Back in September we pointed out that the organization was surprisingly old for a Expansion franchise. At the time, Misha Donskov at the age of 39 was the youngest member of the staff and the average age of the men in the room was over 50. A few days later 25-year-old Raphael Pouliot was hired. Since, some younger guys like Mike Levine, Tom Poraszka, and Peter Ward were brought on.
We figured the reasoning behind the more youthful hires was not George McPhee reading SinBin.vegas, but for a minute there we were walking out with our chests out.
Come to find out, thanks to a Sportsnet article, it was actually the idea of 47-year-old Scott Luce who had to do a little convincing of his new boss.
George wanted experienced scouts but we’ve since hired a couple younger guys from a lower level of the game but who have a broader knowledge of these younger age groups that are coming through. -Scott Luce, Director of Amateur Scouting
Pretty radical change from what McPhee had wanted prior to being swayed by Luce (and SinBin.vegas of course.)
We need to have veteran scouts, hockey men who have experience and will be ready to go from Day One. We can’t afford younger guys looking to break into [scouting]. It’s a luxury you can afford when you have an established staff but not with an expansion team. -George McPhee
There’s good and bad to be taken from this. Let’s start with the bad. McPhee’s ideal staff was one built of of hockey front-office veterans who probably all had similar experiences and ideas. But just like in building a team on the ice, diversity is necessary. Age, background, skills, you name it, you want a squad that’s well rounded and can attack any problem with a variety of solutions. That wasn’t McPhee’s plan, which could have spelled major trouble.
Now to the good. He adapted quickly and took the advice of a respected hockey man who he hired to help him. It proves McPhee is not simply looking for “yes-men” in the front office and he’s willing to make a move even if it’s not something he’s comfortable with.
They’ve since brought in a coach from college, a former agent, a lawyer with no hockey background, and guy who created a website dedicated to tracking player salary. That’s diversity. That’s thinking outside of the box. And that’s one of the many reasons most in the hockey world believe the front office assembled in Las Vegas is so strong.
Luce was able to change McPhee’s mind, now we have to hope Luce’s idea was right.