TALKING POINTS: Gretzky fields media ahead of Trade Deadline
Oilers Assistant General Manager Keith Gretzky provided an update on Jesse Puljujarvi and discussed the upcoming NHL Trade Deadline
Q: Can you update us on Jesse Puljujarvi and where he's at?
A: We came back off the trip and one of the reasons he sat out the one game was he had a little bit of a lower-body injury. We've looked at it this week and we have a couple different options that we can do. We've given them to Jesse and his agent and they're going to have a second doctor look at it.
Q: There's a sense with Jesse that there's this tension there about where he wants to be versus where he should be, and that his future is somewhat up in the air. From an organizational standpoint, where are you guys with his development and where the relationship is with the player?
A: First of all, we need to get him healthy. That's our main focus. Right now, he's injured to a point where he wants a second opinion. That's fine, that's his right and we feel it's right with us. He's going to get that next week and if there are different options we'll see where they go next week.
Q: Do you think that had a bearing on how he was playing?
A: I think it was there a little bit for a while and it hasn't improved. It's gotten a little bit worse. They've tried different things and now this is the best route.
Q: Sounds like, then, it would be something long-term. If he requires surgery is he going to be done for the year?
A: It's one of those things that we have to gather all the information with our doctors and Jesse's second opinion, and his representations and see what's best for Jesse. Then we'll sit down and decide.
Q: So most likely next week then, when they gather that and a decision is made?
A: Yeah, I think he goes on Tuesday and he'll be back. It will be by the end of the week when the doctors have all the information.
Q: Is he going to a doctor in the United States?
A: Yeah, he is.
Q: You made two stealth moves last week. Do you just make them on the weekends?
A: We're the same as the last couple of weeks. We're looking to improve the hockey club, and if that means adding a positional player, we'll do it. It has to make sense. I've said that from the get-go, that we're not going to do a short-term fix and cost us an arm and a leg. We're looking at everything being offered and talked about.
Q: What's your workload been like the last little while?
It's a little bit different but that's OK. That's part of the job. You know you have a lot on your plate and you have a lot of people. It's day-by-day, hour-by-hour.
Q: Do you have to weigh with your rentals the draft picks coming back as opposed to prospects who have already played in the minors, while draft picks are a few years away?
A: Exactly. We have our pro scouts out there. If we're dealing with a team, we have certain guys that we might have higher, that we think are more valuable than the pick that's going to be four or five years away. That's what you have to weigh in on: to see what's best for the hockey club today and tomorrow.
When it comes to making a trade, ultimately someone has to have the final say. How much collaboration, how many voices are involved and how different is it from when Peter was the GM and you were one of the guys collaborating?
At the end of the day, I talk to Bob and we feel what's best. We made the trade with Cam (Talbot) and I went to Bob and said, 'This is the team (Philadelphia Flyers) and this is what we can get (Anthony Stolarz)' and it really helped us out.
With Sam, we've been talking about Sam for a while. I called (Vancouver Canucks GM) Jimmy (Benning) before our game in Carolina and said, 'Listen, if I got a deal, would you be able to move on this with Sam?' He said, 'Yeah, of course.'
There was a little hiccup before because of salary and we couldn't budge from what they wanted and we weren't budging. When we moved Cam, that opened up a spot.
Q: You want to move money. Does that have to be now or can it still be in the summer?
A: It can be in the summer. The biggest thing is improving the club. You're not going to give away money or a player just to save a little bit of money. We're trying to make the club better for today and tomorrow. We still have a chance for the playoffs.
A: If we feel that the player is going to help our hockey club, yes. And we're not afraid to do that. But if it's a deal that we think is going to hinder our development of kids that are in the minor leagues, I don't think we'll do that.
Q: So, you're still in the rental picture along with all these other teams but you are going to get Mark Stone or somebody of that calibre?
A: No, but we're looking to improve the club. We have talks going on and why wouldn't we? We're playing well. It's good to get a win at home. We've had one bad game, and that was three games ago at home but I feel we've played really well.
Q: What are the chances that you add or move a player?
A: It's 50/50. It really is. We like some players that we'd like to get but it has to make sense. We're not going to give away a player.