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Transcript: 06.18 Chiarelli Pre-Draft Conference Call

by Staff Writer / Boston Bruins

Quotes


June 18

BOSTON BRUINS GENERAL MANAGER PETER CHIARELLI AT 11:00 A.M.

On the depth of the NHL Draft regarding New England players (Scott Barboza)…
Well, it is fairly deep. It’s the deepest that I’ve seen since I’ve been here and that’s a good sign. It’s a good sign that the registration numbers – usually it means they’re going up – and obviously the quality of players for the NHL is increasing too. We’ve got a bunch of guys on our list and obviously I’m not going to give you the order but I can talk about some of the guys that are on our list and that are also around and may not be on our list but will probably be drafted. I mean there are some good kids in the prep leagues and the Calnan kid’s [Chris Calnan] a good player – a big strong kid – very physically mature power forward type. You’ve got in the EJ [Eastern Junior Hockey League], you’ve got the Vesey kid’s [Jimmy Vesey] a good player. He’s second through – second time through the draft but very skilled, had a breakout year there, can really make some really good plays with the puck, whether it’s shooting or passing. You’ve got some kids that kind of went to the U.S. Development Program but are from the area. The Grzelcyk kid’s [Matt Grzelcyk] a very good, mobile defenseman. He’s later on down but he’s got a good head on his shoulders. A couple of interesting one’s – the Collier kid [Brendan Collier] – kind of under the radar a little bit but a real gritty kid. So, you know, I could go on five-ten more minutes on players but there’s some good kids here and it’s nice to see.

On Henrik Samuelsson’s play (Fluto Shinzawa)…
Sure, he’s kind of bounced around a bit prior to going to the [Edmonton] Oil Kings and with his citizenship, he’s been to Sweden and back. And a little slow to start this year but he’s a big strong kid. He plays with an edge, protects the puck very well. He projects to be, at the very least, to be a top-nine forward and some say he might be a top-six. Obviously, he’s had a real strong playoff. I really like his strength. I like his shot. I like the way he protects the puck. Prototypical power forward.

On the reason for so much trade talk (Fluto Shinzawa)…
Well I think, historically, there’s always this talk. I don’t know if there’s this much talk, but it always kind of ramps up right now because there’s picks – draft picks – that will be available on Friday and Saturday. Specifically to this year, I think it’s a function of the shallow pool of free agents and so that you’ve got teams that may not delve into the free agency or they’re trying to be proactive and trying to acquire guys prior to the free agency because when the pool is shallow, the prices get pretty high. But it’s part of what usually happens and then the other part is that the free agent pool is shallow, but you’re right, there is a lot more chatter this year at this time.

On if his thoughts have changed regarding trades and free agency (James Murphy)…
I’m not really – I mean, the reality is that the trade market right now is the most active and what’ll happen is, come July, that will take a bit of a backseat to free agency, and then once we go through that first tranche of free agents, then the trade market will re-emerge. Right now, with the trade market the way it is, I make some calls, but frankly, I’m probably more apt to wait till the free agent market and then the secondary trade market. I call it the secondary trade market but it’s fairly significant. So my objective will probably be to wait unless something falls in my lap.

On if trade deadline proposals carry over to the offseason (James Murphy)…
Well a lot of the work – that’s a good question, because a lot of the work you do leading up to the trade deadline does carry over so what I try to do also is, along those lines, is that I try to set up deals, plant seeds, set up deals at the trade deadline for the summer or for the fall. So there’s a lot of legwork that goes into making a trade. They’re hard to do now so my preparation for this trade market and upcoming trade markets starts back before the trade deadline. As far as deals carrying over, usually those deals that happen or that are talked about around the trade deadline are more for the moment but you do get a sense of where guys feel where their roster might be in late-June, early-July from discussions at the trade deadline, but usually those deals fall by the wayside. Sometimes you say like let’s talk about this in July, but usually the deals fall by the wayside at the trade deadline.

On how he would characterize the draft pool (Douglas Flynn)…
Well I think there’s a lot of defensemen. I’ve said that before but there’s a lot of good defensemen in this draft. So we’re hoping – and if we don’t get a defenseman, we’ll be fine because there’s always good players – but we’re hoping that some will slip and because of the number of defensemen – I’ve never seen it – the number of NHL defensemen this large. So I guess I’m putting a spin on it. Sometimes it’s not bad to pick later on in the draft and see what happens. You just don’t control your destiny as much. As far as the draft in general, I think it’s kind of going to go in different paths like after 15 or 16. So that’s when guys slip, so there seems to be a drop-off at first glance around there and then I think teams are going to go in different directions so I think we’re going to get guys that we have fairly high on our list.

On drafting Russian players (Douglas Flynn)…
Well, when you draft a Russian player, very unique because they have the opportunity to play in a league that they feel is as strong as the NHL in the KHL [Kontinental Hockey League]. So that opportunity presents itself at a couple of different times. One, right now when they’re drafted. Two, when you want to turn them pro. Three, after if they’ve come over and played their second contract. So you’re faced with some difficulties there and you’ve seen it in the last few years that players either are delayed in coming over or they go back and are never to be seen again. So it’s a definite question mark and if a player – it depends on the player – if you’re saying if a player’s going to drop to us, it really depends on the player.

