FLETCHER: It's a tough league. There's just not a big difference between most teams, and it's going to be a fun year because in 48 games, anything can happen. Clearly there can be surprises in a shortened season, so it will be interesting to see how things play out. There's just really very little difference between everybody. There's so many one-goal games and overtime games or shootout games. Even the best teams, you see them go in and play a team at the bottom of the standings and it's a 3-2 game. There's just very little separating most of us. That's the challenge, but that's also what makes our league such a great league right now, such an entertaining league to watch.

FSN: When you look at Mikael Granlund, who's used to playing at the top level in every league he's been in, what do you think his transition has been like and what he might be struggling with right now?

FLETCHER: He's played really well the last few games, and that's hopefully a sign of things to come. I think the biggest challenge for him is just, it's the best league in the world and getting to know the competition and getting to know the players in the league. The biggest adjustment he's had to make, I think, is just moving his feet. You have to play at a little quicker pace over here than you probably have to in some of the other levels he's played at. The pace of his play, he's got the talent and he's certainly has the competitiveness. He works very hard. As he learns to play at a higher pace, I think things will start to happen a little more for him offensively. But it's a tough league for 20-year-old players. He's only going to get better. We know that. He's contributing every night. He plays every night and he's delivering scoring chances every night. Sooner or later, he'll get rewarded because he's working at it and he's creating.

FSN: Brodin has come in and played a calm, confident game. Is that what you expected from him, a guy who maybe plays above his years a little bit?

FLETCHER: What he's done is really remarkable at this point. I don't think anybody could have expected that for a 19-year-old to step into the league and play close to 24, 25 minutes a lot of nights and play against the best players in the world night in and night out. What he's doing is remarkable for a 25- or 26-year-old, never mind a 19-year-old. I think he's obviously exceeded expectations. The poise in his game is amazing to see. We'll see. He's played eight games. It's a tough league, and he'll continue to be tested as teams find out about him, but we believe he's up to the challenge.

FSN: It's been kind of the same thing with Charlie Coyle; he's been active and has been a spark as a big power forward. He's brought size; is that maybe one of the things you guys were missing?

FLETCHER: Again, young guy and there's always ups and downs with young guys, but he's come in and played really well. He's a big body, but he's another player that has a lot of poise and he's able to make plays in traffic. He's very calm on the ice and really seems to be aware of what's happening around him, and he's generally making the right play. Again, for a 20-year-old kid to come in and have that maturity, that poise in his game, is really impressive. It's hard to find players with his size and his talent level. Again, he's got a ways to go. He's going to continue to develop here over the next couple years. But I think when you watch him, you can see why he's going to be a good player in this league and how quickly he gets there, we'll find out. We certainly will do our best to help, but he's off to a good start.

FSN: It's hard to predict with some of those young guys, but is their development now best done in the NHL? Can you see sending them back down at all?

FLETCHER: That's hard to say. We're just going to do what's best for our team. As long as the coaches are playing them, we'll keep them here. But we'll do what's best for our team and for the long-term development. Again, as long as they're playing and contributing and the coaches are putting them in the lineup, then there's no reason why they can't stay.

FSN: How do you feel (coach Mike Yeo) has handled the roster and expectations this year?

FLETCHER: I think he's doing a great job. Again, you're talking about 40 percent turnover on the team with no training camp. It's hard. The biggest thing has been trying to find the right line combinations. We've been mixing and matching a lot early on here as Mike and the coaches try to find out which line combinations work the best and which players fit well together. That's a challenge. There's a little bit of guesswork involved at times. You watch players, you try to project how they would look on a certain line. I think there's probably been a lot of that going on, necessarily, as we work to get some chemistry. They're working hard. It's a challenging year for every coaching staff because there's so many games in such a short period of time that you're constantly having to make decisions on how hard you practice, when do you rest, what do you cover in practice, and how much conditioning work do you do. There's different types of decisions that need to be made in this type of schedule than you would normally have to make in a normal season. There's some trial and error. There's some experimentation. Again, I think it's a real challenge for every coaching staff. I think they've handled it well. We'll just keep pushing. They're working hard to get a little bit more consistency in our play and get the execution at a higher level, and that will come.


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