Kyle Dubas addressed the media after a quiet trade deadline day on Monday.
On the addition of Nic Petan:
I think Nic will come in. He is someone where the opportunity just hasn’t worked out for him in Winnipeg. Par was an unrestricted free agent coming up, so Petan has some team control left on him. He is a player that fits the way we want to play. He’s got a lot of talent. We just feel like we need to bring him in and work with him, give him an opportunity, and have him work with our development people to help maximize his potential. But he’s competitive. He can play center and wing. He is versatile that way. We are excited to get him and bring him in.
On whether the fit didn’t work out with Par Lindholm:
I think he did an excellent job for us. It was a good free agent signing from Europe. I think he came in, played wing, played center, was very good on the penalty kill. No maintenance player and a very good person. We wanted to get Trevor Moore up as well and give Trevor a prolonged look. We’ll do that here starting tonight and continue to give Par an opportunity because — well, given he was an unrestricted free agent. It was a move that we think made sense for us now, bringing in Petan — based on his talent level and also given that Par was going to be an unrestricted free agent at the end of the year. Just thought it was best in managing our assets overall.
On the importance of holding onto good prospects who can graduate within the system and contribute on entry-level deals:
This goes back to the previous media availabilities and press conferences that we had. It is going to be imperative for us to continue to develop players. Players here are going to get a good opportunity here on their entry-level. Trevor Moore is a good example of that. There are a lot of players over the years who are good examples of that — Andreas Johnsson, Kasperi Kapanen are both in their first full season and both are playing very well and are still on their entry-level contracts. The opportunity here for that is going to be tremendous. That is why it is up to our management group, our scouts, and our development team to continue to churn out players that can play and play well with our core of guys. That is where a lot of our salary allotment is going to go, which is totally justified and the right way to do it.
On whether there was any urgency about wanting to keep up with the additions Boston made:
In building a team, we are trying to build a team that can help us win now and in the future. When you start building a team to only play one team in the playoffs, you start to lose your way a little bit and lose what you’re about. Boston has their way of doing things. They’ve been at it a long time and have been very successful. They’ve shown that again this year. They are a very good team, a resilient team. They have done a great job there, Don Sweeney and Bruce Cassidy. For us, it is just continuing to go about things our way and doing things that fit our vision and plan and staying true to that no matter what. Time will be the judge of whether that is the right way to do it, but we don’t really pay much attention to them. We just kind of stick to our process and trust it and roll from there.
On the confidence level that this group can go on a long playoff run:
With the talent in the room, as we continue to gain more experience, the thing that I’ve liked about the team this year, even if you look at Saturday night: We’ve had some disappointments against teams that I think we should come in and play well against, and then on Saturday night, it is a different example where we are playing a very good team, we get down 3-0 at home, and we hadn’t been playing well for the week. The guys in the room dig in and find a way to claw their way back and win a very emotional game.
The players in the room have shown the ability to be resilient throughout the year. As our experience grows and our maturity level grows, based on the talent we have in the room, we have got every belief that this group can have a lot of success together. I think it is just about going through those different experiences and riding the wave together as we continue to go through it. It is a group we believe in very much and I’m excited to see how we handle the next month and a half and continue to lock ourselves into a playoff spot and get ready to roll with that. It is another great opportunity for this group to continue to grow together and go through different experiences together. They’ve handled it all quite well so far, so I am excited to see, now that we have kind of stabilized and we’re through the deadline — this is our group— how we roll and go from there.
On how he feels about the team’s defensive depth with the deadline passed:
I think we feel good about it. Down below, we have Martin Marincin and Calle Rosen. We have Andreas Borgman as well. We’ve got the younger guys; I don’t think they’re quite ready yet, but they’ve both played awfully well. Sandin played 29 minutes on Saturday night in Syracuse, which is remarkable for an 18-year-old at that level. So that is great. We feel good about it.
And we have Igor Ozhiganov and Justin Holl here practicing and developing each day. Especially in Justin’s case, the amount of patience and his attitude and enthusiasm for getting better without the games there to exercise that has been rather remarkable and something we certainly appreciate given that the opportunity hasn’t been there for him yet. But it is going to be and he has to keep working towards that. But given his attitude, Igor’s play when he was in, and adding Jake Muzzin to it, we feel really good about our depth there on defense.
On how active management was leading up to the deadline:
I think we did a lot of talking. It is so hard to answer how active you are. You are always so active at this time of year with the deadline looming. We are always looking at different options not just on defense but goalie is the only spot where there is not much out there in terms of an upgrade over Freddy — he and Garret in tandem. We are trying always to look to improve different spots on our roster. That is the nature of the job and what we try to do each day. I think it would be a disservice to the coaches and the guys in the room if we didn’t do that. We decided that, rather than doing something for the sake of doing it, we’ve made our moves with Jake a few weeks ago and with John in the summer. We’ve gotten some excellent development from our guys internally, so we are excited about rolling ahead with the season here for sure.
On whether Jake Muzzin has met expectations so far:
At the beginning there, in the first few games and especially the Anaheim game where it was quite the game with Jake… I think, with anything, you are going to take time to settle in and get rolling. It is a big life adjustment for someone who spent his whole life and has a family and everything in LA and then you move back here. He is, in terms of on the ice and off the ice, has met expectations. Especially as he settles in, he will surpass those and we are excited about that for sure.
On whether the last five weeks and the two deals made speak to what has been accomplished by the players in the room:
We’ve referenced it a number of times here when we have had these types of events. The way that the players and the coaching staff have handled quite a bit of drama throughout the year and players being out or contract stalemates or different things that have happened off the ice and been able to stay with it and not get distracted and kind of block it out, ignore it and continue to get better, has been a major reason why we continue to try to improve the team. There is obviously a belief that they have the ability to handle that and deal with it in a very, very positive way. Those moves are a tribute to the fact that we believe in the group and we think the group has a very bright future together. We are always trying to improve that.
On whether Nic Petan (who is waiver eligible) will be a Marlie or a Leaf:
He is going to be a Leaf.