The Colorado Avalanche held a conference call Friday night with members of the media and Conner Bleackley, the team's 23rd overall pick in the 2014 NHL Draft. Below is a transcript of that call.
On being drafted by Colorado
"Obviously, I'm ecstatic. For a while now, I have really been thinking about that pick. If there is one place I had to go, that was the place I would want to go. Now that it has happened, it's really a dream come true."
On being a captain on a Brent Sutter coached team
"I think Brent saw me kind of take over the team a little bit at the start of the season. I think the hot start offensively, and I think I have an ability to bring [people] together as a group. I think leadership is something that has been with me all the way up, always wearing a letter. I couldn't be more honored to be the captain of the Red Deer Rebels."
On what he brings to a team
"On the ice, I have a little versatility where I can play lines one through four and on the wing and at center. I want to be a top guy, and I think I have the skill and the determination to do that. I'm more of a two-way center. I pride myself playing against the other team's best players, but at the same time, I like to be relied on heavily offensively. Off the ice, I'm a guy who is excited to be in Denver. Excited about the opportunity to compete on a team at a young age. I'm going to do everything I can to bring the Stanley Cup back to Colorado."
On being a gritty player
"Yeah, for sure. I like to go to the dirty areas, the corners and go to the net and score goals. It is definitely part of my game."
On the work he put into his game the past year
"Last summer was huge for me. I started training at Crash Conditioning in Calgary. The work they did for me as far as my skating and my lower body and core strength was huge, as far as getting me to the next level as far as my skating goes. It's the same focus again this summer, to improve my quickness. I think that had a great deal to do with my spike in my offensive numbers."
On being drafted by Joe Sakic and the Avalanche
"It was pretty surreal. I idolized the Colorado Avalanche and Joe Sakic for as long as I could remember. To have him call my name, the whole thing was real special and a dream come true."
On having contact with the Avalanche before the draft
"At the combine we met."
On being on a skating course
"Off the ice, I have my trainer in Calgary. They do some great work. As far as on ice, it depends on what Colorado suggest or if they have some guys they want me to see. That will all fall into place shortly I guess."
On any other Avalanche players reaching out to him yet
"Gabe (Landeskog) and (Matt) Duchene and those guys tweeted me. It was pretty cool. I got a text from Matt Duchene and Max Talbot and talked to Gabe briefly on the phone, so it was pretty cool."