Dan Marr, Director of NHL Central Scouting, talks about the 2017 Draft class, a first round filled with parity and more from the Scouting Combine in Buffalo, NY.
His thoughts on the 2017 NHL Draft class:
Well we always have a good selection of players for the first round but I don't know how deep it's going to go. There's been a trend of more 19 year olds being drafted as you go deeper into the Draft but the top of the first round has some pretty solid hockey players.
How this Draft compares to recent ones:
I don't want to diminish the product here. This isn't a Draft where you're going to have a generational player like the last couple classes. They normally come around once a decade and we were fortunate enough to have some back-to-back years that went that way. The top end prospects from this Draft are going to be solid, franchise players for their clubs once they get established and the rest of the first round will sort itself out to where they're going to be really good contributors.
The importance of drafting and developing 2-way defencemen:
Today, you need to be a skating, heads up, puck-moving player to have success at the National Hockey League level.
On the mental evaluation the prospects undergo at the Combine:
I think players today are prepared for the combine. They know these types of questions are coming. I don't understand the background to some of the questions but I'm sure they mean something to the psychologists that are assessing the players. It's just more information that the teams have in their arsenal when they make their decision on the player and that's more along the lines of how they are going to respond to coaching down the road. You're just trying to track how their development process is going to move.
On weighing which attributes are important when assessing a prospect:
In their mind maybe they're going to tell you that they're two-way players or maybe they've been coached to say that but a lot of times the game without the puck is the one they need the most work on. The teams take the viewpoint that that is something that they can coach but you can't coach hockey sense and you can't coach speed.
How he sees the first round going:
This Draft class did not sort themselves out for the scouts this year. I think a lot of teams are going to be quite pleased because there are 31 different philosophies going into the Draft and I wouldn't be surprised if you're going to hear teams say that they got a guy they had ranked in their top 10 all the way through the first round.