They are a terrible team in a weak market and will certainly challenge for the top overall pick in the 2009 draft. So what would happen if they actually got it?
The top candidates for that pick are center John Tavares and defenseman Victor Hedman, and I would have to say that it is almost assured that the Thrashers would pick Tavares. They picked a blueliner last year (Zach Bogosian) and, more importantly, Atlanta hasn't had a center to compliment Kovalchuk since Marc Savard left. With Kovy due to become a unrestricted free agent after next season, Tavares might just be the deciding factor to keep him in the Dirty Sow.
So many questions arise out of the possibilities. Could history repeat itself and we see another Lindros-esque deal where one team gets the pieces to a championship and the other gets the name they crave? Tavares, for his part, just wants to get the hell out of the OHL so it doesn't appear that he will turn down a deal from whichever NHL team picks him. On the other side of the coin, could Atlanta get the pieces to a championship for young Mister Tavares? Toronto will certainly have the assets and the interest. Would Atlanta rather go for the game-breaking talent and hope that it is enough to entice Kovy to give up his freedom and sign a long term deal?
And the most interesting question that came to my mind is will Gary Bettman
But think of it, Tavares/Kovalchuk could make for a helluva marquee in Vegas. Bettman's ego would take a large hit since he swore up and down that the cap would bring stability to his 30 teams but perhaps the obvious revenue gain would be enough for him to suck it up? I doubt it.
We will just have to wait and see but in the meantime I have one more question: if the Rangers defeat the Thrashers by anything less than seven goals on Thursday, will it be a disappointment??