Flyers GM Paul Holmgren pre-NHL Draft transcript

Published on June 18th, 2012

Q: Chris Pryor said that [the draft] is an even first round…Talk a little bit about that.
“Well, our first round pick is at twenty and we are happy with that position. We think we will get a player there that is a good prospect. I think what Chris probably means is that somebody might like a player at ten that we might like at twenty, or something like that. It is a different draft for sure. There are some top-end guys there and maybe after the first five or six players it evens out.”
Q: Do you feel at some point, during the draft, that you have to address goaltending in your system and long-term picture?
“I guess we could. I think we have a couple of young guys that we signed here. Niko Hovinen is going to play this year in North America. Cal Heeter, out of Ohio State, we signed. We have some young guys that are under contract that are going to play in the system. That doesn’t mean that we won’t look at a goalie at some point in the draft. In the first round, who knows.”
Q: The theory you use is the ‘best player available’… is that still the same?
“I would say that we will stick with our same philosophy. We have done well with that. I think that is why we like the 20th pick. Historically, we have done pretty good picking late too. I think our guys to a good job there.”
Q: Talking about getting a first-round pick that is a goaltender
“That is dangerous to say never. You could argue that Brian Boucher turned out pretty good. He is still banging around. I think he was picked 22nd. There are some goalies we like that are going to be picked fairly high. That is not to say that we would or would not consider that at twenty.”
Q: Do you have a consensus with the scouts that there is a positional need to fill this season?
“I could tell you now, positionally we are stronger as an organization at the forward position than we are at defense. That doesn’t mean that we are going to take a defenseman. If there is a forward that our group likes a head of the defenseman, we will probably take the forward. That’s what I would say. That is the way we have always done business and we will continue to work that way.”
Q: Do you think that the CBA will have any impact on the time leading up to the draft and the draft itself?
“There is always activity at the draft. Everybody is together and it is easier to make deals this time of year than it is during the year, because of salary cap constraints. Right now, everybody has… I don’t want to say money to play with, but nothing is really set. You sort of know what the cap is being set at and we don’t know what it is going to be when the new CBA is set. You have a little more freedom to play with your roster at this time of year. I think that is why there is so much activity at the draft.”
Q: On Matt Carle

“I think, like I said when the season ended, Matt wants to be a part of the Flyers organization and we would like to keep him. We can’t do anything right now. I have kept in contact with both Matt and his agent. I am fairly certain that we will get him signed.”
Q: On Jaromir Jagr
“I haven’t spoken to Jaromir or his agent within two days after the season was over. We left it at we would talk later on near the end of June. Again, we don’t know what the salary cap is going to be, so there are a lot of variables that we have to wait on.”
 Q: Have you decided with Jagr that if you get the right price that you do want him back?
 “I think Jaromir brought a lot to the team this year, and I can see him doing the same next year so I would certainly have interest.”
 Q: When will you know the salary cap?
 “It usually comes out this week sometime. I would say at the Governors meeting tomorrow would probably be when the number would come out, but I don’t know for sure.”
 Q: That number when it does come out is temporary though, right?
 Q: Can you give us an update on Chris Pronger?
 “It’s the same.”
 Q: Have you been in touch with him recently?
Q: Still has headaches?
“Yeah. Good days and bad days, same as he’s had here since he stopped playing.”
Q: This close to free agency and with [Chris Pronger] as basically status quo, do you go into the draft seeking that you’ve got do something with your defense with a veteran player?
“In a perfect world, probably yeah, but it’s easier said than done. We’ll take a peek on July 1st and see what’s available and if there’s a way we can improve our team we’ll take a shot at it. 
Q: Are you going into the draft trying to do what you’ve done in the past, try and make a deal with someone, get their rights now before free agency?
“There’s nobody there right now that I would do that for.”
Q: A lot of people think that the one big piece that you need is a big defenseman, a number one defenseman. That there’s not a whole lot of them out there could be one available next week, there could be one available next year. You’ve been creative, is that something that you think is a must, considering Chris [Pronger’s] situation, that you need to fill that hole someway. Might you trade a piece that you have to make room on the cap for someone like that?
“Assuming Chris can’t play, those are big shoes to fill. It’s hard to find Chris Pronger, I don’t know if he’s out there. Having said that, we are continuing to look to improve our team. I think getting Nicklas Grossmann signed when we did was a positive step for us. If we can get Matt Carle signed I think that will help us long term, and now we still have Coburn, Meszaros, and Kimmo’s still under contract for one more year. He’s doing great by the way, following his surgeries. We’re still in decent shape there, Kimmo’s getting older so we have to look toward the future here to make plans to improve that area. 
 Q: Can you give us your impressions on Justin Schultz who may become a free agent?
“I’m not sure I can comment on him because you just said ‘may become a free agent’ so I’m not going to comment on him.”
Q: Do you have any sense as to what the top end talent in this draft looks like? Last year you got Sean [Couturier] at number eight, and he was obviously ready to step right into a role, are there players like him out there that might be able to follow?
“Yeah I think there’s a number of players who could probably step right in and play should they, or will they is another question. There are certainly players that I’ve seen that could and probably will step there and play right away.”
Q: Have you talked at all about moving up in the draft to get one of those top 5 guys?
“No. I only had one conversation in that regard. Whether that heats up a little bit or not, I don’t know. We’re not actively trying to move up, as I said earlier we like the position we’re in.”
 Q: From ten to twenty being the same, that unless you move into the top five, it’s not really. . .
” Yeah, it probably is, that’s probably what you’re asking.”
Q: That thing about improving defensively, is that something that you look at as a project for this season, or something that’s more urgent? Just building on that defensive quote, building on the depth, and maybe also kind of replacing [Pronger]?
” The loss of Chris is huge. That is a huge hole on our team, and as I said he’s a hard guy to replace if he can’t play. I think short term and long term we’ve got a lot to try and improve. As I said, [Nicklas] Grossman being signed was big and hopefully we can get Matt [Carle] signed I think that’ll be big too. He’s still a young guy and a good player.
 Q: The short term part of that, are you in a position to really do well in that area? Are you in a position to really improve, in your view?
 “We’ll take a peek on July 1st and see what’s available, and go from there”
 Q: People are looking at the one big name that’s out there for free agency on July 1st, is that a guy that you have interest in?
 “What’s the date today, June 18th? It’s twelve days til July 1st, so on July 1st we’ll take a peek and see.”

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