Here's what Maple Leafs general manager Lou Lamoriello had to say about Monday's trade with the San Jose Sharks.
How did this trade come together with the Sharks?
Well like every other trade Chris [Johnston], as we spoke the other day, timing is everything. Certainly we were having discussions and it came about last night where it got finalized and totally finalized earlier this morning.
Do you have any immediate plans to call anyone up from the Marlies?
Yes, we will be calling up Percy and Leipsic this morning.
Has the stockpiling of picks been just as important as the players you've gotten in these trades?
Well I think the picks are the most important thing that we've gotten in these transactions. I think that we'll see what the players bring from now until the end of the year, but the picks are the most important as far as giving us an opportunity depending upon where we're at. With these two being pushed out in two years they can also be used at a later time to acquire a player if need be or to select in the entry draft.
Is there some thought to getting in front of the market and making these trades now?
I've never believed that you wait to the final minute. If you can make something you're comfortable with and not worry about what other people are doing or thinking then you should do it. Sometimes, in other words, it can't happen until the end because it still takes two people to make a decision to have a transaction, but I always felt that if you can do it a little early you better but I've been in it until the last minute, right up until two minutes before 3 o'clock. I've seen both kinds of it. It depends upon what the partner's situation is.
How much interest was there in Polak and what type of influence did he have on the team?
First of all, Roman, there's no question what his characteristics are. He's a man, he's a player's player, he competes each and every night. He's somebody that you'd go in a foxhole with at any given time. He knows what we think of him and he certainly understands what we're trying to do here with reference to the plan that is in place. I just can't say enough about him as a person and also what he's brought to that lineup.
Was there much interest in Polak?
Hopefully there's interest in every player.
Do you envision a scenario where you use all 12 picks in 2016 or would you be willing to move them?
I don't think that's a question I can answer right now because if that opportunity was there that we thought made us better, we would have already done that but usually those type of things happen at the draft. When you see where different players are aligned as far as where they're picked or not picked, those are draft table situations. To answer your question, I think you do anything you feel is going to fit within what the plan is -- that's an overused word right now -- but the process we're trying to create. So, anything can happen. There's nothing in cement that's saying this won't happen or this will happen.
Is there any concern that you may be weakening the Marlies with these call-ups?
Well we certainly are not trying to weaken the Marlies. This has always been our thought process as far as timing to get the Marlies in here at a certain time. We wanted them to stay together for the majority of the season, but I don't think it will weaken our position whatsoever. Only time will tell but it's up to us to make sure that's monitored very closely because we want them to have success.
How have you seen Leipsic's development this season?
There's no question with him, given the opportunity, we've seen his development coming. He made the most of a timing situation when he was called up and then came right back, went to the minors and didn't miss a beat. But, we could have called other players up also and been very comfortable. When the time is right you'll see other people here.
What is the importance of Mark Hunter moving forward with this cache of picks?
I don't think I could overestimate the value and the knowledge and the expertise of Mark Hunter in his position in this draft -- total, total comfortability. As you said I was fortunate to have David Conte for a number of years over there [in New Jersey]. Both have tremendous similarities as far as being at the rink each and every day, seeing games and having knowledge and Mark is that. In the brief time that I have been here and, one of the first individuals that I spent time with because of how important he was, I'm impressed more and more with him and totally comfortable with him having these picks in his hands and I think Maple Leafs fans should feel comfortable also. I know our whole staff, throughout the Marlies, throughout the scouts -- as far as their respect for him -- and the coaching staff, he's straightforward, no grey area and he knows what he's doing.
What is the logic with leaving Raffi Torres with the Sharks organization?
I think it's simple, I think we're extremely comfortable with the people we have in the Marlies and I don't think a veteran going into the Marlies right now is the right thing. That's nothing against Raffi, I think the chemistry there is perfect and, once again, it has nothing to do with the individual. I don't know him personally. I just felt that this was a transaction that was part of what we were trying to accomplish and I don't think that there is a role for him right now. He is certainly not playing-ready for the NHL and in our opinion, my opinion specifically -- it was part of the transaction that he would remain in the minor league team in San Jose