By Jeff Moeller | Jeff Monahan contributed to this story
|After Alyn McCauley's career came to a close, he joined the Kings front office as a scout.
LAKings.com continues its Draft Day Memories series with an interview with former NHLer and current Kings scout Alyn McCauley.
Take us back a year ago at this time when you were first signing up for this gig as a Kings scout and the draft in an unofficial manner. Talk about the decision you made to join the Kings staff about 12 months ago. Alyn McCauley:
Well I was at my home business when Ron (Hextall) gave me a call and said he was interested and I jumped at the chance to join an organization that I knew was up and coming, Being my first experience aside from the playing in the NHL, there was a lot of learning that went on over the last year. Things are different than I expected as a player, behind the scenes, but overall, it was a very good year, for me anyway in what I was able to learn and take in. It was a very enjoyable year and I look forward to myself growing as a scout in my position. LAKings.com:
Talk a little bit about what your role is at the draft in LA this week. Obviously amateur scouts and the drafting of amateur players is the key but from a pro end, talk about when the potential for trades come up and maybe you are asked for your opinion. Maybe just talk about what your role is this week. Alyn McCauley:
Certainly there’s always the possibility a team wants to move up or down in the draft and make a deal. Over the course of the year watching the amount of hockey and taking the notes that I did, you try to get to know these players in as much depth as you can take from being there as a spectator and a scout and trying to figure out if this is a player that we either want or don’t want on our team. But with the work people have done in the past with drafting players that are of high value and are probably in high demand, I’m sure the phone will be ringing and people will be curious to know who is available from our spot. Drafting 19th, or later in the first round than we have in the last few years, it’s a good thing, but I don’t think there will be as many inquiries into that pick as last year with the fifth overall pick. I mean, there’s a lot of value in that player and not to say we can’t find someone at 19 but it doesn’t carry the same weight. So what I have done over the course of the last year getting to know the players as well as I have, that’s where my skills or my knowledge will come into play and I may sit there and have a lot to give via notes. LAKings.com:
Can you kind of take the fans inside the Kings conference room leading up to the draft and long meetings? Just talk a little bit about, from your perspective, what happens in that room; the discussion, the debate, watching video, talking players, etc. Alyn McCauley:
Your team is always evolving and changing as the salary cap certainly brings a different element to it, so you’re trying to at times look through a crystal ball as far as, okay this guy is a free agent and maybe he’s going to test the waters and go somewhere else and how does that affect us? Who’s available? Who are some of these up and younger guys coming so you’re always trying to ice the best team that you can. I mean I certainly know first hand how a player’s change of scenery can make a direct influence on how well and what they do on the ice. My move from Toronto to San Jose moved me from really a 4th line center to a 3rd or possibly a 2nd line center. So you’re trying to sometimes guess and get those guys who kind of surprise you a little bit. A little bit like a stock market, I would say, you’re trying to get that guy on the upswing and making sure you don’t get a guy just before he starts to decline or fall off a cliff. LAKings.com:
Last two questions: you of course were drafted in 1995, 79th overall by New Jersey. What do you recall the most from the day you were drafted into the NHL?Alyn McCauley:
Relief. You dream as a kid about making it and then you’re working so hard towards being an NHL player, and that’s your ultimate goal. But that’s not the finish line, because then you have to prove your worth and continue to develop and then hold a position once you are able to secure a spot in the NHL.When I finally heard my name I was relieved and excited. New Jersey had actually just won the Stanley Cup the year before, they of all teams. After being drafted, they throw their draftees a little party, the Stanley Cup was there and I had my parents there. So it’s exciting to go through that process, and you never know if that’s going to be the end of the road, and luckily for me it wasn’t, but that was a very exciting time and I was able to spend it with people who had supported me all along and essentially made that possible. LAKings.com:
And finally, obviously you know that every player is different and every team is different, but based off your experiences, what's the best piece of advice you could give to a kid who is going to get drafted this week at STAPLES Center? What would you tell that kid if you had a minute with him? Alyn McCauley:
To try to relax. I mean you really don’t know, Hall and Seguin will probably go 1-2. But after that it’s up in the air. I wish that I had kind of taken it in a little bit more. It’s always easier said than done, but to just try and relax and just enjoy the moment. There are a lot of fun things that lead up to draft Jay McKee, who went in the first round, was my roommate while we were out in the draft in Edmonton, we went to the Edmonton mall, we actually bungee jumped. I just wish I had enjoyed a little bit more leading up to it. I certainly did once my name was called and I could sigh and breathe again. But take it in and enjoy it because it’s something that a kid will never experience again and they worked so hard to get there so they should enjoy it.