This season is done after last night's loss to Carolina. I could say many things about the pathetic effort that was put forth, but mostly I'm glad that I didn't waste my time driving down to watch that effort. I had work to do and I couldn't even give away my tickets to this game. It is pretty telling when the home team radio duo openly discuss the lackluster effort. It is also pretty telling when the opposition TV crew discuss the quiet crowd and lack of effort.
Eric Christensen showed us his hands for the first time and that was nice. But the best TV moment was seeing Coach/GM Don Waddell's outburst after the referees refused to blow the puck dead. I wish we would have seen a bit more of that intensity behind the bench back when this team still had a shot at the playoffs, but it was too little too late. That explosion was the equivalent of slamming the barn door after the horses have already escaped.
Time to start thinking about "pressing start" on next year. Who will coach? Who will be playing? Who will be calling the shots? If you're ready to think about next season you might want to check out Hockey's Future new Top 20 Thrashers Prospects update. Newly acquired Esposito comes in at #4. He is a hard player to rank truthfully because he is a high risk, high reward prospect. He will either make the team and be a top 6 player or he will totatlly bust and not make the NHL.
There a couple of Thrasher prospects who have taken a step forward this season. Spencer Machacek (3rd rounder) has shown more offense this year and Jonas Enlund (6th rounder) had a great season over in Finland and he is still quite young. Three college freshmen Paul Postma (7th rounder), Jesse Martin (6th rounder) and Alex Kangas (5th rounder) all had decent first years in quality NCAA programs.
A couple of other prospects took steps backward Oystrick (7th rounder) looks like he just isn't going to make it unless he take his career much more seriously. Pospisil (5th) has been underwhelming this year as well. Chad Denny doesn't even look special in the ECHL and that is pretty damning considering he was a 2nd round pick--is he headed down the Scott Lehman career track? Most of these late picks will probably never wear a NHL uniform but if a couple of them come through and can fill roster spots that will be a real plus in the future.