Wednesday, September 10, 2008

NHL Season Previews: Atlanta Thrashers

The Thrashers seem like the Thrashers of last year, minus of course Marian Hossa. Here's what we see.

Last Years Team
The Thrashers last year finished 14th in the Eastern Conference with a total of 76 points. The season just did not start well, with the firing of coach Bob Hartley six games into the season. From that point, the team was under the lead of GM Don Wadell for the rest of the season. They never really found their groove all season and just underachieved with dynamic scorer Ilya Kovalchuk.

Cap Space
The Thrashers have a cap hit of $38.577 million according to The Thrashers have decided that they will play on the cheap this season. We may see a move made heading into training camp with teams that need to clear cap space but I would not hold my breath on it.

This Years Team
The Thrashers are always a dangerous team to play against due to Ilya Kovalchuk. Kovalchuk could change the dynamic of a game by turning on the afterburners. The rest of the Thrashers lineup is just not as scary. Tobias Enstrom looked good in his rookie season but can that last. The acquisition of Ron Hainsey from the Blue Jackets looks to solidify the defense but the defense was not all that great last season. Hainsey is good but not enough to bring up that team. Plus Zach Bogosian is going to be the wild card on that defense.

The offense is going to be as solid as it was last year. With the absence of Marian Hossa there is no other show than Kovalchuk, but if the supporting cast can play well enough, it may make a difference. The goaltending as always been solid with Kari Lehtonen and Johan Hedberg. The Thrashers should make a little headway in the Southeast division, but they still will not make the playoffs.

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