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The Progress in Atlanta Written by ATLsimon - August 16th, 2009

After 1 full season behind the wheel, GM Heald refelects on what he has accomplished.

When GM Simon Heald took over the Thrashers almost 1 and a half years ago, there were few signs of hope. The team's talent level was low but there were many draft picks in the cupboards, a sign that he previous regime opted to totally overhaul the direction of the club. Too bad Heald isn't a big fan of losing.

Going into his first full season at the helm Heald thought there may a way to change the atmosphere around the team and lay the groundwork of that winning feeling. Off season signings of Ladislav Nagy and Mathieu Schneider brought a much needed bolt of talent to the team and some veteran leadership. Unfortunately, Heald was caught unaware that Nagy was to leave after only 1 season and the cost of signing him may have been too high. A mistake learned and not to be repeated again.

Fast forward to the current off-season and we saw a team that had multiple players become Free Agents, the loss of Nagy and an entry draft devoid of immediate help. So, what to do?  The Free Agent pool did not have much in the way of high end talent but Heald, so far, has been able to add a few pieces to shore up the defence.

Dan Girardi was signed to a 4-yr offer sheet last week and Jan Hejda has be brought in to help a defence that gave up 257 goals last year. Girardi will help in all facets of the game, defence, powerplay and penalty killing. Hejda is a stay at home defenceman added to solidify the 5th or 6th spot.

A defence of Edler - Schneider - Girardi - Methot - Staois - (Hejda) (Smid) (Meyer) will certainly allow fewer goals than last year.

Rumours abound that prospect Alex Pietrangelo will be signed to an entry level deal before the season starts, we shall see about that.

On offense, the team will be lead by Henrik and Daniel Sedin. The Thrashers are counting heavily on them to show improvement from last season. Travis Zajac will anchor the 2nd line most likey with back-to-back 20 goal man Boyd Devereaux. Jay Pandolfo, Tim Jackman and Mike Zigomanis look to be the makeup of the 3rd line with Zigomanis making the move to centre.

The biggest need right now is who to play on Right Wing? Currently the team has only Jackman and Marc-Antoine Pouliot signed so this black hole of talent will need to be addressed before the seaon begins.

Olaf Kolzig will stay between the pipes for a 2nd season in Atlanta, hoping to take this team back into playoff contention.



Submit A Comment -

nice job thus far man... nice to see the past bottom dwellers getting better

Written By: Sharky (2009-08-16 22:50:39)

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