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Your Drafting philosophy

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Old
07-20-2006, 09:09 PM
  #1
rick1042
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Your Drafting philosophy

Hi everyone, I am very new here but I am hooked on this site. This is the first time I ever post a question here and I hope people will find it interesting.

If you were director of scouting for the Habs, what would your drafting philosophy be? Would you draft according to your needs or the best player available? What would you mainly look for? (Skating ability, hockey sense, size, character etc). Would you prefer North American players or is that irrelevant?

Rick 767

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07-20-2006, 09:40 PM
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Goalie3636
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I'd go for the most talented available because you can always use that player to get what you need and your needs probably won't be the same when the player is ready to come into the league.

In general I'd look for Hockey sense, skating ability, and size. Mainly because if you make dumb plays then you're useless, if you can't skate then you shouldn't be playing hockey and in this day and age you need to be at least 6 foot to play or really frigin fast. I'd look at his balance of offense and defense, I don't want someone who is amazing at one aspect but blows at the other. I'd also look at teamwork cause hockey is no sport for show-offs and puck-hogs unless you're Ovechkin and playing on the caps.

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07-20-2006, 10:17 PM
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coolguy21415
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Welcome to the board, Rick!

I'd definitely draft based on needs. It's not hard to see where your needs are going to be, and you end up paying through the nose for decent young talent. Skating is definitely a big asset to have, because if you can't keep up, you're not good enough. Vision is also something I covet highly. I like players who can make good outlet passes and spring their teammates, or be able to create plays. Those are likely the things I'd look for most.

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07-20-2006, 10:19 PM
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Dwight
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Well it depends on the situation. If I know my team sis really lacking at one position, then I draft by need. If I think my team is positonally sound, then I go for the best guy available.

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07-21-2006, 01:33 AM
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Size>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>everything

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07-21-2006, 08:17 AM
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I try to eat some pretzels, maybe chips between drafts.

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07-21-2006, 08:38 AM
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Darz
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rick767 View Post
Hi everyone, I am very new here but I am hooked on this site. This is the first time I ever post a question here and I hope people will find it interesting.

If you were director of scouting for the Habs, what would your drafting philosophy be? Would you draft according to your needs or the best player available? What would you mainly look for? (Skating ability, hockey sense, size, character etc). Would you prefer North American players or is that irrelevant?

Rick 767
a) I would definately draft the best players available. The problem I see with drafting towards needs, is the fact your needs can change from year to year, so if for example you draft for a need in the 2002 draft, by the time those players become NHL ready you might need something completely different. Also if you are very strong in one particular area, you can always trade to balance things out. I guess if everything is the same and let's say you have no defenceman in your system, then sure take the dman.

b) When looking at all the different areas (skating, size, character, etc.), I think the biggest thing to do, is not overrate or underate any one characteristic. They all are important. Size is the one area I think scouting staffs might overrate, although when you have a player that has good size AND skills, you can't blame them for that.

c) North American versus European is irreverent to me. You have to look at each player as an individual. I think the old stereotypical European versus N.A. player arguement is almost dead. Alot of Euro's play the North American style and vice versa.


Oh yeah...welcome aboard. Look forward to more discussions like this. Alot more interesting than alot of other threads floating around this board.

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07-21-2006, 09:29 AM
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Blind Gardien
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rick767 View Post
Hi everyone, I am very new here but I am hooked on this site. This is the first time I ever post a question here and I hope people will find it interesting.

If you were director of scouting for the Habs, what would your drafting philosophy be? Would you draft according to your needs or the best player available? What would you mainly look for? (Skating ability, hockey sense, size, character etc). Would you prefer North American players or is that irrelevant?
Welcome!

1a. I don't believe there is such a thing as a "best player available". Or at least, it happens extremely rarely, and it is based on a lot of factors which most hockey fans aren't thinking of when they think of "best". For example, when we picked Kyle Chipchura in 2004. Wolski, Schremp, Zajac and other players were still on the board. Was Chipchura the "best player available" or did he fit a "need" as a big physical center? I'll say he was the "best player available", if you want to call it that, but it's based on attitude, character, work ethic, and just flat out how much the team liked him, even if Wolski or Schremp were clearly more talented. Defining "best" is such a subjective task that there really is not much value in using "best player available" as a philosophy, because the draft process usually transcends such simplifications. The "best player available" is a hockey cliche, like saying "everybody gave 110% tonight". It's just a buzzword, with no real meaning, but it's easy to put in a soundclip.

