First of all, let’s talk about the draft in general. Is it accurate to characterize it as the “final exam” for the team’s amateur scouting department after a year of hard work?
|Brad Treliving. |
“Yes. That’s exactly what it is. The scouts travel a lot during the year going to games and working hard and digging. Then we all sort out and process all of their information. This Friday and Saturday is when we hopefully make our best decisions… It’s an exciting time. I love the draft. It’s like Christmas and New Year’s Eve all wrapped into one. Hope always springs eternal at the draft because we’re all tied for first place, and you’re getting new people in your organization and you’re drafting players that you hope at some point in time will be good players for you. It’s exciting for the organization and it’s exciting for the kids involved.”Q:
Barring a trade between now and Friday, the Coyotes will pick 20th overall in the first round of this draft. What are your thoughts on picking 20th in this year’s draft?A:
“Well, we’ve done our work and we’ve identified a group of players that we think could be there at No. 20. We’re ready for any scenario that could come our way, but we’re excited about the potential in terms of the player that we can get at No. 20… Going into it you’ve got to be prepared to make the pick and I know we’re ready to do that.”Q:
Heading into this draft, what would you say is the Coyotes’ biggest need within the system?A:
“Obviously, we’ve got some immediate needs at goaltender, but we’ve got some young guys coming. And I think we’ve got some young defensemen that are in San Antonio and are on our reserve list. Up front, we probably have some areas that we’d like to add to, but we’re going to be careful drafting for ‘need.’ These are still 18-year old kids, and you want to get the best player. That’s how we draft. We take the best asset. If the need matches the best player, then that’s a good thing. But you always have to say ‘Let’s get the best player’ and go from there.”Q:
Please talk about how the draft isn’t just about drafting young players.A:
“The draft is obviously the draft, but anytime you get everyone in the hockey community together, stuff happens. And the draft is one of those three times during the year – the free-agent signing period and the trade deadline are the other two – when you can change your team. Obviously, every day of the week we’re looking to do that, but those three times are significant times in the hockey calendar. So, yes, the draft weekend doesn’t just involve the drafting of young players. Obviously trades are made during draft weekend, too.”Q:
Indeed they are. How do draft-day trades typically evolve? Do any just come out of the blue?
|Don Maloney and Brad Treliving on the draft floor. Photo by Norm Hall. |
“A lot of things happen on the draft floor, but between the end of the season and now is when you’ve been doing a lot of the mining. I always equate it to farming; you’ve been planting the seeds and watering the crops and doing all the things to hopefully be ready to harvest, and there’s certain things that happen on the floor, depending on what happens in the draft. But you spend a lot of the time before the draft preparing for different scenarios, finding out what needs teams have, and getting a sense of what people are looking for and what teams may be prepared to do if things go a certain way. There’s a lot of information gathering beforehand so you can go into the draft saying ‘If this, this and this happen, then we’re prepared to do this.’ But, like I said, there are a lot of things that happen on the floor. The reason you have to do a lot of the heavy lifting earlier is because it gets busy there. If you’re thinking ‘Well, we’ll just put our feet up until we get to the draft,’ that’s not going to work. You have to be much more prepared than that.”Q:
How long should a team wait before judging how well it did at a draft?A:
“I can guarantee you this: there will be 30 teams that walk out of the Xcel Energy Center on Saturday afternoon thinking that they did a hell of a job and got every player they wanted, and thinking that it was a very successful draft. Time will tell. You go into it with a feeling of knowing what you want to do, and at the end the weekend you see how close you were to accomplishing what you wanted to do. But to be able to say we had a successful draft on Saturday afternoon - yeah, you can say it, but the real proof comes three or four years from now when you see how the players you selected have turned out.”