The Atlanta Thrashers are an NHL franchise in the Southeast Division of the Eastern Conference.
The Thrashers are a recent addition to the NHL, playing their first game on October 2, 1999. Atlanta had previously hosted an NHL franchise when the Flames played there until 1980. The first three seasons Atlanta existed in the NHL ended poorly, as the Thrashers failed to reach any higher than 4th in the weak Southeast division. In 2002-03, the Thrashers finally won over 30 games and finished 3rd in the division. The following season, it seemed that fate was again working against the Thrashers when star forward Dany Heatley killed his friend and fellow prospect Dan Snyder in a car accident and injured himself badly. However, the Thrashers came out flying and actually led their division for a short time. Heatley returned midway through the season, but the Thrashers went on a terrible dry spell, and despite finishing second in the division, missed the playoffs yet again.
After the lockout in 2004-05, the Thrashers traded Heatley to Ottawa for veteran defenseman Greg de Vries and standout forward Marian Hossa. They also signed Bobby Holik, Peter Bondra and a number of other proven veterans to help them make it over the playoff hump. Injuries to both starting goalie Kari Lehtonen and backup Mike Dunham left the Thrashers out of the playoffs yet again. In 2006-07, the Thrashers finally managed to make the playoffs, finishing first in their division after winning 43 games. Unfortunately, they couldn’t carry their regular season success into the playoffs as they were swept by the New York Rangers. 2007-08 was equally disappointing, as the Thrashers won only 34 games and finished 4th in the division.
The Thrashers play out of Phillips Arena, which holds 18,545 fans.
Stanley Cups won: none
Notable Players: Ilya Kovalchuk, Dany Heatley, Johan Hedberg, Marian Hossa, Bobby Holik, Kari Lehtonen, Greg de Vries
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