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Popovic Signed, Oystrick on Waivers

September 29, 2009

It’s been a busy day for Thrashers management. On top of signing Max Afinogenov they’ve also signed defenseman Mark Popovic and placed Nathan Oystrick on waivers. The waiver move and two signings gives the Thrashers 14 forwards, seven defensemen, and three goalies. If Kari Lehtonen starts the season on IR as expected then the roster stands at 23 players, which is the NHL max. For tomorrow’s 3pm deadline.

What remains to be seen is how the coaches plan to use 14 forwards. It should be an interesting week, and it’s possible that the roster could chamge via waiver pickups or trades.

  1. BogoSt. permalink
    September 29, 2009 6:14 pm

    Not sure how Valabik made the cut over Oystrick.

  2. Barry permalink
    September 29, 2009 7:13 pm

    Ya I’m with you there BogoSt. Valabik made strides last season to improve as the season went along. This preseason he looked like he reverted back to the old Valabik of being too slow, being over agressive, and taking dumb penalties that hurt the team.

    Anyway, good news for Popovic for sticking with it and working his way back into the NHL. Hopefully he can improve and stay here in the NHL.

  3. Apache permalink
    September 29, 2009 7:23 pm

    Popovic couldn’t have done it without the skills and hockey sight that he obtained in Ska St.Petersburg of the KHL…..Maybe the coaches have a better view on Valabik, its like the Red Wings, they pick people that are at the bottum of the draft, like 200th overall, or 78th overall, or 100th something overall, and make them Into Datsyuks, Zetterbergs, Fedorovs, and Lidstroms……so lets see whats up.

    Any word of Evander Kane? i really wanna see this kid obtain a 10 game try out

  4. September 29, 2009 7:31 pm

    I’m a huge Boris fan, but I gotta say for the team, I’d have rather kept Oysters.

  5. Thomas permalink
    September 29, 2009 7:37 pm

    Because Boris has potential and Oystrick is what he is. A 6th-7th D-man on a below average team.

    • JLH permalink
      September 29, 2009 9:51 pm

      Thomas, you hit the nail on the head. If we waived both Boris and Nathan, which player would get picked up every time – Boris 9 out of 10. Oystrick will probably never be a vital cog in a Cup winning team, whereas Boris still has not run his course.

      • Wayne permalink
        September 30, 2009 12:26 am

        How many chances DOES Valabik get? He can’t skate, he can’t clear the puck, he may be frequently out of position, he takes too many penalties…other than that, he’s a first-class NHl’er.

        Valabik would’ve starred in the “old” pre-lockout NHL (when he was drafted); the game has changed since then. He offers nothing except size and fisticuffs.

  6. Jarrett permalink
    September 30, 2009 12:40 am

    On some parts I’m with you guys, but not all. Thomas is right, Oystrick is what he is. He is a 26 year old defenseman who will probalby never be more than a 6th of 7th blueliner.

    That being said, Boris is still a head-case and apt to many, many errors. But he still has time to develop his game. He is only 23 and when he was drafted he was hailed as the next Chara. If you look at Chara’s progression, it wasn’t until his 4th or 5th full NHL season that he began to round into shape. And it wasn’t until he left Ottawa and went to Boston that his name was routinely mentioned as a world-class defenseman.

    So I say we give Boris another year, he’s only gonna play 6th or 7th defenseman minutes, so his liabilities will be limited. Plus we brought in Kubina, I believe in part, to help Boris adapt his game.

    Everyone was down on Schnieder last year, but he brought along Bogo really quickly. Maybe Kubina can do the same for Boris.

    If by the all-star break Boris is no better, look for one of our talanted blueliners in Chicago to come up and take his minutes.

    It is a new marathon, we have 82 games to grind out, anything is possible.

  7. Kevin permalink
    September 30, 2009 1:26 am

    I’m from Chicago and a season ticket holder for the Wolves. I was at about 30 games for the 2007-2008 Calder Cup Winning season, and Valabik became one of my favorites. He was definitely the big tough guy on the team, and when he went up to Atlanta last year, the wolves really missed his size and toughness. But, i do have to agree he is not good for much else. I wouldn’t mind seeing him come back to us.

  8. September 30, 2009 7:48 am

    Very happy to see that Anssi is still on the roster to start the season. He provided glimpses of brilliance Sunday afternoon. I think he will be a pleasant surprise this season as he gets more ice time. He has Anderson’s system written all over him. He plays solid defense and skates like a speedy forward.

    I loved the grit that Oystrick brought last season. He was instrumental in our late season success and I hope he finds a great team to play on. I think he has more potential than a # 6 or 7 dman.

    Darn happy to get Mad Max on the cheap. It was awesome watching his speed last Sunday. If he can click with JA’s system and the other plethora of Russians we now have this could be a huge break out season for him.

    Really cool to see Popovic make the team. Thought he looked great all through camp and pre-season. Nice to see someone go off to the KHL, return a better player and then make an NHL team on tryouts.

    Hockey season 09-10 starts tomorrow!!!! Hell to the yea!

    • KovyRules permalink
      September 30, 2009 9:03 am

      I agree with HonkyTonk’s assessment of Salmela on Sunday – he was the only Thrasher I’d have considered for the three stars. He looks like a very solid #5 on the depth chart, with Popovic and Valabik switching off as #6 depending on if we need more speed/mobility or toughness for a particular opponent. Valabik drives me nuts, but I see the potential so as long as we are dependent on him, I’m good with a year or two to mature.

