On key personnel returning next season
Well I'm coming back next year. Dallas will be our coach next year, and Ryan Getzlaf and I have met, and we're talking about a few things. He's obviously at the point in his career where he needs to take a little step back and see what's best for his family and what he thinks his role can be, and we discussed roles on the hockey team. Ryan and I discussed a whole bunch of things, and we will continue to have discussions, so I don't quite have an answer on that one.
On hiring Jeff Solomon as VP of Hockey Operations and Assistant GM
I knew David McNab was going to retire. David and I had discussed it a few years ago. The wording was written into his contract about if that time did come. So David did decide, he let us know early in the year that this was going to be his last year as a full-time employee. And then, when I heard and was made aware that Jeff was going to be moving on from Los Angeles, we got lucky. First of all, you don't replace everything David did, but Jeff brings us a whole different element of things, Both of them are very good at contracts, preparing for contracts. Jeff brings the analytic component to our organization that really needs to be upgraded and moved forward. I just haven't pushed hard enough to move it forward, but this was a good time for us to do that. And so we got lucky, we got a break … finally.
I've seen the success the LA Kings have had on and off the ice, and I've seen their signings. They have some, we all have a few funky contracts, but their contracts are very good. That's number one. And I've dealt with Jeff for years, and there's just a whole bunch of mutual respect there.
On making upgrades to the roster
A lot has been said about this being a lost season and I don't agree with that, totally. A year ago we were talking about, first of all, deal with the younger players. I was wondering where they would be and where they were going to get to. And we didn't really have an idea of what they were going to be. At this point in time this year, it's much clearer to me that some of the younger guys have taken steps and can be legitimate. There's a couple legitimate top six fours in this league. We obviously got lucky enough to get Trevor and Jamie in the lineup, and some of the young guys came along really well and a few didn't. There's a couple of the middle-age guys that have had a couple of lost years. But whenever you're going through this and you call it rebuild, retool, remodel, reset. Whatever you want to call it, it's a plan. And a key component of the plan for us has to be our group of core players embracing what we're trying to do, understanding it, wanting to be part of it and helping us. Because you can't get moving forward quicker unless they embrace it and take part in it and take ownership of it themselves. And we've got to identify which of our core guys really want to do that. Because they are key to this.
You know, everybody wants to get faster and younger. You hear that all the time, but we want to make a team that's faster, younger, exciting, that plays an exciting brand of hockey that are our fans want to come and see play. And that's what we're trying to build here. But a certain group of this core of middle-aged players need to take ownership and embrace this. And we need everybody to get working this summer. Young, old, I don't care. They need to have a good summer, and we need to have a good summer preparing for it. And the coaching staff, making sure everybody's on the same page. And there's no individual thinking that we're heading in one direction.
On what the team might be able to do in free agency this summer
They [the owners] understand the plan. Nobody likes losing, but they're understanding where we're going and what we're doing. And I've got to be honest, I think they're being more than fair with what our plan is on budget next year. We walked out and Henry [Samueli] was very good. Eventually some of the situations we got into as we were a good team and most teams get into these where they've got things that just don't linger around. These things are slowly going away money-wise in the next couple of years, the numbers are coming down and we're out of a bunch of things.
There's two ways: we've got to continue to draft well. I have boxes that need to get filled going forward. And there are two ways to do it. You always have to supplement through the draft. And then the other way is through trades and being able to make a hockey deal if you have to make a hockey deal. And I'm very anxious, I've said this before, to see what happens right around the expansion draft, this short, short timeframe between the expansion draft and the draft. It's curious, what's going to go on next year because the cap has a huge impact on everything still, and it ties a lot of people's hands. The number of teams that are so close to the cap is unbelievable. So it did tie some people's hands, but it also makes opportunities for other teams if they have space.
On what personnel changes he'd like to make
Obviously, our power play and goal scoring is a huge problem. Huge problem. So we have to address that in a few different ways: Our top six forwards, we have to add to that. And you know, there's two ways to do that: trade and draft. We also have to, within the coaching staff, our power plays in the way we play the game. There's another part of it. We don't draw any power plays. Well, why? Well, we don't go to the tough areas enough. Now the analytical people have different names for those things. The two guys that draw the most for us are Max Comtois and Max Jones. Why? Because they go there, and we need more people to go into there so you get more power plays. And then we've got to put the puck in the net. We've got to get some shooters, so those are the areas I'm looking in. And we have an exciting group of young players coming in. There's some who you guys don't even know. We've got a bunch of good young defensemen coming. So that's where it's possible, maybe to make a trade get a top six forward. I'm saying it's possible, but we'll see what happens when it comes to that timeframe.
On positives he's seeing in this team
It's a team, but you need some of your younger players to come along and fit in with your core group. That's going to take you forward. I think we saw that a couple of these young players are going to be, for example, top six forwards. I think our young goaltenders in the organization, like I think Stoli [Anthony Stolarz] played very well. And I don't know if any of you watch San Diego, but Lucas Dostal is a good goaltender. Benoit-Olivier Groulx is a good hockey player. Max Jones is going to fit really well. Isac Lundestrom came along. There's a spot for him in a certain role where you got boxes you fill as you build a hockey team. And I know some of those young guys are going to fill those boxes now. So, and again, we got to get back on the development side of things. We've got a whole bunch of really good young prospects, and we haven't been able to get too much into their lives because of the world and what's gone on. So we've got to get back and better at that, the development side.
On the upcoming draft
From when I have been out scouting and seeing that it is a top-end, heavy defense draft. There are a couple of good young forwards in there. We're going to take, as we always have, the best player available. We'll make our lists, and we won't make our list by position but the best player available. And then as it goes down the road, as you get deep, defensemen are always valuable to move. Everybody needs defense. So we'll take the best player.
On the team's offensive struggles
We got older, and maybe I waited too long to start this, whatever word you want to use. We got older, and guys were less willing to go to those places. I don't quite have the answers to why some of our people's production has gone down. Ricky [Rickard Rakell] has had two years in a row where he's just not scoring, and he does get scoring chances. We've got to get them back on the right page. With the coaching staff, we have to come up with a few new ideas on how to do this, how to get to the tough areas to score goals.
On the hopes of things getting back to normal next season
We're excited. We're finally going to have a full summer here and we get to get back into the young players lives and the training and helping them develop. And we get to do a lot of things that we need to do in our interaction. And this is a critical summer. They all are, but this is a very big summer for us. We're going to have two or three more good young draft picks. And it's good to be able to get out and see them and work with them and have more one-on-one discussions and meetings with players. Except other than by Zoom, you know what I mean? It's, it's going to be good to get your interaction with people.
On coach Dallas Eakins
Again, a few of the younger players, we can identify where they're going to be now. I think he did a very good job at that. I think he definitely, and this is what we're assessing now with the coaching staff, he needs some help going forward with the group we have. So that's one thing we are doing. We're reassessing the whole coaching staff and obviously we've got criteria, what type of people we need to help Dallas going forward. It was a heavy load, but when it started to go south, he hung in there. But we've got to get him somebody to help with the power play. He's got to communicate with the players. He's got to be free to just go around. What he does best is communicate, and he's got to do it. And that's why we're reevaluating the whole coaching staff up and down the organization.