Philadelphia Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren conducted a conference call with local reporters shortly after 3:00 on Thursday. Holmgren and the Flyers' staff are in Montreal preparing for the 2009 NHL Entry Draft on Friday and Saturday.
To hear the audio of the call, click here
(running time is 9:03).
Holmgren spoke about the possibility of moving up or back from their current draft spot of 21 in the first round; potential trades and free agents; and not renewing the contract of goaltending coach Reggie Lemelin.
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Q: Where are you at going into tomorrow, has there been any movement up or down, or anything close to it?
Paul Holmgren: Nothing. A lot of that stuff is just ‘would you have an interest in moving up or down’. A lot of that happens kind of as you get closer to your pick, or the teams you’re talking to as they get closer to theirs, the teams that are ahead of us. They may have a certain player or two players identified who are no longer on the board, so they might be in a position to move back, and we might be in a position to move up. Similar with us, as we get closer to our pick, we might say to whomever, do you have interest in this pick for something later on. Q: Do you have any preference one way or the other, moving up or down?
PH: Well, to move up it usually costs additional assets or something, and when you’re moving back you’re usually gaining assets. Right now in picking at 21, the odds of us moving up probably aren’t very good. I would say there’s probably a better opportunity to move back. I’m not saying that will happen or not. There are two or three guys we like that we think will be there, but you just never know. Nobody has a crystal ball that’s that clear. Q: The team has had a lot of success over the years with picks 21 or later – Mike Richards, Gagne, Claude Giroux, Justin Williams, and probably a few other ones. Do you see anyone in this draft that has their ability that those guys had when they were that age?
PH: We think it’s a good draft, just like last year. There’s guys we like there. Are they going to be guys who can come in and play? You don’t know. It’d be hard pressed to say yeah, but you never know what’s going to happen. The league continues to get younger. I’m confident we’re going to get a good player at 21 if we do exercise our pick there. Q: Who would have the potential for a bigger impact in the NHL in the long run, Tavares or Hedman?
PH: You’re arguing different positions. I think they’re both going to make a tremendous impact probably right away. Hedman’s a great big defenseman who’s been playing with men here for two years, and Tavares is just one of those guys… you ask what he does, and he scores. He scores at every level he’s played at, and he’ll continue to do that. I think his progress, I would suspect it’ll be a little slower because he hasn’t been playing at the level Hedman’s been at. But I don’t know. You’d like to have either of those young players, that’s for sure. Q: Is the trading going to be that active this year?
PH: Well, there’s a lot of talk right now. So I would suspect there’s going to continue to be more and more talk, and sooner or later there’s going to be a deal that goes down, and that usually starts a domino effect of things. I think the potential for a lot of moves is there right now. I think there’s going to be moves made. Q: Are you optimistic that you can make a deal for a free agent’s rights over the weekend?
PH: Not really. Right now, you might be better off in any of those scenarios of players that we’ve looked into, it’s a lot for an unknown, whether you can even make any headway. We’ve done this in the past with Nashville, and we just had a clear picture going in, and probably more cap space too. Right now, [being] Thursday, and I’d just as soon wait on those guys that we do have interest in until July 1st. Q: Do you think you’re still in the [Bouwmeester] movement?
PH: I don’t know. I can say I’ve talked to Florida a number of times, and he hasn’t done anything with them yet to my knowledge, [concerning] his rights, so I’m not sure what that means. It’s only Thursday. Q: Have you put more hours into this than the deal with Nashville?
PH: I don’t know about more. I would say not more. It’s getting close though. (laughs) I spent a lot of time talking to David (Poile) leading up to that. We obviously didn’t make the playoffs that year and his team got beat in the first round, so we had the month of May, basically, to talk about it, and before it was done, it was June. As I recall, anyway. Q: You said before you’d have to be creative in order to do something to improve your roster. When you say “creative”, do you think you’re talking about players on your roster now that you might have to give something up in order to get that player to come back in?
PH: Either that, or get creative with a long-term contract, I guess. Q: [Regarding Reggie Lemelin]
PH: We didn’t renew Reggie’s contract, and I’m not in a position to comment on anything other than that right now. I just felt we needed a change. That’s all. Q: Was Reggie on board with the Ray Emery signing?
PH: That had nothing to do with it. Reggie, when he was still here, I know talked to him about it. He’s a good soldier. He’s been willing to work with whatever goalies we had. So it had nothing to do with that. I just felt like we needed a change.