Blue Jackets president of hockey operations, John Davidson took some time during last night’s win over Anaheim to preview the league’s upcoming trade deadline, which is this Wednesday. Here’s a transcript of what was said.
Question: Have you been inundated with calls, or do you expect that to happen closer to the deadline…or maybe you expect it to be a quiet deadline?
Davidson: You never know, but when you have 30 teams, everybody checks with everybody, so there’s been a lot of calls. For us it’s a situation, we believe in trying to build our team to become a better team, but we don’t believe in short-term loss of assets by any means. We look at it as, when we get calls, it’s flattering. A lot of people would like to make deals where they’re not giving up much and trying to get what we have, and that’s not going to happen. So it’s about managing our assets, and I think the trade deadline, whether it’s busy or not, the preamble certainly will be.
Question: Do you think realignment is going to put a damper on things, because I can’t imagine you wanting to improve Detroit this year, for instance, and yet the same thing can be said for the Rangers next year?
Davidson: Well, I’m more into just building our team. You know, so I wouldn’t want to help another team in our division for sure next year, that’s our next-year division, by not getting much back. You just can’t do that. In other words, selling off players when they’re good players. So we’re not going to do that, no. You always look, and you think about it; but at the same time, if it’s a deal that makes sense to make your own team better, that’s what you look at.
Question: Vinny Prospal is in sort of an interesting situation, given that verbal arrangement he had with the previous administration…
Davidson: In what way?
Question: Well, in that he was told that he would be brought back following his playing career, and that he had a one-year rolling deal…
Davidson: One-year rolling deal?
Question: They would keep signing him to one-year player contracts.
Davidson: Oh, I don’t know if that’s part of the deal. From what I understand, with Vinny Prospal the idea was that when he retired there would be something here, if it’s at all possible. I’ve never seen it in writing. Vinny is a good guy, so we’ll have to see that when it comes. Right now I just want Vinny to play hockey.
Question: Is there anyone who is untouchable right now?
Davidson: No. Wayne Gretzky got traded, so I don’t look at it in any other way. As a hockey player, you go through movement. I was traded as a player from St. Louis to New York. Mine was in the offseason, and there was no such thing as a huge trade deadline like we have today, but listen, we’re in the business of hockey, and we’re in the business of making our team better, and that’s what we have to look at. As far as a player goes, you take care of your business by playing well, and you want to play. That’s it.
Question: That reminds me of something Mark Letestu said recently where he told me he wanted to stay in Columbus, but he’d let his agent and his play do the talking for him. Is that what you mean?
Davidson: That’s exactly right. He’s 100 percent right. He has an agent. You have players that play, play hard. Let your agent represent you, and you go about your business. The best thing for a player to do is not worry about anything and just to play hockey. And that’s every one of them included. If you play and play well, you’re going to have a job.
Question: Are you the one placing phone calls right now, or are you letting people come to you?
Davidson: There’s 30 teams and Jarmo is the GM and Jarmo talks to the other 29 GMs, and that’s how they do it. Everybody talks to everybody, and see what they want and see if there’s a fit. There’s not too much magic to it really.
Question: Does that mean you wouldn’t describe yourself as being aggressive?
Davidson: I wouldn’t say that. We’re going to talk to everybody and see where it goes. That’s what you do.
For more on the deadline, and for a list of scouts from last night’s game, you can check out this post from yesterday.