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Atlanta off to a good start Written by ATLsimon - November 14th, 2008

At 6-3-1, Atlanata is off to solid start under GM Simon Heald

Kolzig in a recent game vs the Montreal Canadiens



Last year this franchise was an easy mark for 2pts to many of the teams in the CMHL. This season the Thrashers are a little harder to beat thanks to a few key moves during the off-season.

Everyone is aware how poor the team was in season 4 and there certainly was nowhere else to go but up. Seeing that his new team was devoid of any real stars or any real threats to score, GM Heald set out to reconstruct the image of the Atlanta franchise.

The first real decision made was dealing Antoine Vermette to the Gerv-run Senators for Brad Richards. There were more players involved but these were the 2 principles. At the trade deadline Richards was sent to Boston for a package of players that were later used to acquire Olaf Kolzig, the goaltender Thrasher fans were waiting for. Alexander Edler was also brought in to give the franchise a glimpse of the plan the new GM was working on. With Karl Alzner in the system, the defence for Atlanata will become its strength down the road. Al Montoya was shipped out to make room for Cory Schneider as a future #1 goaltender.

At the time of the Montoya deal GM Heald was quoted as saying "We feel Montoya has peaked in terms of development and there really is no sense keeping someone here who cant excel at the CMHL level."

Acquisitions of Peter Schaefer and Patrice Brisebois may not look like stellar moves but in the grand scheme of things its players like these that help build winning teams. "Guys that know what their role is and what it takes to achieve." Heald said

It was the off-season where Heald chose to get aggressive.

To build a winner, Heald surmised, a true bona-fide centreman is needed to carry the load and to show a positive example to the rest of the team. Ladislav Nagy was the target from day 1 and when he was signed by Atlanta it showed the team, the staff and the fans that there were some serious changes happening. The price for signing the RFA Nagy was steep but as Heald has said many times "You've gotta spend to get quality players, they dont just show up at the front door." Paired on the top line with rising star Joffrey Lupul, Nagy has blossomed into the type of player Heald envisioned and he is bring out the best in Lupul. Schaefer is adding the right mix of skill and speed to compliment the top line.

UFA Mathieu Schneider agreed to terms as well during the Free Agent process helping to strengthen the defence corps and bring some leadership to a struggling franchise. Schneider's play this year, 7 pts in 10 games +3 rating, is proof that Heald knows how to spot talent that will work on his team.

Recent acquisitions of Teppo Numminen and Michael Zigomanis, Heald hopes, will fortify the resolve of the team to continue working hard and to keep achieving. "There is no reason that the start we have had cannot continue through the regular season. And if we can do that we will make the playoffs after a horrific 2008." Heald said yesterday.


Word to your mother, Here come the Thrashers!





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