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Old
12-28-2006, 08:14 AM
  #1
Hiishawk
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Scouts' Lists

This time of year always reminds that it's time for scouts to start formulating their initial rankings- usually by the end of the New Years' tournaments.

This may surprise some readers but most NHL scouts do not have meaningful rankings made yet- mainly because they haven't seen a wide enough range of players to make it meaningful. That why I find it a bit odd when I hear on HF that scout (or rabid draft fan) X has player Y rated 47th, or "4th round" or something like that as of mid-November (although a half-decent scout can, on occasion, make an educated guess).

What most scouts have been doing so far is not rating players against each other on a list but giving each player a numerical ranking, without regard to "draft position". So, you may watch, say, Mark Katic and give him a 2.3 but you'd have little idea where that puts him overall since you still haven't seen seven OHL and five Q teams yet and you may want to see Katic at least twice more before feeling comfortable with the grade.

Many systems allow scouts to keep a running ranking- if they wish to look at it- from the first game forward but it's generally not very meaningful until the end of December, except to identify priority players early.

In early January most NHL teams will be consolidating all this information into a very basic early overall list. This is the one that will determine who they want to see in the Prospects game and where their scouting focus will be during the 2nd half of the season.

Thought this might be interesting to some readers.

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12-28-2006, 10:32 AM
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Scouts are already getting together to make preliminary lists; but nothing "hard" as you say. I've had several discussion with McKeen's publisher Iain Morrell since I teamed up with him on the Draft Digest, and we both agree that making a "Top 200" list before January is a relatively futile exercise as it cannot be considered very accurate, particularly when it comes to ranking Europeans that haven't been seen yet, or rarely scouted.

Scouts spend the first half of the season "identifying" players, and as you say, aren't bothering with hard rankings as there are players that haven't been seen, or rarely seen.



I know when I ask a scout whether he thinks a player is a top 60 guy or not he'll usually give me an opinion, even this early on. They're basing it more on what normally constitutes a top 60 selection moreso than whether the player is definitely slated for the top 60 in the upcoming draft. I certainly have never said that a scout has a player ranked 47th or whatever, especially at this time of the year. I can't say I've read it from anyone else either.

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12-28-2006, 11:14 AM
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Old
12-28-2006, 06:11 PM
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Originally Posted by turnbuckle View Post
I know when I ask a scout whether he thinks a player is a top 60 guy or not he'll usually give me an opinion, even this early on. They're basing it more on what normally constitutes a top 60 selection moreso than whether the player is definitely slated for the top 60 in the upcoming draft. I certainly have never said that a scout has a player ranked 47th or whatever, especially at this time of the year. I can't say I've read it from anyone else either.
Ratings agencies, for the sake of their buyers, really have to make such lists early. I figured that when you say scout X thinks he's a fourth rounder that scout is speaking largely from general experience, rather than making refernce to his private ranking list. I've read more specific personal rankings from fans here a few times but a few comments too via media (not only HF boards) where a scout had a pretty specific number for a player early on.

And of course one scout's opinion can diverge sgnificantly from the rest of his team's. I've had guys I considered first rounders not even make my team's final "any round" list- in fact it's fairly common.

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12-28-2006, 07:36 PM
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Originally Posted by steblick View Post
Ratings agencies, for the sake of their buyers, really have to make such lists early. I figured that when you say scout X thinks he's a fourth rounder that scout is speaking largely from general experience, rather than making refernce to his private ranking list. I've read more specific personal rankings from fans here a few times but a few comments too via media (not only HF boards) where a scout had a pretty specific number for a player early on.

And of course one scout's opinion can diverge sgnificantly from the rest of his team's. I've had guys I considered first rounders not even make my team's final "any round" list- in fact it's fairly common.

There will always be divergences in opinion; that's the fun part.
Logan MacMillan is a player that is considered a surefire first rounder by some scouts; others see him as a third rounder, or second at best. Aaron Palushaj is beloved by some and touted as a first rounder, others are concerned about his skating/size and wouldn't consider him in the first two rounds. David Skokan is either loved or hated it seems; Gratchev isn't much different - could go anywhere from 40th to 200th.

Caputi in Missisauga is another player I've seen all over the board - I've seen him ranked as a 7th rounder by some of McKeen's scouts, yet I was recently told by a scout I highly respect that he thinks he'll be a second rounder. My early thoughts on him are that he'll fall somewhere in between, perhaps in the third or fourth round.

BTW - Cherepanov is looking good just as you had predicted might be the case. Both he and Korostin are candidates for the top ten without question.

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12-28-2006, 08:13 PM
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I hope, the habs will have a shot at drafting either Repik or Katic.

