Stu MacGregor Chief Scout

This is Jarome Iginla. In 1995-96 he played for the Kamloops Blazers. The GM that year was Stu MacGregor who was elevated in the fall to Chief Scout, Edmonton Oilers.

I’m amazed at just how few people know this fact. The link from last September is here and a quote from that release states “In his new position with the Oilers, MacGregor will be responsible for the team’s amateur scouting staff and will run Edmonton’s table at the NHL Entry Draft.”

Looks pretty clear cut to me.

Other items of note from the release: MacGregor joined the Edmonton scouting staff in 2000-01. He covers junior and college games in western Canada and the United States and also travels to the major international tournaments around the world.

So he would certainly have been a part of the Hemsky-to-Gagner Prendergast draft era. It’s hard to read too much into the known information, but MacGregor is the “man” in terms of amateur procurement at the draft table starting this summer.

Under Prendergast the Oilers performed well in what appears to have been a more democratic process than the Barry Fraser regime that ran the show 1979-2000.

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29 Responses to "Stu MacGregor Chief Scout"

  1. Guy Flaming says:

    http://www.thepipelineshow.com/clips/season_3/Stu_MacGregor_Jan29.mp3

    It was pretty much the first thing we asked him when he guested on TPS back in late January.

    The really basic breakdown a year ago was:

    Scott Howson: Contracts + Minor Pro operations

    KP: ALL scouting (hence VP Hockey Ops)

    now it’s basically this:

    Rick Olczyk: contracts
    KP: Pro scouting and Minor Pro Operations
    Stu MacGregor: Head of Amateur Scouting which makes him the man on draft day.

    That’s MY take on it anyway. Sorry for invading again LT

  2. Lowetide says:

    You’re always welcome here, Guy.

  3. Hemsky is a gangsta says:

    and what does K Lowe do? step in when players like souray and penner become available??

  4. Dennis says:

    Gangsta: Yes. But only when having previously been spurned by Nylander;)

  5. PDO says:

    Is Rick Olczyk related to Ed?

    Can’t be that common of a name…

    Excuse the guy with the post-running water birthday :]

  6. PunjabiOil says:

    Here are profiles of Rick Olczyk and Chad Moreau, among other management/coaches

    http://oilers.nhl.com/team2/hockeyops.htm

  7. goldenchild says:

    Do we know how much say he has had in the last few drafts? would it be safe to say if he’s been elevated to this position his voice has been one of the loudest?

    PS Guy Flaming anyone ever tell you that you look just like Fox NFL insider Jay Glazer? When I saw that pic I thought LT was writing about the NFL combine or something.

  8. Devin says:

    There’s been a lot of talk about Olczyk having been hired outside the old boys network. He’s supposedly the answer to the calls from all of us to hire someone who actually has experience in their position in this org.

    Well, the test will be this summer. I expect him to play serious hardball with Gilbert, Nilsson, Pitkanen, and especially Stoll. I’m sick of watching this org hand out excess dollars to role players and RFAs, let alone the dumb UFA deals. FTR- I’m pissed most about the Greene and Moreau contracts, each 500K+/yr over market. I don’t think anyone in this org. understands the term “replacement level player” – we’ll see if Rick O changes that.

  9. namflashback says:

    devin,

    Greene was an RFA at his last renewal — his salary is nice and low — and not too far off the Qualifying Offer criteria.

    I’m sure I would like a better player for the $$, but I’m not sure how Greene is the best example of a bad contract.

    – to add,

    If you (as the GM) knew you were about to make a small subset of guys who almost got the cup go through 3-4 years of shit to be competitive again — do you grind them down hard or do you pay them some decent dollars?

    If those contracts are likely to expire by the time you need to re-up some real impact players, why do you need to shortchange your good soldiers?

    Sure there is better value that you should be getting on your back 8 Forwards and your third-pair — but what the hell are you saving your dollars for?

    A big-time UFA? We know that is not coming here.

    I agree that management of the cap on a going basis is the litmus test for Olczyk, and I agree that they have some contracts that are not as good value as what other teams getting — I’m just not convinced that in the timeframes that this team is tracking to — that it makes a ton of difference.

    It also won’t do this team a lick of good to be so publicly high-profile in the pursuit/failure to sign a big UFA.

  10. doritogrande says:

    One might make the assumption that given his previous responsibilities with the organization, he had a major hand in the likes of Riley Nash, Taylor Chorney and Jeff Petry. If drafting like this continues I’ll be very happy with his performance.

  11. Devin says:

    nfb – what was Greene’s last QO amount? Why is he making 1.15M when he’s a 6/7 D? Huskins makes 650k, Zanon 700k, Lebda 650k, Strudwick 500k, Scuderi 700k, and that’s not even getting into the Hejdas of the world at 1MM. What did Greene do to deserve a penny over his QO?

    If you (as the GM) knew you were about to make a small subset of guys who almost got the cup go through 3-4 years of shit to be competitive again — do you grind them down hard or do you pay them some decent dollars?

