Last, but not least in our series of interviews with the general managers of the League’s 18 teams, we took time to chat with Saint John Sea Dogs’ GM and president Trevor Georgie ahead of the new season.
Following last year’s President’s Cup championship and Memorial Cup semi-final appearance, you’ve made it clear that you are looking to retool as opposed to rebuild. Why is that so important to you?
“It’s important to us for a few reasons. One reason is for our fan base; we want to make sure we are competitive every night and that we ice a product they can be proud of. I don’t think that any organization or team – no matter how understanding or patient their fans are – would enjoy dropping down into those types of valleys. Part of it is due to our roster. We arguably have who we think is the best player in his age group in North America in Joe Veleno. We have complimented him this offseason with two great 1999 European players in Ostap Safin, who is an Oilers draft pick, and Radim Salda as well as Cedric Pare who was drafted by this Bruins this year and goalie Alex D’Orio who is at the Penguins camp right now. We have a lot of pieces that we think will keep us competitive.”
What was your playoff run all the way to the Memorial Cup semifinal means for your players experience-wise? How much will that help them this season?
“Experience certainly helps. You look at our returning players who got to reach Memorial Cup tournament and raise the President’s Cup over their heads. They will now they get to see banners go up to rafters for that President’s Cup, regular season championship and our Maritime Division title on opening night. That moment will be a reminder of the joys of winning and of the importance of the sacrifices that were made in order to win.”
The 2017-18 season will be a success for the Sea Dogs if…
“It’s all about player development and progression – making sure our players take a step forward. We have a number of players who maybe didn’t get an opportunity with us in previous seasons based on the depth of our lineup just symptomatic of that. We’ve had 11 players who have been drafted or signed by NHL teams, for example. We will also be looking to be competitive every night and focusing on the development of our young players.”