Archive for the ‘scouting’ Category

Quick! Tell me something about Dougie Hamilton other than his casual disinterest in Markus Granlund

Some simple math even a scout will understand *pause for laughter*: In a Western Hockey League season, 22 teams each play 72 games. In the Ontario Hockey League, 20 teams play 68 games and in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, 18 teams play a 68-game schedule.

All-in-all, not counting overtime or playoffs, that’s 2084 hours of hockey over the course of a season. If I’m lucky, through various streams, television broadcasts, or even live visits to the rink, that means I’ll watch about two games a week, which is reasonable enough. Suppose that’s the case, and I’ll watch 54 Major Junior games over the course of the season, that’s 2.5% of the season to cover.

A scout could maybe watch 5% of the action. The availability of information is not at all like the National League, where every game is televised—in HD—and several people are tracking statistics ranging from blocked shots to which zone a player absorbed a hit. The avid junior hockey watcher has to put up with stats that don’t make sense or they don’t trust, and viewings of prospects are sometimes restricted to a small computer screen wherein you won’t be able to appreciate the intricacies of a player’s game.

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The Art of Scouting, according to its jacket, “delves into the secretive world of hockey scouting, a world more akin to Cold War-era spying than a casual day in the stands.” It’s written by Shane Malloy, a prospects expert who pops up all over the internet, radio and television, and it boasts input from myriad sources across the hockey world, from broadcasters to scouts to managers.

How good a job does the book do of shining light on the world of NHL scouting? The answer after the jump.

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TORONTO, ONT - JUNE 22: (L-R) Director of Hockey Operations Trevor Timmins, Director of Player Personnel Jarmo Kekalainen, General Manager Marshall Johnston, Cheif Amateur Scout Frank Jay and Scout Dale Engel of The Ottawa Senators stands with 16th overall pick Jakub  Klepis during the first round NHL Draft on June 22, 2002 at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto, Ontario. (Photo by Dave Sandford/Getty Images/NHLI)

The art of scouting for the NHL’s annual Entry Draft has always intrigued me. Taking a year’s worth of individual 17-year and 18-year old players scattered in dozens of leagues all around the world, evaluating them, and putting them in a list that ostensibly predicts their value over a 10 to 20-year career at the NHL level is a daunting, awe-inspiring task.

Often, I’d picture a conference table surrounded by serious-looking men, each with a laptop or pages of notes, statistics, and intelligence gleaned from coaches and managers everywhere from Seattle to Khabarovsk, debating the relative values of each player and ranking them accordingly.

The more I read about scouting, though, the more that picture fades.

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