In Focus Scouting: The Foundation

Do you know any of these Bantam kids Craig?

“You must watch some of their games right?”

Those were two questions I was asked in late August two years ago during a preseason jamboree tournament by a Midget AAA coach.

My reply was pretty clear. “I don’t know any of these kids, I don’t scout the Bantam ranks.”

With all the uncertainty and unknown that surrounded scouting a year ago it’s going to be nice to get back to somewhat normalcy this season. Nevertheless, that doesn’t mean many scouts won’t use what they learned all season long. You see there’s no substitute to the eye test, but when it came to using online resources some scouts flourished a season ago, they will look to use both aspects of the

scouting world moving forward.

To be brutally honest I don’t know any Bantam kids and haven’t for the past several years. The only Bantam kid that I looked forward to watching was none other than Lukas Cormier back in the day.

There’s always so much buzz surrounding the next crop of up and coming draft eligible players which is great to hear, but I’ll trust the eye test. I’ll trust the process, and most of all I’ll trust the foundation.

I’m asked all the time what I look for in a player. I’m going to start answering by simply saying their foundation.

Every player has a foundation on which to build, some foundations are better than others, but more importantly it’s where the draft eligible player starts and finishes the process that matters most.

You see a player’s foundation consists of fundamentals, but also their character and the intangibles they bring to ice.

I’ve seen kids grow on and off the ice, but some of the most prepared draft eligible prospects already had their foundation built on skill, character and maturity.

Sure they were highly touted coming out of Bantam, but they simply played their game, played to their identity and excelled.

You see that’s another aspect I study or observation a lot. How do the “highly touted” prospects handle adapting, how do they handle adversity?

Of course I’m looking for skill and speed, Hell, every scout is, but I’m also looking for how they think and process the game, shift in shift out, in every situation.

Are they a good teammate?

Do they pass the puck?

How do they react to instruction or criticism?

Maybe I’m old school, but I try to look for those aspects right away very early on in the scouting process.

All of those aspects are part of a player’s foundation. They are part of their identity. Obviously, they are just kids and will continue to grow and develop so I won’t hold early set backs against them, but I’m definitely watching all of these aspects and more.

Honestly I don’t give a rats ass about stats or how a player performed in Bantam, my job is to evaluate and project that player to the next level.

I could care less how many points a kid had in Bantam. I want to see them play both sides of the puck, I want to see them adapt to the speed and pace of the Midget level. I want to see them get challenged and persevere. That’s what I’m looking for.

I’m looking for a player’s foundation and how they continue to build and add to it. At the end of the day the goal should be to draft and select complete character and skilled players that have all the intangibles it takes to win and excel.

Every scout sees it differently, every scout observes, evaluates, assesses and projects young talent differently that’s why the scouting world is so subjective. That’s why some teams and scouts project and value players differently. That’s what makes the scouting process so intriguing.

Personally, it all starts with a player’s foundation, not their resume or past performance, it all starts with the eye test, it all starts with the foundation of the player, scout and philosophy of the organization.

What do you see in a player?

See you at the rink,

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