Hockey Article

30 in 15: Atlanta Thrashers Season Preview

*Offense:’ With Ilya Kovalchuk gone, the Thrashers, and particularly the Thrashers’ offense, will be searching for a new identity. While Evander Kane might be the future centerpiece of that identity, such expectations are far too lofty to be placed on his 19-year old shoulders this season. Offseason acquisitions Andrew Ladd, Dustin Byfuglien and Ben Eager all bring a much-needed swagger to a Thrashers club that has never won a playoff series. Still, in a division that boast superstars like Eric Staal, Steven Stamkos and Alex Ovechkin, there’s no doubt the Thrashers are outclassed.Grade: C-’'’Defense:’’’ With Ron Hainsey, Tobias Enstrom, highly touted sophomore Zach Bogosian, Johnny Oduya and veteran Brent Sopel, the Thrashers actually have a pretty decent D-corps. Most of their D-men have the ability to contribute offensively, which could be important on a team lacking in scoring depth. Still, they’re not the most defensively formidable team around, and with the offensive firepower lurking in their division, I’d rather see a few lockdown defenders than puck-handlers with scoring prowess.Grade: BChris Mason>Goaltending:Chris Mason has the ability to save this team if he wants to. His 2008-09 season with the St. Louis Blues is proof that he has the talent to take a mediocre team to the next level. However, with goalies, sometimes one season is all you get. The Thrashers have to be hoping they got a steal when the Blues traded for Halak and needed to move Mason, but at the same time, he’s 34 years old with only a few statistically respectable seasons on his resume. Ondrej Pavelec could be the goalie of the future, but he’s certainly not ready for a full load right now.*Grade: B+’

Len robinson
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