Old timers like me will often wax poetic about the past, but you young folks never believe it. THESE are the good old days.
Progress is everywhere. Take scouting reports. Here’s a 1972 scouting report:
- Steve Shutt plays his position (LW) exceptionally well and should be an easy pupil for an NHL coach. He patrols his wing religiously and is always well positioned in the attacking zone. Defensively, he is rated well above average for a junior. His shot is his major asset: quick, heavy and accurate. He is equally dangerous with a wrist or slap shot. Good skater and more than willing to dig in the corners. Shot is sufficiently impressive, along with heady play, that he could become point man on an NHL powerplay as a freshman with the right club. Last year, his 70 goals were only one shy of the OHA record (set by Richard Martin).-George Hanson, Montreal Star.
Compare that to this item from Corey Pronman:
- Ryan Murray is advanced beyond his years with well above-average hockey sense and the rare kind of game-processing ability and vision that makes him a significant two-way threat even without elite offensive tools. Murray is a great presence on the back-end with the puck because he rarely makes a mistake and even though he doesn’t limit himself to the basic plays, he not will force the big passes if they are not there. He doesn’t get rushed by opposing forechecks and is one of the best outlet passers in this draft. Murray makes smart reads defensively, takes his assignments well, and will not shy from using his body to separate his check from the puck. He’s an above-average to plus skater although he isn’t the kind of player to threaten regularly with a speed game on the rush, rather he relies on a great first step and all-around mobility to keep the play in front of him and close on the puck. Murray’s puck skills are solid, and while he’s not a dangler, he can certainly hold his own in open ice. On the power play, he is a pass-first guy who makes the smart plays and the difficult passes with consistency. He also has a pretty hard shot and can wire it through legs when he needs to. While Murray does not project as an elite prospect, he has a low risk tag on his projection. He will be the kind of player to log over 20 minutes a game while playing tough minutes against the opposition’s best players while still managing to put up impressive possession numbers.
Both give wonderful descriptions of each player but the 1972 version is brief and staccato. Pronman’s prose gives the reader a concise view of the player at this age, to the point where you can begin to form an opinion about him before even seeing the guy play. Combined with the math we’ve learned over the last 40 years this is a wonderful time to follow the draft and watch these players transition.
Corey Pronman’s well worth the read, and there are others out there. Getting to know the top 10, or 30 or even 100 prospects is something a fan can do without spending hundreds of man hours on the internet. I don’t know where this is heading, but it’s certainly a better place.