Washington Capitals Senior Vice President and General Manager Brian MacLellan participated in a media teleconference on Monday, the first official day of free agency, to discuss a number of topics.
(On Panik signing)
"I think his two-way game. He always has produced somewhat offensively. we expect him to be in that 35-45 point range. His 5-on-5 point production has been pretty solid, he can play in a top-six role at times. And then this year we've been impressed with his PK ability. I thought he picked that up really well. He skates well, he's got some size and a good skill level. We like a lot of things about him. I think he's a well-rounded player and he'll fit well into our third line."
(On attributes shared by recent additions to the team)
"I think we like to have a good blend. In our mind you need a certain amount of heaviness, you can't have too heavy a lineup and you need a certain amount of skill and speed. The thing I like about Panik and Hathaway is that they both skate well. Hathaway has good north, south speed. Panik is a really good skater for his size. I don't think we're sacrificing on the speed size to add heaviness. I think we got big players that can skate and play well."
(On Panik's fit on the third line)
"I think in theory they should all mesh well. All three are solid players, all strong on the puck, all make good decisions, all three have good two-way games, all three can PK and chip in offensively. I think I'm excited about the possibility of this line playing. I think they have the ability to play against top players also, and can be used in pretty much any situation that the coaching staff seess."
(On third line playing against opposing top lines)
"They're all responsible. They play a two-way game, like I said before. They can start in their own end or in the offensive end. I think it should be a versatile line."
(On term of bottom six forwards)
"In order for us to get that AAV down, so we can add depth, we pushed up the term a year for probably all three of those contracts. I think that and the combination that we don't have young forwards ready to step in and play third line. There is a bit of a gap in our organization in that area that we were comfortable to committing the four-year term on all three."
(On Montreal's offer sheet to restricted free agent Sebastian Aho)
"We're probably like Carolina, we're processing it here. I think it's an interesting concept. I'm assuming Carolina matches it, but we'll see. It's been a long time since we've seen an offer sheet, so it'll be interesting to see how it plays out."
(On other teams potentially tendering an offer sheet to Jakub Vrana)
"Everything we do, we're aware it might be a possibility. I think in this this market there are probably other players that are in front of him, but I guess you never know. We're cautious and I think we feel comfortable with where we're at right now."
(On status of salary cap and negotiations with Vrana)
"We're in ongoing discussions with his representatives. We're pretty close to the cap number. We have a couple of things we can do flexibility wise to create a little space if we need to."
(On construction of roster post-Stanley Cup win)
"It's a little bit different, I think the core remains the same and that's the strength of our team, the core players. I think it's just a natural evolution. I think we were fortunate last year to bring most of the guys back. When you have a successful team and guys playing well, they're going to get paid for that success and players move on. Connolly moved on, Beagle moved on. They got good contracts. And then we had a couple guys that are looking for higher opportunities around the league in Grubauer and Burakovsky. I think it's a natural evolution. I think we still have a good team. We're still a competitive team and we should be a contender next year."
(On Nicklas Backstrom's and Braden Holtby's next contracts)
"I think we're cognizant of it. I'll sit down with Backstrom and Holtby here as the summer progresses, probably in August sometime. Just talk to them both and talk about the situation within the organization and what the possibilities might be going forward. All we can do is communicate with both the players and see how it plays itself out."
(On Sergei Bobrovsky's new contract potentially influencing Holtby's next contract)
"I don't know that it affects the decision making. It's a comparable, it's a peer and they look like pretty similar players. They've had similar success and Holtby has had a Stanley Cup on his resume."
(On additional moves forthcoming)
"We have one more coming, Brendan Leipsic. We agreed to terms with him today."
(On the Metropolitan division)
"I think it's going to be a challenging division. I think the teams that were at the bottom all got better. I think it's going to make for a great division throughout the year, there's going to be a lot of competitive games, entertaining games. It should be a lot of good hockey in our division. I would anticipate this will be the best division in the League."
(On the team still being "at a high level" with recent additions and subtractions to the roster)
"I do. I mean, we've won the Metro the last couple of years. The guys we've brought in are really good players, so I think our team is situated well."
Click here for the full audio of MacLellan's teleconference.