Nonis patiently answers questions as curious journalists probe to get more answers to events yet to happen. Listen to the whole conference call.
What does Taylor Pyatt need to do to keep the momentum going and take his game to another level next year?
There were nights where he was clearly a dominant player, he used his size, he was physical in all three zones and he found the back of the net more than he has throughout his career but there were nights where he wasn’t that player. Py’s challenge is to be more consistent, he knows it and he knows that’s part of becoming a more dominant player in our league and that’s what we expect of him.
What’s next on your list of to-dos for this summer?
I don’t really know what’s next. We’re kind of attacking a number of different things, including getting ready for the draft, maybe there’s an opportunity to make a deal or two there but we’ll change the look of our club as well. There’s not any one thing we’re targeting but we’re looking at a number of different scenarios.
With the goaltending situation in Vancouver right now, do you think it’ll be tough to get a top prospect like Cory Schneider to join the organization?
No, if you’re looking a couple years down the road, you never know how things are going to look. When Ryan Miller signed with Buffalo, I’m pretty sure Dominik Hasek was the starter. I think you have to go into a situation where you’re going to develop into that player and we’d like to get Cory signed if it’s his desire to come out of school. I think he’s more than capable of playing and getting to Manitoba and starting there, it would be a good start to his pro career and looking too far down the road doesn’t make sense for anybody.
Of the remaining unrestricted free agents, do you have a priority list of what you’re going to there?
No, I wouldn’t put anyone ahead of anyone else at this point. There’s a couple of things you want to look at and again, things can change dramatically from now and July 1st. We’ve gone to meetings with our scouts, our pro scouts as well and we know what kind of list is out there in terms of free agents. We’ll make some decisions as we move towards the draft but we don’t have anyone in particular right now that’s our target.
Will you be re-signing Jan Bulis?
That’s something we haven’t decided yet but he’s not out of the picture. I like Jan, he played very well down the stretch and once he found his groove and what was expected of him, I thought he did an excellent job. I would not rule out bringing him back.
Will you be re-signing Brent Sopel?
I don’t know. It’s the same answer. I could bring Sopes back in the new world of salary cap, you have to make some decisions and finances will be part of it so whether or not he fits remains to be seen but I wouldn’t rule out bringing him back. I think Brent is a good fit here.
Have any decisions about Trevor Linden been made or are you any closer to having a decision?
Nothing has changed at this point, I have talked to Trevor briefly, he’s got a number of things, including some vacation plans coming up, we’re going to get together towards the end of the month. At this point, there’s nothing to report about Trevor.
Are you hoping Pyatt will become a main source for goals next year?
I think he can score more but this is a free agent, who’s going to be 26 years old and still has, in my opinion, the ability to improve his overall game. Even if he doesn’t score more than he scored last year, I think he will become more of a dominant player. Again, at his age, there’s no reason why he can’t continue to improve. Play the best with this contract and hopefully four or five years beyond that.
Right now it seems like five of your top six forward spots are filled, how do you expect to fill the sixth spot?
Well I think there are a couple of potential scenarios. One is if there’s a free agent but as we all know, you don’t know what you’re going to get or if you’re going to be able to get the guy you target. Second would be to give somebody a chance within the organization to see if they can step up. Third is to try to make a deal and bring a player and I wouldn’t rule out us making a deal or two over the course of the summer, in order to change the look of our team a little bit. If that doesn’t happen, I’m confident the guys that we have and had here can do the job. Obviously, we’re not the most offensively gifted team in the league but I think that, especially since we started playing well after Christmas, our goals per game was about the middle of the pack, I don’t see why we can’t improve on that number even with the same group here.
When you made the deal with Pyatt, was there an intention to keep him with the Sedins?
That’s up to the coach. On good thing about Taylor is that he can move up and down the lineup and he can play with different styles of players. Where Alain [Vigneault] wants to play him is fine with me. We didn’t get him just to play with Daniel and Henrik, we believe he can play with anybody on the roster.
Do you agree that there’s more pressure on him going into next season than last season?
Yes and I think that’s good. I think with some opportunity, he showed that he can be a contributor and I guess one of the reasons he wanted to stay in Vancouver was because he was given that opportunity. When you start getting a bigger paycheck, he starts to get more responsibility and expectations rise and that’s natural.
Are you considering bringing back Dany Sabourin?
Talking to Dany at the end of the year, he made it clear to me that he wanted to come back but he also does have the right to become a free agent. It’s going to be up to him what he wants to do. I think he was a good fit with Roberto and they got along well. I think that he can play more than he did last year and I think he benefited greatly from being in the NHL last year, working with Ian [Clark] and playing behind Roberto and I think Dany’s going to continue to improve.
Has Brendan Morrison gone into surgery yet?
Mo is still seeing the specialist and [surgery] hasn’t happened yet.
If the salary cap does increase, will you be able to fill the gaps in the roster or will there still be difficulties?
I think from our standpoint, I don’t think we have the challenges that you’re talking about. I think we’re going to be able to fill our roster within the cap. I don’t want to right at the number – I don’t think it’s healthy, it’s tough to operate but we’re going to be a team that’s going to be close to it. It’s up to us to spend that money wisely and not just throw it around just so we can say we spent to the cap.