Thrashers Draft Report

By pbadmin
The Man they call “Trader Don” may have earned a new nickname in Calgary, You may soon hear
other General managers referring to the Thrasher GM as “Drafting Don”. In the weeks before the
2000 NHL Draft, Waddell told everyone that he felt the Thrashers would trade their pick for some
veteran talent. Looking back, Waddell must now be one of the happiest men in the NHL. Trading
the Thrashers number one pick may have been beneficial for the short term, but acquiring a
player of the caliber of Dany Heatley was a big plus for this club.

Heatley has been a bonafide scorer (with Size) at every level. He successfully made a
smooth transition to US collegiate hockey last year, continuing his development with the
Wisconsin Badgers. He was the man the Waddell wanted all along, after hearing no astounding
offers from any other clubs, and should be a perfect fit on a future Thrasher line centered by
last years #1 pick Patrick Stefan. The Number 1 North American in the Final CSB Rankings, as
well as number one THN draft eligible, Dany lists at 6’1″ but is more like 6’3″. He plays
agressive attacking Hockey which led to 28 Goals in 38 Games last year. His season-long growth
at Wisconsin earned him a big jump from the 20 or so mid-season CSB Rank. Scouts Liked the
scoring pop, as well as his work ethic, and think this guy can’t miss. The Thrashers do not
expect Dany to jump in Right away, but could give him a shot in Training camp. Either way, he
is a perfect fit in the plans of this young Club.

The Successful Thrasher Draft did not end with the #2 Pick. The Club also added several
others who could make a Lasting Impact with the team. Defense was the Order of the day with
their second rounders, adding 6’3″ Ilya Nikulin, and 6’5″ monster Defenseman Libor Ustrnul.
Nikulin could have easily been a mid-first rounder, but the Thrasher brass was thrilled when he
fell all the way to their first pick in the second round. Nikulin fell off in production in the
season leading up to the draft, and scouts were all over the board on him. He is seen as a
prototypical Russian Defenseman, with a nice point shot, and should be a solid pickup for the
team. Ustrnul’s power-lifting physique (6″5″ 258 POUNDS!!!) adds just what the Thrashers are
lacking in their current defensive corps, size. He should be a nice asset in a few years,
providing he works on his puck handling skills, seen as marginal, scouts were also high on his
work ethic, and believe him to be a solid 5th or 6th NHL defenseman down the road.

All-in-all, a Successful 2000 Draft, for the Atlanta Thrashers, who seem to be headed in
the right Direction building a team that could be a Playoff team four years from now.

4th (107), Carl Mallette, C, Victoriaville (QMJHL)
37th North American--Final CSBs

Mallette is a quality Center, who can score and add to the PK as well.. some say he is a
prospect in the mold of NJ Devils Center John Madden.

4th (108), Blake Robson, C, Portland (WHL)
93rd North American--Final CSBs

5th (147), Matt McRae, C, Cornell University (ECAC)
86th North Americen--Final CSBs

6th (168), Zdenek Smid, G, Karlovy Vary (Czech Republic)

6th (178), Jeff Dwyer, D, Choate (USHSE)
111th North American--Final CSBs

6th (180), Darcy Hordichuk, LW, Saskatoon (WHL)

8th (230), Samu Isosalo, RW, North Bay (OHL)
99th North American--Final CSBs

8th (242), Evan Nielsen, D, Univ. of Notre Dame (CCHA)
64th North American--Final CSBs

8th (244), Eric Bowen, RW, Portland (WHL)

9th (288), Mark McRae, D, Cornell Univ. (ECAC)
78th North American--Final CSBs

Interesting pick, Giving the Thrashers their first set of twins

9th (290), Simon Gamache, C, Val D'Or (QMJHL)