1b. I also think that even if you do have your own subjective classifications for what makes a player "best" to you, there is also a recognition that there are typically other completely equivalent (as far as it's possible to know at this stage) players available at almost every draft position. So factoring in position is entirely valid at many stages in the draft. It depends on your organisation at that point. The Montreal Canadiens organisation has many goaltending prospects. We didn't pick a goalie. We have many good forward prospects, but few on defense. We picked 2 forwards and 4 defensemen. It might have just fallen out that way by chance. Or it might have been by design. Personally, if I was Scouting Director, I would have done it by design.

Sometimes a player will be available who you just absolutely did not think was going to be available, or who you just think is absolutely head and shoulders above all the other players left, and it's fair game to take him completely without regard to position or organisational need. But I think that scenario is relatively rare. More commonly, you reach a stage where you're satisfied with your organisational depth at all positions, satisfied that your due dilligence in constructing your draft list will pay off, and you just go down the list without regard to need. That's the ideal position to be in on draft day. I don't always find myself in that position, though, and I don't think all NHL teams do either.

2. I wouldn't look for any one thing in particular. Character is good, but it isn't always easy to read that for a 17- or 18-year old kid. Size, skating, it all helps, but I don't pass up a Chipchura, Latendresse, or White just because they are sub-par skaters when they're drafted. I don't pass up a supremely talented player just because he's small. Everything factors in.

3. I personally don't have a problem putting an emphasis on drafting North American players, all else being equal. But that's due to familiarity. I've usually seen the OHL players many times, and many of the rest of the CHLers and NCAA players a couple of times, so naturally I feel more informed or confident in my opinion on them, whereas I don't always know what to make of some of the Europeans or High School/USHL players. If I was Scouting Director for the Habs, I guess that would be different. I'd also have staff I really trusted to tell me about any players I wasn't familiar with (whereas I don't remotely trust the various published scouting services for that kind of information). In that case, I might pick a bit more evenly. But then at the same time, I go back to my 1b. point and still contend that at most points in the draft, there are many reasonably equivalent players available, across positions and across nationalities, and I don't see anything wrong with breaking any ties by using home-town appeal and picking a QMJHLer.

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07-21-2006, 12:13 PM
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tinyzombies
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I think Gainey's guys go for size, skating and safe hands with character. That's a lot to ask, but judging from the recent development camp, they've pulled it off.

Better than Andre Savard's theory of drafting the smallest European available.

I agree with all the stuff these guys wrote. Timmons said this year they drafted out of need (mobile right-handed defensemen). I think Price was also chosen out of need, because Brule was clearly the man to draft.

Now that we've replenished our needs, I think we'll see them going back to BPA, but with the criteria I mentioned above at the top. That's the kind of player you need to play a puck pursuit system, which is undoubtedly what they are building... Ken Hitchcock hockey, here we come.

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Old
07-21-2006, 12:27 PM
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Mats NAslund
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rick767 View Post
Hi everyone, I am very new here but I am hooked on this site. This is the first time I ever post a question here and I hope people will find it interesting.

If you were director of scouting for the Habs, what would your drafting philosophy be? Would you draft according to your needs or the best player available? What would you mainly look for? (Skating ability, hockey sense, size, character etc). Would you prefer North American players or is that irrelevant?

Rick 767
Best available player no matter the position or ethnic backround

In todays hockey size is no longer the main focus...

Skill, Physical Strength, Hockey Sense, ability to improve / develop and mental toughness.

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Old
07-21-2006, 01:03 PM
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rick1042
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Thanks a lot everyone, a lot of great answers to think about.

Personally, I think you go in a game plan at the draft, no matter what your philosophy is but any organization, (unless they are drafting in the top 3), has to be able to think on the fly.

For example, lets say my team is drafting 10 and the player that I felt is a top five prospect is still available, I grab him no matter what my needs are, just because he becomes too much of an asset for my organization. At the same time, if I am drafting 10th overall, and according to my evaluation the best available player is a centerman, the one after that is a defenseman and my needs are defenseman, I would pick the D-Man because there is not enough of a difference between 10 and 11 (or even 12).

All factors when evaluating a player have their importance. Usually, I am looking for mainly, hockey sense, vision and skating ability. But again these factors have to be evaluated according to what kind of player I am looking at. If the player is a top two centerman, hockey sense, vision and skating ability are of vital importance. Size may not as important because his role will usually be to generate offense. If the guy I am looking for is a 3-4 line, physical winger, I rate these factors as being important, but size, toughness, and character become more of a factor. Also, as the draft picks move on from round to round, I think you can start talking chances, (undersized defenseman, player who missed most of the year due to injury, etc).

North American or European, it makes no difference to me, but if I was drafting a European player, I would try to find out if the player is willing to come to North America as soon as possible to get them comfortable with the language and lifestyle (Maybe have them go to Chez Paré a few times right away so we can get this out of their system ASAP ).

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