The Atlanta Thrashers. Everybody knows about the Thrashers. The franchise which debuted in the 1999-00 season, and was relocated to Winnipeg before the 2011-12 season. Atlanta are more known for being rubbish and not having much success in the NHL (only one playoff appearance in their lifetime). This was Atlanta’s second foray in the league, after the Atlanta Flames were active from 1971, until 1980, where they relocated to Canada and became the Calgary Flames.
However, with most NHL franchises, the players they could have had usually makes a better story than those on their current roster. Or, in the Thrashers’ case, who they could have on their current roster if they had not have relocated. Here is the list, of goalies and defensemen, that could potentially still be an Atlanta Thrasher.
Kari Lehtonen, Ondrej Pavelec.
Lehtonen was drafted second overall by the Atlanta Thrashers in the 2002 Entry Draft and currently plays for the Dallas Stars, after being traded to them from Atlanta.
Pavelec was drafted by the Thrashers, with the 41st pick of the 2o05 Entry Draft and currently plays for the Winnipeg Jets after staying with the franchise during relocation.
Zach Bogosian, Tobias Enstrom, Dustin Byfuglien, Johnny Oduya, Mark Stuart, Ron Hainsey
Bogosian was drafted third overall by the Atlanta Thrashers in the 2008 Entry Draft. He stayed with the franchise during relocation, but now plays for the Buffalo Sabres.
Enstrom was drafted by the Thrashers, with the 239th pick of the draft in 2003. He currently plays for the Jets, also staying with the franchise after moving to Winnipeg.
Byfuglien was drafted by the Chicago Blackhawks and after being a part of their Stanley Cup winning roster in 2010, was part of a blockbuster trade, sending him, Brent Sopel, Ben Eager and Akim Aliu to Atlanta, in exchange for Atlanta first and second round picks of the 2010 draft (Kevin Hayes and Justin Holl), Marty Reasoner, Joey Crabb and Jeremy Morin. He stayed with the franchise, and still plays for Winnipeg.
Oduya was drafted in the 2001 Entry Draft by the Washington Capitals. After not playing a game for the franchise, Oduya signed for the New Jersey Devils before the 2006-07 season. It was at the Devils, where he was traded to Atlanta, in another blockbuster trade, seeing Oduya, among others, moved to Atlanta, sending franchise forward, and Thrashers all-time scorer, Ilya Kovalchuk to New Jersey. Oduya currently plays for the Dallas Stars, after winning two Stanley Cups, with the Chicago Blackhawks.
Stuart was drafted 21st overall, by the Boston Bruins, in the 2003 Entry Draft. He was then traded to Atlanta, along with Blake Wheeler, for Rich Peverley and Boris Valabik. Stuart’s rights were transferred to Winnipeg in the relocation of Atlanta, where he still currently plays.
Hainsey started his NHL career, drafted 21st overall by the Montreal Canadiens, in the 2000 Entry Draft. He was then claimed off waivers by Columbus Blue Jackets in November of 2005. Before the 2008-09 season, Hainsey signed with the Atlanta Thrashers. He relocated with the franchise to Winnipeg, and currently plays for the Carolina Hurricanes, after signing with them as a Free Agent in 2013.
Other defenders that could potentially be playing for the Thrashers include: Adam Pardy, Marc Staal, Ben Chiarot and Paul Postma.
Postma and Chiarot were both drafted by Atlanta (Postma in 2007, Chiarot in 2009), whereas Pardy was drafted 173rd overall by the Calgary Flames, a pick traded to Calgary, by the Atlanta Thrashers. Staal was drafted by the New York Rangers in 2005. However, that pick was originally held by the Sharks, before being traded to the Thrashers, and then on-traded to the Rangers.
There are 21 forwards to add to this list of potential Atlanta Thrashers, but they will be mentioned in their own section in Part Two, so stay tuned Thrasher fans.
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