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September' Previews - Atlanta

September 2, 2009, 10:02 AM ET [ Comments]
Paul McCann
Nashville Predators Blogger •Predators Radio Network • RSSArchiveCONTACT
Today is the second in my month long series of previews of every team in the NHL. Today Atlanta, tomorrow Boston.

Later today I will have a blog up about the Peterson for Parkinson’s event that took place last night.


Atlanta Thrashers – This could be one of the more critical season in the short history of the Atlanta Thrashers. A team seemingly on the upswing just two seasons ago, the Thrashers followed being swept out of their only playoff appearance with a terrible start to the next season, costing their coach his job and really hurting the team on the ice and damaging a fragile relationship with Atlanta sports fans. Atlanta has to find a way to get competitive quick for several reasons… As much as I love the town, it’s a saturated sports market that has been spoiled by the consistent success of the Braves. They simply do not come out if you are not winning. The second, and more important reason is that if they can’t ice a competitive team, they will lose Ilya Kovalchuk to free agency.

Last Year’s Record – 35-41-6 - 76 points. 4th in Southeast Division, 13th in Eastern Conference

Key Additions – Nik Antropov, Pavel Kubina, Jason Krog

Key Subtractions – Garnet Exelby

Division Match Up – The Southeast is always a tough one to call, Carolina will be in the mix and Washington does look to be the class of this group. You can’t call this division the Southleast anymore.

Outlook for 2009-2010 – Adding Nik Antropov could be key for this team. He will obviously be paired with Ilya Kovalkchuk and should improve the fleet Russian’s stats. Signing first round draft pick Evander Kane may be an indicator of a plan to get him in the lineup sooner rather than later. More critical for this team is on the blueline... adding Pavel Kubina will help, especially when you add his presence to youngsters Zach Bogosian and Tobias Enstrom. The Thrashers are still a fairly young team that has a bit of talent. If Kari Lehtonen stays healthy, their goaltending may keep them close. I see improvement, just not enough to make the playoffs.


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