(HERE'S THE LINK FOR VIDEO JUDD AND I DID)
(UPDATED WITH HEATLEY AND SETOGUCHI VIDEO LINK, FLETCHER TRANSCRIPT)
Afternoon. With the prospects down the hall being worked into a lather as they underwent physicals and fitness testing for the start of development camp, the Wild introduced Dany Heatley and Devin Setoguchi to the media today.
Both donned Wild sweaters for the first time and seemed genuinely excited to be here. They spent the last couple days looking for places to live, and it sounds like that'll be in Minneapolis.
Below are transcripts from their Q&A's with the media today, as well as GM Chuck Fletcher. Also, Vikings beat writer, hockey lover and Star Tribune All-Star Judd Zulgad came down to the rink to film a couple videos with yours truly.
The first video on Heatley and Setoguchi should be on startribune.com/wild later today. The other video, which looks ahead to next season and the new-look Wild, should be on in the next few days. So check those out.
Here is Star Tribune video of Heatley's presser.
Here is the Star Tribune video of Setoguchi's presser
Here's a link to my Charlie Coyle story in today's paper
And here's information on development camp. On-ice practices begin Tuesday. Roman Augustoviz will be down at the X for most of development camp as I begin taking time off. I'm out of town this weekend for my brother's bachelor party, so I will not be at the scrimmages. But definitely march down to the X and take advantage of your first glimpse at much of the Wild's future.
Also, lots of Wild prospects and invitees are on Twitter, so be sure to follow @kylemedvec, @mlucia1993, @zackphillips7 and @djaans6 (UMD's Derik Johnson).
Lastly, if you missed Episode 1 of "Becoming Wild" on FSNorth, here's a link to the episode on wild.tv
Here's Heatley, Setoguchi and Fletcher:
It’s been an exciting week. Obviously coming down here, I’ve been here for a couple days, being here and meeting coaches and managers and everyone involved with the team, it’s been a good day today and a big week.
(Reaction to people you met)
It’s been great. I’ve been here a little bit over the years, obviously playing here, going to Wisconsin and playing against the Gophs, I developed a lot of friendships and a lot of people I went to school with, so I’ve been here in the area a lot, I know it’s a great hockey town. I love playing in this rink. It’s always been one of my favorite places to play, so from that point I’m real excited.
I did a little bit today. Had a good talk with Mike and Chuck today, so it’s great.
(expectations for each other)
I think we’re on the same page with personal and team expectations. I think as a team we’re going to get back in the playoffs. I think we want to get better every day, and those are some of the messages from both of them.
(part of you rejuvenated)
Yeah. Definitely. Just talking to Seto, this is Seto’s first time, obviously I’ve been traded a few times, it’s kind of a sense of a fresh start. You get a little excitement, and I know Seto’s excited and so am I.
(this trade different than others)
I think you approach it the same. I think you’re still on a new team. The way the trades have gone down, I think I go back to the first one where I didn’t know it was coming, so that was different, but from the point of just a new team and new excitement, it’s very similar.
(what can you add to the Wild)
I think I can score goals. I’ve always been a goal scorer, put up numbers, and I think that’s what I’m expected to do here. I think me and Seto both bring that to the table for this team.
(who you meet so far)
A lot of guys have called me. I talked to Schultzy, talked to Josh Harding, a few of the guys, I know about five or six of the guys, having played with them on Team Canada or things like that. So pretty comfortable coming into the room.
He called me. We’ve kind of missed each other, but I hope to talk to him this week.
(what you think of his game)
I think he’s one of the best centermen in the league. I think being an outsider and seeing him from afar, I think he’s an underrated guy, but playing against him over the years I think he’s a real good player and I’m excited to be on his team.
(how much last few days been about finding place to live)
It’s been all it is. We’ve been looking around, and I think we’re both getting settled and that’s a good thing for us. Now we can just worry about getting ready for camp.
(what you got left in the tank)
That’s funny. We were just joking about that with Mike. He was saying, ‘You’re 30 years. It’s not like you’re 38.’ So I feel real good. I feel like I can have a real good year this year, and I’m going to do that.
(how long you play)
As long as I can.
(til you’re 38?)
(go to Gophers game)
If the Badgers are in town.
(like to settle down)
Yeah, for sure. That’s the nature of the game, though. I think you can expect to move around over the course of a career. I do like it here already. Like I said, I know a lot of people here, I know the area very well and I know this is a great place to play, so I’d love to stay here for a long time.
(motivated to prove people wrong)
No question. I’ve always used that as motivation in my career. I always want to prove people wrong, and I’d like to do it again.
