2023 Erie Otters Season Q&A With GM Dave Brown


The Erie Otters are able to take the following step in 2023-24. Their want to take action began as quickly as the ultimate horn blew in Game 68 final season.

It was one other powerful season for the Otters. From accidents to a head teaching change, there have been many lengthy nights. It additionally marked one other season with out playoff hockey in Erie. The staff desperately wanted one thing to go their manner within the offseason.

Thanks to the OHL Draft Lottery, they bought simply that. The Otters gained the best to pick first overall and landed a participant many contemplate one of the best participant within the class in defenseman Matthew Schaefer. He and Malcolm Spence now present a younger, formidable duo that’s anticipated to assist the Otters on to higher days.

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As has been custom lately, we caught up with Otters’ normal supervisor Dave Brown to debate the offseason and the upcoming season. As you will note, the work wanted to be prepared for this week started a very long time in the past.

Dave Brown Q&A

THW: When final season ended and you bought collectively along with your management group within the entrance workplace, what was the one factor that you just guys mentioned that you just wished to enter the off season and achieve?

Brown: “I think we wanted to increase our talent pool. I think you always go into a season looking to increase your talent pool, right? You want to try and improve in all areas. I think sometimes you chase what you think made you successful. I think we had some undersized players previously that were very successful and through covid we got small real fast. One of the things we did was we just put a stronger emphasis on skating, size, and compete. We said hey, when we start the new year, if we could be better in all three of those areas, then we’re going to be happy.”

“The other thing is we wanted to make sure that we had a well balanced team and that we weren’t top heavy. We’ve got forwards that can compete at every (position) of our hockey team. And we have defensemen one through seven or eight, all seven or eight guys could play on anybody’s team. So that was the goal. I think we’ve gotten bigger. I think our compete level is far greater. The expectation of our new players and older players is to win now. I think you want to keep everything in perspective and make sure that you do things in a timely fashion that’s conducive to allowing the players to develop properly.”

Dave Brown, OHL, Erie Otters
GM Dave Brown mentioned their aim was to enhance their expertise pool this offseason. (Photo courtesy of the OHL)

THW: What suggestions did Stan Butler give to you after going via a bit little bit of time final yr? Was there something particularly that he advised you about what he wished to see?

Brown: “I don’t think so. Stan and I have been friends for a very long time and I think one of the things we have is a mutual respect for what each other has accomplished in the Ontario Hockey league. Obviously Stan’s been in a lot longer than I have. I remember going to watch his team’s practice, at that time it was Dave Brown the coach, and taking some of his practice drills and implementing them into my team. I think we’re on the same page in terms of how we want our teams to play, how we want our teams to compete night in and night out and how we want to continue to give these kids an opportunity to succeed at the next level. And if they’re succeeding at that level and we’re creating hockey players that NHL teams want, that can only mean really good things for our organization. In terms of getting back to respectability, getting back to the point where when the Erie Otters arrive in town, teams say: ‘Hey, those guys have a pretty good hockey team.’”

THW: What has stood out to you to date? You’ve had preseason video games and a few practices to have a look at. Has there been something particularly that will have been a pleasing shock for you to date?

Brown: I feel simply total depth. We discuss slotting. Stan (Butler) is large on that, ensuring we bought the best guys in the best locations to succeed. I feel we mutually agree that we’ve bought a number of guys in the best locations right here. Stan likes to roll at groups and roll 4 traces. We give a few of the different gamers some energy play time and different guys get PK time. But collectively, we actually wish to be coming at groups in waves. In conversations with Scott Grieve and (different workers) I feel we agree that we’ve bought some good depth right here. We’ve bought a pleasant mixture of age and youthful gamers. Schaefer simply turned 16. Malcolm Spence simply turned 17. Wesley Royston remains to be 15. We do have some younger guys but we’ve bought some older guys as effectively.”

Stan Butler, OHL, Erie Otters
Both Brown and Stan Butler consider they’ve gamers in the best locations to succeed. (Photo: OHL)

“I think the depth that we had gave us the opportunity to look at our overage situation and say hey, our younger guys might be a little further ahead than what we thought. These guys need, in order for us to have long-term success, we want to make sure we do the right thing. We decided that we’ll begin the year with two overage players in Brett Bressette and Owain Johnston. And we’re gonna go ahead.”

THW: So you’re gonna depart it at two OA’s for from time to time see what occurs?

