For about 40 years now (time flies, ladies and men) I’ve been reading scouting reports. You know what? They’re about to get WAY better for one simple reason: the questions are better and the answers assume the general audience has a working knowledge of the game. Great, great moment in hockey right there.
- Steve Shutt scouting report, 1972: 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.
That’s a very good scouting report, and doesn’t really look out of place with many of the current sources that supply information. I can tell you it’s very accurate—Shutt’s offensive ability overshadowed his two-way play in the NHL but he was a responsible winger entrusted (along with center Lemaire) with playing with the brilliant savant Lafleur. Guy Lafleur never met a part of the ice he didn’t like, and Shutt spent his career in ‘ad-lib’ mode, helping cover for the brilliant flower. That’s all inside the Hanson report.
Recently, Ryan Dittrick delivered a wonderful and insightful article on Darnell Nurse. It included a quote from Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds GM Kyle Dubas that should become the gold standard for amateur scouting services.
- Dubas: “People get obsessed with Darnell’s plus/minus (plus-1, down from plus-15 the year prior), but his underlying numbers are excellent. Relative to the competition he plays [against], he does extremely well. Far greater than 50 percent of the time, the puck is not in our end. To me, it doesn’t get much bigger than that. If we’re taking the other team’s best players and forcing them to play in their end and away from the puck, that’s a successful day. The quality of competition he’s faced is higher than anyone else in our league, especially among defencemen.”
My goodness that’s a scouting report!!! If you’re an Edmonton Oiler fan this should be the best thing you’ve read in weeks. Dubas is telling us the Oilers have a player who (at 18) is playing the tough opponents and tilting the ice at “far greater than 50%”—this is brilliant! Well done SSM, well done Dubas, well done Dittrick. I hope to live to see the day when all scouting reports are this insightful and give the reader a true indication of progress and ability.
The Oilers managed a poor 48% Corsi for 5×5 (Extra Skater) last night against the worst team in the NHL. Although the team does have significant injuries and hit a few posts, a 3-1 loss to Buffalo gives the team all the inspiration they should need against Calgary Saturday night. Michael Parkatti had the Corsi at 47.4 (Michael does ev strength Corsi) and it was not a strong effort. Still, the Oilers have won games just like last night through the 10-5-3 stretch they’re in due to impossible goaltending (as above in photo).
Before the Oilers are ready to turn true north, they need to fix the territorial situation. They are simply defending too much of the game, and breakdowns occur when the defense is stressed. This isn’t news to anyone, we’ve talked about it at length on this blog and elsewhere. I’m encouraged by games like last night, because it serves to remind Craig MacTavish there is much work to do, front and back.
I’ve talked with Paul Almeida on this subject during Saturday Sports Extra over the last few weeks. Paul didn’t suggest the Oilers pick per se, but is of the belief that Myers is a guy who can help immediately. For me, Myers is a guy having a better season but doesn’t have an established level of ability that covers his salary and it’s a very risky bet. I’d rather go the route Dennis King suggested on the Lowdown yesterday (Yakupov to NYI/Buff for the pick that becomes Aaron Ekblad).
That’s a better move for me. Then you find a vet defender, send Ekblad and Nurse back to junior and know there’s a couple of big trains coming. It’s a marathon not a sprint. Should have kept Hemsky.
LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE
- Steve Lansky, Big Mouth Sports. The Leafs are struggling after looking like a lock for the postseason.
- Kent Simpson, Oil Kings color analyst. The long regular season is over and the playoffs begin tomorrow. We’ll have one last look at the season, and discuss Mr. Draisaitl and the Raiders.
- Dustin Nielson, TSN 1260′s Nielson and Fraser. Dusty is in Saskatoon for the University Cup, the Golden Bears are off to a strong start (in contrast to last season). We’ll talk about their chances.
- Mitchell Moroz, Edmonton Oil Kings. 35 goals this season and an NHL contract too, Moroz and the OK are focused on the playoffs and another long run.
- Michael Parkatti, Boys on the Bus. We’ll break down last night’s game and discuss the draft.
- Jungle Jim Hunter, Sportcology. We’ll look back on the Olympics and see if they met expectations.
10-1260 via text, @Lowetide_ on twitter. See you on the radio!!