Dan Marr never could understand why the late E.J. McGuire always would have an arm full of file folders whenever they occasionally crossed paths while scouting hockey games across North America.
After being named McGuire's successor as Director of NHL Central Scouting on Tuesday, Marr now knows why.
"There's always going to be homework to take home," Marr told NHL.com. "E.J. was always open to innovation and was never afraid of change … he always wondered if there was a better way to approach things or a better way to do things … he was always working. During his tenure, Central Scouting advanced by leaps and bounds in the technology age, and I hope to build upon that and take it to another level if at all possible."
Marr, who was released from his duties as Atlanta's Director of Amateur Scouting and Player Development when the franchise relocated to Winnipeg in June, replaces McGuire, who died April 7 following a five-month battle with cancer.
Marr served as Atlanta's chief scout for more than three years, from 2000-03, before being promoted to director of amateur scouting and player development in July 2003. He joined the Thrashers as a head scout in September 1998 after spending more than 12 years with the Maple Leafs.
"It's a different dynamic then working for a team, but right now the important identification phase of player evaluation is being done. The smartest thing I can do is just stay out of the way of the staff because they're all experienced and they know what needs to be done at this time in the year. I'm going to get more of a handle on the administrative side of the expectations and let the scouts do what they do best."
-- Dan Marr
Marr said the first congratulatory e-mail he received was from McGuire's widow, Terry.
"It was the first one and it meant so much," Marr said. "She wished me luck and success in my new role."
That role includes coordinating a staff of 29 scouts, who spend each season watching and rating each season's draft-eligible prospects from around the world. The department consists of staff at NHL offices in Toronto, along with eight full-time scouts and 15 part-time scouts throughout North America.
To report on prospects playing in Europe, the NHL employs the services of Goran Stubb and his staff of six scouts at European Scouting Services based in Finland. Together, all the scouts reporting to Marr will have combined to witness approximately 3,000 games during the season.
"It's a different dynamic than working for a team, but right now the important identification phase of player evaluation is being done," Marr said. "The smartest thing I can do is just stay out of the way of the staff because they're all experienced and they know what needs to be done at this time in the year. I'm going to get more of a handle on the administrative side of the expectations and let the scouts do what they do best.
"I don't think there's going to be any transitioning for (the scouts) to go through. There's not going to be any drastic changes; they function very well as a team and we're just going to maintain and keep going strong."
He said he contacted each member of his full-time scouting staff over the weekend and also intends to continue traveling throughout North America and, at times, Europe, to catch a glimpse of the top draft prospects around the globe.
"It will be the same as it always was for me … I'll do my full-time crossover scouting," Marr said. "My scouting won't be cut back whatsoever. I can tell you that there are a lot of fine defensemen available in this upcoming draft and they're all exciting players to watch."
Marr actually traveled to Sarnia to catch a glimpse of top prospect Nail Yakupov of the Sarnia Sting of the Ontario Hockey League over the weekend.
"He's a dynamic, exciting player and he's one of the few players that you'd go around and say 'This guy is worth the price of admission,'" Marr said. "He can put on that type of a show, he's that skilled. I know we have a core audience of just a few hundred people when it comes to scouts and management, but our job will be to service them the best we can."
He also added how excited he is for the future of hockey with the caliber of talent filtering through the various junior leagues and collegiate ranks.
"Right now, I think hockey is at a very good place," Marr said. "With the USA programs, the Hockey Canada programs, the NCAA … players are now exposed to so many facets of the game and lifestyle conditioning, training and coaching, that you're getting a much better prepared and educated athlete. With the pipeline of players now being developed by all these leagues and programs, hockey is in a really good place when you look to the future."
Follow Mike Morreale on Twitter at: @mike_morreale