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As Memorial Cup Ends, Vegas' Scouting Staff Transitions Into Draft Mode

The Golden Knights will attend the NHL Draft Scouting Combine later this week in Buffalo

by Dan Marrazza @GoldenKnights /

There are no holidays in hockey.

Especially for the Golden Knights.

As the rest of America has been sitting back and enjoying a holiday weekend, the team's staff has been hard at work in Windsor, Ont. It's there that a large portion of team executives, led by George McPhee, have been attending the Memorial Cup this past week.

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Which although the 2017 Memorial Cup will be remembered for Sunday's finale, in which the host Windsor Spitfires defeated the Erie Otters to capture the title, it had a different significance for the Golden Knights. As the championship trophy was raised, it officially concluded the on-ice portion of the 2016-17 amateur season, with Vegas' amateur scouting staff transitioning into full-on Entry Draft mode beginning Sunday night.

Tweet from @MCMemorialCup: The @SpitsHockey have won the #MCMemorialCup with a 4-3 win over @ErieOtters.


That's right.

No more players to scout, no more games to watch.

Just finalizing the team's draft list and maneuvering into position to select the players that the team's last nine months of scouting has led its staff to covet.

"Our guys are real dedicated," coach Gerard Gallant said. The work they do, these guys are the heart and soul of our organization.

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"They never stop working. They go miles and miles in their vehicles to go to different games. They see kids all over North America, and they travel Europe.

"They are out there at the beginning of the season, and are out there all the way until the end of the season."

With the end of the season - on the amateur level - ending on Sunday night, the team's staff will regroup and begin its final push to the Entry Draft this week.

This will begin when most of the Golden Knights' hockey operations staff travels to Buffalo to attend the NHL Draft Scouting Combine later this week.


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Which as much as this will be McPhee and assistant general manager Kelly McCrimmon leading the team into western New York, it will also be the amateur scouts' chance to shine.

Where McPhee and McCrimmon have been overseeing the team's operations from a broader perspective, it's the amateur scouts' job to do the heavy lifting to determine who will be selected in the Entry Draft.

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The leader of this group is Scott Luce, who worked with coach Gerard Gallant in his most recent job with the Florida Panthers.

"They go out there and find the best kids," Gallant said. "They're interviewing kids all the time to see what kind of character the kid has. Good scouts really do their jobs and work hard. Like I said, they're the heart and soul of your organization.

"This will be the time when their hard work will shine through."

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