    I grind the living hell out of their agent. Why? Because he’ll be doing the same to me. I come up with comparables, average out their dollars and terms, and give not one damn cent over that figure. If Ethan Moreau doesn’t like it he can pack his bags because Curt Glencross (or someone else) will equal his job at 700k instead of 2MM. Seriously who gives a shit about the “glue” players when we won’t be competitive for 3 years and they won’t be around?

    Lowe overpays his bottom-6 like a madman. Nilsson should be in the low 1Ms, given Svatos and Prucha were 1.2 and 1.6 and were both 30G scorers in their rookie years. This will be (one of) the test(s).

  12. namflashback says:

    Devin,

    Does your employer say:

    “Who gives a shit about treating employees correctly? I could hire anybody off the street to replace you. I don’t care what you’ve given me in the past.”

    How does it make an employee feel about their experience?

    In the Oilers case, how will that help with future player recruitment?

  13. Devin says:

    nfb – It’s funny you should say that, because most employers certainly feel that way if in fact they could hire anyone off the street to replace you. It’s pretty rare that employers of professionals tolerate anything but the best and it’s ever rarer that you get compensation or even an apology if you get downsized or made redundant. The art of management is to make employees believe they are valued when in truth the company would send them packing without hesitation if it was in the interest of the business.

    Look, contracts are a two-way street. If I performed at the level Matt Greene did in a contract in my business I would be very surprised if I was extended for more money. If I gave an Ethan Moreau-like showing I would be shocked to receive 1MM extra on my next deal for being a nice guy. Jarrett Stoll isn’t living up to his 2.2M pricetag, and to me it’s absurd to imagine him walking in and asking for a raise this summer.

    I know this is the NHL and not some investment bank (or whatever), but if you look around the league there aren’t a lot of GMs handing out bonuses to players who aren’t critical to a team’s success. Furthermore, when you have mercenary players holding out, demanding trades, using every mm of leverage to get more coin, etc. then it’s only fair that GMs should approach their duties just as seriously.

  14. Boondock says:

    I know all the Oilers scouts see most of the players these days, but I’d say it’s safe to assume anyone picked out of a scout’s region, especially later round picks, was probably first noticed by the scout from that region.

    A look at all Oiler picks out of Western Canada since 2001:

    2001
    43 – Doug Lynch – good pick, derailed by injury
    215 – Dan Baum – good pick, derailed by concussions

    2002
    36 – Jarret Stoll – good pick
    123 – Robin Kovar – I guess we’re lucky the league struck down this pick and gave us a 7th the next year

    2003
    214 – Kyle Brodziak – good pick
    278 – Troy Bodie – good pick

    2004
    14 – Devan Dubnyk – good pick
    44 – Roman Tesliuk – horrible pick
    177 – Max Gordichuk – worst Oiler draft pick ever?? At least Niinimaki had some potential
    242 – Tyler Spurgeon – good pick

    2005
    220 – Matt Glasser – has struggled in college, but at the time, I didn’t mind the pick

    2006
    none

    2007
    15 – Alex Plante – too soon to comment due to injury riddled season
    21 – Riley Nash – too soon, but early signs are encouraging

    What can we say about this group as a whole? No flashy or highly skilled players and the 2004 run of Kamloops players kind of stand out, especially with Stu’s connections there. I’d say the biggest thing this group seems to have in common is that it is a group rich in work ethic and character. A sign of things to come?

  15. Devin says:

    2004
    14 – Devan Dubnyk – good pick

    Hmm, I have to wonder about this one. I don’t see a lot to suggest that DD will be a star/starter goalie in the NHL. I don’t really get drafting goalies in the first round unless they are absolute sure-things. Rarely does a team make a run with a cheap/surprise goalie on an entry-level contract, and most summers there are a few Garons out there to be had. How highly touted was Radulov on draft day?

  16. Boondock says:

    OK, I was maybe a little generous with the Dubnyk selection.

    At any rate, he’s still very young for a goaltender and progressing, albeit slowly. We will know a whole lot more as to the futures of both JDD and DD at this time next year.

    Radulov, along with Schremp, was all over the map going into the 2004 draft, according to the various publications.

  17. Boondock says:

    Rarely does a team make a run with a cheap/surprise goalie on an entry-level contract, and most summers there are a few Garons out there to be had.

    Unfortunately for Oiler fans, one such run does come to mind.

  18. doritogrande says:

    “Rarely does a team make a run with a cheap/surprise goalie on an entry-level contract, “

    Actually, there have been quite a few of those runs. The two non-oiler ones that immediately come to the top of my head are:

    Barrasso.
    Dryden.

    And we’ll see what happens with Carey Price this year.

  19. Black Dog says:

    Patrick Roy too, no?

    And Steve Penny – the Habs rode him for a ways.

  20. Bruce says:

    I’d say the biggest thing this group seems to have in common is that it is a group rich in work ethic and character. A sign of things to come?

    Hmmm, I’d say the same thing about Fernando Pisani and Ethan Moreau and Steve Staios and those other guys who were, uh, critical to the team’s success in 2006. Mind you, I would also have said it about Ryan Smyth. Guess you can’t overpay all of ‘em.

  21. Jesse says:

    I’d say it’s safe to assume anyone picked out of a scout’s region, especially later round picks, was probably first noticed by the scout from that region.

