GM Brandon Streblow has given fans in the desert reason for optimism with his newly constructed roster, something not often seen in Arizona.
It’s a new season in Arizona, where hockey has…not been good in the past, to say the least. However, new Coyotes GM Brandon Streblow has given fans reason for optimism with his newly constructed roster, so let’s talk with Mr. Streblow to see what his thoughts were going into the dispersal draft, and going forward.
Interviewer: “So first off, please take us through what led you to construct the roster you did. This roster definitely seems primed to win now.”
Brandon: “So a few factors went into our strategy; first off, I am still relatively new in the hockey world, and so I don’t have a great grasp for a lot of the good young prospects that other teams covet. Therefore, we felt it best to focus on players we knew were good right now, and we can learn as we go along through the years.
Next, we wanted to go ahead and grab an early pick for the entry draft since we figure to be picking towards the backend for the next several years; at least, we hope to.
Finally, we wanted to focus on the fundamentals of hockey, meaning good center play, strong defense, and a quality netminder; we feel like we got all of those things in this roster.”
Interviewer: “Are you at all concerned about the stadium situation? Did the owner give the okay to spend on a contending roster with your capacity the lowest in the league by far?”
Brandon: “I am concerned yes, but I got the owner on board by putting it like this: If we focus on the future and saving money, then things will continue as they are. Hockey will be bad, fans won’t want to come, until we likely have to leave Arizona. We don’t want that to happen.
We also realize that the reason we’re in this spot is because the history of this franchise so far has been very underwhelming. Therefore, our thinking is, if we can make an investment now and get a team worth watching, then the fans will come in time. Over years, if we can sustain success, we can start turning the culture around this team and give people a reason to show up.
Will it lead to losses in the short term? Most likely, yes. The gamble is if we can get this thing turned around, then hopefully the city of Arizona will be willing to get us a new stadium. The owner wants hockey in Arizona, so that’s why he is on board with this. Plus, with the floor in place, you’re already looking at at least $60-70 million in terms of salaries and expenses, so at that point you might as well spend to try and get out of this hole, right?”
Interviewer: “What did you see from your team in the preseason? I know it’s only 4 games, but were there any things you liked in particular? Anything you noticed that needs to be improved?”
Brandon: “To be honest, there wasn’t a lot I liked, but as you said it’s just preseason. This is a new team that needs time to gel. The coach needs time to figure out what lines to run, etc. I will say I think our top line is performing as expected, especially Sebastian Aho and Pavel Buchnevich, I think they logged like 7 points each in 4 games? That’s elite production.
The biggest thing I noticed however, is that our discipline needs to improve. We had important people missing lots of time from fighting in basically every game, that needs to improve for sure. We can’t have guys like Vlad Tarasenko playing fewer minutes than he’s spending in the penalty box.
I feel confident in our coaching staff however, and it could just be guys working off steam after a whole offseason, it seemed like lots of fights were happening across the league for some reason.”
Interviewer: “Several teams in the league have been trading non-stop; some of them making key acquisitions. Meanwhile the only real trade you have made was an upgrade at goalie. Any insight there?”
Brandon: “So, I do want to make something clear, we did make attempts other than Darcy Kuemper earlier in the offseason, but for various reasons those talks just didn’t yield fruit - it happens. That being said, we aren’t going to give assets unless it’s for someone we feel can help our team win now and in the next couple of years, and so far from the talks we’ve had, I don’t feel like the right deal has been there.
We prefer to sit tight for the time being, see what we have in our roster, and see what we can improve first before making trades just to make trades, which will allow us to more accurately address any shortcomings if or when we do make another trade.”
So, as you can see, the front office clearly like what they have on their roster for the time being and think they can compete for a title. Time will tell if that’s just wishful thinking or if they really can change the culture down in the desert.
They do have some decent prospects like every other team, and they did just draft 7th overall in what they hope will be their highest spot in a while. Most of their top talent is under contract for at least 2 years, so we are skeptical the Coyotes will stand pat forever unless the roster really takes off.