (except for Washington), there is going to be a lot of growing pains and since they play against each other for the better part of the regular season, there might just be enough scoring by mistakes on both ends of the ice.  Definitely a thought worth considering.

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