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DRAFT CENTRAL: Howson Meets The Media

by Rob Mixer / Columbus Blue Jackets

Blue Jackets GM Scott Howson met with the media this afternoon, and updated topics such as Rick Nash trade negotiations, the club's plans for the No. 2 overall pick, and more. The following is the transcript of Howson's comments to the media:

On his meeting with Joe Resnick, agent for
Rick Nash:
“We just exchanged some information, and we prefer to keep what was said quiet. I think that’s the best way to operate. It was a good meeting, lasted almost an hour and we exchanged a lot ideas.”

Asked if he’s close to any deals:

Less optimistic of getting a deal done this weekend?
“Not at all. A lot of things can happen between now and when the draft is over. I’m not counting on anything. Obviously our goal is to do what’s best for our hockey club, and that’s how we’ll keep operating.”

Any concern that things don’t remain amicable the longer the process continues?
“No, I don’t sense that at all.”

Do you feel you’re in a better position now than you were at the deadline?
“I believe we are, yes. But we’re no closer to a deal than we were at the trade deadline.”

How so?
“I think there’s more legitimate possibilities out there right now.”

Did you speak to Resnick about what should happen if Rick isn’t moved this weekend, or beyond?
“No, we didn’t talk about that at all.”

Are you in on any trade offers to move up and acquire the first overall pick?
“We’re not interested in moving up. We’re going to stay at No. 2 or move back.”

Have you made your decision (on a player), or is there still work to be done?
“We’ll still be working at it tonight. I think there’s a few possibilities, in terms of us moving back, so we’re going to look at that and see if it’s something we want to do. If we stick at No. 2, we’re pretty confident with the player we’re going to take.”

If you do move back, how much is due to interest from other teams, or is it because you’ve identified a player you think you can get lower in the draft?
“Teams are interested in the second pick.”

How frustrating has this process been for you?
“It hasn’t been frustrating. It’s part of our job. We’re here to try to build a team that’s competitive, that’s exciting and can win the Stanley Cup. And we want to make our team better; that’s part of our job and that’s what we’ll try to do.”

Have you moved past the possibility that Rick could stay with the Blue Jackets?
“I think anything’s possible in this game. No one knows how people are going to feel a week from now, or two weeks from now or how we’re going to feel. Rick’s a great guy, and he’s been a tremendous ambassador for our team, our city. And I wouldn’t want to put any certainty to anything right now.”

Do you have any idea who Edmonton is taking?
“I think I have a guess, but that’s all it is.”

Why no interest in moving up?
“The players that we have rated No. 1 and No. 2 are very close, and we would be delighted to get either one of them.”

Is there a player at No. 2 that’s ready to step in right away, or does that affect your decision?
“It doesn’t really affect our decision. But I do think there are one or two players in this draft that will be able to step in right away.”

Are you still in the mode of taking the best player available?
“Best player who we think is going to be the best player, not necessarily the player today. It’s going to be who we think who the best player is. Regardless of passport, regardless of position.”

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