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Atlanta Thrashers
Team Page | 2000-2001 Schedule | Roster | 1999-2000 Player Stats
On this page: Comings | Goings | Prospect Watch | Get the Highlighter | Quoteworthy

 
1999-2000 Stat Leaders
Stat  Leader  No. 
Goals  Andrew Brunette  23 
Assists  Andrew Brunette  27 
Points  Andrew Brunette  50 
+/-  Vladimir Vujtek 
Shots  Nelson Emerson  183 
Ice Time (F)  Donald Audette  21:36 
Ice Time (D)  Franktisek Kaberle  24:36 
Faceoff Pct.  Ray Ferraro  51.22% 
Hits  David Harlock  166 
PP Pts.  Andrew Brunette  21 
SH Pts.  Ed Ward 
 

Give us credit: at this time in this space last year, we predicted that the Thrashers would not be very good. How's that for a call? But 14 wins? In 1998-99 the Predators won 28 in their inaugural season and that's the number Atlanta GM Don Waddell felt comfortable setting as his goal.

After 42 games last season, that goal seemed realistic. The Thrashers were 11-27-4 at that point. But did things ever go south for Atlanta over the second half. They earned only three wins and four ties -- 10 points -- over the next 40 games. Eleven-, 10-, five- and four-game losing streaks made up the disappointing finish to Year One.

This is not a playoff team, but the way Atlanta comes back after a depressing second half could go a long way toward determining the future of this franchise.

For more on the Thrashers, bookmark this page and check back Wednesday, Oct. 11 for a Sports Illustrated Scouting Report.

BRIGHT SPOTS   GRAY AREAS
  • Two more expansion teams should help the Thrashers look good.
  • After a 19-goal, 44-point turn-back-the-clock season, center Ray Ferraro exercised a $1-million contract option to stick around for a another year. Donald Audette (19 goals, 32 points), Andrew Brunette (23 goals, 50 points), Hnat Domenichelli (15 points in 27 games), Steve Guolla (16 points in 66 games), and defensemen Petr Buzek (five goals, 19 points) and Yannick Tremblay (10 goals, 31 points) are also coming back.
  • Broke Anaheim's expansion-team record with an average of 17,205 fans per game.
  • Frantisek Kaberle may not be as good as his brother, but he can run a decent point on the power play.
  • Milan Hnilicka, who went 22-11-0 in Hartford with an AHL-best 2.15 GAA, signed as a free agent to deepen the roster at goaltender.
  •  
  • The bright spots to the left are really not going to win many games, and until the prospects mature and start filling out the roster, this team will struggle.
  • Damian Rhodes wasn't ever great in 1999-2000 before injuring his right ankle in mid-November. When he returned -- 45 games later, thanks to injuring his knee during rehab -- Rhodes was yanked three times in 15 starts and finished with a career-high 3.88 GAA. He's the key to respectability again this year. (See Vanbiesbrouck, John, Florida Panthers.)
  • Norm Maracle failed Expansion Team Goaltending 101. Can't leave so many rebounds around when opponents are so often more talented.
  • Patrik Stefan finished the second half a lot like Atlanta did -- almost pointless.
  • Club is better on paper than it was last season. But the same can be said of the second and first halves of last season and we all know how that turned out.
  • Comings
    Player  Pos.  From  Via 
    Donald Audette  RW  Atlanta  Re-signed 
    Adam Burt  Philadelphia  Re-signed 
    Brett Clark  Atlanta  Re-signed 
    Hnat Domenichelli  LW  Atlanta  Re-signed 
    Shean Donovan  RW  Atlanta  Re-signed 
    Scott Fankhouser  Atlanta  Re-signed 
    Steve Guolla  Atlanta  Re-signed 
    David Harlock  Altanta  Re-signed 
    Milan Hnilicka  N.Y. Rangers  Free agent 
    Andreas Karlsson  Atlanta  Re-signed 
    Denny Lambert  LW  Atlanta  Re-signed 
    Norm Maracle  Atlanta  Re-signed 
    Sean McCann  Phoenix  Free agent 
    Yves Sarault  LW  Ottawa  Free agent 
    Jarrod Skalde  San Jose  Free agent 
    Steve Staios  RW  New Jersey  Trade 
    Yannick Tremblay  Atlanta  Re-signed 
    Brian Wesenberg  RW  Atlanta  Re-signed 
     
    Goings
    Player  Pos.  To  Via 
    Chris McAlpine  Chicago  Free agent 
    Mike Stapleton  N.Y. Islanders  Free agent 
     
    Prospect Watch
    Brad Tapper, RW, 6' 0", 185
    Born: April 28, 1977 in Scarborough, Ontario
    Acquired: Free agent, 2000

    Tapper led the nation in scoring average (31 goals and 20 assists in 37 games) and game-winning goals (7) this past season as a junior at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. Tapper and 1999 third-round draft pick Zdenek Blatny have the best chance to make the big club, but at this point Tapper has an edge. He scored two goals in the final two games of an NHL rookies tournament in Michigan, where he played strong on and off the puck, and generally looked more comfortable among his peers.

    Get the Highlighter
    Saturday, Oct. 7 vs. New York Rangers. To open the season, Atlanta plays host to the only team that, comparatively speaking, had a worse season.
    Sunday, Oct. 15 at Tampa Bay. Lost in the wreckage of last season is the fact that Atlanta was undefeated against the Lightning. Here's a grudge match.
    Saturday, Dec. 2 at Columbus. The Thrash has to be wringing its collective hands over this, their first meeting of the season with an expansion team.

    Quoteworthy
    "I was disappointed we didn't win more games. But you can't measure our season with wins and losses. You measure whether we got better from one game to the next. I feel we are a much better team now than at the beginning of the year."
    —Don Waddell

    Team-by-team previews compiled by CNNSI.com's Ken Klavon, Jamie MacDonald and Jimmy Traina.


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