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2005-06 Finish: 41-33-8, 10th East
General Manager: Don Waddell (7th Season)
Head Coach: Bob Hartley (4th Season)
2005-06 Goals For: 281
2005-06 Goals Against: 275
2005-06 Power Play: 19.0% (7th)
2005-06 Penalty Killing: 79.3% (25th)
Points Leader: Ilya Kovalchuk (98)
Goals Leader: Ilya Kovalchuk (52)
Assists Leader: Marc Savard (69)

Offseason Moves: Acquired a conditional third-round pick in either 2006 or 2007 from the Minnesota Wild for defenceman Petteri Nummelin; acquired a 2007 fourth-round pick from the Vancouver Canucks for right wing Tommi Santala and a 2007 fifth-round pick; acquired centre Niko Kapanen and a 2006 seventh-round pick from the Dallas Stars for centre Patrik Stefan and defenceman Jaroslav Modry; agreed to terms with goaltender Johan Hedberg, who had been with the Dallas Stars, on a two-year contract; signed centre Steve Rucchin, who had been with the New York Rangers; signed centre Glen Metropolit, who had been with the Ottawa Senators; signed goaltender Fred Brathwaite, who had been in Russia; signed centre Jason Krog, who had been in Sweden; signed right wing Darren Haydar, who had been with the Nashville Predators; signed left wing Jon Sim, who had been with the Florida Panthers; signed right wing Kyle Wanvig, who had been with the Minnesota Wild; acquired defenceman Vitaly Vishnevski from the Anaheim Ducks for forward Karl Stewart, a 2007 second-round pick and a conditional draft pick.

Goaltending: Kari Lehtonen has all the makings of a goaltending superstar so long as he can stay healthy. The 22-year-old already shows excellent quickness and mobility and plays his best when he's under pressure. The Thrashers juggled a lot of injuries in goal last year, and had a lot of trouble finding a No. 1 man in Lehtonen's absence. This year, they'll have some solid insurance in veteran Johan Hedberg. The 33-year-old posted a 12-4-1 record and a 2.67 goals-against average in 19 games with Dallas last season.

Defence: The Thrashers are still looking for a dominant point man, and lost a good offensive defenceman when they traded Jaroslav Modry to the Dallas Stars. But the move was necessary to make room for its younger blueliners, and the team is expecting big things from Steve McCarthy, Braydon Coburn and Marc Popovic. The Thrashers will also rely on veteran Niclas Havelid for point production. There is no shortage of size and toughness on the blueline, with Vitaly Vishnevski, Greg de Vries, Andy Sutton and Garnet Exelby rounding out the squad.

Forwards: The most glaring changes for the Thrashers will be at centre. The team didn't re-sign free agent Marc Savard, and will certainly miss his career-best 97 points from last season. Bobby Holik, known more for his physical and positional play, could take most of the time at the No. 1 spot. Don't let his stats fool you - he has more offensive ability than his numbers indicate. To make up for the loss of Savard, the team added centre Steve Rucchin to plug into the second line. Underachieving Patrik Stefan was traded to Dallas, and the Thrashers got a big upgrade on their third line with defensive centre Niko Kapanen. He does not have Stefan's size, but plays a very smart two-way game. That will be a nice balance for a team that already features offensive studs Ilya Kovalchuk and Marian Hossa on the wings. Aside from 71-point man Slava Kozlov, the Thrashers could also use more scoring on the wing from their second and third lines.

Welcome to the NHL: Braydon Coburn played just nine games last season before being sent to the American Hockey League, and he's had enough seasoning to earn a top-four spot on the blueline. He has plenty of mobility for a big man and lots of offensive potential. All he needs is more playing time in the bigs.

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I can see this team being close to a playoff spot but not much further. They got a few nice additions but nothing more. They lost one of their best in Marc Savard and his point output and his feeds to kovalchuk will be missed dearly. They got good solid goaltending with Lehtonen and Hedberg, even with Braithwaite. Defensively there could be serious trouble. They are physical but not much more. There youth is only out wayed by ther inexperience. In the next few years they could contend for a playoff spot but not right now.


Ryder all the way

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15 Posts
I am not an Atlanta fan but i must say this team has a shot at 1st in the south east divison most think the Canes will take it but ward has no experience Lethonen is a great goalie i said the Sabers would make the playoffs last year and this year ill say Atlanta will suprise people
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