On if he’s reached out to Koivu
I met with all the players after the season was over, and took my time. I went to our draft meetings and the NHL Combine. I talked to my people and we had some decisions to make. I spoke to Saku, Jonas and Dan all last week. I told them that we would not be offering them contracts moving forward. We had our meetings and we decided this. Those are not easy decisions. Jonas was a No. 1 goalie here for five years, and did a great job for us. He was good about it. He was professional. Saku…what can you say? He’s had a great career, but I don’t know what he’s going to do moving forward. We decided we’re going to move on and go in a different direction. We’ll see what he does. I’m sure we’ll talk again later. He’s not going to be offered a contract here. I don’t know if he’s going to retire or not, but I know he went home to think about it.
With Dan, he gave us two good years. He played well for us, but we have younger players coming along who are pushing people out of jobs. It’s a good situation for us to have. It’s where we are, so those three have been talked to.
On the factors that ultimately led to his decision regarding Koivu
We had younger players coming along that we had to move into the lineup. I thought it was best for this organization that we move forward a little bit. It was time for me. That was the hardest decision of the three, as you can imagine. Jonas did so much for us, but we have some pretty good kids there. The writing was kind of on the wall there. With Saku, I had to do a lot of soul searching on that one.
On if the assistant coach vacancy (formerly Bob Woods) has been filled
Brad [Lauer] and Scotty [Niedermayer] will be back, but I’m a little ways down the road on the other assistant coach. I’m not there yet. When I’ve got something to announce, I’d like to have it done by the draft. Stuff happens.
On trade talks leading up to the NHL Draft
This is the time of the year when there is more talking going on than any other time. It’s actually as much – if not more – than the trade deadline. There are two points when you can make huge changes or moves to your hockey team: The trade deadline, which some people use and some people don’t, and there’s this time of year, where you can start making your team for next year. We’re very aware of what the rumors are, and who might – or might not – be available, and let’s just say I’ve talked to lots of teams. As I have said numerous times, we had to get back to a position after the last Cup, when we used young assets to win a Cup. We had to get back to a position where we have assets to use. We are pretty close right now. We have good, young assets, and draft picks. I’m not afraid to use them in the right things, but I’m not going to put ourselves behind the eight ball again, either. It’s a process we’re going through, seeing who is really available and who really isn’t available. If things are going to happen, they tend to fall right before draft day for some reason. There is lots of talking going on.
I think we’re in good shape, if the right thing is there. You always want to try to make hockey trades, trades that make sense for both teams. We have some things people want. It’s a matter of what we’re willing to give to get. We know if you’re going to go someplace, you have to make the right move at the right time.
On how much money the team is willing to spend
I have a very fair owner. He has let us spend above where his revenues have been. He has consistently let us spend above the mid-point. We moved up a little bit last year with revenues. He was good about that. As long as our revenues continue to creep up, he will parallel his revenues with what we spend. There are no complaints from me.
On the missing pieces to the puzzle
There are two or three. You watch the Kings, for example, and you watch how Drew Doughty has emerged as a superstar. Do we have a defenseman who can be that way? When we won the Stanley Cup, we had Scotty and Chris [Pronger]. That’s in the back of my mind all the time. Where is that guy, can you find that guy, and can you afford that guy? There’s also a center iceman. Is the time now, or do we have to step back and wait to see how these kids develop? It’s a little bit of a game right now in terms of where you really are.
On contract talks with restricted free agent Mathieu Perreault
His agent reached out to us last week, so David [McNab] and I are getting ready to call them back to see where we stand heading into qualifying offers. We have to make a decision before the qualifying offers go in. That’s on the list. He has arbitration rights, so his is the most pressing.
On the depth of this year’s NHL Draft
It seems pretty consistent. There’s a group after the top four, where we think we’ll get a pretty good player at No. 10. You could still do as well at No. 13 as you could do at 35. We still feel we’ll get a good prospect for the future. You never know who’s going to drop. This is the part of the business that I love. You never know what’s going to happen. I try to focus my guys on being prepared for anything to happen.