A few weeks back I asked you for questions to send along to a Dallas Stars scout. We got some pretty good questions, but they couldn't all be answered. I did forward 11 to our scout, and he took the time to answer them for us. Presented unfiltered, here is the transcript;
Q: What is the one thing a prospect can do that makes you stop and really analyze his game?
A: High compete. Most skating can be improved, skills can be enhanced but compete is typically innate
Q: What do you look for in a defenseman?
A: Size is always nice, right shot is nice (not enough of them) compete/aggression is good but, overall strong high end hockey sense, smart intelligent play to me is a key component.
Q: Do you even watch the games? (From Eric Tulsky)
A: You watch the game to get the flow, feel and tempo of the game but mostly I watch the players. How they skate, read the play, what their play away from the puck is like, their ability to handle traffic, can they make plays in tight spaces etc. (Thank you to our scout for not calling Eric a jerk for his joke).
Q: How much of what you report is first hand information (sitting and watching the player), and how much of it is second hand (talking to coaches, other scouts, other players, the equipment guy, etc.)?
A: Goaltenders are tough. On average they mature late. We look for athleticism, high compete, good composure, solid structure to their game and then the style and how it fits with their attributes.
Q: What is the process for the team to take the scouting reports of various scouts and establish the board? Do the individual scouts cross-check other scouts? Is that done by senior scouting/GM?
A: Scouts all cross check over other territories and then the head scout covers all the territories assimilating information. Then at mid season meetings all players are discussed/dissected. A further drilling down is conducted over the second half of the season. At the end of the day the Head Scout and GM have the final say after hearing the year long synopsis on players and how as a group we slot them on our board.
You drill down on skills, compete, hockey sense and then you project.
Q: Can you briefly describe the process of how a GM and the scouts build a draft board?
A: That is a question for Jim or Joe to answer as every GM and Head Scout do it differently.
Q: What’s that work schedule like on your families?
A: It is very tough, a lot of days and nights away from home. No easy solution, just an understanding family.
Q: Do you get the same amount of off-time as coaches, players, and management?
A: No, the draft is the last weekend of June and then pre-season prep begins in August prior to the beginning of Junior training camps.
Q: When you scout a game, do you usually focus on one player in particular, or is it balanced between multiple players?