On the status of Alexander Khokhlachev (Douglas Flynn)…
He’ll be at Development Camp, and as far as news on his whereabouts for the next year, we’ll fill you in at Development Camp.

On whether trading draft picks affects how many other players he acquires per year like Torey Krug (Mike Loftus)…
Yeah, a little bit. So, like we’ve added [Torey] Krug and [Niklas] Svedberg. So in my mind, you know, I think as a manager you try and have your seven picks one way or another. So, in my mind, that would give us seven with those two. But having said that, if I can acquire another pick it would be nice, but right now I mean I think we’ve shown some success in trading some picks. You know, you want to win so sometimes you have to sacrifice picks. But you’re right – I would have given a little more forceful instructions to our amateur scouts and our college scouts going into the year knowing that we’d be short a couple of picks and we’d come up with a couple of players.

On the organizational philosophy of acquiring teams’ picks that they have not signed like Johnny Boychuk and Adam McQuaid (Mike Loftus)…
Yeah, so there’s different ways to skin a cat, and we’ll continue to do it the way we’re doing it. You know, like ideally you want to bring players up through the draft, but you know, it doesn’t have to be solely that way.

On the East Coast presence of the USHL [United States Hockey League] (Dan Hickling)…
Well I guess anything’s possible, and certainly my earlier question about the New England draft class has been real strong so there’s really good feeder leagues in New England. But there are other pockets in the East where certainly, you know, you’ve seen more players come out of further down the coast. Yeah, it’s a tremendous league, and if it can be the East without really taking away from what’s already in place – and I think that’s possible – that would be great, because a lot more players every year are coming out of that USHL, a lot more coaches every year are coming out, a lot more scouts. So it’s a real good development league, and yeah I think that can work.

On how the USHL is doing from a business perspective (Dan Hickling)…
Well, I really am not close enough to the numbers, the economic numbers, to make a comment on that. What I do know is that the interest in hockey in those kinds of areas outside of New England on the East I know is growing. So just from that observation alone I would think that there would be room from a business model perspective. Again, I haven’t looked closely enough, that’s not what I’m really paid to do. But I do see from 30,000 feet, I see the interest in those other – let’s call them non-traditional – New England areas.

On whether having a later pick this year affects how he and his team prepare for the Draft (Fluto Shinzawa)…
Well, they’ve probably seen and heard enough from me this year; that’s probably what’s different. Like you have to really go into more different combinations and scenarios for the later pick – if this player goes there, what if this player goes there, what about moving down because we can get that player? There’s a lot more scenarios to discuss, and then your quality of player, while still good, is obviously not as good at this point than those players higher up. So you really drill down more and you identify the more meetings and discussions over more minute detail in these players to try and drill down to get the right player.

On whether Friday night is more ‘layered’ in setting up the table (Fluto Shinzawa)…
Yeah so we identify a cluster of players that we feel, you know, that probably at least two or three of them will be there when we pick. So then leading up to Friday you try and figure out – well it’s tough trading down to gauge where they player might fall, but at least you want to address the scenario. But leading up to that point, that’s what we’ll discuss. At the table we’ll have five or six trade-down scenarios, five or six trade-up scenarios, and you know, I’ll have tried to cue up or at least plant the seeds leading into Friday then on Friday, I’ll flesh them out as the draft progresses.

On where the Bruins positional depth has switched over the years (James Murphy)....
Well, our philosophy – and you’ve heard me say this you’ve heard many managers say this – is to draft the best player possible. So it’s really a function of those players available. We went through a lot – a number of years where we took a lot of centermen and we’ve shown – not necessarily from those centermen that we’ve taken but from some of them – that, you know, a centermen that can play both the center and the wing is a valuable player. But, going into the draft each year like there’s a priority, there’s a need, but the first approach that we take and we’ll always take is to take the best player. So, I think, you know, it’s difficult and risky, when unless there’s a tie on the player you’re going to take, to really put need first, but it is part of the equation, it’s just not the primary component of the equation.

On if there’s been any discussions for Boston to host an NHL Draft or an All-Star game (James Murphy)…
We’ve talked about it, and it’s really not a priority right now. We’ve talked about it and maybe in a year or two, it’ll be more of a priority but right now, it’s just not a priority.

On if there are any areas he feels the team needs to fill in (Mike Loftus)…
You know, like this year like we seemed to talk more about goalies and that kind of quieted down a little bit after we signed [Niklas] Svedberg. But he’s 23. So that’s an area that – and we’ve got some good young ones in the pipelines – but that’s an area that I’d maybe like to get a little deeper. Other than that, Mike –the size thing I think I’ve put on the guys this year a little bit. You know, you’d have to look at all the other attributes of the player but you know the size component I wanted – I stressed a little bit applying to all positions. So those are two things we talked about a little bit more this year.

On if he has signed everyone or let anyone in regards to past drafts (Mike Loftus)…
We didn’t, we haven’t let anyone go. So we’ve retained rights to everybody so far that has – I’d have to check my reserve list Mike – but as of right now, I can tell you that don’t think we’ve let anyone go and we’ve pretty much signed. We have a few college kids that we that we signed – [Zach] Trotman and [Tommy] Cross that would have been exposed to deadlines. Although Trotman wouldn’t of, he’d be going to his senior year. But not my knowledge, off the top of my head, no.

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