My introduction to Joyce came last spring when I found his blog online. Joyce had terrific info and he clearly was speaking to NHL scouts (a great line about Gagner for instance had him behaving like a 10-year NHL veteran, and that he was voted smartest player in an OHL coach’s poll) and soonafter I read about his book coming out this fall.
Joyce was granted access to the 2006 Entry Draft process by the Columbus Blue Jackets. The insights offered into the exhaustive and yet incomplete work of an NHL team in draft preparation are eye opening to say the least. I won’t spill the beans here, but suffice to say that Joyce gives us a glimpse of the scouting process in pro hockey that runs parallel to baseball’s “saw him good” brigade with very little Bill James math-sussing.
The book is an exceptional read, both because of the content (I was disappointed when finished, only because there’s not another one to look forward to) and the author’s writing style. It felt like I was getting a series of emails from someone in the hockey industry updating me on the 2006 and 2007 drafts, with stuff you just can’t get from your typical hockey writer (there’s probably 20 things in the book that are what I would call big facts, things that were important about the 2 drafts that I didn’t know at the time).
For Oiler fans lots to like including a hilarious story about Lorne Davis that made me laugh out loud. Some (not a lot) of info on Sam Gagner and a few other items along the way.
One final note: kudos to the Blue Jackets for granting Joyce a chance to see into an area of the sport many of us have a strong interest in without ever having a chance to be a part of it. If I’d owned the book on draft day, the Cherepanov and Esposito free falls would have been easily explained.
Good book Joyce.