From: Twin Cities
A snippet from Russo's interview with Evason in the Athletic about the D:
When I talk to Bill Guerin, he almost sounds like Andrej Sustr is going to make the team. And digging into his analytical numbers, he’s been a good penalty killer at the NHL level and his teams have been good on the PK. Could that help him land a spot in the top seven?
Well, with Jon Merrill being out (after offseason surgery) and us not being sure where his progression is going to go and with Kuli’s trade (to Anaheim), we’ve made room. I think that’s the message in camp here is that there are spots, not just forward spots. We’ve got a spot or two on D. Well, a spot for sure. But maybe two new people, as I’m sure you’re going to ask me about Addy (Calen Addison), too. I don’t know Sustr, so I’m not going to pretend to. But everybody that I’ve spoken to feels he can play in the National Hockey League. So he’ll get as good a look as anybody.
Similarly, with Sustr on the PK, Addison quarterbacked the Iowa power play and your power play stunk. Does that give him a leg up in camp?
Hundred percent. That’s his job. He’s done it. Much like the world juniors, I have that memory in my head of him running the PP at the top. So, yeah, we obviously have guys here that are capable of doing that. But again, same as we talked about Rossi, people get drafted for a reason and positionally for what they do. Addy is a power-play player and he needs to make that step and hopefully he can be a power-play player for us.
Will you go with Jake Middleton-Jared Spurgeon again or could we see you mix up Jonas Brodin and Matt Dumba?
We are going to try Middleton with Dums and try Brodes with Spurge. We know Dums and Brodes work well. Same with Spurgeon and Middleton. But we are going to have a look at that. We think that it might give us the opportunity to play Spurge and Brodes against the high, high, high-end guys, speed-wise, and then those other two against a little bit more, the grittier, heavier groups. So it’s something that we’re going to give a real good look at.
Then Alex Goligoski and Addison as the third pair to start?
Well, again, there’s Goose (Goligoski), Addy, Sustr, Dakota Mermis. There’s competition for that.
Lots of guys had career years last year: Foligno, Hartman, Zuccarello, obviously Kaprizov, Gaudreau, Eriksson Ek. How do you build on that as a coaching staff or do you worry about regression?
Well, for me personally, I don’t bring it up. I’m not going to bring Gaudreau in and say, “Wow, you did this. You need to better that.” We just want them to do exactly what they’ve done: compete, battle. And we’ll see where the points shake out. That’s not something that I particularly worry about.