Flyers GM Paul Holmgren spoke to the media via a conference call on Wednesday morning. Below is the transcript from the call.
Philadelphia Flyers General Manager Paul Holmgren:
Q: Because of the way the offer sheet to Shea Weber was front-loaded, did you expect Nashville to match it?
"No, it was structured where we were hopeful that they wouldn't match it. But, obviously they did and as I said yesterday we wish Shea and the Predators all the best. We tried to add, in our minds, one of the best defenseman in the game to a good, young, up-and-coming team, and it didn't work."
Q: When did you learn that [The Predators] were going to match [the offer sheet], and how much of a disappointment did it come as?
"I learned at about 3:15 yesterday afternoon, and the initial reaction was disappointment, but I guess we move on. The chance of them matching was always there however hopeful we were of them not, it was always there, and they did. Now we move forward and see what we can do. We like our team; we think it's a good, up-and-coming young team, and we will continue to try and add to it and make it better, which is what we tried to do with the offer sheet. We'll move forward."
Q: I guess any other moves, be it on defense or forward would involve a trade. Are you of the mindset that any significant trade is in the picture for you guys right now?
"No, I don't necessarily agree with what you said. There are still players out there that require a trade. It's July 25th today, there's still plenty of time before we can plan and rule out anything right now. As I said earlier, we really like our team, we certainly don't want to make any drastic changes, but we are going to continue to look at ways to get better. The object is to have the best team going into training camp and that's what we're going to do. We'll see what happens."
Q: You guys seemed to send the signal that you were trying to upgrade your defense, at least on the physical end, but as far as filling a pretty big hole on Claude Giroux's wing, is that still something you might be looking at also?
"Looking at my board I don't know that I see the hole that you see. We're obviously trying to get Jakub [Voracek] signed, and it's only a matter of time. We envision Jake playing with Claude [Giroux] next year so, that's the way we look at it, so I don't see that as a big hole. Getting back to our defense, I really like our defense. What we did over the last little while here was try to add one of the best players in the game to our team.
Q: Who was a defenseman?
"Yes. But that doesn't mean we don't like our defense moving forward. As I said, we have a good up-and-coming young team, and we're trying to add to it without subtracting and we'll continue to try and do that with the mindset that we'll do what we think is necessary to make our team as good as it can be."
Q: RFA offers are unusual of course. Would you say this is a one shot thing because of the caliber of Shea Weber or would you explore other RFA's out there?
"There's obviously players that are still left that are restricted, and Jake Voracek is one of them. Does that mean some team is thinking about doing an offer sheet on Jake? I have no idea. We took a shot at Shea Weber because he's Shea Weber. I don't think there are any Shea Weber's out there that are left in that category. So I guess to answer your question, I don't see that as being an option certainly this year."
Q: How important was it to protect guys like [Sean] Couturier and [Brayden] Schenn?
"We believe we have a good, young team that is only going to continue to get better. What we are trying to do is add to it without trying to take anything away. Anything we have done this summer has been just that. A caveat to that is we will look and see what we can do to make our team better, but our mind set is 'We like our team'. So, we are not looking to make big changes, we are looking to add without subtracting. We will see what we can do."
Q: Have you ever had a summer like this?
"Personally, I haven't. I am sure it has been done before. The players that were available via free agency we went after were really good players. They obviously had a lot of interest. Those players, in the first wave, got to sit back and pick and choose. With Shea [Weber], obviously Nashville recognized his value to their franchise and team as well. We tried and we will continue to try to make ourselves better."
Q: On meeting with Shane Doan…
"I don't want to put words in Shane's mouth, but I think first and foremost he would like things to work out in Phoenix. I don't believe he is going to do anything until he has some answers in his mind as to what is happening there. I think he is a very loyal guy. He is loyal to Don Maloney, and the Phoenix franchise. I give him kudos for that. We will see how it plays out. I think in the end he would rather be in Phoenix in a perfect world. [It's] where his family has been raised. If he is ready to make a move, we have interest."
Q: At this point, are you more inclined to look from within? With Gustafsson, Bourdon, and Manning?
"We do feel that way. We looked at that as an opportunity to add one of the top defensemen, if not the top guy. Our shot, it didn't work. I love our defense; I love the youth of our defense. We have good size and we have some kids that have a taste now in Marc-Andre [Bourdon], Erik [Gustafsson] and Brandon Manning as well. We added Bruno Gervais in the summertime, who we really like. We are perfectly happy with our defense right now. To try and add a guy like Shea Weber, doesn't really speak to anything other than maybe you are adding one of the best guys in the league."