(playoffs or bust)
No question. It’s been three years since we’ve been there now, and that’s our goal, to get better every day and get back in the playoffs. I think the Western Conference is a very very tough conference. It’s going to be tough games all year long, but I believe we can get in the playoffs and once we do, anything can happen once you get there.
(talent wise where do Wild rank)
I think if you look at our group right now, I think we’re a real young group, but we’ve got a lot of talent like you said. I’m excited to get in there and see what the combos are going to be. As an offensive guy we’ve got a lot of guys that like to play offense.
(pressure on you)
I think so. If you score goals you’re always expected to score goals, and that’s never going to change. I love being in that spot. If you don’t like being in that spot, I think you’re in the wrong place.
(goal for number of goals)
No. I always like to just go with it. People like to throw numbers out, but for me my goal is to get to the point where I feel my game is at my best, and if it’s at my best then I’m going to score a lot of goals.
(why you traded)
I don’t know. I don’t really speculate on that. Obviously they felt they wanted to make a change, and that’s the nature of the business, but I’m happy that Chuck made a trade and he wants me here and I’m happy to be here.
(your standards, last year was down)
I think throughout a career, you have good years and bad years. Last year was a little bit of a down year for me, and I’ve got to work this summer and try to bring that back up.
On wearing jersey: It feels good. After being here for a couple days now and getting acquainted with the city and meeting everybody, I can speak for myself and say that it’s a big hockey town, it’s a big hockey city, and we’re excited to be here and be a part of it.
Any idea of trade: No, not at all. I was just more excited that I signed the new contract. And then the next day you get shipped off. But that’s the way it is. That’s sports. You can never get too comfortable and things happen for a reason. They wanted me here and I want to be here. I want to be a big part to this team and help out. I’m excited to be here and get a fresh start.
On his game: You’re going to find that I’m just going to shoot the puck. That’s all what I try to do. I get the puck, I shoot it. I don’t hold onto it, I don’t make nice, really sweet plays with it. I just shoot it. I’m going to skate and shoot and hit, and that’s my plan.
Expectations from Chuck and Mike: Nowadays in the game, you’ve got to shoot the puck. The game’s quicker. Goalies are better. Teams are better. In order to be a successful team, you’ve got to shoot the puck, you’ve got to get shots. I think I can shoot the puck more, and I know that’s what they want us to do, and that’s what I’m going to do.
Experience: I think it’s good that I get a chance to come here with Dany. I heard him just say before he had a little bit of a down year last year. I never heard of someone scoring 26 goals having a down year. That’s kind of hard to do. In his standards, he wants to score 50 every year. So it’s going to make the transition a lot easier coming here with him.
His demeanor now compared to last week: Obviously, he was going to be a little upset. He’s in San Jose and he was only there for a couple years, but we were talking about it the last couple days how exciting it is to be here and be a part of such a big hockey state. It feels like I’m back in Canada almost playing junior hockey. It’s like the 14th province of Canada -- Minnesota. This is good. It’s going to be a fun experience. I’m in a point in my career where hopefully I can take on a little bit more and prove myself as a player as well.
More of a role here: Yeah, taking on some more minutes. I may only be 24, but I’ve played four years. I’ve been in the playoffs every year and played overtime games in the playoffs every year. I’m at a crossroads where I need to pick up my game one more step, be a professional and turn into that man you’ve got to be in order to play in this league. I’m ready to take the jump and make the step and help out the team as much as I can.
Where’s Wild ceiling?: Yeah, exactly. It’s unproven. I’ve looked over the roster. A lot of guys are my age. I played under-18 with Cal Clutterbuck and Latendresse. The younger you are, I think, the quicker you are – in some cases. We’re going to be a fast team, and I know that’s the way Mike wants to play. He wants to be fast, north-south, and that’s the way I like to play. And that’s when the fans like to watch is when it’s nice and fast.
You and Dany going to live near each other: I think like three blocks away. I’ve got that pretty much taken care of. I’m going to look at a couple more places this afternoon, but I think Minneapolis is going to be the place I call home now.
Describe your game: It’s pretty simple what you’re going to get from me. I like to play north-south. I like to use my speed, get in on the forecheck, really be tenacious and puck hungry. And I like to shoot. So you’re going to get some speed, you’re going to get a little bit of physicality and just a player that likes to play a hard game and score some goals every once in awhile.
