Thrashers give new additions an immediate look

Clarke MacArthur, here’s a jersey. Now get out there and play.

MacArthur arrived in Atlanta at 11 p.m. Wednesday after being acquired in a deadline trade with Buffalo. Less than 24 hours later, he made his Thrashers debut.

He was joined by Evgeny Artyukhin, acquired Monday in a trade with Anaheim, in Thursday’s lineup against the New York Islanders.

“We are going to throw them right into the fire and see what happens,” Thrashers coach John Anderson said before the game.

MacArthur, wearing No. 41, played on the Thrashers’ second line with Rich Peverley and Maxim Afinogenov. Artyukhin, wearing No. 76, played on the fourth line with Marty Reasoner and Chris Thorburn.

MacArthur, who got a ride from the airport from Thorburn, his former minor-league teammate at AHL Rochester, played 60 games for the Sabres with 13 goals and 13 assists. The winger said he is ready for a new start.

“Obviously, it’s a big life changer," MacArthur said. "You get a phone call and in 10 seconds, your life is going a different way. ...

“There were four or five of us [Sabres rumored to be traded]. I’m actually excited to be here. I’m glad it was me. They wanted to get a big third-line guy there and they didn’t see me fitting in. I think it’s a good fit here.”

MacArthur played with Afinogenov in Buffalo and was coached by Thrashers assistant Randy Cunneyworth at AHL Rochester, easing his transition with his new team.

MacArthur brings speed to the lineup. General manager Don Waddell projected him as a second- or third-line player. The 24-year-old MacArthur agreed.

The Thrashers also added size in Artyukhin, who is 6 foot 4 and 255 pounds. According to Pavel Kubina, who played with Artyukhin in Tampa Bay, the forward has speed of his own.

“He is so fast on the ice, one of the fastest guys I’ve ever played with,” Kubina said. “Nobody gave him a chance to play.”

The additions of MacArthur and Artyukhin give the Thrashers 15 forwards. Both coaches and players said the added depth will be good as the team faces a hectic final six weeks in an effort to make the playoffs. According to NHL rules, the team is allowed only five minor-league call-ups the remainder of the season.

“I’ve been fortunate enough to coach five championship teams,” Anderson said of his minor-league coaching career. “One thing they had in common was we had good depth. It’s funny because at the start of the playoffs, I had to sit a few guys out and they were upset. Eventually, I had to use them in order to win. You can never have too many players.”

Eric Boulton, Slava Kozlov and Todd White were the forwards scratched Thursday. Mark Popovic was the defenseman scratched.