In the first part, we had a look at the goaltending and defensive cores, that could potentially make up the Atlanta Thrashers for the 2015-16 season. If you missed it, that can be seen at the link below:
This part, looks at the forward core. From potential draft picks, or players traded from the franchise, this list of 21 players, makes up the potential forward core, for the Atlanta Thrashers.
Daniel Sedin, Joe Pavelski, Marian Hossa, Evander Kane, Bryan Little, Clarke MacArthur, Chris Kunitz, Brayden Coburn, Blake Wheeler, Andrew Ladd, Matt Hendricks, Kevin Hayes.
Daniel Sedin could have been the first draft pick in Atlanta Thrashers history. In the 1999 NHL Entry Draft, the Number One pick was originally held, by the Tampa Bay Lightning, but the Vancouver Canucks moved up from pick four to pick one, then trading that pick to Atlanta. The Thrashers then drafted Patrik Stefan, whereas Vancouver had picks two and three, which were used to draft Daniel and Henrik Sedin respectively.
Pavelski was drafted by the San Jose Sharks with pick 205 of the 2003 Entry Draft. A pick traded to them by Philadelphia for a 2004 6th Rd pick. However, the Flyers received that pick in a trade with the Atlanta Thrashers.
Hossa played for the Thrashers from 2006-2008, before being traded to Pittsburgh, along with Pascal Dupuis, for Colby Armstrong, Erik Christensen, Angelo Esposito and the Penguins’ 1st Rd pick of 2008 (Daultan Leveille). After spending time in Detroit, he currently plays for the Chicago Blackhawks.
Kane was drafted fourth overall in 2009 by the Thrashers. After staying with the team during the relocation to Winnipeg, Kane was traded to the Buffalo Sabres, where he currently plays.
Little was drafted in the 2006 entry draft, twelfth overall by the Thrashers. He moved with the team to Winnipeg, and still plays for the Jets.
MacArthur was drafted by the Buffalo Sabres with pick 74 of the 2003 Entry Draft. This is where he remained, before a trade on trade deadline 2009 day, saw him move to Atlanta for a pair of draft picks. Clarke only played the rest of the season with the Thrashers, with the franchise deciding not to re-sign him for the 09-10 season. He now plays for the Ottawa Senators.
Kunitz was originally signed by the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim as an undrafted free agent. He was then claimed off waivers by the Atlanta Thrashers, where he played only two games, before being claimed off waivers again by the Ducks. He was traded to the Pittsburgh Penguins in the 08-09 season, where he is still a member of the organization.
Coburn was the eighth pick of the 2003 Entry Draft, which was held by the Atlanta Thrashers. He was dealt at the 2007 trade deadline to the Flyers for Alexei Zhitnik. He now plays the the Tampa Bay Lightning, after being traded by the Flyers for Radko Gudas and two draft picks.
Wheeler was drafted by the Phoenix Coyotes with pick 5 of the 2004 entry draft, but never played a game for the franchise. Instead, he signed with the Boston Bruins for the 08-09 season. He was traded to the Atlanta Thrashers in 2011, along with Mark Stuart, for Rich Peverley and Boris Valabik. He stayed with them during relocation, and still plays for the Winnipeg Jets.
Ladd was another first round draft pick. He was drafted by the Carolina Hurricanes, with pick 4 of the 2004 entry draft. The 2008 trade deadline saw him move to Chicago for Tuomo Ruutu. After the successful Stanley Cup run with the Blackhawks in 2010, he was traded to the Atlanta Thrashers for Ivan Vishnevskiy and a draft pick. He followed the team to Winnipeg, where he was named Captain for the 2010-11 season.
Hendricks was drafted with pick 131 in the 2000 Entry Draft by the Nashville Predators. This pick however, was originally held by the Atlanta Thrashers, who traded it to the Predators for Andrew Brunette.
Hayes was drafted by the Chicago Blackhawks with pick 24 of the 2010 entry draft. The pick was first held by the New Jersey Devils, who traded it to the Atlanta Thrashers in the deal that sent Ilya Kovalchuk to the Devils. The Thrashers then on-traded this pick to Chicago in the Dustin Byfuglien trade.
Other potential Atlanta Thrasher forwards include: Alexander Burmistrov, Jeremy Morin, Mikael Backlund, Eric Boulton, Derek MacKenzie and Chris Thorburn.
Burmistrov was drafted 10th overall by the Thrashers in 2010, followed the team to Winnipeg, left for Russia, and is now back with the Jets. Morin was drafted by Atlanta with pick 45 in 2009, but never played a game before being traded to Chicago. He now plays for the Toronto Maple Leafs. Backlund was drafted by Calgary in 2007, with the pick originally belonging to Atlanta, but they traded that to St. Louis amongst four draft picks and Glen Metropolit, for Keith Tkachuk. St. Louis then moved it to Calgary for a first and third round pick in 2007.
Boulton played for the Thrashers, after the 2004 lockout. He left the Thrashers for New Jersey in 2011, and currently plays for the New York Islanders. MacKenzie was drafted with pick 128 of the 1999 draft by the Thrashers. He signed for the Blue Jackers in 2007, and is currently an alternate captain for the Florida Panthers. Thorburn was drafted by the Buffalo Sabres with pick 50 in 2001, before being signed off waivers by the Penguins. Piitsburgh then traded him to Atlanta in 2007, where he stayed with the team during relocation to Winnipeg, and he remains a member of the Jets.
There you have it. Your potential roster for the Atlanta Thrashers in 2015-16. If the Thrashers somehow were able to have these players today, not only would they still exist, but some would argue that it would be competitive.
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