Lou Lamoriello met with the media after Monday’s cuts to discuss the roster decisions and the season ahead.
Was it an eventful discussion with your coaching staff yesterday as you broke down how things were going to turn out today?
Lamoriello: Yes. It was, without question, a competitive camp. I think it’s great when you have decisions. It’s [better] to have decisions than no decisions. We’ll go forward and, certainly, continue to evaluate.
Does Roman Polak still have a future with the organization?
Lamoriello: Right now, he has to come back and see where he’s at. There’s a good chance he might stay for a while and continue to work out. He’s certainly not back where he was when he left. The injury he had — that was some injury. To be where he is today, is just amazing. It just goes to show you the type of individual he is as far as a competitor. As far as what the future brings, I wouldn’t know. I wouldn’t be surprised if he stayed and practiced. He and I are going to have a discussion today.
What’s next for Liljegren, do you think?
Lamoriello: There has been no decision on Timothy yet. As you know, we could keep him here with the Marlies, or he could go back. I think his progress has just been outstanding. Right now, while we have some time, we’ll just use it. He’ll practice with the Marlies and we’ll just make a decision in a short period of time.
Given Nylander’s progress with the Marlies two years ago, might Timothy’s progress be better suited here?
Lamoriello: Certainly, I’ve had experience with it both ways over the years. Certainly, it worked out for Willy extremely well. But we have to make sure this is the right thing for the development of Timothy.
What is the ceiling for Auston, if there is one?
Lamoriello: He continues each day to get better and better. You see the same thing I see. The great thing about Auston and all of our young players is they want to be the best they can be. They continue to work at it. That’s great to see.
A player like Kasperi Kapanen was itching to make the NHL. What message do you leave them with on a day like today?
Lamoriello: You’re just honest with them. Both Soshnikov and Kapanen played extremely well. They played well when they were here last year. Unfortunately, there comes a business decision because they have the ability to go down and don’t need waivers. When you have the depth that we have right now, you have to make those decisions. But they’re knocking on the door. They’ll be back in the NHL. The most important message is: Yes, be disappointed, but don’t let up on the gas. You have to continue the process to get you back.
What stood out to you about the way Auston, William and Zach’s line played in the preseason?
Lamoriello: They played the way they played last year. They feed off of each other. They feed off of each other’s assets. That’s all you can ask.
Are you starting with 14 forwards?
Lamoriello: Yes, we will.
And 7 defencemen?
Lamoriello: Unless we make a decision overnight. But the two or three forwards that are fighting for positions need waivers, so we’ll probably go with 14 forwards.
When you signed Rosen and Borgman, did you expect them to be challenging as strongly as they did for NHL spots right away?
Lamoriello: We knew of their abilities. Certainly, as the year went on in Borgman’s case, he became rookie of the year by the end of the year. In Rosen’s case, he played in an elite league and people had an eye on him. Jimmy Paliafito had been following him for a long time. But there was an unknown. We certainly, obviously, have not been disappointed.
What impressed you about Miro Aaltonen in this camp?
Lamoriello: He had an outstanding camp. I’m sure Mike mentioned it was a very difficult decision that we all had to make. Once again, he had the ability — like Kasper and Sosh — to go down because of waivers. When time is on your side, you use it. You never have to worry about bringing up a player too late rather than too soon.
Given Jim Paliafito’s record over the last couple of years, if he recommends somebody, you guys listen.
Lamoriello: I think that any time any of our scouts recommend somebody, you listen. I think that’s their role and their job. Certainly, that’s what their responsibility is.
You brought over a few gems, though, so to speak, for lack of a better term.
Lamoriello: Well, no question he had Nikita last year and three this year. He’s done well over the last couple of years.
Has there been any clarity from the NHL as to whether Joffrey Lupul’s contract has been put on LTIR yet?
Lamoriello: I know as much as you do. As far as his status, his status is the same unless something different develops.
Where do you see Josh Leivo in his progression right now?
Lamoriello: Josh, once again, is involved in a question of numbers. He is here because we believe in him and we believe in his abilities. He’s an NHL player. He just has to wait his time and go from there.