      • KovyRules permalink
        September 30, 2009 9:04 am

        Is should say, as long as we are NOT dependent upon him…

  9. GBravesbyTerryD permalink
    September 30, 2009 11:43 am

    Thomas, agreed: (Because Boris has potential and Oystrick is what he is. A 6th-7th D-man on a below average team)
    but he does make an awful lot of BIG mistakes. So what does it take? extra 1 on 1 training? in game experience? or a hammer to the head when he goofs?
    I wish I knew so I could be a coach.

  10. Beat-the-tar-out-of-em permalink
    September 30, 2009 12:00 pm

    I agree with what has been said, I think Oystrick can skate, but Boris can beat the crap out of guys. We are missing that gritty fighting guy when we lost Ex, which might be why Boris is getting a chance….we need some more fight in our game, some aggresiveness, and maybe the coaches are going to tell him to bring that. his PT might go down a bit, where as Oystricks might have been higher, but again…we need that grit. Boris doesn’t back down.

  11. September 30, 2009 12:16 pm

    I hope Valabik WILL go after guys who take cheap shots at Kovy, Kane, and Little (among others)! His consistency (or lack thereof) still bothers me. I hope Anderson & the assistant coaches yank him QUICKLY if he starts to take dumb penalties during the regular season – especially if they occur early on; bottom line, this team NEEDS a good, consistent, winning start! On another front – why were Legace & Fritsche (sp?) let go?! Fritsche (sp? again) was solid on the PK during camp & preseason, and Legace is a SOLID, veteran presence should Pavelec letting in loose goals & straying TOO far away from the net! Good for Afinoganov – he adds more speed, hopefully more goals, and aggressiveness in the o-zone! It looks as if Popovic really added some toughness during his time in Russia – good for him, especially if this translates into consistent, gritty shot-prevention and takeaways.

  12. September 30, 2009 12:22 pm

    Ooops! There needs to be a “begin” between ‘Pavelec’ and ‘letting’ (too jumpy to blog w/o a mistake!)! While I think SOME other team should take a chance on him, it’d be great if Legace does not get signed by anyone – hopefully he’ll change his mind & take a two-way contract with us. We need someone else between the pipes when Pavelec has lapses. Any news on any other d-men out there on waivers and/or not getting a contract from one of the other teams?

  13. Matt permalink
    September 30, 2009 12:30 pm

    Beat: Hockey is a long string of events that begins when the puck is dropped and ends when the horn sounds. The entire event is semi-coreographed to take advantage of the line combinations and the chemistry of the lines and the team as a whole. There is a time and place for everything in betwen the puck drop and the horn.

    Yes, Boris is a good fighter, but he needs to recognize the proper circumstance, time and place to drop the gloves. Immediately before a face-off, for example, is not one of them. Cheap shots do not fall into that category either. There is a time to send a message to the opposing team. There is an appropriate time to fire up our own team. There is an appropriate time to defend when one of our own is taken down.

    Boris’s problem is that all his issues are personal. The Bolts last Saturday found his buttons. And when his buttons are pushed, he loses sight of the game and the team, focusing only on retribution. A good fighter knows whenh to go and when to shake it off. He hasn’t learned that yet….but as someone said earlier, he is only 23. We have to be patient.

    My issue is that how many games will score in the loss column because he was in the box and will it come down to 1 or 2 games at the end of the season that mean the difference between the playoffs and hitting the links early? Will it mean the difference between Kovey leaving or staying if we don’t get there? Pieces are in place to significantly improve this team this year. To let one hothead joepardize that would be foolish. We can only hope that the coaching staff watches him carefully and scratches him if he can’t control himself.

  14. Drew permalink
    September 30, 2009 1:38 pm

    Being the only Thrashers fan in the upstate-SC area (maybe even the only hockey fan too), its nice to see people who actually know what they’re talking about when it comes to the Thrashers (and hockey).

    Yeah Boris could use some work for all the reasons already stated on this webpage. Maybe one day he’ll peak, but unfortunately it’ll be on another team and at the Thrasher’s expense.

  15. Heywood Jablowme permalink
    September 30, 2009 3:10 pm

    The Atlanta Thrashers are all a bunch of losers anyway

    • KovyRules permalink
      September 30, 2009 3:33 pm

      Yes, Mr. Jablowme, the Thrashers, who finished 12-6 last year and have only improved their line-up, are the losers. You, on the other hand, with your in-depth analysis and insightful comments, are a true winner. Keep it up!

  16. upNorthThrasherFan permalink
    September 30, 2009 4:10 pm

    I get the size thing but in the system that John Anderson is running you need someone who can 1) outlet pass, 2)rush the puck, and maybe just maybe catch someone on a back check. I thought Don Waddell played defense? Wow I think this is a big mistake, one good thing that will come out of this is the Thrashers should improve their PK, because the NHL is too fast for Boris and this will be discussed 2minutes at a time. Anyway 3 days till the “Don of a new era!!!”

  17. September 30, 2009 9:45 pm

    I was a big fan of Dan Fritche back from his Ohio days…sorry to see him go…couldn’t find a spot for a grinding fourth-liner like him?

  18. Justin permalink
    October 1, 2009 3:49 am

    I was wondering…did anyone hear of Nikolai Zherdev signing with the Thrashers?

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