Zach Bogosian: Fights Through Tough Season With Atlanta Thrashers

Warren ShawCorrespondent IIMarch 24, 2010

ATLANTA - JANUARY 14:  Zach Bogosian #4 of the Atlanta Thrashers against the Buffalo Sabres at Philips Arena on January 14, 2010 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Zach Bogosian has learned a lot from his experiences in the 2010 season.  It has been a season of ups and downs for the 19 year old sophomore defenseman.  During the season if you studied Bogosian closely there were times when you could see both satisfaction and trepidation on his face.

Bogosian’s season has identically reflected the trials of his Atlanta teammates.

Bogosian began his second season well, appointed alternate captain and receiving more than 23 minutes of ice time per game.  He was taking advantage of offensive opportunities and at one time during the first half of the season led all NHL defensemen in goals scored.

The upside was that Bogosian achieved that position without powerplay rotations.  The now traded Kovalchuk often manned the point position with Tobias Enstrom. 

Reviews were generally good since most NHL watchers know that it is very difficult for defenseman to secure a regular shift since the learning curve is much more difficult than for a forward. Bogosian early on kept his offensive instincts in check while at the same time, making some text book defensive plays.

He also used his toughness and physical intuitive to gain the respect of the opposition and some needed operating room.

Early predictions were that Bogosian would easily break the Thrashers goal scoring mark for a single season and there was even speculation that he would score 20 goals.

Things seem to unravel in the midst of contract negotiations to keep former team captain Kovalchuk on the team.  There were steady rumors of arguments among teammates and unrest in the locker room.

The Thrashers seemed to fall off track for a period and Bogosian seemed to fall off with his team. In a series of games, Bogosian was victimized for late in the game opposition goals putting him in the minus column and creating new questions about his defensive abilities.

Then news followed that Bogosian had not been selected for Team USA while Drew Doughty, his rival for the honor of best young defenseman in the NHL was selected for Team Canada. Doughty has had a stellar season with the Kings even being mentioned as a Norris Trophy candidate as the NHL's best defenseman. 

For an intense competitor like Bogosian seeing Doughty make Team Canada and emerge as a leader on the LA Kings had to be unsettling.  Doughty and Bogosian have been living with comparisons since their days of junior hockey all the way to draft day two years ago where they were both top seven selections in the first round of the amateur draft. 

On paper, most scouts have continually ranked Bogosian and Doughty close in the talent department. Both men possess puck moving talents as well as good defensive instincts. Doughty may be a tad better playmaker while Bogosian has a superior shot, but essentially both are on almost every NHL GM wish list.

Lately Bogosian has started to emerge along with the team from whatever cloud they were under. Although stuck just below 10 goals this season, Bogosian has thrown his weight around with some solid open ice body checks and has played well in the corners.

It will be just a matter of time before Bogosian regains his scoring touch and reminds home fans of his two way potential.

The Thrashers have blown a few close games but remain in the thick of battle for a playoff spot.

The team has started to come together with the new set of players obtained from New Jersey Devils in the Kovalchuk trade. New players like rookie forward Niclas Bergfor’s , and defenseman Johnny Oduya, have contributed positively while established Thrashers Armstrong, Peverley, Hainsey, Max Afinogenov, and Nik Antropov have seemingly stepped up their games for the playoff run.

Whatever the outcome in the final few games of the season you can expect Bogosian to figure prominently in the team’s future plans.