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Winnipeg fans may find Thrashers' cupboard lightly stocked

Updated: May 20, 2011, 4:58 PM ET
By Gare Joyce

Should the sale of the Atlanta Thrashers to True North Sports & Entertainment ultimately go through -- and it's still not done as of 3 p.m. Friday -- and the team be relocated to western Canada, Winnipeg fans can celebrate that they won't have to suffer through the challenges of an expansion start-up club. That said, the Thrashers don't have a lot of emerging talents among 23-and-under players not on the NHL roster.

It's too early to fully rate the '09 and '10 drafts as successes or failures, but those drafts from the postlockout through '08 were weak at best for Atlanta, especially considering the franchise's near-perpetual lottery position.

Rick Dudley, who played a key role in assembling the talent that took the Blackhawks to their Stanley Cup last spring, joined the Thrashers as assistant GM just before the 2009 NHL draft and was bumped up to the top job, replacing Don Waddell, who was moved into the franchise's presidency. Dudley is a scout-centric exec and does more firsthand scouting in the amateur and minor pro ranks than almost any other GM. Just as an example, he made it from league meetings in Florida one night to Drummondville, Quebec, for a Q-vs.-Russian Selects game this past fall.

Dudley been a big help. In the past three drafts, the Thrashers have moved their top picks directly onto their NHL roster, albeit with somewhat mixed results. Here's a look at how some of them have fared since they've been selected.

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