Rumors ran rampant last week, given extra fuel Tuesday by Channel 4 reports, that ex-Bruins defenseman Ray Bourque could be the club’s next general manager, with old running buddy Steve Kasper joining him, perhaps as assistant GM or coach.
You can plot the Atlanta Thrashers’ metamorphosis from sub-.500 disappointment to Eastern Conference force along many lines.
There’s Marc Savard’s emergence as a bona fide scoring machine, avoiding the injuries that have plagued his career.
There’s the play of unheralded free-agent defensemen Niclas Havelid and Jaroslav Modry.
There are the unexpected offensive contributions of Greg de Vries, who accompanied stud Marian Hossa in the Dany Heatley deal.
And, of course, there’s the big man, Ilya Kovalchuk, who just scores and scores, then takes a break to taunt other stars and use illegal sticks, then scores and scores again.
But all of that is just scribbling around the borders compared with the real focus of the Thrashers’ rosy picture: the lanky, sweaty kid in the goalie pads sitting over in the corner.
Petr Nedved might be a nice addition to the Flyers, but he’s hardly the final piece of the puzzle.
Flyers general manager Bob Clarke acknowledged Saturday that there’s still some work to be done, whether or not captain Keith Primeau returns.
Nedved should help bolster an inconsistent attack, one which on any given night can struggle to score goals.
But, with so many kids on their roster, the Flyers might have to bring in a few more â€œleader” types before the playoffs roll around.