With the NHL Draft quickly approaching, LAKings.com sat down with the Kings Special Assistant to the General Manager Jack Ferreira
, as the Kings hockey operations department prepares for the 2009 NHL Entry Draft.
LAKings.com: How has the draft changed over the years?
Jack Ferreira: The biggest difference is the age of the players. When I first started, you were drafting 20-year-olds. Now you are dealing with players two years younger. The other big difference is that there are only seven rounds now. When I first started, you would continue drafting until all the other teams passed. You could get into the 30th or 40th round. The biggest thing now is that when you are scouting you are scouting for seven rounds. You are not just scouting that first round. Every game you go to has guys who aren’t going in the first round. Then you have to slot the players accordingly.
LAKings.com: Among the players you have drafted, who really stands out to you?
Jack Ferreira: There are a great number of guys, but really I would say Brett Hull, Joe Nieuwendyk, Mike Modano, Tony Amonte and Paul Kariya.
LAKings.com: Those guys have all gone on to excel in the NHL of course. What was the difference between them at the time they were drafted?
Jack Ferreira: Brett Hull was chosen in the sixth round. When I was in Calgary we drafted Gary Sutter in the ninth round. Nieuwendyk went in the second-round. Modano was of course No. 1, Kariya was fourth overall and Amonte didn’t go until the fourth round. It is never where they go though. Rather, it is about certain qualities they have. Each guy you select needs to have at least one NHL quality already, whether it is skating, hockey sense, or size or whatever. They need to possess at least one but obviously the more they have the better chance they have to make it.
LAKings.com: The Kings picked Drew Doughty last year at this time. What were your impressions of him this past season?
Jack Ferreira: I first saw Drew the year before he was drafted. I was doing some amateur scouting and I went to see Patrick Kane play. He was playing against Doughty, who was an under-age. I came back and told Dean about Kane, and how great a player he was, but I also told Dean that Drew was the best player on the ice. I didn’t even know who he was at the time and it was Drew. You knew he was going to be a star before he was draft-eligible. He just had so many natural instincts. That is what separates him from so many other players. He has the ability that a lot of other players have but his instincts as to when to do something – like when to jump and when to hold onto the puck and when to hesitate and when to make a pass – those are qualities that separate him. As he gets stronger, and gets in better condition, he is just going to get better and better. He has no ego as well. He is not into himself. The sky is the limit with that guy. You could look at him being a Hall of Famer.
LAKings.com: As it relates to the draft, what is your role?
Jack Ferreira: I won’t have any impact when I am in Montreal. Everything I have done is prior to that. I go with scouts during the year and watch amateur players. I make comparisons to players I have seen somewhere else. I give suggestions to Mark Yannetti and to Mike Futa. They take it from there. They have seen everybody a lot more than I have. I also assist by watching some of the video and giving my opinion. Sometimes I will only see a guy on video. They might have some questions about certain guys, and questions about their skill and their development, and I can rely on my experience. It is more like an advisory-type situation. I don’t stick my nose into their business. If I see something I make a comment and it is up to Mike and Mark to really make the final decision. And they are very capable. They are as good as anybody I have ever worked with as it relates to the amateur draft.
ABOUT JACK FERREIRA
Jack Ferreira, who has spent 35 years in professional hockey -- including nine years as an NHL General Manager -- is in his fourth season with the Kings. With Los Angeles, Ferreira serves as Special Assistant to the General Manager, where he works closely with the entire Kings Hockey Operations department, including President/General Manager Dean Lombardi and Vice President/Assistant General Manager Ron Hextall.
Ferreira, 65 (6/9/44), came to the Kings from the Atlanta Thrashers, where he was responsible for scouting throughout North America and Europe as the Director of Player Personnel for the club. He also assisted General Manager Don Waddell in all player-related decisions.
A native of Providence, R.I., Ferreira was an original member of the Anaheim Ducks management team prior to his stint with the Thrashers. With the then-Mighty Ducks, he served for two seasons as Vice President of Hockey Operations (1998-2000) and five seasons as Vice President and General Manager (1993-1998). During his tenure, the Ducks team that he helped build from the ground-up equaled an NHL record for victories as a first-year club (33) in 1993-94. Ferreira was also primarily responsible for several prominent moves in Anaheim’s early history, including the drafting of Paul Kariya in 1993 and the acquisition of Teemu Selanne in 1996.
Before joining the Ducks, Ferreira helped the Montreal Canadiens capture the 1993 Stanley Cup Championship as their Director of Pro Scouting. He also helped launch the San Jose Sharks franchise as Vice President and General Manager of the club from 1990-1992. Ferreira’s first opportunity to head up an NHL franchise was when he served as Vice President and General Manager of the Minnesota North Stars from 1988-1990. With both San Jose and Minnesota, Ferreira worked with Lombardi.
Ferreira has also served as Director of Player Development for the New York Rangers (1986-88), as a U.S. and College Scout for the Calgary Flames (1980-86), and he worked for the NHL’s Central Scouting Service as a New England Area Scout (1977-80).
His professional career began in 1972 with the New England Whalers of the World Hockey Association, where he held various roles including Head Scout, Assistant Coach and Assistant General Manager through 1977.
A former All-America goaltender at Boston University, Ferreira was an Assistant Coach on the collegiate level with Brown University from 1970-1972 and with Princeton University in 1969.
In addition, Ferreira was the Assistant General Manager for Team USA when they captured the Gold Medal at the 1996 World Cup of Hockey and also at the 1998 Olympics in Japan.