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THRASHERS TRY TO MOVE ON WITHOUT KOVALCHUK
Sun, 05 Sep 2010 05:22 PM EDT

Atlanta Thrashers

2009-10 record: 35-34-13, 83 points, 10th place in Eastern Conference

OFFENSE
The Thrashers face their first full season without Ilya Kovalchuk anchoring their offense and should have a difficult time trying to recoup the 40-plus goals he would usually score. The Thrashers did not go out and trade for any 40-goal guys to help fill the void, or even sign or trade for a 30-goal scorer. Their big move was acquiring Stanley Cup champs LW Andrew Ladd and Dustin Byfuglien from Chicago. Ladd netted 32 goals and scored 87 points over the last two seasons. Kovalchuk would account for that in one season. And Byfuglien is known more for his brute force than his scoring touch (55 goals in 260 games). To make matters worse, second-leading scorer Maxim Afinogenov (61 points) left for the KHL, and older secondary scorers Todd White and Slava Kozlov are also gone…There are a couple guys who can tickle the twines for the Thrashers, though. Centerman Nik Antropov led the team with 67 points and has been much better than anyone could have predicted. Niclas Bergfors scored 17 points in 27 contests after coming from New Jersey in the Kovalchuk blockbuster and is set for a super sophomore season. Youngsters Evander Kane and Bryan Little should become known names as the season progresses. NFL Betting Lines

DEFENSE
Atlanta’s offense often emanates from the back, where a slick stable of puck-moving defensemen led by Tobias Enstrom (50 points) ignite the offense with their breakout passes and power-play quarterbacking. Ron Hainsey (26 points) and Zach Bogosian (23 points) could both contribute 30-35 points this season. NFL Lines

GOALTENDING
Another longtime Thrasher dealt at the trading deadline was underwhelming goaltender Kari Lehtonen. That leaves the goalie duties to veteran Chris Mason, who signed after two solid seasons in St. Louis, and upstart Ondrej Pavelec (14-18-7, 3.29 GAA), who can be a sieve at times, but has potential.

TEAM OUTLOOK
New coach Mike Ramsey inherits a team that missed the playoffs by a scant five points. He will need several of his forwards to step up their scoring and needs more consistent goaltending to will lead Atlanta into the postseason for the second time in its history. Basketball Lines

NOTABLE OFF-SEASON MOVES
Newcomers – LW Andrew Ladd, RW/D Dustin Byfuglien, G Chris Mason, D Brent Sopel
Departures – RW Maxim Afinogenov, RW Colby Armstrong, C Todd White, D Pavel Kubina, LW Clarke MacArthur


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