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12-28-2006, 09:30 PM
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Originally Posted by Tlusty the clown View Post
I hope, the habs will have a shot at drafting either Repik or Katic.
Unless the Habs freefall I can't see Katic being available in the 20s. Katic may end up going in the top 12 if a team is looking for a tremendous skater on its blueline.

Repik I'm not nuts about, but there is certainly some skill. I'm just not certain the Habs need another average sized European forward in the system.

In the 20s I think the Habs may be looking at defencemen like Shattenkirk, Doyle, or Brendan Smith if they are available, or perhaps a project like Keven Veilleux. It might be enticing to have a 6-5 offensive center in the ranks; you just wish he displayed more grit and competitive spirit.

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12-30-2006, 06:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by turnbuckle
Repik I'm not nuts about, but there is certainly some skill. I'm just not certain the Habs need another average sized European forward in the system.
Do you see Repik as a sure-fire first-round pick, or is there a possibility in your mind that he could fall out of the first round entirely? I like his skill, and the Blues have room for more skilled forwards in their system, especially ones who are playing major junior right now, regardless of their size... but I don't think I'd spend a top ten pick on him right now. Top of the second round, however...

Also, I'm curious... what do the scouts who do this for a living think about Euros who come over to play in the CHL instead of staying home at 16 or 17 and being the big shots in their home countries?

To me, that says these kids are committed to the dream of being NHL players, rather than "just" becoming stars in their home countries. I'm curious to know if this feeling is shared by other people who watch the draft closely

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12-30-2006, 08:25 PM
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I noticed that it was said here that it is futile to start grading European players at this point because they have'nt been scouted much or at all by this point but would'nt plenty of European scouts have had plenty of looks at most of these guys by now and fed what they think of said player to a publication like mckeens?


They don't have these kinds of foreign contacts?

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12-31-2006, 02:24 PM
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I have been desperately searching for a site that shows the 2007 Prospects "Talent Analysis", and so far, I have been unsuccessful. Even the HF Boards don't give me the info. I'm looking for. Can someone PLEASE HELP?

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12-31-2006, 07:54 PM
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Originally Posted by cyclops View Post
I noticed that it was said here that it is futile to start grading European players at this point because they have'nt been scouted much or at all by this point but would'nt plenty of European scouts have had plenty of looks at most of these guys by now and fed what they think of said player to a publication like mckeens? They don't have these kinds of foreign contacts?
I can't speak for McKeen's but I do know that all the European players have been well-scouted by NHL teams by now. Each NHL team will have one main guy in each of the major Euro hockey countries who will see a game or two every day. These game reports will be cross-checked at the various 4-5 nations' tournaments.

There IS though a slight problem in scouts criss-crossing Europe what with visas for Russia and simply knowing the hockey infrastructure and even the language of another country is not easy. The Nordic countries are OK as a set, as are Czech and Slovakia, and Germany/Switzerland, but crossing these over can lead to complications- and Russia is simply another world altogether. Furthermore, the seperation among draft eligible players across top pro leagues, minor pro leagues, top junior leagues within six or more different countries can make comparative rating a challenge. Rating these players on an all-Euro draft ranking, let alone a full draft ranking, by mid-December is very, very hard. That's one reason Euro players tend to move up the charts later- teams have a read on them but often not a great comparative read until the U18s.

In Canada and The U.S. the draft scouts can criss-cross the country easily and double-check what others have said. The hockey grid, format, competition etc. are well-known. The logistics of language and travel are clear (just wide-ranging).

Sometimes draft fans will say things like "Scouts mustn't get out to Prince George or St. John's or Trencin, Slovakia"- but they definitely do. The only dark spots will usually be a) players from very minor Euro countries b) players from lesser-known U.S. high schools c) more obscure Russian teams and d) slightly older (non-B.C.) tier two guys in Canada. And even these places will receive traffic if word gets out that there's a decent prospect there.


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12-31-2006, 08:24 PM
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Very interesting.It all makes perfect sense too.

Thanks steblick.

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12-31-2006, 08:30 PM
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Yeah, I'll talk to an NHL scout who one day is Des Moines, the next day he's going to Detroit.

Or he's in Blaine MN, the next day he's supposed to be in the Winnipeg area.

I often hear them talking to each other to saying things like "Hey ___ I met your chief in Sweden last week"

It would be such an amazing job to be a pro scout - traveling all over the world to watch hockey I would never get sick of that.

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12-31-2006, 08:40 PM
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Originally Posted by X-SHARKIE View Post
Yeah, I'll talk to an NHL scout who one day is Des Moines, the next day he's going to Detroit.

