Hockey Widow wrote:Locker day at the "garage".
Not all players spoke. By memory I think we had, in groups of four:
Trymakin with interpreter
Forget all the foursomes, who was with who.
Nothing earth shattering, they all loved Willie, they are the ones that failed not him. Want a coach that can work with young kids but understands the importance of veteran leadership. Sounds like Willie to me!
Feel they are a better team than the results show.
All vow to be better next year. Twins feel they can bounce back and be 60 point guys next year. Will work hard over the summer and come to camp showing they still can play at this level. Don't care what line they are designated as just want to contribute. Hank wants to get back to the playoffs next season. No other goal will do. He was asked if he'd relinquish the C if asked. He said for sure. That's a coach/management decision and although it is a huge honour to wear the C he really couldn't care less. It's about proving yourself on the ice and leading in the locker room. C or no C he will still be a leader.
All optimistic and excited about the future, great young skill now in the organization.
Tanev suffered a high ankle sprain early in the year that has made it difficult to play. Has a couple of other injuries that hampered him but he uses no excuses and declined to reveal the exact nature of injuries for that reason. Said when you tell the coach you can play and take to the ice you have to play.
Sutter, wrist has really effected him but echoed Tanev, no excuses.
Dorsett, scary injury for sure but he will be ready for camp. Will play at a heavier weight next year, heaviest since he joined the NHL. Rehab has given him a chance to work on strength and getting tougher. Says he only knows one way to play and he will test his neck by taking someone out on his first shift next season.
Gudbranson said he never got a chance to show what he could do. Knows he's better than he showed. Rehab has allowed him to increase his lower body strength and work on skating. Will be bigger,faster more determined next season.
Eriksson distraught over injuries. Frustrating year. He always finds the first year on a new team hard especially for his large family. This year was complicated by the fact it wasn't just a new city but also a new country. Will be better next year, a lot to prove to his teammates.
Markstrom frustrating injury. Rehab went real well then a huge setback and surgery. But he's feeling good and will be ready for camp. No one asked him if he would partake of the wheel barrel race next year.
Stetcher showed up with a great shiner courtesy of the stick he took to the face. Wants to increase his strength.
Horvat, a deal will get done. Not worried about it. Would love a LTC but is ok with a shorter one if that's the way it works out.
Gudbranson would love to finish his career here. Definitely wants a long term deal. Loves the city, loves his teammates. Wants to be one of the leaders. Is fine if he ends up with a one year show me deal. Understands the business/management side but he prefers a LTC. No question a deal will get done either way.
Trymankin. I play here. My contract done. I want stay. I no want KHL. We will see.
Miller would love to come back. Doesn't like moving from team to team. He feels settled in with the city and his teammates. No serious talks just feeling out period. Kept saying he had to wait until, then pause, then down the road. Got the strong sense he was avoiding saying we have to wait until the expansion draft was over. Sure sounds like all indications are he will be back.
Markstrom was asked if he was ready to be a number one. His response, YES. Full stop. But he also said he'd be fine with Miller coming back and said all the right things. He emphasized that no matter who is goaltending partner is he wants/expects to play more games, that's for sure. He's excited about next season as he sees a bigger role for himself. Can anyone spell GOALTENDING CONTROVERSY?
So they said all the right things. Everyone wants to be here. Oh Edler was asked if he still wanted to be here. He said yes. But little else. They all used variations of the R word. Oh and Hank, when asked about the draft, said unless you are getting a Crosby then it doesn't always work out the way you hope.
So no, no deliberate tank here folks, move along. They all want to compete and make the playoffs, expect the same next year.
The D will be fine next year with a trade of one of the vets. Edler isn't going anywhere given his contract, but Tanev has value and there are enough RHD to cover him should he leave. I don't see the team being better without him but for a good young player and a pick/prospect it makes sense. Serviceable RHD on good contracts are impossible to find so he will return a lot from a team like the Leaves, Stars or somebody else desperate for D.
Juolevi (or FA if he isn't ready)-Tryamkin
Not world beating but it's enough for a rebuilding team. Cover would include Biega, Subban, McEneny, Chatfield, Brisebois, etc - lots of young guys to choose from in Utica next year. I assume Sbisa will be taken but if not he will likely be on the team over Juolevi, barring OJ having a great camp and gaining 10 pounds of muscle.
Forwards are still a work in progress - both high end scoring and depth are needed. Some decent long term pieces in Horvat, Boeser, Baertschi, Granlund and some solid young talent in Goldy, Dahlen, Virtanen, Gaudette, Lockwood. Hopefully at least a couple of the prospects become top 6 guys to go along with Bo, Bae and Boeser who I think Are either already there or close to with some seasoning. 2-3 more top young forwards are needed, one likely coming from this draft and perhaps one other kid develops enough.
The vets are ok in Daniel and Hank, Eriksson (can't be worse next year, can he?), Sutter (see Eriksson), Edler. That's enough to teach what you need to teach.
Pick a top line forward this year, pick a top 2 Dman next year, hopefully some more development from the guys already there and you have the makings of a contender in a few years. It's just going to be a couple more years of this feeding frenzy for the media so relax and get ready for it. They may want to make the playoffs buy barring an everything goes right season it's not happening for a while.