On his strategy heading into the trade deadline
You never get everything accomplished, but going into it, we wanted to get another pick if we could. We acquired another first rounder over this point in time. We definitely wanted to get more skilled and faster. There's a possibility with [Danton] Heinen and [Sonny] Milano, these guys are definitely skilled and fast. Now it's a matter of where everything fits, how it fits. It's all part of this transition. It's going to take a little bit of time. We were definitely concentrating on more skill, speed and picks. In that respect, it's been fairly successful. It's not fun moving all these people. Where we were, and how things were going, it's time to move forward with things.
On acquiring Heinen and Milano
I don't think we were skilled enough as a hockey team. Look at our goals. We don't score. Our power play isn't very good. We went out and got [Christian] Djoos and [Joel] Persson. They're power-play type people we wanted to get a look at here right now. We were able to get a couple guys on the backend we could look at for the power play, so to speak. Milano and Heinen, they're skilled guys with speed. We definitely had to improve upon that.
On how everything developed; if any trades developed in the hours leading up to the deadline
Some did. It seemed to me, a few days ago, everything happened. Second-round picks were gone all day long. That was three or four days ago. It was strange because the next day-and-a-half was dead quiet. We had discussions with lots of teams. Derek [Grant], for example, where we are right now, we had to do something to get a draft pick. I didn't know exactly where that range might be with Derek after that one day when [second-round picks] were going left and right. Then it got quiet the next day. You talk to a lot of teams. Most teams I talked to - and I'm just using Derek as an example - most teams did something in different degrees. New York [Islanders] went big. A couple of things. The Persson and Djoos were things I had asked Mac [Capitals Senior Vice President, General Manager, and Alternate Governor Brian MacLellan] and Kenny [Oilers General Manager and President of Hockey Operations Ken Holland] on a long time ago. Things I felt we had to get more of were the PP-type of people into our system. Give them some time and see what we had before we enter the next period when you can change your team, which is the week or so leading up to the [NHL] Draft, and the draft. Some things went according [to plan] and some didn't.
On the importance of getting a first-round pick in the Backes trade
We wanted to get younger and more skilled. We didn't go into this thing thinking we had to get picks all the time. That's one way to do it. We're not trying to be forever in this transition period. This is where you go out and see where Sonny Milano or Danton Heinen might fit. It's a give and take. The [first-round pick] is important. Boston got a good player in that deal. It works both ways.
On trading Derek Grant
It was something we figured we had to do. I talked to his agent. Philly has a pretty good team right now. Derek is a guy I pull for. He's come a long way. He's worked his butt off to get where he's at. I hope he goes and makes a good run for it.
On where the team stands in the transition phase
The next 20 games, or whatever we've got left, will tell us a lot about some of our younger players. We've definitely improved our skill and speed in the last year. Now, it's where do the pieces fit? How do they fit? I should add that Cam [Fowler] is going to be out approximately another two weeks. Erik Gudbranson should be about the same timeframe, so they're both gone for a couple more weeks. It's going to be tough to see exactly where we are. It'll be interesting to see the young guys with more speed and skill. What form this team takes and what we need to do in the summer. That's the next key thing. Where do we have to go in the summer to go from here?
On the Ritchie trade
That was a piece we talked about internally. We let teams know he's been available for a while. Some players, at different times, need a change of scenery. We felt at this time that Nick should have a change of scenery. This deal came together. It was discussed a little while ago with Boston. A bunch of teams had talked about it. As everybody made their moves, it kind of came to fruition.
On if he's pleased with the progression of the younger players
I've seen signs of improvement in them all to different degrees. Some have been more consistent in what we're seeing. They're all coming along. We've got to figure out what we're going to do moving forward with them all. What's best for each and every one of them moving forward. With the young guys, I'm not disappointed in anything there. My biggest concern has been with the leadership around them. We've had some of our guys, as I've said a few times, that are 24, 29, 30 [years old], their inconsistencies have been very concerning for me. I've said that before, too. If they don't get back to where they should be, some of these guys, then it's a much bigger problem than we think it is.
On if there was a possibility of moving a core player
Not at this time. We started down this path and there's going to be bumps. You never know where these bumps in the road and curveballs are going to come from. We've got to give them an opportunity to grow into their roles. Lets put it this way. We cant be talking about the same thing at this time next year. It's time for some of them to step up to the plate.