Minneapolis, MN – Following a rash of deals prior to the trade deadline, GM and Head Coach, Dan Bylsma have made themselves available to comment on the organization’s most recent moves, the direction of the team and all else. Let’s go to questions.
Ryan Russo, Minneapolis Star Tribune – I know you were big on Patrick O’Sullivan and his potential; tell us about the decision to move him.
Bylsma – It was tough. We liked Patrick a lot and feel he’s a guy capable of putting up good numbers in this league someday, but he wasn’t progressing like we would’ve liked. Oscar Moller is a good prospect. We were able to receive a draft pick in the deal which will help our farm system a bit. So we’re happy with the trade, it’s just tough to see Patrick go.
EJ Hradek, ESPN the Magazine – Over the course of the season you’ve made some trades to reacquire players that you’ve dealt not too long ago. What’s the decision behind those deals, namely bringing back Kulemin?
GM – Nikolai isn’t the player we dealt three long months ago. He’s developed really well in Waterloo and we’ve always liked his potential. We’re confident we can resign him in the offseason and the KHL talk will go away, because he is a very good two-way player.
The other moves were based on team needs at the time and making moves that would essentially make us better now and long-term. Kyle Cumiskey, Dusin Boyd, Jamie Langenbrunner and most recently Kevin Shattenkirk & TJ Hensick were all previously dealt because of what we were bringing in to replace them with. They’re all good players and we’re glad they’re apart of our organization.
Ray Ferraro, TSN – Your team is in the middle of a playoff run, a run that could move you into as high as a 5th place seed. You have some competition coming from behind, namely the Express and Fighting Irish. Why the decision to move Roman Hamrlik and Mike Sillinger to the team right behind you in the standings?
Bylsma – We never wanted to give the impression that we were giving up on this season by any means, but in many ways we don’t feel we have an opportunity to contend for this year’s Cup. It’s been a long season for us; in many ways we’ve suffered from a bit of a hangover from last year. Our guys are banged up, Miller isn’t performing like he should and we’re just struggling. That coupled with the fact that teams like the Bulls, Icedogs and Saints have outstanding rosters made us want to look towards next season and the seasons following.
Moving the players to the Express was tough but we liked what we got in return. Sillinger has said he’s done after this season and Rommy is getting old so his years in the league are numbered. We’ll have a tough finish but I’m confident we’ll be right in the mix at the end of the year.
Pierre McGuire, TSN – Last night was an extremely busy night and conversations from GM’s are rolling into this afternoon on the status of the league. What are your thoughts?
GM – Generally our management group tries to stray away from controversy within the league. I’m still a little dizzy from all of the deals last night but it was great to see so much activity. I think it does get frustrating when GM’s don’t respond to trade offers but or try to make improvements to their squads. With that said, the league is great and something we still enjoy. I think it’s tougher to compete than ever with the trades some teams have made to the Bulls, Saints, etc. To beat those types of teams takes somewhat of a miracle and that’s why we traded some of our better players at the deadline.