2009 preview: Atlanta Thrashers

The Thrashers have been one of the worst teams for a few years now, despite having some quality superstars and young skilled players.

But the team continues to struggle, and will do so again this year, bottoming out in the Eastern standings.

On the bright side, they’ve got a real good shot at the first overall pick at next year’s draft.

Story of the season: Can the Thrashers get good enough to keep Ilya Kovalchuk. Kovalchuk has pretty much said if the team doesn’t improve, he’s gone next summer as a free agent. So the team has tried to address its needs to keep him happy. Will it work? No.

Former Habs: Ron Hainsey

Blog to follow: Bird Watchers Anonymous

TV commercial break

Pool Picks: Nik¬†Antropov. The big Russian has scored nearly 60 points the past two years. This year, he’ll be on the top line with Ilya Kovalchuk, meaning 70 points is well within range.¬†Stay away from: Todd White. Sure he score 73 points in 82 games last year, but that was his highest total since 2002-03. Plus, he probably won’t be playing on the top line this year, so look for his points total to slip to 45.

Award nominees: Evander Kane for the Calder

Expected Finish: Fifth in the Southwest, 15th in the East

Cheerleader: A member of the Blue Crew.

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