EDMONTON – The Oilers have signed a few NCAA free agents in recent years, such as Wisconsin's Justin Schultz and Yale's Mark Arcobello and Andrew Miller. And with today's addition of Bob Green to the scouting staff, the team is looking for that number to grow.
GM Craig MacTavish announced Wednesday the Oilers have added Green to the hockey operations staff as Director of Amateur Free Agent Scouting with a primary focus on attracting available NCAA talent to Edmonton. MacTavish said the American collegiate free agent market is becoming increasingly lucrative, making Green's new position quite valuable.
"I've really been looking for someone in this position for a couple of months now," the GM said. "I really view it as an exceptionally important position for our organization. We've dabbled in the NCAA market a little bit. We were fortunate to land Justin Schultz, but we also fell short on a couple of other highly-coveted free agents. It's a market we have to have more coverage in. There's got to be someone in our organization completely responsible for that."
Free agent scouting at the Canadian major junior level will also be part of Green's portfolio, which is a slam dunk for the Oilers since he has been involved in the Western Hockey League since 1993. Green served as Assistant General Manager and Director of Player Personnel for the Medicine Hat Tigers before spending the last six seasons as GM of the Edmonton Oil Kings.
Green moulded the Oil Kings squad from its modern incarnation in 2007-08 to WHL champions in 2011-12 and WHL Eastern Conference champions this past season. He was honoured for his managerial efforts with the WHL Executive of the Year award the last two seasons. The Tigers also won a WHL title in 2003-04 during Green's tenure in Medicine Hat.
"It's very exciting for me to be able to get back in the rink and do more scouting … it's really my passion," Green said. "It felt like the time was right to move on at this point after having some success (with the Oil Kings). I always welcome new challenges and will do whatever I can to help this organization get to where it wants to be and win championships."
MacTavish added Green's "credibility in the CHL" will allow him to "open the doors and really enhance our ability to attract and sign very good players … we felt like it was a real coup for our organization to be able to add a real good hockey guy to complement our scouting staff."
MacTavish himself played a major role in the courtship of Schultz last summer, successfully swaying the coveted free agent defenceman to embark on his NHL career with the Oilers. Green's job moving forward will be to identify and convince future free agent college stars to choose Edmonton.
"Networking is critical, especially in free agency," Green said. "You've got to be able to recruit, and I think we've done a good job of that over the years with the Oil Kings. Even though this is the NHL, you still have to recruit. The high-end free agents you're chasing after have a lot of interest from other teams. We've got a good story to tell about Edmonton and the Oilers, and we've got to be able to track those guys and get them here."