Or he's in Blaine MN, the next day he's supposed to be in the Winnipeg area.

I often hear them talking to each other to saying things like "Hey ___ I met your chief in Sweden last week"

It would be such an amazing job to be a pro scout - traveling all over the world to watch hockey I would never get sick of that.
Me too,i'd love to do it.

sure,there would be down parts to the job but what job does'nt have that?

You would also never get rich but theres more to life then money.You spend 40-50 hours a week for an average of 40-45 years before you can retire and when you do how many years do you have left before the grim reaper knocks on your door anyway?.......................makes sense to have a job doing something you would be doing anway even if you were a delivery driver for a pizza joint,namely,watching hockey players play the game.

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12-31-2006, 10:00 PM
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Me too,i'd love to do it.

sure,there would be down parts to the job but what job does'nt have that?

You would also never get rich but theres more to life then money.You spend 40-50 hours a week for an average of 40-45 years before you can retire and when you do how many years do you have left before the grim reaper knocks on your door anyway?.......................makes sense to have a job doing something you would be doing anway even if you were a delivery driver for a pizza joint,namely,watching hockey players play the game.
something tells me your average scout works alot more than that. maybe even double, and still makes a low salary. i dont think its all rosy being a scout, unless you're David Conte and a Director of Scouting or Head Scout. yeah, watching guys is great but many hours, low pay, sacrificing of family/friends/spouse, always being on the road makes it a different picture when thinking about a potential career in the hockey world.

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01-01-2007, 07:05 AM
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something tells me your average scout works alot more than that. maybe even double, and still makes a low salary. i dont think its all rosy being a scout, unless you're David Conte and a Director of Scouting or Head Scout. yeah, watching guys is great but many hours, low pay, sacrificing of family/friends/spouse, always being on the road makes it a different picture when thinking about a potential career in the hockey world.
yeah it would if what you say is true.But 100 hours a week on average? hmm....that's a lot even for the nature of that job.


maybe someone can confirm or deny.The travel and away from family thing is most definately true though,that could'nt be avoided.

it would'nt be all peaches and cream for sure.

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01-01-2007, 07:13 AM
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Yeah, I'll talk to an NHL scout who one day is Des Moines, the next day he's going to Detroit.

Or he's in Blaine MN, the next day he's supposed to be in the Winnipeg area.

I often hear them talking to each other to saying things like "Hey ___ I met your chief in Sweden last week"

It would be such an amazing job to be a pro scout - traveling all over the world to watch hockey I would never get sick of that.

You're well on your way Sharkie my friend.

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01-01-2007, 05:00 PM
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yeah it would if what you say is true.But 100 hours a week on average? hmm....that's a lot even for the nature of that job.


maybe someone can confirm or deny.The travel and away from family thing is most definately true though,that could'nt be avoided.

it would'nt be all peaches and cream for sure.
If you count travel time, then I could see it adding up like that. Sure you're sleeping on the flight from Minny to Winnipeg, but it still counts as being on the clock. And when you have a wife and kids, you really feel all that time away. I think that I'd get sick of it pretty quickly. I like hockey, but seeing a game or two a day, then traveling that night to another town to watch another the next day would get old fast.

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01-01-2007, 05:06 PM
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If you count travel time, then I could see it adding up like that. Sure you're sleeping on the flight from Minny to Winnipeg, but it still counts as being on the clock. And when you have a wife and kids, you really feel all that time away. I think that I'd get sick of it pretty quickly. I like hockey, but seeing a game or two a day, then traveling that night to another town to watch another the next day would get old fast.
not to mention the majority of scouting departments are comprised of area scouts, which mean more dreary "prairie land" driving, less "posh" flights. i cant imagine living out of a car, getting minimal sleep day to day, and maybe having sundays to rest. even if it was just to watch hockey for a living. i'd think the only reasonable way to get into scouting is being confident in your ability to climb the ranks and get a more cushiony position after laboring as a low end scout.

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01-01-2007, 05:39 PM
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Few NHL teams, or scouting services for that matter, can claim to have as thorough a scouting network in Europe as in Canada.

By January most NHL teams are still getting a feel for the European talent as many of the players have only been seen by regional scouts.

The tournaments between now and April are critical for getting a better reading on the European talent in comparison to the NA talent, and the best place to get on read on many of the best European prospects is at the spring Under 18s.

While McKeen's has several European scouts and relies heavily on their input, at the end of the day publisher Iain Morrell likes to get a thorough look at as many of the European players as he can before making a more definitive list, and much of that viewing will be taking place in the next four months. It's nice to get a reading on the whole crop as opposed to just relying on the opinions of the European scouts, and both Iain and myself will be getting a lot better read on the Euro talent after New Year's than we did in the fall.