Brown: “Yep. 2016-2017 and this is not a year where I’m comparing this team to 16-17, but we sat at two overagers and went and got Warren Foegele at the deadline. I think what it does is it gives guys an opportunity to really excel and make huge strides early. We’ll continue to evaluate week-to-week, day-to-day and month-to-month. So we can get to that point where either we may decide earlier hey, let’s add a guy or if somebody becomes available. But at this current stage we’re ready to go with Brett and Owain. We’re excited for what they can add to our hockey team. We’ll start with those two guys and see where it takes us.”

Bressette and Fimis

THW: For Bressette simply to have the ability to get well and put within the work to be prepared for this chance. Can you simply converse to what he needed to do in an effort to be on this place to assist your hockey staff?

Brown: “Well I think first and foremost, Brett was coming off an injury where he had a broken clavicle in three different places and he was able to get surgery immediately at UPMC Hamot. The medical team did a great job of placing him back together. I guess that would be the layman’s terms of what happened, full plates. The therapy team gave him an opportunity to use the summer to really gain size and strength. Brett came in. He made some remarkable improvements in his fitness testing from orientation camp in May to main camp.”

“I think one of the messages that Stan was sending was you’re not competing against the next guy. You’re competing against yourself. How much better did you get from May until August? Brett made some remarkable improvements. The first couple exhibition games, it’s kind of getting his feet under him, getting into game shape. It’s hard to do. You can’t do it through pickup hockey with your buddies on Thursday through the summertime. Um, as everyone knows, summer hockey involves a lot of structured hockey, (which) involves a lot of stops and starts, so it’s quite a bit different. I think as each game passed by, Brett looked better and better. We’re excited for Brett. We’ve always been very high on his ability and skills. I think he brings a nice demeanor to our group. He’s a quiet leader. He’s worked real hard. Everybody saw his improvements at camp. We’re excited for him and excited to see how he does. He was our leading scorer going into the injury and following that, we came into hard times trying to score goals. We no doubt felt his absence.”

THW: One man that I’m actually curious to observe at first of this season is Pano Fimis. And I do know we’ve talked up to now concerning the want for heart, and also you used the deadline final yr understanding that he might assist this yr and probably subsequent yr. He’s had 9 totally different coaches in his profession. My query for you is what do you’re feeling such as you guys can do to form of assist nonetheless get one of the best out of him understanding that he’s needed to bear so many modifications all through his profession up to now?

Brown: “Yeah, nine coaches does not lend too well for a player’s development in terms of being able to know who’s behind that bench. But I think now with Pano having Stan back there finishing the year and Stan being back there now, Pano knows what the expectations are and as well as does everybody else on the team. But I think there’s a relationship between Stan and Pano that I think was developed over the last eight weeks of last year.

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“I think with Pano, I think he is very good on faceoffs. Wes (Wolfe) went to one of the games at Buffalo and mentioned how well and effective he was on the faceoff dots. There’s no doubt as you get older, you know the league. Pano will be facing off against younger players this year, much the same way he was facing these older players just 18 months ago. I’m excited for Pano, another guy who worked extremely hard this summer in his fitness. I think he’s ready to go. I thought he had a real good camp. Like every older player, they’re looking to see immediate results. I think Pano is going to be a big part of this hockey team moving forward. I think when we talk about depth, center is definitely the position where we have some depth in Carey Terrance, Pano Fimis, Martin Misiak. Whether Bruce (McDonald) plays there as well or whether he plays on the wing, whoever that other guy is, it’s definitely an area of strength for us and we’re really excited for how it’s gonna play out.”

Reasons for Excitement Aplenty

THW: Last one for you. The followers are actually hungry to see the Otters heading again in the best path. Just what are the explanations that they need to be excited for the 2023-24 season out of your perspective?

Brown: “I honestly don’t want to sound repetitive here, but I think we have a lot of depth. We’ve got some high quality young players. we obviously have some drafts whether that be Misiak and Terrance up front. I think we’re excited for Nolan Lalonde’s 19 year-old season and we’re excited for the guys like Schaefer and Spence and Royston, and Brett Hammond, who we have a lot of high hopes for.”

“I think one thing you’ll find with this team is that I think we’re very fast and we’re gonna be able to push the pace of the game to an area where maybe some of our opponents will not be able to handle it in some sort. But I think we can keep coming at them with four lines in, in six defense, three pairs of defense. We’re gonna try and push the game to areas where it’s un uncomfortable for our opponents. They’re gonna be a lot of fun to watch, and I think our players have a desire to be great. That’s something that Stan can really push. We want our players to have an expectation of themselves. If you’re just happy to be here, you probably shouldn’t be here. But if you really want to make things happen and you want to make a difference, then this is the place for you. I think that that will carry over any energy that our players have. Even through tough times, our fans have always given us a boost of energy and we hope to be able to give that back to the them this year.”


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