Those who are new to the Thrashers might look at San Jose Shark Devin Setoguchi and think what a nice success story for the Sharks and Setoguchi himself. Those with longer memories look at him and shake their heads.
The storyline here actually goes back to 2004, a year before Setoguchi was drafted. In that year, the Thrashers had the 10th pick and took Boris Valabik. They were criticized throughout the league for taking him so early in the draft -- virtually everyone knew Valabik could have been had much later. The smarter thing to do, if the Thrashers really wanted him, would have been to trade down in the draft and get full value out of their position by gaining extra picks.
So in 2005 they had the 8th pick, and coveting a player that could be had lower than 8th (Alex Bourret), the Thrashers then did what the conventional wisdom said and traded down. Twice, to be exact. In doing so, they gained picks and with one of those selected Ondrej Pavelec, making what would have been a complete disaster merely a really, really bad first-round pick.
Setoguchi, who was taken at 8th with the Thrashers original pick, is currently tied for 11th in the NHL in goals, tied for 16th in points, and tied for 9th in plus/minus. Few teams had Setoguchi rated quite that high, but they did have Marc Staal, Luc Bourdon, etc. that high and the Thrashers passed on them too. And it's not like Setoguchi was hiding somewhere -- he was in the WHL where everyone was very aware of him.
Alex Bourret, taken by the Thrashers at 15th, is one of many they've taken out of the Q with an intriguing tool or two, but no tool box and 10-cent heads. The stories I heard about Bourret while he was with the organization were discouraging, and the ones I heard after he was gone were just unbelievable.
The Thrashers traded Bourret to the New York Rangers (for Pascal Dupuis and a pick), who have since traded him to Phoenix (for just a pick). He's now with the San Antonio Rampage, his third AHL team. He scored at a .71 points per game pace when he was with the Wolves, a .66 rate with Hartford, and is down to just .38 with the Rampage.
This is Alex Bourret at practice. It was a morning skate for most of his team, but it was practice for him because he was a healthy scratch for that evening's game.
He spent a lot of the game tooling around on his phone, as many know he is wont to do.