Nothing revelatory was yielded on today's conference call with the media.
With the upcoming amateur draft, free agency, and Ryan O'Reilly's contract negotiations, there are plenty of questions to ask, but Vice Presidents Joe Sakic and Patrick Roy didn't have many substantive answers to give today. Both are currently knee-deep in draft preparation and are considering as many different prospects as they are trade scenarios. Sakic expressed equal interest in trading up, trading down, or remaining at the 10th pick, saying only they are considering all options will be taking the best player available, regardless of need.
Perhaps the most declarative statement made was Patrick Roy's desire to bring in a left-handed defenseman who can play in their Top-4 this offseason. They wouldn't rule out bringing back unrestricted free agents on the team last year, but are looking to explore different options. Defensive upgrades to pair with emerging right-handed blueliners, Erik Johnson and Tyson Barrie, have long been identified by fans as an area of need, and it's good to know the front office feels the same way.
Also of note is, perhaps, the team's first public embrace of analytics. Sakic explained most teams in the league are going this route and new hire, Assistant General Manager Chris MacFarland, will be a big part of how the team implements this analysis going forward. Last season, the team received a fair amount of ridicule for not making a public stance on the issue, even being labeled by ESPN the magazine as among the ten teams in all of sports least interested in employing advanced data. It will be interesting to see how the team evolves next season using strategies teams like Chicago and Los Angeles have been using recently with much success.
But the call could not have ended without at least one inquiry about the contract of center Ryan O'Reilly. Both reiterated their respect and admiration for his game, describing him as part of their core of young players, and a top priority to sign long-term. Sakic stated that he's had meetings with O'Reilly's management and know where they stand. The team plans to re-engage in negotiations soon after the draft.