TORONTO, ON - The Edmonton Oilers, like the rest of the NHL, have sent their scouting and management teams to Toronto to take part in the Scouting Combine. This is where some of the top draft prospects have gathered for a chance to make one more impression on the organizations who may select them at the end of June.
Among Edmonton’s contingent of staff in attendance is the team’s Head Amateur Scout Stu MacGregor. He sat down with edmontonoilers.com yesterday to talk combine and draft with play-by-play man Jack Michaels and he gave some insight into what the Combine provides to NHL teams.
“This gives an opportunity for everybody we have here to be able to get an idea of what a player looks like and get a picture of that a little bit,” MacGregor said. “You can’t change the way they play the game and your on-ice evaluation is done. This is a final kind of putting it all together and kind of topping it off to see. You might have some specific questions about an event or something that’s happened during the season and maybe get that cleared up, meet the player and get a little bit of an idea of what they’re like.”
For the teams at the Combine, the scouting process is done and the draft boards are pretty much set. The Combine is there to allow them the chance to confirm player personality traits, ask questions pertaining to the season and really just put a face to the player they’ve been watching play this season.
The Oilers have said they’ll interview about 82 players by the end of the Combine. Some of them have already spoken with the Oilers at some point during the process.
“In most cases the area scout would have interviewed them already and this will be like a second interview for our group. This has also been an opportunity for our upper management to be able to meet some of the key players that they’re interested in that they’ve seen maybe during the season and give them an idea of what they player looks like and get an idea of how they’ve grown this season like how much bigger they are, how much stronger they are, how prepared they are and how they handle themselves.”
The Oilers currently do not hold a pick in the second or third round of the draft. That doesn’t mean the scouting department’s duties have changed at all, though. The draft board must still be completed as if they did have those picks in preparation for any potential trades that could net more selections.
“It has not changed our prep at all,” MacGregor said. “We have to be ready in case something does happen. In case you make a trade you have to place those players in order of where you think they’ll be and select if you had a second round pick or if you had two second round picks. You have to just be prepared for everything. You can’t slough it off and say we’re not doing anything between 20-50 because we don’t have a pick. We have to have those players in order.”
So the Oilers will continue to do their homework on all of these players, even without those picks in hand right now. While the combine does not do much to change the staff’s opinion on the hockey player, it is the final confirmation on a lot of these prospects.
“It doesn’t change anything of your impression of the player,” MacGregor says. “It gives you an idea of what the person is all about. It can’t change anything significantly because they have to perform on the ice and that’s where your key evaluation has to come from. This is a confirmation of all those things and it just gives you a little better idea and a little bit better feel of what kind of guy they are.”