Here’s the latest today from Dean Lombardi, who discussed the re-signing of Jarret Stoll and Colin Fraser, the possibility of bringing back Dustin Penner, the coaching-staff change and the probable re-hiring of Terry Murray by the Philadelphia Flyers organization…
LOMBARDI: “I think that was something we set out to do before July 1, and fortunately we were able to get it done. I think we certainly recognize what they meant to the team, and they were certainly reasonable and definitely showed their desire to stay together. So it was able to come together quick, unlike some of the other negotiations we’ve seen. Both sides wanted it to happen quickly. A big part of it was that both players wanted it done, and when you’ve got that, it’s not that hard.’’
Question: With Stoll, there was a drop-off in terms of scoring numbers, but he also did a lot of other things, and brings some intangibles. Is that what you looked at, when giving him a three-year deal?
LOMBARDI: “I think it’s two-fold. When we brought in Stoll and Greener back then, the term we used was `culture-changers.’ These were two guys who played the game the right way and were all about team. I think we were dead-on in that assessment. I do think the identity that we were trying to create really started to take hold when those two guys came on, and then we just kept adding to it. But when we traded for them, and we gave up a very good player at that time [Lubomir Visnovsky], a lot of their value was based on their intangibles. I think the assessment was correct, based on not only the way they play but the type of people they are. So, that clearly goes into his value.
“Secondly, I think you have to understand that if you look at all the cap space that is available this summer, you will see that for the first time — every year at this point, there have been five or six teams that are at or over the cap. What you see now is, nobody is over the cap, and even the worst team, in terms of cap space — I believe it’s Chicago — still has over five million (available). So when you’re doing a contract like this, you have to be careful of comparables. Because, first of all, how much money is available in the marketplace? I can safely say that it’s the most there has ever been. Secondly, now look at the free-agent market. If you look at what is there, and take out some obvious big names, there’s a lot (of money) out there and there’s not a lot of good players. Now, here’s a guy that everybody in the league respects, in his role. So you’ve got to be careful, just looking at numbers. Obviously we looked at that, and that’s one of the reasons he was willing to take some bit of a pay cut, but I don’t think his agent was totally wrong. He certainly wouldn’t have had to do that if he waited.
“So you have to be careful, just looking at stats. How much money is in the marketplace? The most ever. How big is that free-agent market? Well, go through it yourself and see where he would rank. Not to rip on anything, but just look at (Michal) Handzus last year. He didn’t have a great year, numbers-wise, he’s a lot older than Stolly and he gets $2.5 (million). So, here’s a guy who is still young and is coming off playing a key role on a Stanley Cup Final team. It’s the same thing with Zeus. If you did Zeus’ contract based on numbers, it’s not 2.5, but San Jose takes him because of his intangibles and because there’s nothing else out there. That’s why you have to be careful, just looking at numbers. Our issue is fitting him in under the cap, and getting (Jonathan) Quick in and everything else.’’
Question: To the extent you can talk about this publicly, what’s the latest on the possibility of bringing back Dustin Penner?
LOMBARDI: “He’s going to have to have some surgery on his wrist. I haven’t got the full report, but it looks like there’s going to need to be some work done on his wrist. It’s one of the things that was bothering him during the year, and he played through it. It looks like, at this stage, there’s going to need to be some work on that, and that could lay him up for a while. Darryl (Sutter) is coming back (to L.A.) on Monday, and we’re going to sit down and talk to him and see where he’s at. But I wanted to get that medical report confirmed. A big part of it is him getting in shape, or not falling back here. I did think that was pretty important, although with a wrist (injury), he should still be able to do the cardio, which for him is critical. So, we’ll be talking about that this week.’’
Question: You guys made the decision to not bring back Jamie Kompon. What went into that?
LOMBARDI: “I don’t think it’s any lack of respect, or reflection of the job he did. I’ve always believed, from day one, that a head coach should have the right to choose his guys. It certainly doesn’t mean that people aren’t qualified, or didn’t do a good job, but there’s always a comfort level with head coaches and the people they select. At the time we made the change, (Sutter) was more than willing to go with it, but I made it clear that, like any head coach, he has the right to choose which way he wants to go. It’s like a player. It’s not that you don’t think the guy is a good player or a good person. But so much of coaching is a comfort zone. Remember, Darryl came in here and didn’t know any of these guys from Adam. He relied on Jamie and John and Billy Ranford, and that’s not easy. I still think he’s building a rapport with John and the other guys, but I think this is something you see in all the sports, particularly with a guy with (previous) head-coaching experience. He has to have that right. It’s not a reflection on the work that (Kompon) did, by any stretch of the imagination.’’
Question: Do you know what Darryl wants to do with that job?
LOMBARDI: “No, I don’t. That’s something we will talk about this week.’’
Question: Apparently the Flyers have talked about bringing in Terry Murray was their AHL coach. Do you give the permission for them to talk to him?
LOMBARDI: “We did an agreement with Philly. That was done a couple weeks ago. Murph was working for us in the playoffs and stuff, but we had been in negotiations with Philly there, and that got done a couple weeks ago. … It’s easy for him, in a sense. It’s not far from home (in Maine). Mr. Anschutz actually called him, too, because he wants to give him a (Stanley Cup) ring. So that’s pretty nice.’’