Thrashers Historic Depth Charts: Checking Forwards

As part of the 10th Anniversary of the Atlanta Thrashers we are taking a look at the evolution of the roster over time. First we looked at defense, then at scoring forward positions (aka "top six") and today the checking forwards (aka "bottom six").

In the NHL checking line players are important, but the ability to play defense in the NHL is not as rare as the ability to score in the NHL. Therefore, most teams see more turnover in the ranks of their bottom six forwards. Certainly that has been true of the Thrashers if you peruse the table below. The longest checking forwards with continuous service in Atlanta were Stefan, Slater and Svartvadet.

Season LW min C min RW min LW min C min RW min Fighter min
2000 Johnson  538 Stefan 1066 Sylvester 714 Karlsson 662 Svartvadet 509 Ward 503 Lambert 850
2001 Donovan 885 Stefan 932 Sylvester 605 Karlsson 774 Svartvadet 1014 Lambert 612 Odgers 708
2002 Donovan 647 Stefan 941 Rheaume 606 Bartecko 1027 Svartvadet 1042 Corkum 1025 Odgers 369
2003 Tapper 456 Stefan 1194 Rheaume 687 Bartecko 462 Svartvadet 729 Cowan 553 Odgers 576
2004 Petrovicky 1113 Stefan 1351 Santala 334 Vigier 1022 Aubin 1055 Cowan 583 Lessard 276
2005
2006 Petrovicky 713 Stefan 884 Bondra 956 Aubin 820 Slater 716 Larsen 680 Boulton 249
2007 Vigier 791 Metropolit 671 Sim 904 Kapanen 644 Slater 756 Larsen 890 Boulton 282
2008 Perrin 1443 Dupuis 916 Little 749 Thorburn 652 Slater 717 Larsen 559 Boulton 551
2009 Perrin 1106 Peverley 734 Armstrong 1242 Thorburn 786 Slater 674 Reasoner 1209 Boulton  573
2010 Kane 821 Peverley 1131 Armstrong 862 Thorburn 589 Slater 448 Reasoner 739 Boulton 337
2011 Peverley Thorburn Reasoner

 

3rd and 4th line players lack the skill to play on a higher line and they typically post modest point totals. The Thrashers had hoped that Stefan, Bartecko and Metropolit would post more NHL points than they did. It seems to me that the current 3rd line players on the Thrashers are better than at any point in team history except perhaps the Petro-Stefan-Bondra group who were fairly productive.

Season LW Pts C Pts RW Pts LW Pts C Pts RW Pts Fighter Pts
2000 Johnson  7 Stefan 25 Sylvester 26 Karlsson 14 Svartvadet 4 Ward 6 Lambert 11
2001 Donovan 23 Stefan 31 Sylvester 11 Karlsson 16 Svartvadet 21 Lambert 8 Odgers 13
2002 Donovan 12 Stefan 23 Rheaume 20 Bartecko 27 Svartvadet 15 Corkum 7 Odgers 8
2003 Tapper 14 Stefan 34 Rheaume 13 Bartecko 16 Svartvadet 8 Cowan 8 Odgers 6
2004 Petrovicky 31 Stefan 40 Santala 3 Vigier 18 Aubin 25 Cowan 24 Lessard 2
2005
2006 Petrovicky 20 Stefan 24 Bondra 39 Aubin 24 Slater 20 Larsen 15 Boulton 9
2007 Vigier 13 Metropolit 28 Sim 19 Kapanen 13 Slater 19 Larsen 13 Boulton 7
2008 Perrin 45 Dupuis 15 Little 16 Thorburn 18 Slater 13 Larsen 4 Boulton 9
2009 Perrin 23 Peverley 35 Armstrong 40 Thorburn 15 Slater 18 Reasoner 30 Boulton  13
2010 Kane 22 Peverley 44 Armstrong 18 Thorburn 10 Slater 10 Reasoner 15 Boulton 8
2011 Peverley Thorburn Reasoner

 

Checking line players are supposed to prevent the other team from scoring. Frequently they are matched against more offensively talented opposition players. For all of his faults, Patrik Stefan played a solid positional game and usually sported one of the better plus/minus numbers on the Thrashers. Colby Armstrong and Marty Reasoner are both on pace to post consecutive "plus" seasons for the Thrashers if they can stay positive the rest of this current season.

 

Season LW +/- C +/- RW +/- LW +/- C +/- RW +/- Fighter +/-
2000 Johnson  -11 Stefan -20 Sylvester -14 Karlsson -17 Svartvadet -8 Ward -5 Lambert -17
2001 Donovan -14 Stefan -3 Sylvester -16 Karlsson -2 Svartvadet -6 Lambert -5 Odgers -8
2002 Donovan -16 Stefan -4 Rheaume -3 Bartecko -15 Svartvadet -12 Corkum -30 Odgers -3
2003 Tapper 2 Stefan -10 Rheaume -8 Bartecko 3 Svartvadet -11 Cowan -15 Odgers -15
2004 Petrovicky -9 Stefan -7 Santala -7 Vigier -18 Aubin 0 Cowan 2 Lessard -5
2005
2006 Petrovicky -8 Stefan 3 Bondra -3 Aubin -4 Slater 1 Larsen -3 Boulton -4
2007 Vigier 0 Metropolit 9 Sim -1 Kapanen -12 Slater 8 Larsen -11 Boulton 2
2008 Perrin -5 Dupuis -4 Little -2 Thorburn -4 Slater -10 Larsen -17 Boulton -10
2009 Perrin -2 Peverley 16 Armstrong 5 Thorburn -10 Slater 0 Reasoner 11 Boulton  -3
2010 Kane 0 Peverley -11 Armstrong 2 Thorburn 7 Slater -4 Reasoner 3 Boulton 1
2011 Peverley Thorburn Reasoner

 

Conclusion: The 3rd and 4th lines see a lot of turnover and that trend will likely continue in the summer of 2010. Evander Kane will move up to a scoring line and Armstrong, Slater and Boulton are all unrestricted free agents. It is unclear which of that group will stay in Atlanta. Spencer Machacek could be promoted from the AHL to fill one of those NHL roster spots.

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