Time to break down the birds of Atlanta. Take a look at new faces, leaving players, forwards, defense, goaltending, captaincy, and management.
Atlanta fans will see new players on the ice this year for the Thrashers. These new players will include Marty Reasoner. Marty appeared in all 82 games for the Oilers last season, recording 25 points.
New to the Atlanta back end this year will be former Blue Jacket Ron Hainsey. Ron will help with the power play as he scored all of his eight goals last year with the man advantage. Also, 15 of his 24 assists came on the power play. He appeared in 78 games last year and had 32 points.
Chicago lost an asset to Atlanta via the free agent market as the brown and blue snagged Jason Williams. The 27-year-old potted 36 points in 43 games for the Blackhawks last season.
Big man Bobby Holik who recorded 34 points while playing in all 82 games last season made a deal with the devil as he inked a one-year contract with New Jersey.
Also gone is the veteran presence of Mark Recchi. He signed a one-year deal with the quickly improving Tampa Bay Lightning.
The Stanley Cup winning Detroit Red Wings gobbled up Atlanta's star AHL player Darren Haydar. Darren scored 58 points in 51 games for Chicago of the AHL, and added eight points in 16 games playing for the Thrashers.
Haydar caught the attention of the hockey world with his astonishing performance in the AHL playoffs, putting up 27 points in 24 playoff games.
Ilya Kovalchuck will again be looked at to put up big numbers as the Russian superstar does every year, as well as playmaker Slava Kozlov. Free agent signing Jason Williams will also need to contribute big time.
Sophomore Bryan Little will need to improve on his 16 points in 48 games from last year.
The rest of the scoring will be spread out among Todd White, Colby Armstrong, Erik Christensen, Eric Boulton, Marty Reasoner, and Eric Perrin.
The top six D-men should include (not lines):
If Bogosian isn't in the NHL next season, Boris Valabik will round out the defense for the Thrashers. Atlanta will also look to Enstrom and Exelby to step up their game even more and lead the defense. Klee and Haviled will also provide the veteran guidance.
Finnish Goalie Kari Lehtonen will once again be between the pipes for Atlanta this coming season, and Johan Hedberg will again play the back-up role.
Alternates: Ilya Kovalchuck, Vyacheslav Kozlov, and Niclas Havelid
General Manager: Don Waddell
Head Coach: John Anderson
Assistant Coaches: Randy Cunnyworth, Todd Nelson, and Steve Weeks
Goaltending Coach: N/A
Strength and Conditioning Coach: Ray Bear
Head Athletic Trainer: Tommy Alva
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