Pat Verbeek has a imaginative and prescient for the way forward for the Geese, a corporation he’s nonetheless attending to know after he was employed as basic supervisor Feb. 3. For starters, he was in Toronto on Friday morning to observe one of many crew’s prime prospects play in a junior-level playoff sport later that evening.
“I’m going to go watch Mason McTavish play,” Verbeek stated of the Geese’ first-round draft choose (third total) in 2021, a high-scoring heart who had led the Hamilton (Ontario) Bulldogs to a 3-0 sequence lead over the Mississauga Steelheads. “I haven’t seen him, so I need to see him play.”
McTavish performs with some however not the entire traits Verbeek wish to see in the entire Geese beginning with the 2022-23 season. McTavish isn’t essentially a speedy skater, however he has the form of snarl and physicality Verbeek desires to turn into the usual throughout the group.
“We’re not as quick as the remainder of the NHL, that’s simply my viewpoint,” Verbeek stated throughout a convention name. “We have now to make enhancements there. There are specific components on the subject of competing. We have now the compete (stage), however the power isn’t there. It’s not adequate, no.”
Verbeek’s mission to mildew the Geese right into a sooner, stronger crew begins with scouting in preparation for the NHL draft July 7-8 at Montreal’s Bell Centre. He additionally should get to know the Geese’ deep prospect pool higher, beginning with McTavish and defenseman Olen Zellweger, a second-round choose in ’21
“It’s my background, I like to do it,” Verbeek stated of scouting. “I’ve a thirst for data, to know gamers, so I’m going to do it. I’m working with all our scouts to verify I’ve data of all of the gamers we’re going to be discussing within the summertime. It’s vital.”
Additionally on the agenda is hiring a brand new teaching employees for the Geese’ AHL crew in San Diego after firing coach Joel Bouchard and assistants Daniel Jacob and Max Talbot this week. Verbeek, in session with Geese coach Dallas Eakins, additionally should discover a alternative for assistant Geoff Ward, who resigned.
The final word aim is finishing an ongoing rebuilding challenge that’s now in its fourth 12 months, after a belated and slow-motion begin by predecessor Bob Murray. Verbeek’s first strikes as GM after changing Murray, who resigned Nov. 10, have been drastic however needed.
Verbeek, believing he couldn’t re-sign unrestricted free brokers Nicolas Deslauriers, Hampus Lindholm, Josh Manson and Rickard Rakell, traded them earlier than the March 21 deadline reasonably than threat dropping them with out gaining something in return. It successfully ended the Geese’ playoff chase.
The Geese have been 27-26-11 going into the deadline and inside placing distance. They ended the season with a 31-37-14 file, dropping into seventh place within the Pacific Division. Their playoff drought reached 4 consecutive seasons, a primary within the franchise’s historical past.
“We couldn’t let guys stroll away,” Verbeek stated. “It was an opportunity to arrange the franchise, to place it in a superb place down the highway to construct a number of depth all through your entire group, whether or not it was within the minors or up prime with the Anaheim Geese.
‘Now we now have a number of draft picks over the subsequent three years. Now it’s going to be our accountability to draft effectively and to set this franchise as much as be good down the highway, to begin being a successful crew, a contending crew and, ultimately, hopefully, a championship crew.”
Verbeek’s problem is to bolster the Geese’ lineup by surrounding dynamic younger gamers like Troy Terry, Trevor Zegras and Jamie Drysdale with different dynamic gamers. The deadline trades of the 4 veterans, plus the retirement of Ryan Getzalf, left a void within the roster.
Terry, Zegras and Drysdale are a part of a brand new Geese core, Verbeek stated. Terry led the Geese with 37 objectives and 67 factors this previous season. Zegras was chosen as considered one of three finalists for the rookie of the 12 months award. Drysdale was the Geese’ third-leading scorer amongst their defensemen.
“I believed that they had good seasons, however as I instructed them, there’s a lot extra upside to the place their video games can go,” Verbeek stated. “I gave them particular areas they should enhance in, that I’m in search of them to enhance in, and I believe in the event that they take a look at these particular areas, issues will enhance drastically for the Anaheim Geese.”
Moreover, Verbeek stated he hadn’t spoken to goaltender John Gibson about his long-term future with the Geese, however didn’t elaborate. Gibson, signed by way of the 2026-27 season, has been outspoken about desirous to win and expressed frustration with the present state of affairs.
So, what comes subsequent? How energetic will Verbeek be in his first offseason because the Geese’ GM?
“There’s a number of prospects,” he stated. “Whether or not we’re going to have the ability to execute them, that’s one other story. There’s going to be a number of groups competing for a similar gamers we’re (in free company). On the finish of the day, the gamers are going to determine. (However) we’re going to make our gross sales pitch.
“Will there be alternatives so far as trades? Completely there will likely be alternatives, however I can’t let you know what they’re. I do not know. There have been groups that got here ahead that I had no concept would come ahead on the commerce deadline and that’s going to be the identical earlier than the draft.
“I’m certain that’s what’s going to occur.”