    Sure.

    I’d say the biggest thing this group seems to have in common is that it is a group rich in work ethic and character. A sign of things to come?

    I don’t know about that. Up until last year, there are no skaters drafted in the first round on your list. If you’re looking for skill, you’re probably going to try to get it early in the draft, imo, and, since the Oilers “draft for need,” look for roll players in the later rounds. To me, it’s just as likely that KP felt more comfortable with his own knowledge of other leagues/regions, and so for the earlier (i.e. skilled player) picks, he leaned towards those leagues, and then looked for hard working roll players in the later rounds. That doesn’t necessarily mean that MacGregor didn’t value or put forward the skilled guys he was scouting

  22. Oilman says:

    “Patrick Roy too, no?

    And Steve Penny – the Habs rode him for a ways.”

    Mikka Kiprusoff and Cam Ward?

  23. Art Vandelay says:

    Does your employer say:

    “Who gives a shit about treating employees correctly? I could hire anybody off the street to replace you. I don’t care what you’ve given me in the past.”

    To conduct affairs otherwise (ie to pay for past performance) is highly sentimental and unlikely to succeed. Lowe threw a lot of excess cash at a lot of mediocre players after the fluke Cup appearance. Fernando Pisani? Come on, give him his little Masterton Trophy, thank him for his services, and move on already. Same with Stoll, Staios, Roloson, et al.

  24. heed says:

    “Who gives a shit about treating employees correctly? I could hire anybody off the street to replace you. I don’t care what you’ve given me in the past.”

    i worked for one of the “50 best employers” in canada. i believe this is an exert from the section of the management handbook entitled “how to motivate your employees”.

  25. Boondock says:

    Hmmm, I’d say the same thing about Fernando Pisani and Ethan Moreau and Steve Staios and those other guys who were, uh, critical to the team’s success in 2006.

    Sorry Bruce, I wasn’t very clear. I wasn’t implying our team didn’t have high character players, I was suggesting we might see a shift in our drafting tendencies to favor these types of players even more than under Prendergast.

    That doesn’t necessarily mean that MacGregor didn’t value or put forward the skilled guys he was scouting

    Of course, but until one of us asks him directly, our best guess at his tendencies is based on previous picks.

  26. Devin says:

    Re: Goalies – I was talking about in the cap era, w/r/t the risk/reward of drafting goalies in the 1st rd. Yes, Cam Ward sure did fluke out. Carey Price was a good pick as I believe he was as close to a sure bet as can be.

    Re: employers – yeah, you folks in Alberta might believe all the hype when your bosses tell you how irreplaceable you are. In a more rational labour market things could be a little different. The NHL is like that – when it comes to 3rd and 4th line players there is a surplus of supply and limited demand. Lowe simply believes his 3rd/4th line players are 2nd line players.

  27. Devin says:

    Oh, forgot to add – Carolina was paying a “real” goalie in 06. It certainly wasn’t their strategy all along for their 1st rd. pick to immediately step up and win them a cup. Anyway, that’s their strategy now, and we can all see how it’s working out for them.

  28. Dennis says:

    I think Devin’s nailed it with his replacement player point and I don’t see how you can debate it.

    I mean, Moreau at around 2 mill, you have to look at what he can do. He can kill penalties, sure, but the Oilers have spent a swatch of time without him on that unit since fall of ’06 and they’re still at the top of the league.

    Tough min? Sure but then when you sign him you almost have to tell MacT: Listen, you absolutely have to play him against the toughs or this is money down the drain.

    Isn’t it hard to argue that?

    As for Greene, it’s sheer lunacy to pay him and HOPE he can turn out to be Jan Hejda. Hejda was Hejda before he left and Lowe didn’t care enough to lock him up post haste. Fuck, I’d have inked him and dealt Greene off for a 2nd round.

    And though I know taking on a big contract isn’t really in the plans for us right now, maybe the qual for quan deals don’t get done because Lowe’s afraid to give up on the guys he drafted and developed. That’s the only way I could see anyone selecting Greene over Hejda

  29. Bruce says:

    Sorry Bruce, I wasn’t very clear.

    I probably wasn’t either in my clumsy attempt to interweave two fairly independent threads. Character is one thing our OBC has believed in forever, certainly since they were character players in their own right. They value it, and they’re prepared to pay for it. Is that so bad?

    Lowe threw a lot of excess cash at a lot of mediocre players after the fluke Cup appearance. Fernando Pisani? Come on, give him his little Masterton Trophy, thank him for his services, and move on already. Same with Stoll, Staios, Roloson, et al.

    Art, are you an Oilers fan? Just wondering.

    The reason you keep (some of) those guys around is that character is to some extent a learned trait. Back when Lowe, Huddy, and MacT were stretching their legs they had guys like Lee Fogolin, Ron Low and Jaroslav Pouzar setting the example. Why just last week after a brutal loss to Nashville, Steve Staios stepped up; his proactive leadership was widely cited as the Oilers stopped the bleeding at a one-game losing streak and ran off three more wins in a row. I’m pretty sure we see just the tip of the iceberg of those things, but they are criticial to the growth and future success of the team.

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