As Iain said to me the other day, he'd like to move Cherepanov into the top ten, but he hasn't seen him play yet. Iain has an eye for talent - he saw Kane as a top five pick well before most; he was also the first to jump on the Korostin bandwagon, as well as the Ellerby and Alzner bandwagons. He identified Bill Sweatt as a top 15 pick months ago, and Sweatt's proving him correct with his WJC performance. He's been hesitant to put vanRiemsdyk in the top ten most of the fall, and his showing at the WJC is certainly confirming Iain's contention that JVR is closer to 10th than second in the rankings IMO.

It's much the same for the NHL scouts. Trevor Timmins, for instance, won't be drafting a fellow in the first round that he hasn't seen play. Timmins' Russian scouts went to see Valentenko play last year in a remote Russian locale, and the way they trumped him up he should have been a second round pick, and his play this season thus far is confirming that. Timmins didn't take him until the fifth round however; in large part because he never saw him play. Timmins has scouted all over North America this fall, but when I asked him about European prospcts he admitted that he hadn't seen many of them other than the Russians at the Junior A challenge, but he'll be making a number of trips to Europe in the next four months.

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01-01-2007, 05:56 PM
  #21
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As Iain said to me the other day, he'd like to move Cherepanov into the top ten, but he hasn't seen him play yet. Iain has an eye for talent - he saw Kane as a top five pick well before most; he was also the first to jump on the Korostin bandwagon, as well as the Ellerby and Alzner bandwagons. He identified Bill Sweatt as a top 15 pick months ago, and Sweatt's proving him correct with his WJC performance. He's been hesitant to put vanRiemsdyk in the top ten most of the fall, and his showing at the WJC is certainly confirming Iain's contention that JVR is closer to 10th than second in the rankings IMO.
Disagree. An underwhelming WJC did not stop Toews from being drafted 3rd overall. JvR is being used sparingly and not in an offensive role. When his line gets out there its obvious they are playing to do everything to prevent a goal rather than create offense. If you're arguing that because Kane is putting up JvR is not a top talent, you must be aware that it speaks volumes about Kane's ability and should be rank rather than dismissal of JvR's talent. Personally, I give Kane credit for high marks and JvR credit for getting the "learning experience."

What has Sweatt done incredibly well? I see a two-way burner who lacks offensive sense and creativity.

I'll hold off on Ellerby, but people I talk to say the kid lacks hockey sense...i'm not sure i'm drafting a D who can't think top 10 even 15.

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01-01-2007, 07:32 PM
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If you love hockey, scouting can actually work against your passion. You can develop hockey fatigue, you can become jaded. I was an NHL part-time scout while holding down a full-time hockey administrative job unril a few years ago. My hockey role is smaller now.

When you scout you are no longer a fan. You stop cheering for teams. You don't even really watch games anymore- you watch players. And personally- in most cases- you don't care whether they are great or mediocre, you just report on what they are. That's your job.

Travel can be tiring, Sure, a schedule of Stockholm- to Bad Fussen- to Prague- to Minsk sounds exciting if you don't get away much but spending huge amounts of time in airport lounges, waiting for trains, and the current uniformity of international hotels gets a bit weary. And the same league wide network of scouts is there wirth you in all these locales. OK- the best moments are being in a place like Talinin (Estonia) and having the morning off and wandering the old city, trying some local grub and maybe a brew while soaking in the atmosphere. But sometimes, after 20 different trips like that, what you really want is to feel your own bed, see the wife, hug and play with the kids, and go shopping in your own neighbourhood. Talking to your 8 year old boy from a hotel in Riga for two minutes can be depressing when he tells you he scored his first goal in a mite league game yesterday and, of course, you weren't there to see it.

There can be heavy obligations too. You want to take a day off but your DPP wants you to head to Humboldt to watch a SJHL guy who might slip into round 7. You have to write up game reports (OK at first but soon it can become like homework- especially if the game includes about 20 very average players of indistinct style or skill). There is/are regular list maintenance, schedule planning, interviews and writing up those interviws, and expense details. Then you may drive through a hellish wintery night to watch Brandon play Moose Jaw- and the goalie you want to see is listed as the back-up. And hockey arenas (and especially arena food) are not places conducive to great stimulation of body or mind. Of course, all jobs have obligations- my point is that scouting can eventually become as much a case of drudgery as any other job.

But you know what? The draft comes about and you pick a guy you've been recommending and eventually he makes the big club- and that feels good. And the new season gets under way and there's a freshness in the air again...some hope...
You keep going.