Sharks runs in playoffs and not getting over hump: It is tough to win. It’s weird, when you’re in the playoffs, and you get to the conference final, there’s only four teams left. All you have to do is win 16 games to win the Stanley Cup. And we only won nine. So, to get over the hump, it is hard to win. But I think just being there and having the experience of being there definitely helps out. The mentality of being in situations that a lot of people probably from here haven’t been in is going to help. The experiences are something that I’m going to have to maybe help out a little bit in areas that I’m not really too keen on being a leader. That’s another part of my game I need to work on and now I’m in a position where I might get that chance.
Impressions of Wild: I always liked to play the Wild for some reason. I seemed to always be able to score (laughing). No, you knew exactly what you were going to get from them every night we were playing them. They were a young team when we were playing them. We knew we had to get at least 40 shots in order to score on Backstrom every night. Now if you look at the make of the team, it’s kind of a different makeup. We’re going to try and push to be an offensive team this year and put some goals in the net.
Talk to Clutterbuck night of trade: I wanted to just kind of figure out, coming from San Jose, the organization is top-notch from head to toe. Now after meeting everyone here, it’s the same thing here. So that was kind of what I wanted to know. I already knew that it was a hockey state and everyone loves hockey here. So I wasn’t worried about that. I wanted to know what the fans were like and you know they were good. Now I just need to meet the rest of my teammates and I’m sure we’ll be fine.
Pressure here: There’s always pressure everywhere you’re going to go. I expect to score every night I’m on the ice. There might be a little added pressure, yeah. If it’s not going on, I hope the fans are patient enough with me. They’re going to go in sooner or later. I’m just excited to be here.
(nice to see new guys)
First time I had a chance to speak to both of them live and in person, and it’s exciting. They’re excited, and they’re here to check out the Twin Cities, find a place to live, and they both had a chance to sit down with Mike Yeo, which was great, and to start to get to know him a little bit. I know we’re a couple months away, but with prospects camp and those two guys in town, it certainly makes it pretty exciting.
(how can they help)
Score goals, and be good teammates. So I think Mike’s a pretty straightforward coach. He’s going to talk to them about what the foundation of their game is, and we want the guys to bring what they bring every night, and again chip in in the roles that they’ll be given and be good teammates. We’re looking forward to having a really good team this year in terms of chemistry in the room and cohesiveness on the ice and they’re going to be a good part of that.
(Seto says he likes to shoot)
Yeah, and we also want him to backcheck and get the puck out on the wall and do some things, too, but he shoots the puck and he’s done that his whole career and certainly we want him to continue to develop. He’s just 24 years old, so to me he hasn’t even come close to hitting the prime of his career and I’m excited to see what he’ll do in a priority role.
(when did you realize you needed this shooters)
I think everybody saw that last year, the last two years, and whether you were a fan or a coach or up in the press box eating popcorn I think clearly we didn’t score enough goals and we didn’t shoot the puck enough. There’s a direct correlation between shots on goal and goals scored, so we’re a team that’s going to put an emphasis on putting the pucks in the net, playing in the offensive zone and playing in traffic, getting to the net. Certainly both of those guys do things well in the offensive zone, and that’s why they’re here.
Certainly, you look at it, we’ve blown a pretty big hole on defense by losing Brent Burns. Brent was a very good hockey player for us, an All-Star defenseman, so certainly we paid a price to acquire some high-quality assets. I like the mix of our forwards much better. I think our defense is a lot younger, a little bit more unproven. I really believe training camp, training camp is important every year, but this year will be really important. I believe our team will get better every month, and we’ll be a better team at the end of the year than what we are at the beginning. I think some of the kids that are here this week in terms of our prospect camp, some of them coming into our program in Houston, our future is just going to get brighter, so we really do feel we’re at a point now where we’re just going to continue and build and get better, and how quickly we get better, remains to be seen. Training camp is going to be huge, and how quickly Mike can assimilate the new players into the program and introduce his system and get players to buy in, we’ve got a lot of work ahead of us but I think we’re all excited about it.
They’re very good guys. Even Mike Lundin and Darroll Powe, I think all the additions we made this year, all the players are quality people. They are people that are regarded by their teammates as being good teammates, regarded by their teammates as being good teammates, regarded by the support staff as being good people to work around and work with, and we’re excited. You never know. We’re not asking everybody to be best friends. That doesn’t happen. But when they come to the rink, we want them to be pulling the rope in the same direction. It’s a corny saying, it’s a cliché, but when everybody is here believing if they play their role, they trust that their teammates will be playing their role, and everybody is playing the system and working hard every day, it’s amazing what you can do. I think people saw that the first few years of this franchise, the teams weren’t the most talented teams on paper, but they achieved and they played hard every night and good things happened. We want to get back to being a team that’s regarded as being a hard team to play against and a team that, again, every night you know what you’re getting, and that’s what we’re hoping to achieve.