Brendan Shanahan addressed the media in Florida, taking questions on Phil Kessel and other trade activity ahead of the 2015 draft.
Phil Kessel Questions
Reporter: The asking price for Phil, other GMs are saying is crazy.
Shanahan: What GM? Which GMs are saying that?
Reporter: There’s no specifics.
Shanahan: You have to give me a specific name or I don’t give a specific answer.
Generally speaking, there is interest. It’s obviously not just with him, but with several of our players. We’ve got some very good players that we value, that other teams value. If there is no deal, we don’t feel there is necessarily a drop dead date that for us… we’ve got a great coach that has the ability to make players better. Like I said at the end of the year, if there is opportunity for us to make some changes we would like to do that. Other teams know that, they’re making calls, but as far as any sort of deadlines – no one’s called us crazy yet. Apparently these other GMs you are speaking to are telling you something different, but I think the conversations have all been very good up until now.
On level of interest in Kessel:
There has been strong interest in not just Phil, but several of our players. As I said at the end of the year, for whatever reason the mix hasn’t necessarily worked out well here but we do have some strong individuals and talented players. I won’t say one way or the other on who is going to be around and who won’t be. It’s still too early for that; all I can say is that, when you have a guy like that, who is such a natural goal scorer in the prime of his career… Everybody wants goal scoring. Obviously in a cap world it’s not as easy for everybody to fit that player in as it used to be in the old days, but he’s a great player and a great goal scorer, great finisher. There’s been a lot of interest.
On whether he would retain salary to move Kessel:
That’s not something that we’re talking about right now. I think there is some competition among teams that want him, that want other players of ours. And we might keep him. We aren’t really committing to anything one way or the other right now. We have time on our side. We haven’t said we’re going to build this over night. We have time on our side here, where we don’t feel like we have to do anything knee jerk in order to get something done on some self imposed or outer imposed deadline.
On level of activity:
It’s been active obviously, not just with us, but with all teams. We are getting a lot of calls. I think there’s been a lot, starting in the last couple weeks and in Vegas, and everyone is now arriving in Miami. There is a lot more talk heating up with everybody.
We are in no rush. I think we just have to have a deal we’re comfortable with. We don’t have any deadlines, or self-imposed deadlines, or deadlines imposed by other people. We said what our intentions are, to change some things, but we’re still running an operation. If we want to make a change, it’s a deal we’re comfortable with; that we think is the best deal we can get.
On when something might go down:
It would be impossible for me to guess. We’re getting some calls from some guys, some players, where we are interested in some of the things we’re hearing about. Whether they develop into something more real — I couldn’t give you an answer on an exact timeline.
On if there’s any serious offers at this time:
It’s mostly up until now just been talk and progression of talk. I don’t think we’ve been at the point where there is a definitive offer out there, but there’s been some encouraging conversations that have started weeks ago, that have grown and are continuing to grow.
On trading down or up:
These are all good questions, whether or not we are going to try to trade up or trade down. We wouldn’t say definitely that we wouldn’t do one or the other, but right now we’re expecting to pick fourth.
On trading for young NHL-ready players:
You are always looking to improve. We’ve said that we’re certainly interested in draft picks, but if that comes also in the form of acquiring younger players, from teams that are maybe a little bit older or a little bit more advanced in their development and are willing to part with some younger players, we would be willing to do that, too.