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Tag: Scott Luce

“Have To Be Able To Skate, First And Foremost”

All eyes tend to be focused on the Expansion Draft, and for good reason, but there’s another draft two days later that will probably be more influential on the long term success of the Golden Knights.

The NHL Entry Draft on June 23rd and 24th in Chicago will be crucial for George McPhee and his staff if they want to stay on track of The Creator’s “playoffs in three, Cup in six” mantra.

Vegas slipped to 6th overall in the first round, but still maintain the 3rd selection in all subsequent rounds. Plus, with the Expansion Draft before the Entry Draft, it’s almost a guarantee the Golden Knights will be on the clock more than just the seven times they are slated for today.

With the benefit of being able to watch players throughout the entire season and the  knowledge of knowing the Golden Knights will pick among the top six, Vegas scouts should have a pretty good idea what type of player they are looking to make the first draft selection in franchise history.

You have to be able to skate, first and foremost, because you have to play at a pace that seems to get higher and higher every season. These young players are making plays at such great speed, so you have to be able to skate. You need to have the sense and feel for the game. It’s that combination of speed, skill and sense, in addition to having a willingness to compete on a nightly basis, that are important. –Scott Luce, Director of Amateur Scouting

Seems obvious, until you take a look at some of the flaws of a few of the top prospects in this year’s Entry Draft.

Gabe Vilardi (C), the Memorial Cup starlet from the Windsor Spitfires, who The Hockey News has ranked as the 3rd overall, admittedly needs to improve his skating.

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High Skill AND High Character

Next week when the Penguins and Predators compete for the best trophy in sports, the next generation will be preparing for Stanley Cup dreams of their own. 18-year-olds from around the globe will be in Buffalo for the NHL Draft Combine lifting weights, long-jumping, and doing extreme cardio tests like the Wingate and VO2. Golden Knights GM George McPhee and Director of Amateur Scouting Scott Luce will be in attendance looking for the sixth overall pick.

It’s a brand-new process for all the scouts on board, and you’re looking at [the] best available [player] that could deliver the best asset possible to the organization. Whether that’s a forward, defenseman or a goalie may vary with each selection. We’ll look at the best asset at that draft slot. That’s what you’re looking to add. -Scott Luce, Vegas Amateur Scouting Director to NHL.com

Luce continued to open up their process to fans and described the perfect candidate. The Golden Knights are looking for prospects with talent, determination and high hockey IQ. Most importantly, Vegas is specifically targeting players with elite skating skills, but it seems like Vegas wont be drafting players on ability only.

We want high-character, low-maintenance type players. It’ll be a good learning curve for the entire staff going to the combine and representing our organization. -Luce

Ah ha. There it is, the key word, high-character. Look across the NHL, successful teams of course have stars, but are full of impact role players. For example, Chris Kunitz went 35 games without a goal before his superb two-goal game seven. The owner of three Stanley Cup rings has dropped major minutes from his second and third Cup. However, a role player like Kunitz impacts the team through his professionalism and leadership. There are countless “character players” in the league that add much more than points. McPhee and Luce will scout for those prospects over a basket of Wild Wings.

We’re going to try and ascertain best practices we’ve used in other various organizations, so I think this year will be a great learning experience for us as a staff. But we want to come out of there with a comfort level with the young players knowing that they have what it takes to be a Vegas Golden Knight. -Luce

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Luce Talked McPhee Into Going Younger

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 LevineTom 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.)

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Entry Draft, Not Expansion Draft, Bigger Challenge For First Year Organization

Here at SinBin.vegas and across the hockey media world much of the focus of the new Las Vegas franchise has been on the Expansion Draft. But the draft three days later might be the one that’ll be tougher for Vegas to prepare for, and definitely will have the longest term impact on the future of the budding organization.

It’s seems counterintuitive that the draft almost every member on the staff has been through will be tougher to prepare for than the one that’s new. But it makes more sense when you consider the staffs in place to deal with each draft.

On the Expansion Draft side, in addition to the big Mc’s at the helm, McPhee and McCrimmon, you have a collection of professional scouts, a capologist, and a guy who created a website tool specifically focused on the Expansion Draft. The important part of this staff is, not a single one of them have gone through this process before. There are no preconceived notions, there are no prior successes, and there’s not a single guy in the room with a cynical thought stemming from a disastrous moment in their hockey past.

So now flip over to the amateur draft side of things. Once again we’ve got Team McMc in charge, with Scott Luce and his staff of six amateur scouts doing the grunt work.

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Second Former Florida Panther Scout Hired, Scott Luce Named Director of Amateur Scouting

From Florida Panthers Media Guide

From Florida Panthers Media Guide

Remember when we discussed the Florida Panthers situation in this article, well Las Vegas has scooped up the second of the three people fired in May of this year during the Panthers move to analytics.

Scott Luce, the former Director of Amateur Scouting in Florida has been hired to the same job here.

It really seems like a steal for Las Vegas as they’ve now been able to scoop up two top flight scouts from a team that’s had great success recently identifying young players. One has to wonder if the third person, Mike Dixon, will be next to come on board here.

Luce had been with the Panthers since 2002 and spent time with the Senators and Lightning prior to that. His father Don Luce is also a long time NHL executive spending over 20 years with the Sabres and Flyers.

Yet again, George McPhee adds another highly touted name to his staff, and further proving the point that the loose expansion rules will not only allow Las Vegas to put together a good team, but also a high quality front office.

 

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