After the New Jersey Devils drafted Miles Wood in the fourth round of the 2013 NHL Entry Draft, I got word that Lou Lamoriello would speak and take questions from the media in the interview room. I managed to get down there and recorded all eight minutes or so of the session. Lou took questions on today's big acquisition of Cory Schneider ranging from general thoughts on him, how this affects Martin Brodeur and Johan Hedberg, and whether there was someone else the Devils wanted in that spot. He also touched on the team's finances and free agent signings in his own typical way. As far as I recall, he did not use the phrase "status quo."
I managed to record the whole thing but given where I stood, the audio is a bit low except when a nearby photographer took a photo. You may need to turn up the volume. While you may not hear all of the questions, you'll mostly pick up on Mr. Lamoriello's New England accent. Alas, Lou was popular and so I could only get so close to him. Anyway, here's the audio:
The summary of the whole session - which you'll probably need given the audio - was as follows:
- He described Cory Schneider as "the goalie not only of the present, but of the future." He then later stated that "Marty is still a #1 goaltender." Lou insisted that Schneider won't push Brodeur, that "Marty pushes himself." But he also stated that with a condensed schedule in an Olympic year and Brodeur can't play as many games the way he plays. Later, Lou did note that they would have liked to have been able to be able to make this kind of transition a year ago.
- Regarding Hedberg, Lou didn't reveal anything regarding what he'll do about Johan Hedberg. He said he had "no thoughts" of a buyout and he would talk to "Heddy" about what's next.
- With respect to the ninth overall pick, Lou did say that if there was a goaltender available that could play right away, they possibly would have taken him. He also revealed there were multiple players they did consider with their pick. But in the best interests of their franchise, they went with Schneider.
- Lou would not reveal whether the deal was made today or the night prior or earlier. He was asked about this and looked legitimately thrown off and a bit annoyed by it. Essentially moot, but something to note. Speaking of, Lou did say the deal was to benefit both sides and generally praised the selection of Bo Horvat.
- Regarding the team's "financial issue" but he did say "if you notice what we did today" as far as what they're doing. Cory Schneider is due to make $4 million per season for the next two seasons according to CapGeek.
- When asked whether acquiring a young American goalie, Lou was adamant that you take the best player available from where they are - even if "you don't know what country they're from." He did note that USA Hockey has done a great job.
- Given this all took place after the fourth round, he stated that he and the scouts were happy with taking Steve Santini and Ryan Kujawinski, who plays for Doug Gilmour - a former Devil.
In putting this all together, it seems clear to me that Cory Schneider and Martin Brodeur would likely split time next season at a minimum. Lou noted that Schneider was a #1 goalie - and he was last season for Vancouver - and I doubt he says that only for him to get lesser work behind Brodeur. As far as Johan Hedberg goes, it wouldn't surprise me if he'll be bought out. Only it won't be to go out and acquire a different back up, it'll be to make room for the new guy.
I thought it was revealing that there were prospects they did consider at #9, something that I'm sure fans will be wondering about for some time. His indirect statement regarding finances was rather bold. In a way, he's not wrong. The team did add a total of $8.5 million in salary over two years. There will be more numbers to be added as the team will announce some signings; likely those we already know about. I'm sure what will happen on July 5 will make a bigger statement in that regard, but the Devils essentially opened their wallet by getting a known player instead of a prospect on an much cheaper entry level contract that can slide for two seasons.
I'll have a draft overview tomorrow morning but in the meantime, I hope this summary of Lou's media session tides you over. It was a rather significant day for the Devils so a night's rest would help put it all in perspective. Plus, it's not often I get to be live for a media session. Granted, it's not an ideal recording, but it's something unusual here at ILWT. Let me know what you think of Lou's statements in the comments. (And I ever get the chance to play reporter again, I'll try to at least get closer to the man being questioned. Lesson definitely learned.)