NEWARK -- Paul Holmgren held court with the media here at the 2013 NHL Draft on Sunday, discussing his first two picks and what he thinks of Samuel Morin and Robert Hagg. Oh, and he talked about Vincent Lecavalier too.
Here's the full transcript:
Q: Were you surprised at how the first round played out?
"No, not really. The top of the draft, there's a lot of good players there. So I wasn't really surprised. I think the players that went in the top six were probably the guys we thought were going to go in the top six. It wasn't' necessarily the order we all thought, but I'm not surprised by it."
Q: On trading down with the first round pick
"We had quite a few calls to move back, but we didn't really have... we'd identified two or three players, and Samuel was one of them. Once we knew he was going to be there we had no intention of moving back."
Q: Are you surprised there weren't more moves around the league?
"There's still four or five days before free agency starts, so there's plenty of times for lots of action around the league in terms of getting the cap situation teams face figured out. At the draft, sometimes you get locked into just drafting, and you forget about other things. I know Chicago traded a couple players today off their roster for draft picks, but I don't believe anybody else did. There's a couple other minor trades, but when you get to the draft, sometimes it's just the draft."
Q: Will you look to clear more salary?
Q: Were you surprised to see Robert Hagg sitting there in the second round?
"He's one of the guys we had in a group in the second round that we were kind of hoping would fall to us. Obviously when he was there, we were happy to snap him up."
Q: What stands out about him?
"I think Robert, obviously he has good size, he moves good, and he's pretty good with the puck. We liked his overall game."
Q: What about your first round pick - what stands out about him?
"Samuel's come a long way in a short period of time. He's ultra-competitive... for a guy that's that big, he skates very well. Great range, obviously. Pretty good understanding of the game, and his puck skills have just gotten so much better in not a very long period of time. I think he's a very good prospect with a chance to really blossom over the next year or two."
Q: He talked of idolizing Pronger... is this the kid that could be the next Pronger?
"I hate to put that stamp on a kid. He's a guy we really like. Like I said, he's come a long way in the last little while. Simon Nolet, who works in Québec, and Todd Hearty, our other scout who's in Québec, they've spent a lot of time following Samuel around. Obviously they're very excited that we were able to draft him."
Q: Is he NHL ready?
"I'm never going to say never... i think that's a stretch. We'll get a look at him next week with some of our other young kids when they come into town. We'll see. But my opinion right now, I'd say it's a stretch. It's not to take anything away from him. We think he's a very good prospect for the Flyers for the future."
Q: On taking defensemen with the first two picks
"Like I said to you guys the other day, if a forward was clearly the better player at the 11th pick, that's who we're gonna take. We actually had three or four defensemen, probably, that we considered the next guys, and Samuel's the guy we have."
Q: Were you in for Corey Schneider at all?
Q: On trade talks with Edmonton and if the teams were close on a deal
"We bounced around a lot of ideas, but I wouldn't say we were ever real close."
Q: Why do you think you guys have been so successful with Quebec guys? Simon has a pretty good track record.
"Yeah, he does. Going back a long way. He's just a good scout. The Québec league, all these leagues, whether it be the OHL, WHL, they take turns where one's better than the other. This was a good year for the Quebec league."
Q: On his reaction to the Devils trade for Schneider
"I talked to Lou a couple hours before the draft and he said he was working on something big, we'll see how it goes. You never know. Obviously Marty's not going to play forever, so I think that's a good move for the Devils. Even though Lou wants him to play forever."
Q: Did you meet with Lecavalier?
Q: Where do you see your chances?
"I have no idea. We met yesterday; I thought it went well. Who knows?"
Q: On the importance of home-grown defensemen in the salary cap environment
"Obviously you have young players that you develop and come in, they're ready to play - they're cheaper, for lack of a better word. The more you have, the better off you're going to be. In the salary cap world, it's nice to be able to add a couple young players to your lineup every year so you just keep turning over. I think two years ago we added a few, last year we didn't really add anybody full time, but we did get long looks at a number of younger players. This year, I wouldn't be surprised if we were able to add a couple young players to our team and just run with them."