Tampa Bay Lightning GM Steve Yzerman spoke with members of the media regarding the day's three-team trade wherein Steve Downie went to the Colorado Avalanche:
What does this mean for you, these moves today? Well again, we’ve had a lot of talk with Al Murray and myself to discuss the issues about the needs we may have to address. We look at the team that we are today and the trades that we’ve made in the last week, and the players that we’ve moved out for draft picks. We obviously felt the return we got made the trades worth doing, and our options today were to keep Steve Downie, Kyle Quincey for the first-round pick. We wanted that first-round draft pick , so that’s how that decision was made.
The other night you said you had options with all these draft picks. Do you feel like you have more options now? I think so. If we have draft-related or trade-related options to acquire some players; we have some flexibility. We can hang on to some of those picks and if a move comes up where a team is looking to move a player; there’s a lot of options for us.
When we get to the draft, we can move up or move down and do a lot of different things. When you look at today, we traded players off of our roster to get draft picks, but I think it puts us ahead in the long run.
What's the message you send to the players who still feel like, being just six points out, there's still a chance for the playoffs? Obviously, I traded three players for draft picks. These moves are made to make us better in the future. Any situation that comes along from today through the trade deadline and into the off-season is something we’re willing to look at.
Our picks give us options. My goal is to win a Stanley Cup here, and I think we have to do some tough and difficult things along the way to do that. We need young players. We need to draft well and build that way, and this was an opportunity to take advantage of that and acquire more picks, and relatively high picks. The message to our players has been that I want to win a Stanley Cup and I’m going to do what I have to do to get us there.
Would you be surprised if all these draft picks were still there by the time the actual draft rolls around? I would be surprised, but I’m going to look at all of our different options. I’m not sure if there’s an option with the Florida pick that we own, if that will be this year or next year. But we’ll find out at The Draft, but we’ll be comfortable with whatever decision Florida makes. Any potential opportunity that comes along and makes sense; we’ll consider using those picks to do them.
What do you say about the players still on this team who believe they can still make the playoffs? Well, they’re a competitive group of guys and a professional group of guys. Guy will push them hard to try and win every game and again, I’m trading popular players on the team for draft picks. These moves are made for the future. My only message is that I feel I have to do what I think is necessary to make us a Stanley Cup contender. I think these moves get us moving in that direction again.
Was there ever a moment today where you thought about keeping Kyle Quincey? How difficult was he to pass up? Initially, the discussions were with Colorado about Kyle Quincey. I thought more about him and talked to other general managers around the league as to what they were looking for and his name came up. You take everything into consideration: contract status, where they’re going to fit on your team, the type of player they are, and we had to think if we wanted Kyle Quincey or a first-round pick. I thought we should take the first-round pick.
Do you ever worry about making deals like this on a game day, and how it affects the guys? Yeah, you take that into account. We have a game today. Obviously, I’d prefer to do this on an off day, but the danger of waiting until tomorrow is that you let him play the game and there’s an injury and you lose the deal. You make the deal when all parties are comfortable and that’s the timing of it.
How busy do you expect to be between tomorrow and Monday? We’re running out of bodies. I really don’t know what our plans are or anything else. We’re willing to look at anything, I don’t expect to be incredibly busy heading up to Monday.