Wherever Yashin ends up, even in the unlikely event he returns to Ottawa, he will come with a buyer-beware warning. As one general manager noted, "If you get him, you'd better expect problems."
Atlanta's Dean Sylvester
Obtaining Sly Was a Sly Move
The first-year Thrashers know that whatever success they enjoy this season (they were 11-29-6-3 through Sunday) will come by dint of perseverance. That's why Atlanta general manager Don Waddell made the June 25 trade in which he acquired 27-year-old right wing Dean Sylvester from the Sabres system in return for agreeing not to select any other Buffalo forward in that day's expansion draft. (The Thrashers took Sabres defense-man Darryl Shannon instead.) "Sylvester was the guy we wanted anyway, so it was perfect," says Waddell. "We've made 19 trades, and that one has to be in the top two or three."
Sylvester, a 6'2" 210-pounder who's slow askate but battles insatiably for loose pucks and has a finisher's instinct, had 12 goals in 30 games since having been called up from Atlanta's International Hockey League affiliate in Orlando on Nov. 18. Four days later he scored the Thrashers' first hat trick, in a 6-3 victory over the Canucks, and on Jan. 14 he netted the lone goal in a 1-0 Atlanta win over the Flyers.
Sylvester's pre-NHL career includes three seasons with the struggling, now defunct program at Kent State and a stint in the East Coast Hockey League, which is often a dead end for NHL prospects. "I never gave up because I figured you never know who could be watching," says Sylvester. One onlooker was Waddell, who was impressed that Sylvester scored 126 goals in 310 minor league games from 1995-96 through '98-99. For all his hard-won results, however, Sylvester had been often overshadowed by swifter peers. "I'm not the fastest guy on the ice," he concedes, "but I get to where I'm going."