Dave Morrison is in the photography business.
“I’m looking for snapshots,” said the Leafs Director of Amateur Scouting.
Morrison was among a handful of Leaf officials taking in the Home Hardware Top Prospects Game at Air Canada Centre on Wednesday. Team Cherry manhandled Team Orr 7-1, if that matters at all to you.
The event is a showcase for the top draft eligible Canadian Hockey League players.
The Leafs, at this writing, would draft around the low 30s so any conversation about who the top 10 picks will be are, to Morrison at least, irrelevant.
“I work with what we have but you never know, things could change. A trade could mean we are looking at a lot of different guys between now and July. I have my eye on about 10 players.”
An event like the prospects game is, Morrison said, interesting.
“You don’t want to take too much out of a game like this,” he said. “For one thing, so many of the kids are playing out of position. They are playing with guys for the first time so it’s natural that there is no real chemistry there. “
Which brings us back to the photography business.
“You look for moments, little things, like how a player responds to a challenge or when a teammate is challenged. You want to see if they play hard and compete.”
There is no prototype Leafs player, Morrison said. Everyone has about the same template, big, fast, competitive and skilled. The real difference is how successful individual teams are in indentifying the prospects who will flash those qualities.
While fearless in forecasting, it can also help to look backwards.
“Yes, we go over past drafts, what worked what didn’t,” he said. “ It’s very useful to examine what you did with an eye to how those picks turned out.”
Practice, Morrison said, doesn’t make perfect. It does lend itself to making better choices.
“The longer you do this job, the better you get at recognizing the qualities you want. You just have a bigger pool of experience to work from.”