The Thrashers have reassigned four players from their training camp roster to the Chicago wolves of the AHL. They are forwards Fredrik Pettersson and Patrick Rissmiller and defensemen Arturs Kulda and Anrey Zubarev.
Patrick Rissmiller must clear waivers to join the Wolves. The other three players do not have to clear waivers.
The cuts bring the roster down to a very manageable 25 players. Assuming Andrew Kozek goes on the IR then the Thrashers only have to make one more move to get down to the maximum limit of 23. If Slater goes on the IR then everyone else can stay for the time being, giving the Thrashers 13 forwards, eight defensemen, and two goalies. If I’m not mistaken that’s what the roster looked like to start last season when the team carried Boris Valabik and Christoph Schubert as extra defensemen on opening night.
By going to Chicago both Kulda and Zubarev will get the opportunity to play big minutes every night and continue their development rather than stall as healthy scratches in Atlanta. If no more moves are made then both Boris Valabik and Freddy Meyer will start the season in the NHL along with established defensemen Zach Bogosian, Toby Enstrom, Ron Hainsey, Johnny Oduya, and newcomers Brent Sopel and Dustin Byfuglien.
Up front its a bit of a surprise that Pettersson didn’t make the cut given how well he played in the preseason, but he did slow down a little bit and he doesn’t have to clear waivers. Again, if you assume no other changes are imminent then it looks like both Nigel Dawes and Anthony Stewart could be on the opening night roster. That was probably to be expected for Dawes who has a solid camp but Stewart was a darkhorse to make the lineup. With his size, speed, and work ethic he could end up being a very useful player for the Thrashers after spending lest season in the AHL.
Eighth overall pick Alex Burmistrov is also still in camp, though he needs to be signed by 3 pm on Wednesday in order to suit up in the regular season. Could he end up on the opening night roster too? A lot will depend on Jim Slater and his health. The sooner he is ready to play the sooner the Thrashers might have to make a tough decision up front and either send someone to Chicago or assign Burmistrov to the OHL.