Saturday, June 28, 2014

Hextall discusses his first crack at the draft as Flyers GM

Courtesy of the Philadelphia Flyers, new GM Ron Hextall offers his thoughts about the just-concluded draft and upcoming free agency

What did you see from today’s part of the draft?

Well, I think it was a decent draft.  There were still some names on the table that we liked when it was over.  There’s some depth, but as we all know, once you get into the later rounds it’s a crapshoot.  There were some things we saw on the guys that we picked.

Did you think you would be moving around at all in this draft?

Somebody else has got to be willing to move.  A lot of teams try to get up.  And teams say yeah, we’ll move back, but then they want the king’s ransom.  You’ve got to judge every conversation you have and if something makes sense, then you do it, but if you don’t… you can’t move up or do something that you don’t want to do and overpay.  It’s a feel, and if you feel you got the right deal, you do it, and if you don’t, you don’t.  We got some good young prospects. 

On drafting a player from the same team as Travis Sanheim

That’s a total coincidence there.  He’s a Russian kid playing in North America, [so] it gives you a little bit of a comfort level that he’s going to [stay here] and play.

On whether they intentionally drafted a lot of defensemen.

No, it’s more the way it fell.  We certainly weren’t going to draft all defensemen, but it is the way the draft fell for us.  We got forwards that we’re happy with, and there’s a nice balance. I gotta tell you, I’m a little disappointed we didn’t get a goalie.  They just didn’t fall where we hoped they would be.

Were you surprised there was a run on them?

Usually when that happens, it happens like that.  As soon as the first goalie went, all of a sudden people get a little hungrier for guys.  So not necessarily.

Is there anyone in the middle or late rounds that you’re intrigued with?

Well, we’re intrigued with them all or we wouldn’t have picked them.  There was one kid who got picked four picks ahead of us that we really wanted.

Was [Pettersson] a shot in the dark?

We were all over at World Juniors and you see this little Swedish kid out there and he’s playing hard and hitting, he’s a really good player.  Really feisty. So I said to one of our guys, jeez, he’s a pretty good player.  And he said yeah, I’ve been saying that for three years, and he’s been through two drafts.  He’s a gritty, hard-nosed, honest player.  He’s 20 years old.  We like him.

What was his supposed liability?

Five-foot-nine.  He’s a wide body.  When you look at a lot of the smaller guys, you look for some girth, and he’s got girth.

The second round pick? 

Competitive, speed.  He’s a winger.  Got some good hands.  We think he’s got some upside.  Speed factor certainly was talked about.

On the future

Things turn over quick.  You can never have enough players at all positions.  There’s a bit of an imbalance right now with our reserve list.  We’ve got our young forwards, most of them are on our team, [but] our young defensemen, most of them are still out.  But they’re going to come together with the young forwards, and now we have to kind of come underneath and bring some young forwards along.

On Friedman being a college player with an extra year to decide on signing him

Well, it doesn’t hurt.  College guys, you never know if they’re going to come out early or play the four years.  It does give you a bit moreinthan the standard two years.  I never let that influence whether we pick a guy or not, but it’s a nice little kind of a sideline that could help.

Has the decision been made to qualify Akeson?

Yeah, we’ll qualify him.  I think we have to.  It was never a question mark there.

On Lecavalier

I’m going to repeat it again – it’s an internal issue.  If I have something to report I will.  Otherwise Vinny will be with us in September.  I didn’t expect anything to happen.

On qualifying McGinn and Heeter

We’ve got a deadline coming up here, so we’ve got to talk.  McGinn will be qualified for sure.  Heeter we’ve got to talk about.

Have you talked to any potential free agents?

We’ve reached out.  We haven’t met with anybody.

Are you looking for anything this week?

First on my agenda right now is to go back to Skate Zone and take a look at our cap. We have the hard number now, so we’ve got to look at it and see where we can try to maneuver.

Were you surprised with that number and does it affect you?

Yeah, it affects every team that’s close.  It affects us for sure.  We’ve got to find a way to get below it.  It was a little lower than we thought and hoped.

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