After the draft concluded, Vice President of Hockey Operations and Director of Player Personnel had a press conference over the phone with reporters.
Q: You went pretty heavy on defense early today, is this by design?
It was by design to a certain extent. I mean, we were certain that the best player were were looking it and we did have numerous discussions how thin a draft it was from a defensive standpoint, we felt, and if there were kids that we felt strongly about that we really wanted to hop on them and just the way it fell there were some kids that we really felt strongly about that fell for us. The success we’ve had at such a valued position now, I mean the teams with the depth and you look at the way things have unfolded for us in the playoffs and the depth of our defense. We kind of have that wave of forwards coming up now like our young defenseman played with Doughty, and Voynov, and [Martinez], and [Muzzin]. Now we’ve got kind of a restock those shelves in the system and now we’ve got the wave of forwards coming in now with Pearson and Toffoli and the crew. We certainly had a conscious effort to have a little higher value on defenseman, were still going with the best player.
Q: Did the window close on Linden Vey?
It’s probably better to ask [Lombardi]. There’s a lot of value to the player. I mean Linden paid his dues and you look at the way things unfolded with his opportunity. I mean we set his asset value at a high second, mid second round pick. The player, we really felt strong about we had Roland McKeown rated in our first round, and the fact he was still there we felt after great debate, that was going to provide Linden an opportunity which he had requested and it allowed us to an opportunity to take a defenseman, a good young defenseman that we coveted. You know start fresh our development system and we think he’s going to be a big part of things.
Q: What did you like about Roland McKeown?
He’s an exceptional skater, he’s a captain or an assistant captain on all of Hockey Canada’s coming up, the U-17, and U-18’s. Used and plays Doughty like minutes at the junior level and probably played a little too much and kinda got exposed trying to do too much down the stretch. That might have hurt his rankings a bit, but he’s already an NHL skater, great athlete, and he fills out he’s only going to get better. He was somebody we were just, that was really the only name that we had on our list that we felt would allow us to make the Vey deal and be getting value or better.
Q: How challenging was it to have 10 picks?
You know why, we kind of as a staff we’ve kind of gotten used to, we know exactly what’s expected and we’ve become a lot more familiar. We’ve been up and down and it just seems the way things fell we felt that after a certain period became who you like and how your list falls. I don’t think we’ve ever left the draft not enjoying what we’ve done or what we’ve accomplished or set out to accomplish. With this group we refuse to, like Dean said you know we had people calling us to the end about those last two picks and, believe me, if you want to leave a draft early those are two picks you do not want to have. We had two guys that we felt strongly about. That we knew, just like Jordan Nolan, both of them had numerous tryout camps offered to them and by holding and waiting it out and taking those last two picks it takes their options away. There going to be our property and we’re going to get an opportunity for our development crew to work with them. That’s why right down with Watson and Middleton right to the end we weren’t giving those picks up. It';s a long process, it’s a grind, but we looked at, we were so spread out since because we were picking last in every round most of the time it really made it difficult for us to package a bunch things up together to move up. There were times in the first round there were a couple players that had slid a little bit and we tried to use some of our bullets. We had a bullet in Linden Vey, that was in play as far as the possibility of moving up. Again it seemed to me that we wanted to get, at the point we wanted to get a goalie, the goalie we had next was available. It just, time will tell but everything went pretty smoothly so we were thrilled.