The Atlanta Thrashers have signed 2007 1st rounder Angelo Esposito. He was originally drafted by the Pittsburgh Penguins but was traded at the trade deadline that sent Marian Hossa to the Penguins.
For those who don't know Angelo Esposito, he was a highly touted player coming into the 2005 QMJHL Midget Draft after playing a year with Shattuck St. Mary's out of Fairbault, Minnesota.. The only question was would he play in the QMJHL as rumored to be heading to the NCAA route. The number one player in the draft slipped to 11th overall where Patrick Roy and the Quebec Ramparts selected him. It didn't take long for him to sign.
His first year with the Ramparts he had 39 goals and 59 assists for 98 points 57 games. His teammate was Alexander Radulov who led the entire CHL with 152 points. They wento on to win the Memorial Cup. The last two season his point totals have dropped. In the 2006-2007 season he had 79 points and 69 points last year.
Then at this summer's Midget Draft he was traded to the Montreal Junior who were formerly of the St. John Fog Devils. the Junior traded Jean-Simon Allard (A sniper) 1st round pick (#13), 3rd round pick and a 5th round pick for Esposito. The juniors traded one of the best snipers in the league just to get some attention in Montreal. On a side note most people think that the Junior won't succeed in Montreal.
He has been to the World Junior camp all three years and has been cut all three times. For a player that was once the number one player of his NHL Draft class he fell to the 20th spot. I was once on his bandwaggon but his play has shown he hasn't lived up to the hype. He's not the only player to be cut by Team Canada three times. The other is Dan Cleary who just won the Stanley Cup.
I still have a problem with anyone that thinks the Penguins gave up too much for Hossa. None of the players that the Penguins gave up to get Hossa will ever be Hossa's calibre. The only thing they really gave up was their 1st rounder where the Thrashers selected another high risk, high reward player in Daultan Leveille. Leveille will be heading to Michigan State this year but has only played at the Junior B level.
Will the Thrashers give Esposito a roster spot this year? It's quite possible but he's not NHL ready. It will get the learning curve going on the young players. He could be Ilya Kovalchuk's Robin in Atlanta. If he plays the entire season with Atlanta, Patrick Roy should be charged with highway robbery because their is no clause for compensation if Esposito makes the NHL that I know of.
That's My Take
(Nathan also is a writer for MVN.com. He's the writer for the Asylum which covers the Lewiston Maineiacs of the QMJHL. He's also a regular contributor to the NHL Source also at MVN.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)