A partial transcript of Doug Wilson's conference call earlier today.
Q: Expansion Draft; have you decided which format you're going to use? Whether it's the 7-3-1 or the 8 skaters and 1 goalie for Vegas?
Doug Wilson: We fleshed it all out, we can go either way. I think there's still some time between now and tomorrow when we have to submit our list so things can change, between now and then. I think we're probably leaning towards one direction than the other but as they say "between now and then some things can change". I've been certainly talking to every team and we'll be talking to Las Vegas prior to our submission time tomorrow.
Q: You'll leave open the possibility you might try to make some sort of deal with them rather than let them just take a player?
DW: That's a possibility but also we're exploring hockey trades also so I think all teams have been in communication with each other and there are some teams that are positioned differently than others for the expansion draft. We feel we're pretty comfortable, we know we're going to lose a good player. So is every team, that's part of the expansion process. There's lots of talk, lots of communication. We do think we've prepared for this pretty well.
And regardless of us losing a player, we feel like we're in a really good position with, obviously, some of the upcoming Barracuda players we have and all the young players we've added in the last couple of years which I think is close to 40 players to our reserve list. So all those things come into play, but when there is expansion, you know you're going to lose a player and you control what you can and at the same point, exploring hockey deals is a regular occurrence for us.
Q: In terms of the hockey deals, do you sense a lot of teams have guys they don't need to protect and are putting them on the market right now that you might be able to acquire one of those types of guys?
DW: Well every team's got a different position, you know. As Kevin asked, whether they're going to do the 1-3-7 or the 1 and 8. There are some teams, I'm sure, are trying to do deals with Las Vegas if they have higher-end players that they're willing to subsidize. I'm sure Las Vegas will be trying to explore acquiring players that they could put in the market the following week. It'll be an interesting week. We feel, as they say "pretty good about our hockey team" and very good about the young guys coming but there will be a lot of conversations not only prior to tomorrow, but getting to the draft and through the next few weeks.
Q: Where are you guys on the assistant coach? Filling out Bob's spot on the assistant coach? Are you guys close to filling that spot? What's going on with that process?
DW: We started that process. I mean we're really really excited for Bob Boughner. He's earned that, he deserves that. When a player...a person gets identified, whether a player or staff member, I mean that's a good thing when they want your people. But we've also been aware of this the last few weeks. I was in Buffalo at the Combine and had Pete come in and join me, so we knew realistically that that was a possibility. So we've been identifying people. We started off by identifying what we were looking for first, the ingredients to replace Bob, and we've been building a list ever sense. Have started the interview process and that will continue into next week. But there are some really good candidates out there that we really like.
Q: Just to follow that up, what are the ingredients you're looking for in a new assistant coach?
DW: Well you know, I'll keep that between Pete and I... When you have a head coach, and I mean certain ingredients, and some staff members might evolve up. Certainly all the work that was done by our development people in the Barracuda and really they've got some great input. We always say "A wise man uses all his resources" and Pete's very astute and does that.
Obviously it will be somebody that deals with the defensemen and certainly somebody with elements and background in penalty killing also 'cause those were the ingredients that Bob oversaw. And a guy that, obviously has great character and communication skills because we have a very tight group. Our players know when somebody knows what they're talking about and they also... communication is very very important in this business so without giving away the rest of the things we're looking at what we're looking at, that's kind of an outline.
Q: How's Jumbo's rehab going so far? With respect to negotiations, considering the high profile nature of the two, Patty and Jumbo, what can you say just in terms...looking ahead for those two?
DW: Well first of all Jumbo's doing extremely well. He's been in here every day looks really good. I don't think there's any doubt he'll be ready and fit to start the season. The work he's put in already, that's pure Jumbo. He loves the game but I see him every day here at the rink.
As far as the negotiations some of it depends on the overall cap number is going to be. Obviously identified some other key contractions I have to try to get in place. As far as both Patty and Jumbo we've had some dialogue and that'll continue but it will remain private.
Q: How complicated is this offseason for you? This whole process? How much does one thing impact the other? Are there a lot of moving pieces?
DW: There are but I think we've been fairly proactive in it. We've always said our priority is to make this a place where players want to play. And I think what we said at the end of the year, obviously we've got some priority contracts with Martin Jones and Marc-Edouard Vlasic. Which we're making some progress on but there's still work to be done. While there's probably more when there's an expansion year and certainly key contracts to get done, that's the nature of this business. Every team's got things they have to deal with, but I'll go back to the priority thing.
This is a place players want to play and we're thankful we've got a committed owner who gives us the things we need - we can spend to the cap and all those things. But there is business to be done and the next little while there's certainly some things to get done. But it's our job to explore and get that done.
Q: After watching the playoffs this year is there something/an element you need to add to compete on that level?
DW: Yeah well I think when you go back a couple years ago and it's really an important piece of bringing the Barracuda out here. We've added close to 40 players there and if you take a look at those players - whether we've drafted or acquired or signed as free agents, especially in the amateur UFA market they all are capable of playing a certain way. And there's no doubt we're going to have an infusion of youth in the big club.
And the type of player or the ability to play a game, which is a speed possession game, you take a look at the players we've added on the backend in particular. You see the Heeds and the Joakim Ryan's and the Jeremy Roy's and the kid Simek that we signed, the Czech defenseman. They can all move pucks. So you certainly want to link your defense to your offense attack and that's kind of been part of our plan. The forwards that we've added, the kids who are possession guys who can play a certain way. They had great success with the Barracuda under Roy this year, one of the youngest teams in the AHL. So it was really the plan or things we wanted to put in place we think are in a good place.
Now we think we may have one of the most competitive training camps we've ever had because a lot of the young players that came up, and I think we brought up 9 or 10 from the Barracuda, they're going to be given the opportunity to come and make this hockey team and that leads to a highly competitive camp. So you learn and that's why when we sit with our coaches and sit with our staff it's where the game is at and where it's going. We do that every year and we certainly did that a couple of years ago and it really just resonates how important bringing the Barracuda out here really was and is. You see these young guys now they're not just knocking on the door they're coming in to take jobs and good for them; competition is a wonderful thing.