We want to make sure that we're creating a new youth movement. - Bob Hartley
JERSEY CITY, NJ -- Over the course of his 17-year career, Bob Hartley has coached a gamut of players.
He has dealt with veteran-laden rosters, lineups flush with with fresh-faced kids and middle-of-the-pack groups that house a mix of rookies and veterans in the locker room. Given that breadth of experience, he understands what he will be tasked with as the Calgary Flames attempt to shift their roster in a younger direction.
"Dealing with a younger team, obviously there is lots of new life," he said. "Some people might call this a lack of experience but you have to learn at one point.
"With the partners that I have in my coaching staff with the philosophy of management, I think that we have a great set-up."
The coaching staff are already familiar with several prospects on the cusp of becoming regular NHLers thanks to last season's seven-player recall. The Flames brought up several bodies from Abbotsford and had them play as much as possible in order to see where each of them were in terms of their development.
"They did tremendously well," Hartley said. "That's going to be our mandate from Day One at training camp. We want to make sure that we're creating a new youth movement. We're going to give them every chance to showcase their talent, showcase their ability, and especially to let us know because they're going to making those decisions to let us know if they're ready to be in the NHL."
Hartley has been involved in the Flames scouting meetings over the past week, helping him get a feel for what the team is aiming to accomplish at the NHL Draft this year. Not only has he been able to take in all of the information the scouts have compiled, he has also been able to add some insight to certain players playing in the QMJHL and the teams who competed for the Memorial Cup.
"(The scouts) spent the entire winter going around North America and Europe to find talent, to rate talent. I'm basically just sitting there listening and if they have a couple of questions on players I might have seen, I will answer them.
"Those guys are very well-prepared. They already have quantities of meetings to rate and evaluate the players so by no means am I here to interfere or anything. I'm just a compliment to those guys."
In addition to owning eight picks - three in the first round - at the 2013 NHL Draft, Flames General Manager Jay Feaster has been busy working the phones, trying to arrange trades to add more youth to the lineup.
On Thursday, he traded veterans Alex Tanguay and Cory Sarich to the Colorado Avalanche, getting 28 year-old forward David Jones and 29 year-old Shane O'Brien in exchange. The move, according to Hartley, is a step in the right direction on more than one front.
"We got our team bigger," the bench boss stated. "That was one thing that when we sat with Jay and management at the end the season, we wanted to get bigger, grittier.
"With that trade, we accomplished a big part of this."