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Joe Sakic Free Agency Conference Call Quotes

by Colorado Avalanche / Colorado Avalanche

Colorado Avalanche Executive Vice President/General Manager Joe Sakic talked with the media on a conference call on July 1, 2015 about the team signing free agents Francois Beauchemin and Blake Comeau. Below is the transcript of that call.

On if the team is done signing players for today?

“We’re done for the day. We addressed what we feel are our needs, and what we were looking to do today. We’re excited to add Beauchemin and Comeau to our group. We got leadership. We got toughness, guys that play a full 200-foot game. On the ice with Beauchemin, we’ve got our guy to play with Erik Johnson. He played top minutes with Anaheim. That was the biggest thing, we were looking for somebody to play with EJ for top minutes, play against the other team’s top lines. We looked at all of the free agents out there, and there was only a handful that we knew could play. Francois did a tremendous job for Anaheim, and I know he is excited to come here and do the same thing here and play with EJ.”

On if the current eight defenseman on the roster are going to stay there for the start of the season?

“It is definitely the eight 'D' as of right now. What we also did today, we know we have flexibility. As of right now this is the eight 'D' that we are going with, but we are always looking to explore our options to improve our hockey club. So if something comes up, whether it’s in the next couple of days or throughout the summer or training camp, if there is something we can do to improve our club we are always going to look to do that. But we are very happy with what we have right now.”

On if Francois Beauchemin was his first choice on defense?

“Yeah, he was one of the guys that for sure we were targeting. I was actually surprised that—leading up to it, we looked at it a couple of weeks ago—we thought that he would be staying in Anaheim. When it was an opportunity to talk to Francois and see his intentions, and what he was going to do and if it was a good fit for him to come here; we knew it was a good fit for us so we're excited we were able to work something out.”

On why he chose Beauchemin instead of other available free agents?

“Well because, like I said, we wanted someone who we knew could play top minutes against top lines. He brings toughness, leadership. I think he led the Anaheim Ducks in the playoffs in ice time last year, and they are a very good hockey team. So we wanted somebody that we knew we could trust in that role of playing with EJ. Not to mention he also won the Cup, so that leadership and that experience will really help our team.”

On if there are "too many miles" on Beauchemin and Brad Stuart?

“Not at all. You can’t have enough veterans. What we also like with what we did is both players are three years, and we know, looking down the line is that we have some guys that we know are going to be up next year and we wanted flexibility with that when these guys come up. We didn’t want to sign real long-term deals and down the line be handcuffed with those.”

On what other improvements did he want to make other than on defense?

“We wanted to add experience, we wanted to add depth, and we wanted to add size and we think we did all that. Signing a guy like Blake Comeau today, he is a versatile player, he can go up and down your lineup, he plays a north-south game, he skates hard, he hits hard, he is a puck possession guy, and he is good at the penalty kill. He also chips in and can get you 15 goals. So we just think both of those guys bring a lot, a lot of leadership into the dressing room and you can never have enough guys like that.”

On Blake Comeau?

“He is a guy we really targeted from the get-go. He is versatile. He is a dependable guy; you can put him anywhere in your lineup. He can be on your third line. He can be on your first line. He played with [Evgeni] Malkin last year at times. A good penalty killer, he brings intensity, like I said he [plays] up and down (the lineup), he hits, and he protects the puck and is just a super leader in the dressing room."

On if the team is going to sign any of its own unrestricted free agents?

“We are good with what we have done. [Jan] Hejda, we are going to move on from. Same with [Ryan] Wilson and [Daniel] Briere.”

On if he talked to the other top free agent defensemen?

“We talked to all of the guys that we wanted to speak with about the possibility of coming here and be a top-pairing guy with EJ. So yeah, we talked to a bunch of players.”

On if defensive prospect Duncan Siemens is going to be coming up next year?

“Training camp is going to dictate all of that. We do have some prospects that are very promising, and we'll continue to see them develop. We don’t have a spot, you are going to have to come in here and earn a spot. One thing is we feel we are very deep. Obviously we moved Ryan [O'Reilly], but to prepare for that we signed [Carl] Soderberg, so he was another free agent that we got. We like our depth, we like the size that we added to the team and leadership, and we are excited with what we have right now.”

On the team's leadership?

“Leadership was not a problem (last year), but we were fairly young. What I say about leadership is that you cannot have enough of [it]. Both of these guys bring that. They were leaders on their team. They’re examples on the ice. They are veterans that come to work every day. And like I said, they both bring that toughness that we are looking for. We felt last year at times, going into the offseason, we knew we wanted to get a little bigger in some areas and be tougher to play against and these guys are going to bring that.”

On if Beauchemin is going to help lead the younger defensemen?

“Absolutely, he is going to be relied in all situations. This is a tough time. If you don’t know what you’re getting, it's tough sometimes. We knew with Francois. Know him personally, we know what he did in Anaheim, and he is a guy who is a no-nonsense guy, who expects to win and expects everybody in the dressing room (to want to win) and holds them all accountable.”

On how important it was to add guys that want to win?

“I think it is always important. To have people who have a championship, that expect a championship. Obviously these guys, both Francois and Blake, they want to win. They didn't just want to come here and play hockey. They expect to win, and that is important in any locker room. It is all about expectations and compete level and what they do. They are going to be very valuable, not only in our dressing room but really valuable on the ice.”

On how competitive he thinks the Avalanche will be in the Western Conference?

“Well, it is a tough conference. No question about that. It is a conference that has [big] teams…and that was an area that we really wanted to address. We wanted to address our size, our depth on our team, being tough to play against, and we feel we have done that.”

On if he has a timetable for signing Erik Johnson, Nathan MacKinnon and Tyson Barrie to contract extensions?

“Well Erik Johnson is going to be an unrestricted free agent after next season, so we are hopefully going to get him done. The other two, there is no pressure. They are both RFAs (restricted free agents). But as the year goes on we would like to see what we can do with Tyson and Nathan, but Erik is the one who is an unrestricted free agent.”

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