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01-01-2007, 08:25 PM
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Disagree. An underwhelming WJC did not stop Toews from being drafted 3rd overall. JvR is being used sparingly and not in an offensive role. When his line gets out there its obvious they are playing to do everything to prevent a goal rather than create offense. If you're arguing that because Kane is putting up JvR is not a top talent, you must be aware that it speaks volumes about Kane's ability and should be rank rather than dismissal of JvR's talent. Personally, I give Kane credit for high marks and JvR credit for getting the "learning experience."

What has Sweatt done incredibly well? I see a two-way burner who lacks offensive sense and creativity.

I'll hold off on Ellerby, but people I talk to say the kid lacks hockey sense...i'm not sure i'm drafting a D who can't think top 10 even 15.
Ellerby can think...let's not turn a few scouts whispers of him lacking a bit of hockey sense into "can't think". No one has compared him to Shawn Belle. He's got some work to do and he's not the quickest thinker out there, but he's far from spastic. Ellerby will be a top ten pick; his size/skating combination comes along about once every four years. He's been compared to Bouwmeester by more than one scout, but with less hockey sense and more toughness.

Toews was on a veteran gold-medal team and got little ice time; but when he did he played quite well at times. JVR started the tourney on a scoring line and promptly played himself off of it, and was 13th forward at least half the time.

As well, Toews wasn't playing on a development team that's not playing in a league. You put a lot more stock in tourneys like these for players like JVR; moreso than an exhibition game in November against Canisius College. I know he shouldn't be penalized for a mediocre performance at the WJC given his age, but he was given a prominent role to start with and he bobbled the opportunity, and when you see his game compared to Kane; it's easy to see why Kane should be ranked higher, and it's painfully obvious that Kane shouldn't be ranked nine spots behind JVR as we've seen.

What is obvious from this tourney is that JVR is not a great skater overall, and that Kane is. Are you disputing that Kane is closer to 2nd overall than 9th overall, and that JVR is closer to 9th overall than 2nd? That was my point.

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01-01-2007, 09:14 PM
  #24
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Ellerby can think...let's not turn a few scouts whispers of him lacking a bit of hockey sense into "can't think". No one has compared him to Shawn Belle. He's got some work to do and he's not the quickest thinker out there, but he's far from spastic. Ellerby will be a top ten pick; his size/skating combination comes along about once every four years. He's been compared to Bouwmeester by more than one scout, but with less hockey sense and more toughness.

Toews was on a veteran gold-medal team and got little ice time; but when he did he played quite well at times. JVR started the tourney on a scoring line and promptly played himself off of it, and was 13th forward at least half the time.

As well, Toews wasn't playing on a development team that's not playing in a league. You put a lot more stock in tourneys like these for players like JVR; moreso than an exhibition game in November against Canisius College. I know he shouldn't be penalized for a mediocre performance at the WJC given his age, but he was given a prominent role to start with and he bobbled the opportunity, and when you see his game compared to Kane; it's easy to see why Kane should be ranked higher, and it's painfully obvious that Kane shouldn't be ranked nine spots behind JVR as we've seen.

What is obvious from this tourney is that JVR is not a great skater overall, and that Kane is. Are you disputing that Kane is closer to 2nd overall than 9th overall, and that JVR is closer to 9th overall than 2nd? That was my point.
I'm sure you know, size and skating only takes a prospect so far. However, there are concerns that instead of becoming that Phaneuf-type presence, he'll be a low end defender who can hit and provide edge on a bottom defense pairing. You do not draft those top ten. Even when Phaneuf was playing you knew he had more than brawn and measurables. Those I speak with cannot say the same for Ellerby.

What I am saying with regards to Kane and JvR is that while this tourney will most likely boost Kane into the top 3, atleast top 5...it will NOT cement JvR into the 9/10th ranking. If a team had him on their radar, he most likely will not be moved around much because of an indifferent tourney against guys 2 years older. There's still alot of hockey to be played.

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01-01-2007, 09:15 PM
  #25
Hiishawk
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I think it's safe to say that Kane has raised his stock with a big tourney and that JVR may not be quite as elite as some (including me) thought a month back. That's precisely what these tournaments are for scout-wise, cross-checking and double-checking. If a scout doesn't adjust guys that he may have previously underrated or overrated then he's not a very good scout.

As a scout, you regularly say to others, "Yeah- you were right about that guy, more than me". And other scouts will say the same thing to you about certain players you hit on too. I'd say JVR is a step behind where I felt he was before although still a top 10 prospect. And I may change that again.- up or down- after the 5 nations and the U18s. That's scouting.

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