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Eyes of the Scout (Pt. 2)

by Jeff Moeller / Los Angeles Kings

The hockey world in late June shifts its attention to the annual NHL Draft. Currently the Kings are slated to choose 13th overall. This year’s Draft will be held June 26-27 in Florida.



LAKings.com caught up with three members of our organization’s amateur scouting staff – Brent McEwen, Denis Fugere and Niklas Andersson -- to help preview this year’s event. It is, after all, the “Super Bowl for the Scouts.”

LAKings.com: Since last year’s draft, how do you describe your last 12 months in anticipation of this year’s draft?

Fugere: I start simply by finding a list of players who are now draft eligible from my areas, either the Maritimes or Quebec. You take what you already know about these kids and then dig in as it relates to more information. You look at where they have been drafted before in relation to the league they play in and you work the phones. With that list I then try and see them early in the season. My list this year started at 60 kids and I try and meet with them. As time goes by you wind that list down some and then start adding more kids. Then you see what else you can learn about them. This year I saw about 200 games. In Quebec, I probably drove around 35,000 miles. In the Maritimes, add in another 15,000 miles.

LAKings.com: We are slated to choose #13 this year after choosing #29 last year. Does that change your approach this time around?

Fugere: The job is to pick the best player available regardless of spot. That is where our list comes in. We builf the list and there is a reason for the ranking. It is a process as we change our list throughout the season. Yes, you might have the chance of a “home run” more at 13 than you do at 30 but two things that are hard to measure – what is in your head and what is in your heart – are things that are hard to project, especially for a 17-year-old. However you look at it, the gathering of information is very important.

LAKings.com: Since last year’s draft, how do you describe your last 12 months in anticipation of this year’s draft?

Andersson: This year has featured a lot of travel and a lot of games, which is the norm. This is my second year and in Sweden there have been some challenges. It has also been an exciting year. This year I saw 180 games. I don’t care to think too much about how many days on the road it is but I think I went to five different countries this past season. That would drive you nuts.

LAKings.com: We are slated to choose #13 this year after choosing #29 last year. Does that change your approach this time around?

Andersson: I don’t think it does much to how I prepare. I am sort of viewing it as Lucky #13. At least I hope it is a lucky number for us. Of course you want to pick #30 but that is not always the case of course. In all, it is about getting your list in order and doing the best you can.

LAKings.com: Since last year’s draft, how do you describe your last 12 months in anticipation of this year’s draft?

McEwen: Once the year is over, you do get a bit of break once Development Camp is over. Then it starts again with the Hlinka Tournament, which gives you a chance to see some of the top U.S. and Canadian players. That is my start. Then up through November you are trying to see a lot of teams under 18 and the major junior teams. You are following some of the players you have seen before plus the many new players. That helps you formulate your list. Moving on we might experience a little cross-over where I could go in, say, Quebec and take a look at some of the top guys who we have identified. Then you meet and continue through the process until you get to this point. It has been a long year but it has been a good year. I have seen more than 200 games and seen a lot of airports and hotel. Then you hit those storms that delay you for hours. It is nice when summer comes but you also get excited when fall hits.

LAKings.com: We are slated to choose #13 this year after choosing #29 last year. Does that change your approach this time around?

McEwen: I think it changes what Mark Yannetti and Mike Futa do more than how it affects me and how I prepare. They set the strategy and we help and offer an opinion to form the final list. At the end of the day this is the highest we have picked in a while. We have a good chance to get a good player but you always have that mindset regardless of where you pick.

This is the second story in a two-part series on LAKings.com. To hear from fellow scouts Tony Gasparini, Christian Ruuttu and Chris Byrne, click here.

At the Draft, both Kings Vision and LAKingsInsider.com will be on site. And follow @LAKings and @LAKingsPR for photos and more.

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