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Thoughts On Chiarelli’s End Of Year Press Conference

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Chiarelli talked about Connor, Leon, the defence and a whole lot more yesterday.

Hockey: World Cup of Hockey-Press Conference Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

Some points on Chiarelli’s end of year presser yesterday. All quotes taken from here.

“I wasn’t really into the big game hunting”

-Chiarelli on his strategy at this year’s trade deadline. He got David Desharnais and Justin Fontaine. Desharnais had a few big moments like an OT game winner against the Sharks during the playoffs. Justin Fontaine had eleven points (2-9-11) with the Condors.

“He’s getting big, he’s getting strong, he’s 6’1”, he’s almost 200 pounds. He knows that will have to come in his repertoire”

That’s Peter Chiarelli on Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. Chiarelli says Nugent-Hopkins is a ‘team player’ at this year’s exit meetings. Saying all the right things about 93.

“We played with a certain heaviness...We have to improve in that”

-Chiarelli on his team at the dot. Faceoffs are all the rage right now.

“It was taken out of context”

-Chiarelli on his quote at the trade deadline of how he didn’t believe that this was a Stanley Cup team. They weren’t, and they won a round. I’m happy about the run based on the roster they had. Could they have used another RHD? Yes. 14 and 93 didn’t have very many points, though I argue that 93 had a solid playoffs.

“We’re in that spot”

Chiarelli on whether or not the Stanley Cup Window was open in response to a question by Terry Jones. Next year should be a dandy if Chiarelli plays his cards right.

“We’re going to lose a player we prefer to keep.”

-Chiarelli on the expansion draft. Completely throwing darts, I think it’s Reinhart that goes. Chiarelli surely doesn’t want to lose the prize from trading a mid first and an early second in 2015, but I won’t lose too much sleep if this is how it goes down.

“We saw some people thrive, we saw some others muddle along, and we saw some guys struggle...With regard to Ebs, he was our third leading scorer, he gets a lot of touches. I like his cycle game...he creates space.”

-Chiarelli when asked about Jordan Eberle, Milan Lucic and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins’ playoffs. One of the players not named Lucic has a real shot at being moved between now and March, 2018.

“I’m not sure yet...There’s room for growth.”

-Chiarelli when asked if his team has a championship calibre defence. The answer is 100% no.

“I don’t want to delve too much into moving the team’s roster around...Order of events...is gonna be Connor and Leon, and then we’ve got a cluster of other guys we’d like to have back...We could basically stay the same, it’s the following year when Mr. McDavid’s contact kicks in.”

Chiarelli makes it clear that getting Connor McDavid under contract is priority number one come July 1st, as well as it should be.

“We certainly will have the resources to put another contending team in place”

“I can’t believe we’re talking about a window.”

Media wants to know how far along the club is. The answer is: ask again after the free agency period.

“I wanna give our coach the ability to flip-flop because it changes the tempo of the game, it changes the nature of the game. Unfortunately, that means that..pushing Nuge to a lower third line, and it maybe...it’d be nice to have set centres...but this is about versatility, which means getting a guy who could play the wing and play centre...I can’t really go out and firm up a lineup, I have to be a little more resourceful.”

-Chiarelli on whether or not Leon will be a 1RW or a 2C next season. I think it’s great to have flexibility when it comes to your players. I think this is best when the player we’re talking about here holds less of a responsibility than your second highest paid player in 2018. I think this puts Nugent-Hopkins in a weird spot, and if Eberle isn’t moved by the end of 2017-18...

“They were positive...The theme that we stressed and the theme that they responded in the meetings was that we can’t fall back...there’s that kind of ‘get to work’ mentality that we saw in the meetings...They were the most positive meetings that I’ve had in the past two or three years”

That’s Chiarelli on this year’s exit meetings. Win a playoff series for the first time in eleven years, and yeah, things’ll perk up a little.

“ACL, torn ACL. He’ll be six to nine months. He’s going to have surgery...I think Thursday”.

That’s Chiarelli on Andrej Sekera, who will undergo ACL surgery on Thursday.

“We have two thirds, and we have two fifths, and we’ll see how the draft board comes down as we come to the end of the first...It’s a good year not to have a second. It’s a little deeper than the pundits have said...If something comes across our lap close to our pick in the first, we may look to trade down and get another pick in the second.

Chiarelli on whether or not he’ll move up in the draft. His response suggested he was more likely to move down.

“I didn’t say that. But, we might. But I have to have certainty on those other two, and that’s what I’ve told Kris. I want to have Kris back. I thought he was really good for our team, I thought...the way he approaches the game, the way he battles, his poise, his skating, I thought he was a real good compliment to our group”

Chiarelli on a question from Jim Matheson on if Russell would make it to July first without a contract. Matheson is going hard on getting Russell signed for whatever reason.

“He could easily have had 20 goals...He was good for a breakaway a period...He’s just frustrated. He’s a kid from Northern Finland and when I talked to him he’s frustrated he wasn’t scoring.”

Chiarelli seemed pleased with Jesse Puljujarvi’s first pro season, and it sounds like Chiarelli just tried to encourage him as Puljujarvi became frustrated with his lack of scoring. Don’t be surprised to see him back in the AHL when the 2017-18 season starts.

EXPECTATIONS

  • McDavid and Draisaitl get signed very quickly after July 1st.
  • Chiarelli can’t afford to go buck wild in free agency. Could see a defenceman or two, especially if Russell gets Larsson money somewhere else.
  • I think Chiarelli picks at #22. I don’t expect very many draft day moves.
  • I don’t think Puljujarvi is on the big club in 2017-18 unless Eberle gets moved. I don’t think Eberle gets moved until at least the trade deadline
  • Between Eberle and Nugent-Hopkins, I’ve got Nugent-Hopkins here in 2018-19.