Savvy and experienced Assistant GM Dave Nonis...er....I mean Jim Nill (they're the same person, right?) sat down with the Free Press today for a live chat. Here is some of the highlights - click on the Free Press link for the full transcript -
Q: Are you planning on drafting a forward or defenseman?
A: Where we are drafting at #21, it is much harder to be selective with position. Our philosophy will be to draft best player available.
NOHS: Typical answer from Red Wings front office.
Q: Darren McCarty said that Villi Leino was the best player on the team in Grand Rapids, why didn't the organization feel a need to keep him?
A: We were very high on Ville and he was given every opportunity by the coaches to perform here in Detroit, but for some reason it just never materialized for Ville.
NOHS: Villi? You get a chance to talk to Jim Nill and you can't even spell Ville right?
Q: In your opinion, who are the top 3-4 Red Wing prospects that to date has not played in the NHL?
NOHS: Tatar gets me excited in more ways than one...brightest young prospect since Jiri Fischer...hopefully with a healthier heart
Q: Don't you feel that our defensemen need to be better, especially with average goaltending at times. Any young defensemen(kindly, smith) getting a crack this year?
A: We feel that our defense is one of the top 10 in the league when healthy. We are looking for Ericsson to make a step this season and are anxious to see how Kindl, Smith, and Lashoff perform at camp
NOHS: Not sure if "kindly" was intentional or not. That's a hell of a catch phrase should the kid score any goals this year..."Thank ya, Kindly"
Q: Jim - I love Todd Bertuzzi and his improvements in play last season compared to his last time spend with the organization. I can see Bertuzzi as a comparable performer to Franzen or Byuflien. What can the organization do to push Bertuzzi into a higher point performance?
A: I believe that Todd is more comfortable knowing the organization after spending a full season here. He will be given every opportunity to play with either Datsyuk or Zetterberg which should transpire into more points.
NOHS: Kinda makes it sound like he's coming back, doesn't it?
Q: What is the status of Kirk Maltby will he be coming back next year?
A: Kirk is an unrestricted free agent this summer. We have had discussions with Kirk and once we know what the cap number is for the team we will look at all the options.
NOHS: Poor Kirk.
That last one was for Petrella.