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A Scout's Eye: Here, There, Everywhere

by Staff Writer / Florida Panthers
A Scout's Eye is a blog written by Panthers Director of Amateur Scouting Scott Luce as he takes you behind the scenes of what a scout really goes through as they prepare for their big holiday, the NHL Entry Draft. Scouts are the reason for the home-grown product, those players that are drafted by the team and then make a huge difference for them.

Luce is in his seventh season with the Panthers, after joining the club's scouting staff on July 11, 2002. He oversees the club's amateur scouts and works closely with Panthers General Manager Jacques Martin, tracking prospects throughout the world.

Luce has been responsible for the Panthers drafting notable players such as Nathan Horton, Rostislav Olesz, David Booth, Michael Frolik, Michal Repik, Keaton Ellerby and Jacob Markstrom.

A Scout's Eye Archive

Starting on March 18th I have been in the following cities : Toronto, Boston, Quebec, Brandon, Saskatoon, Calgary, Chicago, Sioux Falls, Omaha, Minneapolis ( Fargo Flooding kept me away from there ), Green Bay and Chicago. Will take another quick trip out west and then back to Fargo (hope there is no change in venue ) for the World Under 18 Championships.
Lots of travel, due to the fact of our draft position having the potential to change significantly over the course of the remaining schedule. I have to make sure I see all of the players of interest at least one more time prior to their seasons ending. Makes for difficult travel arrangements and some tricky scheduling. Sometimes we get a break when the leagues put out a favourable schedule which allows us optimal coverage. The 2nd round schedule in the QMJHL is an example of that this season.
Our prospects have been finishing their seasons. All of our NCAA roster playing prospects made the Sweet 16 with the exception of Matt Duffy who has gotten off to a good start in Fort Myers and Rochester and Ryan Watson (Western Michigan). Denver (John Lee and Marc Cheverie) were upset by the upstart Miami of Ohio team that is now in the Frozen Four. The Ohio State Buckeyes (Matt Bartkowski) ran into a train called Boston University. BU also knocked off UNH (Brian Foster) to advance to the Frozen Four. BU looks like the team to beat this year. Lastly, Air Force stunned Michigan (Matt Rust) in their Regional opener.
Amazing, that the Frozen Four almost had both Bemidji State and Air Force in it.
In Major juniors, Colby Robak in Brandon (WHL) looked good in Game #1 of their playoff series against Kootenay. I was at the game and Colby was solid in both ends of the rink. Brandon swept Kootenay and has now won the first two games of the second round against Medicine Hat where Colby is a plus-eight in those two games alone with an assist. Brady Calla in Spokane (WHL) won their first round and now are in tough against a strong Vancouver club. They are currently down 2-1 in their series. Adam Comrie in Saginaw (OHL) and A.J. Jenks in Plymouth (OHL) both won their opening round series. They are both in tough now. Jenks and Plymouth are tied at two games a piece with the Windsor Spitfires in the second round while Saginaw was swept by potential #1 pick John Tavares and the London Knights in their series. Corey Syvret in Guelph (OHL) lost opening round to Saginaw.
Across the pond, Roman Deryluk had a solid season in the KHL. Segei Gayduchenko did not see much game action, but he improved his technique and is looking forward to next season already. Evgeni Dadonov had a strong season internationally and earned an invitation to the Mens National Training Camp in Austria as they prepare for the Sr.  World Championships being held in Switzerland this season. This will provide him with even more experience to help his development. Jacob Markstrom won his first ever Mens National Game earlier today in a shoot out against Switzerland 4-3. It was a friendly tune up game for the same upcoming Sr. World Championships.
All in all our prospects improved this season and learned through their experiences what is required to become a NHL player.
I now go under cover for the rest of the season and will not be advertising my whereabouts in my blog. It is important to keep as low a profile in this last month of scouting as to not tip your hand on who you are focusing on. It is tough to do, as we are all watching the same prospects. Scouts will slip into a game early or late and stake out a viewing point where they are not easily seen by others. It is fun watching the older scouts do this as it was a well known tactic years ago in our business. The old leave after two periods to throw off any interest in the prospect(s) being viewed or the blatant statements of  "Geez, I thought that guy would have been better ", etc all to keep us on our toes.
The scouting season goes until right up before the draft. I will touch base again after the Under 18 Championships and again after the Combine.
Cheer Hard as we make our Push for the Playoffs and thanks for being our FANS......
Scott Luce
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