This is Doug Armstrong. We'll start in just a couple of minutes. Please start sending in your questions.
We're in the initial process. I had a conversation with Jaden's agent yesterday and we're working towards getting him signed. This could take some time but we're comfortable that he will be at training camp.
Yes. We believe that you need eight qualified defensemen before the season. Right now, we have seven established players and Chris' responsibility is to come in here and unseat one of the seven players ahead of him. But Ian is going to be given every opportunity to earn a regular spot in our group of six.
In general with an 18-year-old draft, you're looking at players playing in year 4-5, unless you're picking the top 4-5 in the draft. So with this year's picks, Fabbri and Barbashev, we look at them playing major junior at least one more season and in Fabrri's case, two more seasons. And Barbashev will turn pro after this year. Our general belief is to put players in a position to succeed, not fail, so we try not to rush the process. With that being said, Hakanpaa and Edmundson have been three-plus years since their draft and we expect them to be pushing for games this season. The same can be said for Ty Rattie.
We look at him as a solid utility forward. He can play center ice or left wing. We like the grit that he brings to our organization and his ability to affect the game in ways that aren't seen just on the scoresheet.
Both will be given the opportunity to compete for the opening-night roster, but the addition of Lehtera, Stastny has made that competition stronger. A successful organization starts with internal competition and we have that.
Ken and I have open dialogue and his desire now is to coach a year at a time, evaluate his passion to continue and make sure he has the desire to do it. At some point, Ken will take a different role in our organization as a senior advisor and he and I will discuss that after next year. But Ken is a top coach in this game and we will not be rushing him out the door.
No. I believe the game played now with transition. We think that having a puck-moving defense will add to our offense and allow our skill players the opportunity to produce. Physical defense can be shown in many different ways. What we have are smart-defending players with positional and stick play and can hold their own physically. I think Polak's departure creates an outstanding opportunity for Ian Cole, who has the physical assets to do what Roman has done for us in the past. We understand what Roman brought to our team and thank him for his time, but you have to give up something of value to get something of value.
Doing these chats. Seriously, I think using core players to acquire new players is always difficult. Starting with Erik Johnson, somebody who I have the utmost respect for but was a duplicate player with Rundblad and Pietrangelo at that time. Moving any players you know personally is the most difficult part of the job.
Patrik is in our group of nine and provides Ken some flexibility by using him at either left wing or center. I think the strength of our team three or four years ago with Berglund, Arnott and Backes showed how difficult it is to defend three large centers and Ken now has the option with Backes, Lehtera, Berglund and Stastny to use three of those four players at that position.
I think that shows the respect that Roman has around the NHL. He's thought of as a quality, strong defender and something that Toronto coveted. In return, we believe we were out to maximize by getting Gunnarsson and the pick.
I think it is more the tandem of Elliott and Allen that intrigues us. The reality is when you look at Elliott's numbers, he can do nothing more than he has done to put himself in this position. And with the growth of Allen, we felt it was time to go this direction. Also, in dealing in a cap system, we are able to take the savings from what Miller received in Vancouver and add that in other areas of need up front.
It was an area where we felt we needed to strengthen. Adding Stastny and not having to make a trade is certainly beneficial to the depth of our team. With regards to the draft, we were fortunate that there was a number of quality centers available when we were selecting this season.
Experience has shown me that you have to move forward quickly. We were able to sign Steve Ott when it became clear that Vladimir was going to the KHL. Like all people involved in our industry, no one player, coach or manager is more important than the team. I believe that we have the depth to move forward, but we're also looking forward to Vladimir coming back to the NHL when he feels the time is right.
I believe it would be unfair to expect any prospect to blow our mind based on the fact that we are an above-average NHL team. With that being said, I am looking forward to watching Jaskin and Allen at training camp to see if they can step in and compete to the same level of a Schwartz and Tarasenko two short years ago.
My feeling is this is the most complete team that we've had since my arrival. The two question marks really are how Lindstrom and Lehtera will adjust to the NHL level. There is very little gray area in what we expect from Stastny, Gunnarsson and a full season with Steve Ott.
We view him as a potential play-making center, but I have seen him play on the wing at international events. His versatility makes him a valuable asset and I'm hoping he can have a positive effect on our power play, as those are some of his greatest skills.
The answer is no because Sobotka played both wing and center. A lot of this will be answered in Lehtera's ability to play center in a top-nine role and if that is there, then Backes can slide to the right wing or Berglund to the left wing.
Vladimir will owe one season upon his return from the KHL to the Blues. If it's in the 2015-16 season, great. Or if we have to wait, we understand.
I think it is more the goalie's improvement with size, athleticism and equipment than it is to the scorers not being able to score. I'm a firm believer that to increase scoring at some point we may have to alter the size of the nets.
No. You have to be prepared for movement. We believe Nick Schmaltz is an excellent prospect, but we believe he was in a group of players that we were very comfortable getting. We did not believe using a second-round pick to move up one or two slots was the best use of our assets.
Dallas. I would say with the addition of Spezza down the middle, they have an excellent 1-2 punch with he and Seguin. I think Jim Nill has done a tremendous job in 14 short months making Dallas relevant again in the NHL.