General Manager, Peter Chiarelli On Aaron Ward: Aaron is a player who has been a part of three [Stanley] Cup winning teams -- two in Detroit, and one in Carolina. He’s a big physical defenseman, who blocks shots, moves the puck well in first pass situations. Dave has had experience with him and we felt that he improved our back end from the defensive perspective. His record speaks for itself. He’s won cups, and that’s very significant. He’s experienced. He’s physical and guys do respect that. He’ll be an important factor.
On Dennis Wideman: Dennis is a younger player. He is 23. He was originally drafted by Buffalo and had been part of the St. Louis top four. He’s six feet, over two hundred pounds. He moves the puck, right shot. He’s young with energy and can skate.
On what these trades accomplish for the team: Both these moves were to sure up our defense. As you can tell by our goals scored and goals against we’ve given up a lot of goals and we felt they were moves in the right direction for (tightening) up our defense…It gives us depth on defense.
On whether these trades benefit the team in the short term or long run: I think they are going to help in both instances. Aaron is going to help solidify our defense, from a defensive perspective blocking shots. Physical. He’ll help the other players with veteran experience. Aaron will bring leadership. Dennis is younger and that will help more in the future. But it will also bring, as you’ve seen in the league a lot of these young players contributing from the back end, distributing pucks, that’s what Dennis is going to bring.
On trading Paul Mara: I really like Paul as a person. I think he might have had some pressure playing here in his hometown. I was excited to hear when he came here that he wanted to come to his hometown. I think that’s important. We just felt when we looked at our goal differential that we needed to sure that up. This was something that was available that we’ve looked at for a while, and we felt it was something we needed to act upon.
On making the playoffs: I’m confident we can make a very good run at it. We’ve got teams to jump over which is difficult, especially with the three point games. I’d like to think that our defense will be a better puck-moving unit now. That’s only going to help our chances. And I hope we are going to get more even strength scoring. We’ve got a long road ahead of us but we are still alive.
Head Coach, Dave Lewis On Aaron Ward: Anytime you get a player who has been in the locker room or been around a team that’s won a Stanley Cup that’s a real plus. Aaron is the kind of guy that contributes…He plays twenty minutes. He just won a cup with Carolina last year. As I recall, I think he was on the ice last shift. That tells you a lot about the trust that the coach and the team have in him. I don’t think you can ever have enough of those guys. Aaron has experienced it in a couple of different cities, which is really unusual.
On trading Paul Mara: He’s going to a new city in a new environment and he’s probably pretty excited about it. Anytime you get traded you are disappointed, but the good thing about a trade is that the team you are going to wants you.