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Stocking the roster
Thrashers draft defense, then execute eight trades
Posted: Friday June 25, 1999 11:07 PM
BOSTON (AP) -- The players chosen by the Atlanta Thrashers in Friday's expansion draft don't score many goals. With strong goalies, the NHL's newest team might not give up many either.
Atlanta, which traded last week for Damian Rhodes of Ottawa, added Detroit's Norm Maracle, Tampa Bay's Corey Schwab and Carolina's Trevor Kidd in the draft.
Kidd didn't last long with the Thrashers. He was traded to Florida in a four-player deal, one of eight moves made by Atlanta after the draft.
In exchange for Kidd, the Thrashers received defenseman Gord Murphy, who played 51 games for the Panthers, and forward Herbert Vasilyev, who had 28 goals and 76 points for Florida's American Hockey League affiliate in Kentucky. Atlanta also got Daniel Tjarnquist, who played in Sweden, and a sixth-round pick in Saturday's entry draft.
The Thrashers also acquired defenseman Ulf Samuelsson from Detroit for future considerations after the expansion draft.
Atlanta chose 26 players, including 10 defensemen, some of whom could be dealt for scorers.
The best goal scorers drafted were Terry Yake of St. Louis and Mike Stapleton of Phoenix, who had nine each last season.
"I feel very good about our goaltending as I stand here now with Rhodes and Maracle," Atlanta general manager Don Waddell said. "I feel good about our defense. We got the bangers and the checkers we wanted. Now we have to find some goal scorers."
Waddell is especially high on Maracle, who had a 2.27 goals-against average in 16 games as backup to Chris Osgood.
Atlanta was allowed to choose one player from each team, except Nashville. The Predators didn't lose anyone because they were an expansion team last season.
The Thrashers had to take at least three goalies, eight defensemen and 13 forwards.
A half-hour before Waddell announced his picks, a workman stepped on the FleetCenter stage and wiped to a shine the team's logo for its inaugural season.
Some of the better-known players who will wear that logo on their jerseys next season -- barring trades -- are defenseman Darryl Shannon of Stanley Cup finalist Buffalo, and forwards Kelly Buchberger of Edmonton and Jody Hull of Philadelphia.
Choosing Ed Ward from Calgary and Buchberger went along with Waddell's philosophy of "getting good character players to build around our young players."
"I always said the first area we were going to look at is NHL experience," Waddell said. "But it was smart for us to open it up to" youngsters with potential.
He'll pick up more of them in Saturday's entry draft. Atlanta has the second pick behind Tampa Bay, unless Waddell yields to inquiries from other teams and trades it.
"I said we weren't going to trade our pick, but I owe it to our organization to listen," he said.
One of the more intriguing names on the unprotected list was 38-year-old Igor Larionov, tied for second among Detroit's scorers last season with 63 points -- including 14 goals.
Waddell knew him well, having served as Red Wings assistant general manager before joining Atlanta last season. But Maracle was the Detroit player preferred by Waddell.
"It was very tough being in Detroit ... and seeing what Igor brings to a hockey team," Waddell said about bypassing Larionov. "If we were making a run for a [Stanley] Cup, maybe, but not as an expansion team."
The 10 defensemen chosen were Shannon, Jamie Pushor from Anaheim, Petr Buzek from Dallas, Brett Clark from Montreal, Kevin Dean from New Jersey, David Harlock from the New York Islanders, Chris Tamer from the New York Rangers, Maxim Galanov from Pittsburgh, Yannick Tremblay from Toronto and Mark Tinordi from Washington.
"When we got the list [of unprotected players], immediately defense showed up as the strength of this draft," Waddell said.
The 13 forwards taken were Ward, Buchberger, Hull, Yake, Stapleton, Peter Ferraro from Boston, Sylvain Cloutier from Chicago, Tomi Kallio from Colorado, Johan Garpenlov from Florida, Matt Johnson from Los Angeles, Phil Crowe from Ottawa, Alexei Yegorov from San Jose and Steve Staios from Vancouver.
After the draft, Ferraro was traded back to Boston for minor-leaguer Randy Robitaille.
In deals involving future considerations, the Thrashers acquired goalie Scott Langkow from Phoenix; minor-leaguers Sergei Vshedkevich from New Jersey and Dean Sylvester from Buffalo; Calgary's Andreas Karlsson, who played in his native Sweden last season; and entry picks in the fourth and ninth rounds from Vancouver.
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