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Thrashers take Russian first

The Associated Press . Russian Alexander Burmistrov poses with Atlanta Thrashers' personnel after the team selected him eighth overall at the NHL draft on Friday in Los Angeles.

The Associated Press . Russian Alexander Burmistrov poses with Atlanta Thrashers' personnel after the team selected him eighth overall at the NHL draft on Friday in Los Angeles.

ATLANTA -- The Atlanta Thrashers have added speed to their list of prospects by selecting Russian center Alexander Burmistrov with the eighth pick of the NHL draft.

Burmistrov, known for his speed on the ice, moved from Russia to play for the Barrie Colts of the Ontario Hockey League this year. He had 22 goals and 43 assists in 62 games. He helped lead Barrie to the OHL finals with eight goals and eight assists in the playoffs.

The Thrashers added size when trading for Chicago Blackhawks forward Dustin Byfuglien this week, but the 18-year-old Burmistrov (5-10, 172) uses speed as his strength.

The opening day of the draft came one day after the Thrashers hired former Boston assistant Craig Ramsay as head coach.

The Thrashers traded two high draft picks -- No. 24 overall in the first round and a second-round selection -- to Chicago as part of a package that sent Blackhawks' playoff star Byfuglien to Atlanta. At 6-foot-4 and 257 pounds, Byfuglien is one of the biggest players in the NHL.

The Thrashers also acquired defenseman Brent Sopel, forward Ben Eager and prospect Akim Aliu in the deal and sent forwards Marty Reasoner, Joey Crabb and Jeremy Morin to Chicago.

Atlanta general manager Rick Dudley also traded forward Brett Sterling, defenseman Mike Vernace and a seventh-round choice in this week's draft to San Jose for future considerations.