OILERS GM KEVIN LOWE'S END OF SEASON RECAP
KEVIN LOWE PRESS CONFERENCE
Edmonton Oilers General Manager Kevin Lowe recently held his end of the season press conference in Edmonton. Below are some of the topics Lowe discussed with the Edmonton Media:
KEVIN LOWE - Courtesy of EdmontonOilers.com.
On moving up in the draft:
I would love the opportunity to move up into the top ten in the draft. I think we have the assets to do it and we have built them up over a number of years so ideally we will try to use that to improve upon the overall high end of our organization.
On possible trade scenarios:
We have to wait until the season is over and see what other teams are looking for. If you watch the trade deadline closely and if you can anticipate the depth charts of the other teams and see their voids, in particular defense, because we like to think we are deep in defense, whether it is guys who played better than expected in the minors or college prospects we are going to sign. We also would like to think we are deep at the forward position as well.
On the season:
It turned out that we ended up in a position where we were challenging for a playoff spot. Going into the season I never anticipated the amount of injuries, it was a record year for injuries. I think it is becoming the norm now in the NHL though so it gave a chance to many of our young players to play. If we had stayed healthy we would have had a team that could have challenged in the playoffs. Some say that the younger players got to develop as a result of the injuries, and in some respects that is true, but those young players were playing predominate roles early on in the season. My feeling on young players is if they are good, they will find a way to play, and they obviously were. Our goal was to try and make the playoffs, but also be in a development year. We did not reach the playoffs but it was a good effort by the team. We did have our best development year in the past 12 to 15 years. I can not wait for next year.
On the intensity of the season:
Players are in such good shape and condition, and the game is played at such a high tempo. There is not one game in the season that is a relaxing or not important game. That was not the case five, six, eight years ago. Looking back to the 80’s there were games where you knew you could beat the other team and even if you did lose it was not a big deal. This year, the top teams like
On free agency:
There again you analyze each team. If a team comes around that is in a similar situation as ours is, and if there is potential for an RFA sheet than there will be one. We have lots of cap room and we know the players we like. If there was an offer, we will match it, if it is too high then we will let them go and let them have the picks. We have lots of depth in the organization and we can make those types of decisions. We have had positive contract negotiations this summer with our players.
On the younger players:
There are always guys that rebound and have great years and then there are some players that fall off a little. Our two youngest players, Sam Gagner and Andrew Cogliano, have great heads on their shoulders and are very hard workers. I can not see them falling off too much, in fact I see them improving. The other guys are not young; we can expect improvement from every one of them. Including players who are rebounding from injury and off years, which was the scenario we were in this summer, things should come together nicely.
On the situation that the team is in:
No, I have not been in this position before. We can not spend this off-season relaxing because there are tough decisions to make. A team can never have enough good players; we hope that we can make the right choices so the team can have success. As a fan, I have never been in the position were I was looking forward to the following year this early. I am excited about the players, and what excites me is I know the drive that they all have. I know they want to be stars and this is a good city to do it in.
On looking back at the season:
You want to limit your losing streaks to a couple of games if you can, and then you need winning streaks to go along with them. If you analyze this past season, we were two games behind
On the future:
I just went over our salary expectations and our projections for next season; we can keep the guys we want and stay below the cap so we can make adjustments. I think we will be in a 1.000 better position salary wise than we were this season.
On expectations for next season:
We have to make it to the playoffs first, and we have a young team. As an example, the Ottawa Senators, in the first month of the season everyone thought that they could not lose a game. Then come the end of the season, there was a big chance that they were not going to make the playoffs. There is so much parity in this league.
On Head Coach Craig MacTavish
When you are the head coach, you are put under the microscope much more. There have been articles describing how I feel about coach, the sign of a good coach is how prepared his players are. I feel that are players have been as prepared as ever. The vast majority of our players enjoy playing for him. He’s knowledgeable and has all the elements of being a great coach. We want to win the Stanley Cup for the fans, but I would like nothing more than to win one for him. With that on his resume he could silence all of his critics.