(Voorhees, NJ, April 10) – Philadelphia Flyers General Manager Paul Holmgren met with the media following the NHL Draft Lottery. The Flyers will choose second overall in the 2007 NHL Entry Draft on June 22 in Columbus, Ohio.
The Chicago Blackhawks won the draft lottery.
Below are excerpts from Holmgren's media availability.
Does it really matter in this year's draft [having the first or second pick]? Paul Holmgren: "I'm not sure it really matters. The thing about having the first pick is you get the first pick. Now, we don't, but I'm confident we're still going to get a good player. As I've said all along, I'm not sure there's an immediate impact guy there anyway."
Does it limit your options? "I'm not sure that changes, either. I think everyone views this draft pretty much the same. I think everybody considers it to be a decent draft with no immediate impact guys."
Does it make it easier to accept because there are no Crosbys or Ovechkins out there? "Absolutely. Obviously when you're talking Crosby or someone like that I would be a little bit more disappointed; or, a lot more disappointed."
What was your immediate reaction? "I can't really say (laughs). I just kind of take it in stride. We'll deal with it and move on."
How important is this draft for the club? "Obviously, with the number two overall pick, we believe we're going to get a good young player. I don't think it's an immediate impact guy, I think it's a guy that's a few years away. It's important for the long term productivity of the team, but nothing immediate. We have a number of options that we like. We haven't really settled on an order yet in terms of what we see from our scouting staff's viewpoint, but we will. We'll get a good player."
What do you do between now and the draft? "Some of these guys that we're talking about start tomorrow in Finland, so I'm heading over to Finland next week for the Under-18 championships. There's three or four of those guys that we're talking about. I'll see those guys and some of the other guys that are still playing too that are probably in that range."
Would you say right now that you're going to use your pick or is it an option to trade it? "I would never say never, but right now I don't think anyone's going to be calling to say we have interest in your pick. It just doesn't make sense because of the timing. I would suspect at some point somebody will, but we'll cross that bridge when we get to it.
"There's a clump of guys that are fairly close. Some teams are going to like player A, some will like player B and some will like player C. I think it's that close."
On prospect Alexei Cherepanov: "He's kind of an inconsistent player. He can really 'wow' you one game and make you very frustrated the next time you see him because he doesn't do much. From a skill standpoint, he's certainly up there."
Would the organization take a risk on something like that? "I don't see why not. He's a good young player."
On prospect Angelo Esposito: "Angelo had such a good year last year and he followed it up with not such a good year this year. Last year he played with [Alexander] Radulov who is in Nashville and the two of them were a dynamic duo. This year he hasn't had that level of player to play with and I think his play has dropped a little bit because of that."
On drafting by need as opposed to the best available: "The guys we're talking about this high in the draft are all forwards, anyway. There's not a goalie that's in that [Rick] DiPietro or [Roberto] Luongo class in our opinion. There's probably not a defenseman in that group, either. They are pretty close, but…"
What determines who the player is [amongst the Flyers staff]? "We usually work it out. It's a longer process some years than other years, for sure. I think our staff is really good at figuring out a way."
On him personally seeing the prospects: "That's something that I've always liked to do. I've always had more of a desire or penchant for the amateur side of our business. I think that's the lifeblood of the franchise. That's not to say that I sit in the room with our scouts and say ' we're taking this guy because he played well when I saw him.' These are the guys that see him 20 or 30 times a year. I'm not like that. I more or less just like to go and put a face to a name."