The Colorado Avalanche held a conference call with Executive Vice President of Hockey Operations Joe Sakic and members of the media on July 2, 2014, to discuss free agency and the team's offseason transactions. Below is the transcript of that call.
On Trying To Sign Paul Stastny And If He Is Disappointed The Team Couldn't
"No, I'm not disappointed. It was Paul's right. We knew we couldn't get to what he got in St. Louis. I respect Paul a lot. I respect him for everything that he has done for the Avalanche. It was his right, and he is going home. Wish Paul the best in St. Louis, just not against us."
"I had a pretty good idea on what was going on with Paul. I had a pretty good idea that it was a great possibility he was going to move on. Jarome was always tops on our list to replace him. We had the five-day window to talk to free agents and started talking to Jarome and his agent Don Meehan right away just to see where we are at. Obviously, there were a lot of things that we tried to accomplish, which we think we did yesterday. Bringing in Iggy for our lineup, a big power forward on the right side, leadership, proven winner, and he got  goals last year for Boston. He might not be in his prime, but he still has a lot. What we like is that we have added a lot with Jarome, Brad Stuart, [Daniel] Briere, veteran leadership. Brad Stuart has won a Cup, and we think that is going to help our young guys. Our core guys, they are all young and it is something that you want to surround with great veteran leadership, and we feel that we have done that. Our third, fourth lines, we were lacking depth in the playoffs that we really noticed against Minnesota, and we feel that we have some depth down there as well. We're pretty happy where we are right now."
On Signing Ryan O'Reilly
"The last couple of days we have been focusing on the draft and free agency. Right now, we're going to focus on getting Ryan signed. If we don't, he is going to arbitration so we know he is going to be here. We have Ryan and Tyson Barrie left, and that is it. Hopefully, we get that done and it will be a nice easy summer after that."
On Avoiding Arbitration With O'Reilly
"We are hoping so. We want Ryan to be here and be here for a long time. I haven't spoken with Pat Morris since we filed, but now that we are all done with the draft and free agency, I'll be getting in contact with him."
On Teams In The Central Division Getting Better
"Especially, our division, everybody wants to improve. We have a tough division. Obviously, it's a tough Western Conference and our division got even stronger. You know what, that is a good thing. When you're playing in a division like this, it's exciting. It's exciting for the team. It's exciting for the fans, to be in a division that is so tight, and everyone is trying to get better."
On If The Team Is Stronger Now Than When The Season Ended
"I do. I mean we saw how last year went, and we had a tremendous year, but at the end of the year, after our playoff loss to Minnesota, we knew we had to have a little more depth on our third and fourth lines and we feel we did that. We needed to get tougher, and we got tougher. For sure the experience factor and leadership, you can never have enough of that. We know our core guys are young and to bring in this leadership to help them along is huge. Now you're not relying on one or two or three guys in the dressing room to be leaders, we have a whole bunch of leaders helping our young guys."
On What The Team Got In Brad Stuart
"For sure leadership. Obviously Stuart, he is a physical stay-at-home defenseman. He has won a Stanley Cup in Detroit. We expect him to help E.J. (Erik Johnson) and be that presence in the locker room and obviously on the ice. We wanted to upgrade our 'D' and we feel that we did that by getting Brad in here. Especially with his toughness and leadership."
On If Stastny Told The Team Before That He Wasn't Going To Sign With Them
"I had great communication with his agent, Matt Keator. Along the process, I met with Paul earlier. Both sides were open on what we could do, and we had a heads up, obviously he tested the market, and I had a pretty good idea the day before. I didn't know where he was going to go, but I had a pretty good idea that he was going to leave."
On If The Team Is Done Signing Free Agents At This Time
"We're done with free agency right now. We just have to sign O'Reilly and Tyson Barrie, and we're good to go."
On Acquiring Daniel Briere From Montreal
"The trade, it does give us flexibility. Daniel Briere is on a one-year deal where P.A. was on a two year (contract). With our lineup, P.A. Parenteau needs to be on a top two (line), and he's not a third-line player and that is where he would have been. Dan Briere brings that experience; he has scored big goals, scored some big goals in the playoffs for Montreal. He is a guy who is almost a point per game in the playoffs. He is a big-time player. He is a competitor, and we believe—especially on a one-year deal—he is going to bring a lot to our dressing room."
On His Experience As A Player Helping Him With Dealing With Free Agents
"It is a lot easier to know what the players are going through because I went through it for 20 years. Like a day like yesterday, sometimes you want answers right away but knowing what they are going through, it's tough decisions for players. As much as you think you know which direction you want to go when you are a free agent, sometimes when that moment comes when you have to make a decision on one or two or three teams, it is tough do. You just have to respect the process and understand from us and our stand point here trying to get players, but you also have to understand that they have a lot on their plate as well."
On How Big His Relationship With Jarome Iginla Played In Him Signing With Colorado
"Well, absolutely. Obviously, we have that trust. We were linemates in '02 (2002 Olympics), and we won gold together. Obviously, we have become pretty good friends. I believe he trusts me, and when we talk we are very honest with each other. I think the biggest thing, and yeah he had other offers, but I don't think it was just my relationship with him that was a deciding factor for Jarome. I think he liked the direction of the team, and that's the biggest thing. He wants to try and win a Stanley Cup. I know that. He believes in the group we have, and to be apart of this group, not just for a one-year run, but for a three-year run and have that opportunity. It shows a lot of trust on his part in feeling that, that is our goal, and he wants to be apart of that and believes strongly that he has a chance with this group."
On If The Avs Went After A 'Top Two' Defenseman In Free Agency
"I'm Not Disappointed. It didn't happen. Yes, we had good conversations with all of them. I know we talked to Brooks Orpik, and [for] family reasons, they wanted to be in Washington, closer to home. We had conversations with [Anton] Stralman as well, same reason, family reasons, went to Tampa Bay. We had conversations with a lot of them. That is the good thing about the five-day window, to talk to free agents. The better thing would be to wait until after the draft so we could focus on the draft and then start talking to free agents because there is a lot to talk about in five days. We decided to go in the direction of acquiring Brad Stuart to help our back end and leadership. We are extremely happy with what we have done up front with Iginla, and Danny Briere before that. We also signed Jesse Winchester, who will be a great addition to our third and fourth line for depth. Zach Redmond, our pro guys feel he could be what Nick Holden was for us last year. There are a lot of good things. We added size, we added toughness, experience, everything we wanted to do we feel we accomplished."
"They both have qualifying offers out there for them. We expect them to sign them, yes."
On Colorado Native Landon Smith Attending The Avalanche's Development Camp
"I know he is excited, and we're excited to have him here. Yes, local kid. I tell you what; he had a tremendous year last year. I think he was MVP in the B.C. junior league (BCHL). He had a tremendous year, and it is going to be exciting for him to be apart of this prospects camp and see what we are all about and enjoy that experience for him. Especially being a local guy."
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