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CSS checklist rating scale under way

by Mike G. Morreale
NHL Central Scouting is starting its in-depth evaluating process right now via its checklist rating scale.

The process is tedious and time consuming as each scout -- Chris Edwards (OHL), Jack Barzee (U.S.), Gary Eggleston (U.S.), Al Jensen (U.S./Canada), B.J. MacDonald (WHL), Peter Sullivan (WHL), Chris Bordeleau (QMJHL), David Gregory (U.S.) and Nathan Ogilvie-Harris (Canada) -- rate EVERY player ranked. I'm told Jensen, who is also Central Scouting's goalie guru, will get his chance to discuss the masked men Monday morning.

E.J. McGuire oversees the entire operation.

Also working hard in the background but extremely important to this arduous process are NHL senior director Jack Gerien, coordinator at Central Scouting Luke McGoey and manager Brandon Pridham.

Also in attendance, "virtually", is IT system architect is Bob Obringer. Obringer participates in the meetings remotely for the entire duration of the meeting -- working online from start to finish.

Here are the categories that each scout must ponder during this process. If anything else, this is proof how detailed and perfection-ridden the scouts are. The starting point was at the top of the draft board. Scouts must submit a vote for every sub-category of each section via one of the following six options: Excellent, Very Good, Good, Average, Poor or Not Applicable (needed for scouts who have limited viewing of a particular player).

Acceleration - First few strides, ability to pull away from or catch other players.
Speed - When in motion at full stride.
Balance - Is he strong on his skates.
Mobility - Agility, footwork, pivots, stops and starts.
Backward Skating - Overall backward skating ability.

Puck skills
Shot accuracy - Does he hit the net, force the goalie to make a save.
Shot strength - Does he have a heavy shot.
Shot release - Ability to shoot without getting set, off of the stickhandle.
Possess multiple shot types - Quality of wrist, slap, snap and backhand.
Stickhandling ability - Can he handle the puck at top speed, controls the puck in tight quarters, corners, along the boards.
Puck protection - Ability to adjust body position & balance to keep or acquire the puck.
Faceoffs - Gets his team puck possession off the draw, used in all zones and all situations.
Giving A Pass - Delivers puck for easy handling, leads his man.
Receiving A Pass - Gets puck under control quickly, can receive puck backhand, forehand, off skates.
Scoring touch - Can he score several ways, smart around the net, has a nose for the net.

Scoring drive - Willing to battle, go to the net, pay the price to score.
Work ethic - Overall effort, works and competes every shift regardless of score & venue.
Attitude - Level of maturity; well developed or 'has a ways to go.'
Consistency - How consistent has his play been over the course of the season or in a game, score 5-1/1-5.
Forechecking - Puck pursuit, fights through checks.

Physical Play
Board & Corner play - Battles for loose pucks, willing to pay the price.
Physical presence - Size and strength are used as an asset; tough to play against; punishes opponents every chance.
Conditioning - Overall physical conditioning, build, strength, stamina and durability, seldom misses games.
Hitting - Takes the body, effectively separates opposition from the puck, willing to take a hit to make a play.
Fighting - Willing to fight and is capable.

Hockey Sense
Playmaking - Vision, offensive imagination, sets teammates up for scoring chances.
Anticipation - Reads and reacts to the play, gets himself in position before the play develops, sees opening for transition play.
Discipline - Avoids bad penalties, accepts a bad call, not drawn in to retaliation.
Decision Making - Ability to sort out options and make the right choices
Play under pressure - Ability to make the right decisions above when forechecked or in a key situation.
Versatility - Ability to play various positions, roles, special teams.

Defensive Play
Defensive Anticipation - Reads the play, gap control.
Positioning - Angles opponents, active away from the puck.
Backchecking - Picks up man, returns hard to the defensive zone.
Defensive Reliability - Is he used in critical situations

Psychological Factors
Leadership - Takes charge, displays on-ice leadership
Communication - Witnessed in-game examples of constructive discussions w/ teammates and coaches.
Confidence - Displays a noticeable 'air of confidence' in his on-ice activities.

Player Summary: What type of overall player is he
Power Forward
Skilled/Offensive Defenseman
Skilled Forward
Reliable Stay at Home Defenseman
Role Player/Checker

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