Friday, May 30, 2008

Draft Possibilities

When the Blueland Chronicle was posting videos and profiles about leading prospects in the 2008 NHL Draft a few months back, we neglected to mention anything about two players that look like they'll be among the top five picks, and thus quite available to our beloved Thrashers.

One player we didn't mention was Zach Bogosian, who might be an even better defensive proposition than Drew Doughty. If the Kings take Doughty I'd wager we go after Mr. Bogosian: he seems to be exactly the sort of tough, solid blue-liner that we desperately need. Some say he's comparable to Mike Green, some say he's more of a Braydon Coburn type. Ah, Braydon Coburn...

We didn't mention Russian winger Nikita Filatov, who looks set to be one of the highest-ranking picks. I realize that the top priority for the Thrashers is defense, but it's a shame that we don't have the luxury of being able to grab this fellow (a luxury that comes only with a solid defense). Think about it: a high-scoring, defensively responsible Russian forward who could play alongside Kovy. You can't say that Kovalchuk and Filatov wouldn't have chemistry (or, for that matter, that he and Slava Kozlov wouldn't have chemistry); Filtatov could be to Kovy as Semin is to Ovechkin. Or even as Backstrom is to Ovechkin. If Kovalchuk is never going to get a Marc Savard-like center, then he needs a good goal-scoring deputy on right wing. Why not a fellow Russian? You know they'd hit it off. He wouldn't have the usual problems that Russian players have gelling with the rest of the team at first, as he's already fluent in English (and French). He seems something of an intellectual, which is always an interesting trait to combine with goal-scoring brilliance.

But I do think it is the case that we just don't have the luxury of NOT choosing a defenseman like Bogosian, or if he's available, Drew Doughty. Sigh. Kovy and Filatov would've made a great Russian Two (or, if Kozlov comes back to life, Russian Three). From what I read, it seems like Doughty is an offensive defenseman, a Mike Green or Brian Campbell or Andrei Markov type, while Bogosian is more a rock 'em/ sock 'em tough guy of the sort beloved by Don Cherry.

I say we go with Bogosian, because he'd repair the gaping hole left by the horrible Braydon Coburn trade, and because I think we already HAVE a young offensive defenseman in Toby Enstrom. He needs to shoot more, because he has a fine shot, but I'm pretty sure that over time Enstrom will become one of the league's highest-scoring defensemen. If the Thrashers keep him and solid Havelid and eventually add a hard-nosed dude like Zach Bogosian, our defensive problems might very well be solved.

But part of me wants to sign Filatov to complement Kovy and then do everything in our power to get Brooks Orpik this summer. Because Orpik could fill the roll of a Coburn-type player as well, I think. If we DO get Bogosian, then we have to work extra hard (which means offering extra money) to sign Ryan Malone.

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