The Dallas Stars' 10 amateur scouts have worked all year for this week. By the time Joe McDonnell announces the team's first-round pick on national television Friday night, they will have watched hundreds of players in thousands of total games to deliver the book that Jim Nill and his staff will use – or overrule – during the 2016 NHL Draft.
It's a labor of love, emphasis on the labor, writes The Dallas Morning News' Mike Heika:
...Most scouts see more than 200 games a year. They cover a specified region and have to take hundreds of players and whittle them to a list of maybe 15 to 30 that they present before the draft. Then, they have to decide which ones are real, which ones might be available when their team drafts, which ones could be sleepers to be grabbed late in the draft.
It's an immense amount of information to work through, but it's also the lifeblood of the franchise.
All this effort has a shelf life well past draft day, and the front office try to make good use of the data they gather:
"You always ask scouts to tell you what's not good about a player," said Les Jackson, the former director of scouting who is now assistant general manager. "One of the biggest jobs of a scout is helping so that we don't pick the wrong guy."
What's more, the scouting material garnered over a full season all goes into the computer. So that when an undrafted player such as Antoine Roussel or Ryan Garbutt or Matt Fraser can be signed as a free agent, the Stars have a book on him. If Nill is looking at making a trade and prospects are involved, you can be sure he will be reading the reports that were prepared by Stars scouts for the draft year and beyond.
Read the whole story at Mike's place (after you clear your cookies). [SportsDayDFW]
And here's a little flashback to 2015 to start your draft week:
Heika hosts his weekly chat today at 2 p.m. Central time, and there's plenty of time to send him a few conversation starters. [SportsDayDFW]
Meanwhile, Mark Stepneski is planning his trip to Las Vegas for the 2016 NHL Awards and presumably will spend his time there entirely indoors.
Heading to Las Vegas this week for the NHL Awards. Thrilled about the weather outlook. pic.twitter.com/w4CvIBcRLa— Mark Stepneski (@StarsInsideEdge) June 19, 2016
Scott Cullen says the Stars' needs combined with their cap space could make them "major players" during the free-agency period. [TSN]
Kyle Woodlief of Red Line Report says this year's goaltending draft class is thinner than usual, and also considerably shorter. [USA Today]
"Nothing's official," says Ron MacLean, but word is out that the veteran broadcaster is taking back his "Hockey Night in Canada" chair from George Stroumboulopolous. [CBC]
This, however, is official: The Chicago Blackhawks have signed 2014 first-round pick Nick Schmaltz to a three-year ELC.
It took drastic surgery, a special neck protector, and accepting the fact that he'll never play professionally, but goalie Sam Daley shook off a brain tumor to finish his college career with NYU.
As the Las Vegas Black Knights edge closer to becoming an NHL reality, the AP devotes a Big Story to choosing the perfect name for a new sports franchise. [Associated Press]
Finland is up for its best NHL draft year since its very best year in 2002, when Kari Lehtonen and Joni Pitkanen went 2nd and 4th. Will Patrik Laine and Jesse Puljujärvi be chosen 2nd and 3rd – and who goes first? [The Hockey News]
Wayne Gretzky is coming out of retirement – at least for one game. The Great One will hit the ice for the Wayne Gretzky Ice Hockey Classic in Sydney, Australia. [Sydney Morning Herald]
Finally: The Stars sent Father's Day greetings yesterday on Twitter. Hope yours was wonderful.