At the conclusion of the Sens pre-Draft scouting meetings in mid-May, we caught up with Chief Amateur Scout Trent Mann to talk about building a list, the challenges of picking less/later and more...
His goals for this year's pre-Draft scouting meetings:
The goal for me was to make sure that we were able to debate and make sure that we were all comfortable with where the players are positioned when we left here with the understanding that there is one process left at the Combine to help us make those decisions.
On how final their lists are after their meetings in May:
Certain players may change a little bit. You also have to consider the Memorial Cup so if certain teams make it that have higher prospects then you're there watching and that's a pretty big showcase for those kids. If someone at 17 years old can step up at the Memorial Cup, which typically sees teams load up on drafted or older players, then that bodes well for them.
On the impact their lists have at the NHL Draft Combine:
It helps us take a direction with the kid. Based on the information that we've acquired from all of our scouting staff there are certain areas we focus on with each kid. Sometimes it's a physical thing, sometimes it's a character thing...so based upon those areas where we may have a little bit of concern then we try to hit on that because you only have 15 minutes with each kid which isn't a lot of time. You want to zero in on those areas where you have some concerns to help put your mind at ease.
On how his role at these meetings has changed since being named Chief Amateur Scout:
I probably see more players than everyone else because I go based upon where all the other scouts are identifying I need to be. I read every report that our scouts submit so I know how they feel about certain players and it's my job to make sure that all those opinions and feelings get put out on the table here. We discuss and debate and I kind of facilitate us through that process.
On the strengths in this year's draft class:
You hear that generally speaking this year is a "different draft" and "not that deep" and I would tend to agree with that but there's still some really good players. Some years there are more defencemen in the top tier than other years and this year I don't think there are as many defencemen as there have been in some of the other years on the upper end of it but at the same time we're now picking in the bottom 4 so obviously there will be a lot less for us to pick from but we'll still get ourselves a good player.
On how the success of the team affects the work of the scouting staff:
It's a challenge and guys are competitive so we're looking at it as an opportunity to still be able to get some players even though we're picking a bit later. If we've done our job well then we should be able to still find ourselves a player in there. It makes it a little harder but it's not impossible because if you look at second round picks historically they can be pretty good picks which is why they are so coveted in trades.
On preparing to pick 28th overall but building a list to be ready for anything:
We have to prepare for all the scenarios. We prepare like we're going to pick first, second, third because you never know what is going to come Pierre's way and what he's able to do. With Pierre being in charge of scouting for as many years as he was here, I think he's prepped us for that so that's what we do. At the same time, realistically we're going to pick where we pick and we try to identify on our lists the group of players that we'll be picking from and make sure that we're really clear on those guys on who we want first and why we want him more than the other guy.
His thoughts going into his first Draft as Chief Amateur Scout:
Personally, I'd like to do a good job and our staff wants to do a good job. 4 picks makes it harder to be accurate, if you have 7 picks then there's a little less pressure I think but that's why we do this. I'm excited for the opportunity.
On how having fewer picks can curb your strategy going into a Draft:
When you have multiple picks it's easier to take a flyer on someone that you just have a feeling about but there are still some things that you're worried about. For example, Carolina has a number of picks in the second round and they can take a chance on someone in that round where we have a first and second and then we don't pick again until the fourth round so we don't have that luxury. We'll just make sure that we're not wrong (laughs).