For those reading, allow me to introduce myself.
I have been a fan of the Atlanta Thrashers/Winnipeg Jets since 2005. I’ve watched exciting players such as Kovalchuk and Hossa, and had the experience of watching a franchise build from the ground up.
When I first began watching after that ’05 lockout, it was fascinating how our prospect pool only had 5 or 6 years of development, and our most mature prospects were just 23 years of age. It was a scapegoat, an acceptable reason for the lack of prospects that were developing with any sort of promise.
A common theme began to unfold.
Don Waddell, the long-time GM of the Thrashers for every year but their last, was full of ineptitude and rash decisions. After the 2005 lockout, the NHL glorified a fast paced, high scoring game. Waddell’s response? Sign Bobby Holik for 4 years, whose speed in NHL ’05 was no more than 52. The following season Marc Savard departed fresh off of a 97 point campaign playing alongside Kovalchuk. Anyone else remember that the 36 year old Steve Rucchin was his replacement? How was Rucchin going to keep pace with a speedy Russian star who started every breakout 5 feet outside his own defensive zone?