Cory and I attended the end of year press conference with Kirk Muller and Jim Rutherford. I will have more detailed thoughts of it later tonight when I have a chance to write more, but for now here are some highlights to discuss:
- Chad LaRose did not attend his exit interview. Rutherford made a point of mentioning this and the surprise of it. It seems like number 59's days as a Cane are over.
- The team has no intention of trading up at the draft. After the top defenseman who will probably go at number one, they have the top five offensive players in the draft rated very closely and will be happy with whomever is available to them. "Number five could end up as being as good or better than number two".
- They would like to get bigger and tougher to play against, with the blueline being the priority.
- Justin Peters is under contract next year, but the backup job is not a given. Dan Ellis or another could come back. They were happy with Ellis.
- Marc-Andre Bergeron is under consideration for coming back.
- They might trade a top six forward to get a top rated defenseman. Chances are slim they can do this, but they would for the right player.
- Rutherford thinks there might be buy outs because several teams will be in trouble with the salary cap dropping, and they might be able to pick up a veteran defenseman after the carnage.
- Marshall Johnston, currently head of pro scouting will be cutting back his time and they will designate someone from within the organization to be head pro scout.
- They missed both Jaroslav Spacek and Bryan Allen. They offered Allen a contract but got out-bid by the Ducks.
- Muller will "stick with the system" and never considered changing it, even with all the injuries. The players love it and he believes it will lead to success long term.
- The team could use more vets in the locker room. Muller called it a "quiet" locker room.
- No anticipated changes coming to the coaching staff. (in it's entirety)
Watch the entire 35 minute press conference here: Rutherford and Muller press conference