Team Building and Good Scouting Departments

That’s Bill Torrey in the bow-tie. Torrey first came to prominence in the National Hockey League with the Oakland Seals, doing good work until Charlie Finley (Seals owner) caught him spending money wisely.

Torrey got the gig on the Island because of an outstanding resume, and proceeded to lay waste to the idea that an expansion team couldn’t win titles. The club had a ridiculous scouting department (Jim Devellano was the director, Gerry Ehman won the west) and every year they’d go to the entry draft (held always in those days at the Queen Elizabeth Hotel in Montreal, PQ) and pile on the quality kids.

Here’s the NHL draft list (first three picks each year) for the NY Islanders from 1972 (their first year of existence) through 1974. Three drafts that had a huge impact on the following decade:

1972
  1. 1st overall: R Billy Harris (897 games) Toronto OHA
  2. 17th overall: C Lorne Henning (543 games) New Westminster WHL
  3. 33rd overall: R Bob Nystrom (900 games) Calgary WHL
1973
  1. 1st overall: D Denis Potvin (1060 games) Ottawa OHA
  2. 33rd overall: D Dave Lewis (1008 games) Saskatoon WHL
  3. 49th overall: C Andre St. Laurent (644 games) Montreal Red White and Blue (QMJHL)
1974
  1. 4th overall: L Clark Gillies (958 games) Regina (WHL)
  2. 22nd overall: C Bryan Trottier (1279 games) Swift Current (WHL)
  3. 40th overall: C Brad Anderson Victoria (WHL)

The heart of a team in three drafts. It can be done.

When we talk about the Oilers at the draft table, credit is often given to Stu (Magnficent Bastard) MacGregor. While MBS is deserving, there are a lot of guys who contribute who rarely get a mention. Leading up to the draft, the Oilers published their scouts names and areas they cover. Since it doesn’t happen often, I wanted to take the time to post it so we can know the names of the men doing all this good work.

  • Bill Dandy: QMJHL
  • Brad Davis: OHL, tier 2 leagues in Q and O
  • Kent Hawley: OHL, QMJHL, tier 2 leagues in Q and O
  • Bob Brown: WHL, tier 2 leagues, USHL
  • Jim Crosson: WHL, tier 2 leagues, USHL
  • Scott Harlow: NCAA and American junior leagues (east coast)
  • Frank Musil: Europe
  • Pelle Eklund: Europe
  • Robert Nordmark: Europe
  • Stu MacGregor: WHL, cross checks the world

So, this past season–a year in which the Oilers drafted 9 players, they would have been heavily scouted by the following men:

  • RNH: Brown, Crosson, MacGregor
  • Klefbom: Musil, Eklund, Nordmark, MacGregor
  • Musil: Brown, Crosson, MacGregor
  • Perhonen: Musil, Eklund, Nordmark, MacGregor
  • Ewanyk: Brown, Crosson, MacGregor
  • Simpson: Harlow, MacGregor
  • Rieder: Davis, Hawley, MacGregor
  • Gernat: Musil, Eklund, Nordmark, MacGregor
  • Tuohimaa: Musil, Eklund, Nordmark, MacGregor

Don’t feel too badly for those eastern Canadian scouts. Taylor Hall (OHL) and others came from that area a year ago, and Bill Dandy’s scouting area has some gems (Blain, Roy) over the last couple of seasons.

Any mistakes, let me know.

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