Over the course of his 49 years in the National Hockey League as a Hall of Fame player, general manager, team executive and member of the Hockey Hall of Fame selection committee, the legendary Bob Clarke has seen and done it all. Recently, the Flyers senior vice president reflected on the aspects of the NHL Draft.
"Scouts are like players. Sometimes you need to make changes. How can you tell if someone is a good scout? You look at the players they've recommended and if they've come up with players who've become good contributors in the NHL. That's where the trust is built up," said Clarke. "You want scouts who have the courage to step up and push for kids they believe in. But they also have to be team players. Your scouts have to work together for what's best for the organization. That's the whole key right there. You don't want a guy who has a personal agenda and pushes to get his way just because he wants to be a general manager someday."
Clarke points out that the scouting realm has grown exponentially over the years. There is now a global pool of players to assess, from all across Europe as well as North America. With 31 teams in the NHL, it vital to leave no stone unturned when trying to build organizational depth.
"We've had a lot of really good scouts over the years, right up to this day with the staff we have with Hexy as the GM and Sarge [Chris Pryor] as assistant GM. If you look at our drafts the last four years, five years, with the guys who are now in the NHL, there's been good work done on the amateur scouting side," Clarke said.
In any career as long as Clarke's, there are bound to be some hits and misses - and some tantalizing or agonizing what-if scenarios - that arise at the Draft.