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Tag: Front Office (Page 1 of 3)

Every Team Uses HockeyTech, But Vegas Can Still Take Advantage Of It

HockeyTech is an on-ice data collection center that is employed by all 30 NHL teams, and now hockey’s 31st team announced their new partnership. Las Vegas is hoping to take advantage of the attention to detail HockeyTech is known for. In fact that is what CEO Stu Siegel dreamt about when HockeyTech was created. Tracking every on-ice detail.

I had a dream, really to figure out a way to track literally every event that happens on the ice. So think of it like an indoor GPS that could keep up with the high speed of hockey. -Stu Siegel, HockeyTech CEO

HockeyTech can be vital to an NHL franchise, especially those that use a heavy dose of advanced statistics. HockeyTech can assist Las Vegas with important on-ice data. Skating skills, stick handling, and players agility with the puck, can be breakthrough information for the George McPhee and company. Possibly skills that get missed by scouting alone.

Organizations rely on advanced scouting to find a player in Europe, the NCAA, or several other leagues. NHL teams are constantly looking for the next impact player that won’t cost much. Advanced information can help find that player. No longer should the human eye have the final say.

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General Fanager Hired To Las Vegas Front Office

While it comes with great sadness that one of the best hockey websites on the Internet has been shut down, hockey nerds everyone are screaming from the rooftops about the latest hire to the Las Vegas front office.

Tom  Poraszka, the founder of GeneralFanger.com, the world leader in NHL salary cap information and the creator of the Mock Expansion Draft tool has been added to the Las Vegas staff as a Hockey Operations Analyst.

It’s truly the first outside the box hire for the organization on the hockey side as Poraszka has no hockey experience in his background beyond the creation of the website. However, this is exactly the type of move we here at SinBin.vegas have been clamoring for.

There’s aren’t many better minds when it comes to the NHL salary cap and Tom has been chasing down Expansion Draft loopholes since the moment the rules were announced.

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Bob Lowes Hired As Assistant Director Of Player Personnel

The newest member of the Las Vegas staff comes to the team from Ottawa where he was the chief amateur scout for the Senators. Bob Lowes also spent an extended period of time in the WHL as a head coach including a nine year stint coaching Kelly McCrimmon’s Brandon Wheat Kings.

From Ottawa Senators Media Guide

From Ottawa Senators Media Guide

Lowes is the assistant to Vaughn Karpan who was also an amateur scout prior to joining the Vegas front office.

During his time as chief amateur scout the Sens selected Thomas Chabot and Colin White in the first round in 2015 and Logan Brown this season. None of the three have made it to the NHL level. While a scout in Ottawa the Senators also selected Nick Foligno (son of Las Vegas pro scout Mike Foligno), Erik Karlsson, Jakob Silfverberg, Robin Lehner, Mika Zibanejad, Jared Cowen, and Curtis Lazar. But most notably he is credited with the selection of Mark Stone with the 178th selection in the sixth round of the 2010 Draft.

Lowes is 53 years-old and has been coaching or scouting since 1984 when his short playing career ended. He continues the trend of GM George McPhee preferring scouts with long resumes in the NHL and/or WHL. He is one of the few who was directly poached from another organization, which is likely why he has the fancy title rather than being named scout like much of the staff.

Once again, all signs point to this once again being a good signing as the organization continues to build what appears to be a dream front office. They have 261 days until the Expansion Draft and just a few more until their first Entry Draft. Hopefully this players on ice look as promising as the staff who assembled them off it.

Where Do We Stand On Scouting?

Thus far the Las Vegas organization has announced a total of ten scouts as well as two directors of scouting in Scott Luce (amateur scouting) and Vojtech Kucera (European scouting).

In the Pacific Division scouting staffs range from 12 members which is present is Anaheim, Los Angeles, and San Jose to Vancouver’s massive 19 man scouting staff.

We can expect Las Vegas to add at least two more professional scouts as they have the gargantuan task of scouting the entire NHL in 2016-17 to prepare for the Expansion Draft in June. The amateur staff sits at six with the European staff at two.

My guess would be that George McPhee will add three or four more scouts before all is said and done. So, in an effort to guess where these scouts may be found, I tried to take a look at where each current scout is expected to be stationed.

lasvegasscoutmap

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Mark Workman Hired As Amateur Scout

The sixth Amateur Scout in the Las Vegas NHL front office is none other than the former Associate Head Coach at Robert Morris University, Mark Workman.

From VegasIsHockey.com

From VegasIsHockey.com

Workman left Robert Morris on August 4th, which begs the question, how long has he been working with Las Vegas, seeing as his announcement came on September 9th.

The native of Stillwater, Minnesota played collegiate hockey himself at the College of St. Scholastica where he then went on to coach for the eight years following his playing days. He then moved on to Brown University as an assistant coach before taking the job at Robert Morris.

The only NHL players Workman coached were Yann Danis and Ryan Garbutt who both played at Brown. Robert Morris has never sent a player on to the NHL.

He’ll likely take care of scouting the Midwest United States which is somewhat of a hockey hotbed for collegiate players.

Workman becomes the fourth of six amateurs scouts to not have any prior NHL experience, joining Bruno Campese, Peter Ward, and Raphael Pouliot.

Las Vegas Hires 25-Year-Old Scout, Raphaël Pouliot

Remember like 48 hours ago when we were discussing how the Las Vegas front office is filled with a bunch of older, heavily experienced guys, and that we would like to see some younger fresher blood? Well, either George McPhee read the article (likely) or they had been planning a new scout hire for a while and the timing is just a nice coincidence (unlikely). Either way, that average age of 55 just took a pretty significant hit.

