- Aaron Vickers of Flames.nhl.com: Flames GM Brad Treliving on their current roster.
“One of the things that help you improve is creating internal competition at all positions. You look at our team right now. We’ve got some young forwards that are going to push for spots at camp. That internal competition makes us better.
“We’ve still got some work to do on the blue line before we get to training camp, but it’ll be the same situation there where we have guys fighting to be in the lineup, fighting to be on the team.”
Treliving is still looking for ways to improve the roster.
“You’re continuing to look at how to get better,” said Treliving, who also tendered a qualifying offer to Chad Billins in late June. “That’s the job. How do we get better? Sometimes those are little steps you’re taking.
“By getting these contracts done, it makes us better but we’ve got lots of work to do. This isn’t something we close the book on and say ‘we’re done’. We’ll continue to work here. We’ve got lots of time before training camp.
“Those days will be spent on finding ways to see if we can get better and see what is out there.”
- Dan Rosen of NHL.com: Capitals coach Barry Trotz on how their second line center position could play out.
“I’m looking at it in a number of different ways. You’ve got Marcus Johansson, who has played wing but he’s a centerman with great speed in the middle. The more I watch Backstrom the more I realize how good he really is and he gets very little credit. I was in the Western Conference for 17 years and I would see him once or twice a year. You knew he was good but you don’t know how good he is until you dissect him a little. He’s really good. But in the two-hole I’m really looking at a number of guys. I’m going to put guys in the middle during camp. I’m going to put Marcus Johansson and [Evgeny] Kuznetsov in the middle. Eric Fehr played in the middle last season but I think he’s probably going to end up on the wing. Organizationally they added Andre Burakovsky [No. 23 pick in 2013 NHL Draft] and I’d like to see him in the middle. We did that during development camp and he was outstanding in the middle. We’ve really got a few options there and I think that’s good. What you’re seeing in the National Hockey League now is the more people who can play center the better. Players can always get to the wall.
“I’m going to let them play it out. We’re going to try to get the best three up the middle in terms of the people who are really good at distributing the puck and making things happen from the middle of the ice. After those three I think the fourth line will probably have a little more definition, probably more bite to it. I’m going to let them play through the camp, but my vision is that Johansson will play in the middle and Kuznetsov or Burakovsky will play in the middle and one will have to move to the wall. In today’s game, the more options you have the better off you are.
“Obviously the Backstrom-Ovechkin line gets all the hard matchups, but last year based on performance the Jason Chimera-Joel Ward line probably outperformed any combination that they had in a second line. Through Brooks Laich, Troy Brouwer — one of them might have to play on the top line — Kuznetsov, Johansson, Burakovsky, Fehr, I think we can probably establish a pretty good second line. If we can do that the depth of the third line will be very good too.
“The center-ice position is where I’m going to focus a lot of attention. I think we’re going to be a lot deeper through the middle of the ice then I even expected.”