Trail of Tears - Atlanta Thrashers and the 1st round of the Entry Draft

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With Ilya Kovalchuk and Kari Lehtonen being traded within a week I thought I’d look at the history of the Atlanta Thrashers first round draft picks.  What I found is an odyssey of Homerific proportions.  A curse as big as any EA Sports video game cover .  I offer you the sad legacy of Atlanta Thrashers first round draft selections.  How they got here and where they are today.  Keep a box of Kleenex close by.  You may become emotional







1999 – Patrick Stefan.  1st overall.


Acquired from the Vancouver Canucks with a conditional 3rd rounder for the Thrashers 2nd overall pick


Played 6 seasons for the Thrashers.  414 games played, 59 goals, 118 assists.


Traded to Dallas with Jaroslav Modry for Niko Kapanen and a 7th rounder in the 2006 draft (Will O’Neill).


No longer in the game at 29 years of age






2000 – Dany Heatley.  2nd overall


Played parts of 3 seasons for the Thrashers.  190 games played.  80 goals, 101 assists.


Traded to the Ottawa Senators 8/23/05.  Move was prompted by a tragic auto accident where teammate and personal friend Dan Snyder was killed.


Thrashers received Marian Hossa and defenseman Greg DeVries in exchange.



Heatley has subsequently been moved from Ottawa following the players trade request.  He now plies his trade extraordinarily well for the San Jose Sharks.



2001 -  Ilya Kovalchuk.  1st overall


Played 7 and a half seasons in Atlanta.  Team leader in most offensive categories including nose hairs (thanks Bob Ueker!).  594 games played, 328 goals, 287 assists


Traded to the New Jersey Devils last week with Anssi Salmala for Nicklas Bergfors, Johnny Oduya, Patrice Cormier, a first round pick in the 2010 entry draft and a swap of 2nd round picks.



2002 – Kari Lehtonen. 2nd overall



Thrashers received 2002 3rd  (used in acquiring the 30th overall – Slater) and 2003 4th rounder (later traded to Phx I believe.  It’s muddy.  Think this eventually became Lance Monych) from Florida Panthers for not selecting Jay Bouwmeester


Played in 204 games for the Thrashers, 196 as a starter over parts of 5 seasons.  Career record of 94-83-17, 2.87 GAA and .912 save percentage


The Thrashers received defenseman Ivan Vishnevskiy and a fourth-round pick in the 2010 draft from the Dallas Stars last night for Lehtonen.



Jim Slater – 30th overall



From USA Today:

No. 30 (Detroit to Atlanta via Buffalo and Columbus): Detroit trades this pick, 2003 conditional pick and Vyacheslav Kozlov to Buffalo for Dominik Hasek. Buffalo trades this pick to Columbus with Mike Pandolfo for first-round pick (No. 20 overall, Daniel Paille) on June 22, 2002. Columbus trades this pick to Atlanta for Buffalo's second-round pick (No. 41 overall, Joakim Lindstrom) and Detroit's third-round pick (No. 96 overall, Jeff Genovy) on June 22, 2002.




2003 – Braydon Coburn.  8th overall



Played parts of 2 seasons for the Thrashers amassing 38 appearances.  Never scored a goal but did tally 5 assists.


Traded to the Philadelphia Flyers on 2/24/07 for Alexei Zhitnik.  He remains a Flyer to this day to mixed reviews of the Philly fans on hfboards.




2004 – Boris Valabik.  10th overall


Remains with the team.  Has made 80 appearances for the big club.  Has not scored and has 7 assists.  Currently out for the season with a tear of his ACL.




2005 – Alex Bourret.  16th overall


Thrashers traded down twice prior to taking Bourret.  Their original pick was 8th overall.  Traded to the San Jose Sharks (David Setoguchi).  Thrashers received the 12th overall pick, second round pick (Chad Denny) and 7th rounder (Myles Stoesz) in the 2005 draft.


Thrashers trade the 12th overall pick to the New York Rangers (Marc Staal) for the 16th overall pick (Bourret) and a second round selection (Ondrej Pavelec)


Bourret never played for the Thrashers as on February 26, 2007, Bourret was traded to the New York Rangers in exchange for Pascal Dupuis and a 3rd round pick in the 2007 Draft .  The Thrashers traded this pick to the Pittsburgh Penguins (Robert Bortuzzo) for Chris Thorburn



Bourret has not made the NHL and after a brief stint in the Czech League it appears he has settled in Las Vegas.  Playing for the ECHL’s Wranglers.  He has 12 points in 11 games this year including 5 goals.




2006 – Bryan Little.  12th overall


Remains a Thrasher.  Over parts of 3 seasons Little has played in 181 games, has 90 points including 46 goals.  He did have a 30 goal season in 2008-09.



2007 -  Did not have a 1st round draft pick.  Would have drafted in the 18th spot



Calgary Flames selected Ian Cole in this spot after trading with the St Louis Blues.


The Blues had acquired this selection along with Glen Metropolit, a 3rd rounder in 2007 (Brett Sonne), a second round pick in 2008 (Philip McRae) and a conditional 1st in 2008 if Tkachuk resigned with Atlanta.  He did not so the pick was returned to Atlanta.




2008 – Zach Bogosian.  3rd overall


Bogosian suffered a broken leg his rookie season but over portions of 2 seasons he has played 104 games, scored 18 times and has 39 points.




Daultan Leveille – 29th overall.


Attending Michigan State University.  Pick acquired in trade of


Marian Hossa to the Pittsburgh Penguins




2009 – Evander Kane.  4th overall


Started as 18 year old rookie.  Has played in 56games with 12 goals and 10 assists

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