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DRAFT CENTRAL: Q&A With Craig Patrick

by Rob Mixer / Columbus Blue Jackets

Q: Given the list of players who have been selected #2 overall, does that give you a sense of confidence heading into the draft with a high pick?

CP: You're definitely confident that you're going to get a player who can play at a high level. Of those names (in the past), I'm not sure there's anyone of that caliber in this draft, but there's some very good players in this draft and we're going to get someone who can play for us at some point down the road.

Q: Your staff and scouts have done a lot of work throughout the season, but now it's getting down to brass tacks. What are the conversations like as we get closer to the draft?

CP: We put our preliminary list together some time ago, and there's been some more work done since then. Now, we're sitting down talking about what's transpired in the last month and a half with some of these kids, and now how that might affect how we're thinking and what our list looks like. We'll talk some more, and then come up with our final list before we get to Friday.

Q: Is this year's draft class strong in any particular area?

CP: I think the early part of the draft is deeper at defense, but then you're talking quantity which isn't the same as quality. It's going to be a good draft, and everyone is going to get a good player out of the first round. I like picking second over picking 30th -- even though we might be picking 30th (laughs), or even over 29th...but we're looking forward to getting a pretty good player.

Q: How much of this process is planned, and how much is spontaneous based on what happens on the draft floor?

CP: We're pretty certain with what we're going to do, no matter what Edmonton does. We're set regardless, and we're going to pick a great player. After that, everybody approaches things differently. My approach has always been that you pick the best player available, and sometimes, you can have separate lists that vary based on the scenarios presented. When we get maybe three or four picks out, we'll start looking at our lists and talking about who's available, then narrow it down to two or three guys we're very interested in. No matter what the position is, we're looking for the best player available.

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