After 5 days of prospect interviews at the 2017 NHL Scouting Combine, Sens Amateur Scout Don Boyd talks with us about the process, dealing with pre-programmed answers and more...
On how many prospects they interviewed this week:
I believe our number was right around the 72 mark. That's probably a little bit higher than some teams but for most it depends on their draft position and how many selections they have.
On how their late first round pick / 4 total selections affects their strategy going into these interviews:
We have to be detailed in our work and Trent Mann makes sure of that so I don't think it changes the way we approach these interviews. Our work throughout the course of the year is the same because we have to identify and put players in an order. We may not interview some of the prospects that we know are going to be picked quite a bit before our selection but this year we would interview more prospects because there is perhaps a little less separation in the players. You need to make sure that you're going to be able to identify those differences.
Dealing with coached answers during the interviews:
I think we know which prospects are prepared and which ones aren't. We know the players, we know the organizations that they come from and we know their representations so I think it's easy for us to separate the wheat from the chaff. We're out there in the field and we know what to expect from the players so if there are any surprises then sometimes that's good. Mixing up our questions or changing them depending on the player is usually based on what we know about them and the preparedness they should have.
How the roles work out during the interviews:
Some people in our organization will know certain players better. Trent is the lead on the whole thing and he begins the process so if one of us knows the player better than somebody else then we get into the fray a little deeper. We all crossover in our organization so if anybody has a particular question about a player we want to make sure that that question is asked by that person and then answered by that player.
On if players can raise/lower their stocks during these interviews:
Well regardless of the interview they have to be able to play and they still have to be a player to make it in the National Hockey League. Personalities are good and these interviews can make you reconsider what you thought about a player in certain situations and can convince you otherwise sometimes. These interviews also allow you to get to know the players and what buttons need to be pushed to get that player to excel. To say that players could change your list at this stage would not be correct but they can influence your thought about that player. You might be more willing to step up on them but not necessarily change the final list.