On the Radar

Every scout has their list. Saying it’s fluid would be an understatement.

Scouting lists and rankings are somewhat subjective and unique to the scouts preferences, lookfors and experience.

Everyone sees it differently.

Everyone is entitled to their opinion and viewpoint, but let’s talk about what goes into making the list or not making the list.

Clearly it’s about projecting, where is that player going to be in a few years and what attributes do they possess for them to be an effective player at the next level. It all comes back to projecting, that’s the job every scout has to do.

This is the thing about projecting, realistically a players game can completely change in two short years, there’s many players right now that scouts have watched and evaluating all season long that will have their games evolve. That’s exactly why some kids get left off of lists. They are still evolving. Of course there’s other reasons for that as well.

Collectively scouts are not trying to predict the evolutionary changes in players games, we are trying to project it. There’s no guarantees, but when scouts see a skilled player that has one or two foundational assets they have to zero in and drill down on that player no matter what.

That’s why peripheral scouting viewpoints and quick dismissals shouldn’t be a part of the process only if the player or players exhibit character or attitude issues, ie poor body language or lack of discipline.

I’ve said it all year that the draft rankings are extremely subjective.

The vetting process is different for every organization and scouts shouldn’t leave any rock unturned so to speak during that process.

It’s relatively easy to dismiss what we see now or what level the player is performing at currently, but let’s try to project where that kid will be in two or three years. That’s the most challenging aspect of all, but that’s the job.

I’m not going to tell you the top prospects for the upcoming MHL Draft. I’m not going name names, because some of them are flying under the radar and let me tell you this that’s exactly where some organizations want them to be.

I will tell you some reasons for that:

Where do they play?

How do they play?

Did they get a fair shake playing time wise?

Were they being played out of position?

Who did they play with?

Were they being buried or showcased?

What intangibles do they possess? What’s their attitude like?

What type of teammate are they? Do they play the game and position the right way?

How big are they? If they are small, some organizations steer completely away from them, they wouldn’t touch them with a ten foot pole.

That’s why lists and rankings are fluid, but it’s the time of year where some organizations refine their lists, even more putting the final touches on it ahead of the draft.

All of those questions above are part of the evaluation that goes into ranking players all year long and building a draft board.

Do they have skill?

Can they skate and think the game and do they compete?

Those three questions are the separators in my book!

Peripheral scouting perspectives or scratch the surface lists and rankings are full of holes. Drilling down on players, and zeroing in on players that have tons of potential that no one else sees or appreciates, that’s what it’s all about, some would say that’s the quiet talent

Every scout sees it differently. Every scout has their list, who is on that list or off of that list is their business. I wish I could draft tons of players. I respect so many young players and their passion and love for the game.

I respect the sacrifices they have made and continue to make for the game of hockey. Seeing the good in every player can be challenging at times, but tearing down young players isn’t good for the game or anyone for that matter.

Getting drafted is special, it’s an opportunity. As scouts we are providing players with an opportunity to truly showcase their talents at the next level.

For those that don’t get selected, that doesn’t mean your path in the game has come to an end. It doesn’t mean scouts or organizations don’t like or value you as a player or person. A lot of factors are in play during draft day. Things can change in a matter minutes. Every executive and scout are trying to do the best they can to build their team in that moment and for the future. Everyone sees things differently. An organization can be targeting the best players available in their draft or on their board and all of sudden a trade happens and they move in or out different assets, it changes everything. One massive take away in all of this is that the opinions scouts have on the players they are targeting to draft never changes in that moment of chaos that the draft can seemingly have.

Every organization values certain players differently, that’s what makes drafting and developing so unique.

There are tons of players on an organizations radar ahead of draft day and each scout within that organization target different players, but when the vetting process is concise, specific and there’s a shared vision, that’s when organizations build or continue to build a culture of winning and competitiveness.

There’s tremendous value in the vetting process. It all comes down to projecting.

We all see it differently, I would love to draft a ton of players, but ultimately that can’t happen. Again that doesn’t mean scouts don’t value those players attributes or didn’t want to draft them. At the end of the day deep down I want to see every player reach their full potential.

I want to take this opportunity to wish all of the players in the up coming MHL Draft, the best of luck. I want you to keep in mind that you are incredibly valued by a lot of organizations and scouts. You have no doubt been on the radar of these organizations for quite some time. You have probably heard a lot of conflicting viewpoints about the league. Hopefully that perception or misconceptions of the league doesn’t cloud your judgment and excitement. Junior A hockey is a live and well in this region. The caliber of play in the league is truly extraordinary. Don’t believe me, try it. Get yourself in the best shape of your life and attend training camp ready to prove you belong.

For those players that don’t hear or see their names called this Friday. Don’t give up, never give up. Your phones will no doubt be ringing off the hook a short time after the draft with camp invites. Jump at those opportunities, not only to prove scouts and organizations that you belong, but prove it to yourself that you can play at that level and that all the sacrifices, time and effort you have put into your journey so far matter.

Best of luck and see you at the rink,

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