Raphaël Pouliot, formerly of the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies (QMJHL) has been brought to Vegas as the team’s fifth Amateur Scout. He’s a whopping 25-years-old and has already gone from player at the University of Moncton to Head Scout of the Huskies to NHL scout in less than three years.

This is exactly what Jason was speaking about in his previous article and what we discussed a bit on the podcast last night. Age diversity was necessary in the Las Vegas front office as a way to embrace a newer style of thinking younger hockey minds tend to bring to the table.

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Don’t Look Now, But The Las Vegas Front Office Is Old

About a month ago, I praised The Creator for hiring Misha Donskov. A young analytics wizard that built a database of player metadata. The hire seemed very progressive, however, at 39, Donskov still remains one of the youngest staff members in the hockey front office.

George McPhee, the GM, is 58. His assistant, Kelly McCrimmon is 55. Senior advisor, David Conte? 68. Dave Prior, 60. Vaughn Karpan, 55. Vojtech Kucera, 50. The youngest of the high ranking bunch are Scott Luce, 47 and Wil Nichol, 43. Pretty much every scout pushes 50 as well. Based off my fuzzy math, the average age of the front office is close to 55-years-old. I know it’s not Statler and Waldorf’s age, but 55-year-old scouts have a system. A system that’s disciplined, organized, and experienced.

Meanwhile, just down the road, Arizona hired a 26-year-old John Chayka to take over the Coyotes front office. The young GM has been compared to the Chicago Cub’s Theo Epstein and his data-oriented decisions. I thought Las Vegas would’ve leaned more towards Chayka’s model. Older GM’s and scouts have blueprints that already work for them.

Do I worry about the age of the staff? Sadly, I do. I was hoping for a more diverse cabinet like the Coyotes, Canes, and Panthers. It’s tough for an experienced evaluator to change a successful method. I can’t blame them, it’s gotten them to where they are in the NHL today. However, The Creator could address experience and progression with a few younger staff members. I believe in harmony between analytics and true scouting. Call me a schmuck, I don’t care. Unfortunately for some, guys like Chayka are encroaching on the NHL world. If Vegas hires more young schmucks, the balance could help the club’s future.

Two More New Scouts, Kelly Kisio and Peter Ward

Let’s start with the name you are more likely to be familiar with, Kelly Kisio. The former NHLer played on the expansion San Jose Sharks in 1991 as well as with the Red Wings, Rangers, and Flames. From 1987-91 he was the Captain of the Rangers.

From VegasIsHockey.com

From VegasIsHockey.com

He has a unique understanding of the Expansion Draft process having been exposed by the Rangers, selected by the Minnesota North Stars, and traded to the Sharks all on the same day.

His most recent job was as the President of Hockey Operations with the Calgary Hitmen of the WHL. Kisio joins the Las Vegas organization as a Professional Scout where he will utilize that expansion experience to help George McPhee put together his initial roster.

From VegasIsHockey.com

From VegasIsHockey.com

The other hire is Peter Ward as an Amateur Scout. Ward spent the last year as an agent with highly regarded Newport Sports Management, an agency that represents  30+ NHL players including multiple All Stars.

Previously Ward worked with USA Hockey in the development program as the Director of Player Personnel.

Ward and Kisio become the eighth and ninth members of the organization in the scouting department. Most organizations employ around 20 people to handle scouting.

Kent Hawley Hired As Amateur Scout, Dan Labraaten As European Scout

Kent Hawley is the newest addition to the list of “hockey-lifers” finding their way on to George McPhee’s inaugural front office staff.

The 28th pick of the 2nd round of the 1986 draft spent much of his playing days in the minor leagues, but has had a successful post-playing career as a coach and for the last 15 years a scout.

Since being let go on June 22nd, he’d been with the Edmonton Oilers since 2005 as an amateur scout. He also coached and played for a team in Wisconsin called the Madison Monsters. Suddenly Monsters looks like a nice name for Vegas.

Or, it’s awful and I’m officially beginning to lose my mind with all the team name stuff.

Either way, Hawley appears to be yet another excellent hire to a staff that’s pretty much received nothing but praise from every corner of the hockey world.

**

Also announced today was the hiring of Dan Labraaten as a European Scout. Labraaten spent 28 years with the New Jersey Devils working under Las Vegas’ Special Advidsor to Hockey Operations, David Conte.

He played with the Red Wings, Flames, and internationally with Team Sweden.

Hopefully some of this happens in Vegas with these two.

In 1999, (Conte) asked Devils European scout Dan Labraaten who the best player in Europe was, which led to the Devils signing Brian Rafalski, who played seven seasons with the Devils and won two Stanley Cups. –Ken Campbell, The Hockey News

Las Vegas Hires Peter Ahola As European Scout

Former NHL player, Finnish GM, and top rated water-skier Peter Ahola has been brought on as a European Scout to work with Vojtech Kucera.

From VegasIsHockey.com

From VegasIsHockey.com

Ahola played in the NHL for three years with the Kings, Penguins, Sharks, and Flames from 1991-94. He was most recently the GM of the Espoo Blues in the Finnish Liiga. Prior to that Ahola served as a European scout with the Maple Leafs from 2004-2006.

I’d tell you more about his team’s successes or failures in Finland, but Google’s ability to translate Finnish into English is spotty at best. One translated sentence featured this, “osapäätös liittyy loppuselvitystä.” There are just so many letters with dots above them. Moving on.

Ahola is the seventh person with the word scout listed in their title. Erin Ginnell. Scott Luce, Bruno Campese, David Conte, Mike Levine, and Kucera.

By the way, it’s pronounced Ah-who-la. Sound smart when you are talking to people about him. Ah-who-la.

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