Dave Nonis stopped by TSN radio earlier this afternoon. Summary after the jump.
On the process of acquiring Bernier:
We had gone back and forth a couple of times throughout the course of the year trying to make it fit. There were roadblocks from one side or the other, and we decided to shelve it until the end of the year. It was the excitement of bringing another top young goaltender, having Jonathan and James together gives us one of the top 1-2 punches of potential in the NHL.
On whether he considered other options in net:
We had a couple other goalies (in our sights) but focused more on Jonathan in terms of a long term guy. It was well documented that we looked at a veteran down the stretch, but in terms of a long term guy he was the one we were most focused on.
On whether he’s worried about a goaltending controversy:
That’s always that risk at any position. We could have a top center that gets pushed down to 2nd or 3rd and not be happy, but if you have the right people, with right character, they are going to battle as hard as they can and both will benefit . It’s a situation where we feel we have two guys who have great character who will both compete for that job and push hard for the net.
On splitting starts:
Randy uses his players in terms of ice time pretty well. The guy who is hottest is getting the most ice. Both players will play quite a few games. It won’t be a 70/12 split.
On Reimer‘s reaction:
Professional. He was a little bit surprised that we brought in a similar player. He was thinking we would get a more established older guy to join him. I explained to him we didn’t rule that out but that there wasn’t a good fit for us, or for James. He understands that, and he doesn’t expect to have anything given to him. He is a very driven guy. If you look at what he’s accomplished, you can make a case he improved as much as anyone on our team over the past few years. He wants to keep the net.
On whether he would now move James Reimer:
I’d never say no. Is there a situation where certain players are untouchable? No. Not if you can make your team better. Do we expect to, or are we trying to move James? Not at all. The thinking is that we will have both players here at training camp and battling for the opening night starting position.
On his off-season plans from here:
Down the middle is really where championship teams are built. Watching the final 4 teams and the final 2 gives you a good example of what to follow. We’ll look to strengthen the C position and continue to add a couple of guys on the back end. We have a lot of good young defencemen that are not quite ready yet. To try to find a C is something we will look hard to do, but most teams looking for the same things. Hardest positions to add to.
On trading for a number one center:
It would have to be through a trade, and a little luck. if you have a No. 1 C or a guy who you believe will become one, you don’t usually move him, unless you’re just so deep and you have a glaring need somewhere else. We’ll keep looking to acquire one, but we’re not the only team looking to do that, many teams are in the same position. We’ve been fortunate that some of the guys here have made some strides and played above where we expected them at this point.
On the cap coming down, and whether it’s harder or easier to do a deal:
Lawyer’s answer: Both. More people than usual looking to make a deal, but more difficult to complete one. A lot of teams have cap issues whether it’s because of internal budgets or the cap itself dropping. There are going to be a lot of options but most teams have limited cap space. It will be a moving target between now and the start of FA.
On Tyler Bozak:
We would like to keep him. we are going to do what we can to see if we can keep Tyler. He’s done what we’ve asked of him. It’s a function of making it fit within a falling cap. We have a little bit of time and we are gonna see if we can get him signed by the 5th. If not, we will have to reallocate those dollars and find another solution.
On compliance buyouts, and whether he envisions using one or both:
Definitely an option, but we’re not at that position yet. We’re going see what happens at the draft, what pieces can be moved. The buyout period is just starting. Plenty of time to make those decisions.