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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.


Erin Ginnell, Former Top Scout With Florida Hired As Scout In Vegas

The man who was referred to as the top amateur scout during the time the Florida Panthers selected Jonathan Huberdeau, Aleksander Barkov, Aaron Ekblad, Vincent Trocheck, Mike Matheson, just to name a few, is now headed to Las Vegas.

From Florida Panthers Media Guide

From Florida Panthers Media Guide

Erin Ginnell, who was with the Panthers from 2003 to 2015 has joined George McPhee’s rapidly growing scouting staff. Ginnell was let go from the Panthers organization when Dale Tallon was removed as GM in Florida and “promoted” to President of Hockey Operations.

The move was fueled by the organization’s desire to be more mathematically and analytically focused. Tallon moved “up,” Tom Rowe became GM, and Ginnell, Head of Amateur Scouting Scott Luce, and Director of Hockey Operations Mike Dixon were all let go. This indicates Ginnell did not fit the analytical approach the Panthers were looking for, but the results speak for themselves, so their trash becomes our treasure.

There’s also a pretty strong connection to Murray Craven with Ginnell. He was born in Medicine Hat, Alberta, Canada in 1968, four years before Craven. Also born in Medicine Hat was Ginnell’s brother Dan, who is currently a scout with the St. Louis Blues. Medicine Hat is a town of just about 70,000 in 2016, so odds are the Ginnell and Craven families are pretty familiar.

Ginnell becomes the fourth member of the organization whose primary title is as a scout. (Mike Levine, Bruno Campese, David Conte)

Vaughn Karpan Hired As Director of Player Personnel



Vaughn Karpan, the former Director of Professional Scouting for the Montreal Canadiens has been hired as Director of Player Personnel with Las Vegas.

He also has a past as an amateur scout with the Jets/Coyotes prior to his time in Montreal.

The titles are all beginning to sound similar as we continue to see McPhee add members to his staff. So, I think it’s time for a recap of everyone who has been hired on the hockey side. (Note: Craven is kind of a liaison between The Creator, hockey ops and business ops)

General Manager – George McPhee
Senior Vice President – Murray Craven
Assistant General Manager – Kelly McCrimmon
Director of Player Development – Wil Nichol
Director of Hockey Operations – Misha Donskov
Special Advisor to Hockey Operations – David Conte
Director of Player Personnel – Vaughn Karpan
Director of Hockey Legal Affairs/Capologist – Andrew Lugerner
Director of Hockey Administration – Katy Boettinger
Director of Goaltending and NHL Goaltender Coach – Dave Prior
Director of European Scouting – Vojtech Kucera 
Amateur Scout – Bruno Campese 

Got it? Ok, good. Cause I’m not doing this again til they hire ten more people.

Vaughn Karpan will always be remembered to me as “the guy’s profile that has the recap of the whole staff.” Congrats Vaughn, you’ve been bookmarked on computers all throughout the valley.

Okanagan Hockey Academy’s Bruno Campese Hired As Amateur Scout

We’ve got some more fresh blood on board, and this time there’s absolutely no connection to the Washington Capitals. Bruno Campese has been hired as an amateur scout likely to be focused on Western Canada and the Northwest United States.

From WHL Media Guide

From WHL Media Guide

Campese, a former goalie selected in the 12th round by the Boston Bruins, was most recently the head coach at the Okanagan Hockey Academy in Penticton, British Columbia, Canada. Prior to assuming that role he was the GM and/or head coach of the Prince Albert Raiders of the WHL from 2008-2015.

We can assume this was a Kelly McCrimmon hire based on his time spent competing against Campese with the Brandon Wheat Kings, also of the WHL.

During his time with the Raiders, Campese had two players drafted in the first round of the NHL draft, Josh Morrissey (#13 in 2013) and Mark McNeill (#18 in 2011).

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Mike Levine, Brown University Assistant Coach Reportedly Hired As Scout

UPDATE (9:31 AM 8/24/16): The organization sent out a press release today confirming Levine’s role as a scout as well as in player development.

We’re still waiting to hear back from the organization, but according to the Providence Journal Mike Levine has taken a job with Las Vegas as a scout.

We’ve reached out to multiple sources trying to confirm the hire, but have yet to hear back.

Levine has been an assistant coach at Brown University since 2013. He was the head coach at Kimball Union Academy in Meriden, New Hampshire prior to that.

If the news is accurate he’ll almost certainly become an amateur scout focusing on college players in the Northeast area of the U.S. We will update this story the moment we hear back confirming or denying this report.

David Conte Gets New Title

Two days after David Conte was announced as a Professional Scout, he’s got a new title. He’s now a Special Advisor to Hockey Operations.

On Wednesday, sent out a press release calling Conte a Pro Scout. Somewhere between Wednesday and Friday morning (when we discovered it) his title had changed on their website to Special Advisor.

We were told this change in title was not effected by the hiring of Murray Craven as Senior Vice President.

According to Michelle Kersch, the team’s chief PR person, Special Advisor should have been listed in addition to Pro Scout on the initial press release, and that his duties will include both.

I’m not exactly sure what to read into this, so I won’t try and guess. Instead I’ll let you all do it.

So, what does this all mean to you!?!

Murray Craven Upgraded From Advisor To Senior Vice President

Murray Craven, the man who has been advising The Creator every step of the way since well before the expansion process even began, has been named Senior Vice President.

Craven, who is a close friend of the owner, is a hockey lifer. Born in Medicine Hat, Alberta, Canada, he played for the hometown the Medicine Hat Tigers. He was then selected 17th overall in the 1982 NHL Entry Draft by the Detroit Red Wings. 18 seasons later in 2000, Craven hung up his skates and called his playing days a career. Craven has been coaching youth hockey in Whitefish, Montana ever since.

At George McPhee Introductory Press Conference

At George McPhee Introductory Press Conference

Since the first mention of hockey in Las Vegas, Craven’s name has been linked to organization, however, until today he’s never been on board in an official capacity.

The official press release lists Craven’s responsibilities as overseeing the practice facility and team facilities at T-Mobile Arena, identifying the AHL affiliate, and fostering a hockey community in Las Vegas…all things he’s been doing since long before the team was ever announced.

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David Conte Named As Pro Scout, First Cup Winner On Staff

From New Jersey Devils Media Guide

From New Jersey Devils Media Guide

George McPhee‘s scouting staff is growing at a rapid rate with the announcement of David Conte as the organization’s newest Pro Scout. He has been with the New Jersey Devils since 1984 including serving as the VP of Hockey Ops for the last 23 years.

Aside from being a part of three separate Cup winning teams, Conte’s track record is pretty ridiculous. Just look at the list of players he’s been directly involved in bringing to New Jersey.

His former draft picks include Brendan Shanahan, Bill Guerin, Martin Brodeur, Scott Niedermayer, Brian Rolston, Sergei Brylin, Patrik Elias, Scott Gomez and Brian Gionta. Additionally, Conte was influential in the signing of undrafted players such as John Madden and Brian Rafalski. –

But, recently the Devils have been nothing short of miserable when it comes to early round selections. Since 2008 his first and second round picks were John Quenneville,  Steven SantiniStefan MatteauDamon SeversonAdam Larsson, Jon Merrill, Jacob JosefsonEric Gelinas, Mattias Tedenby, Brandon Burlon, and Patrice Cormier. Aside from Larsson, not much to get excited about.

He left the Devils in 2015 over what was described as a “mutual agreement.” However there were some rumors that Conte was upset he was not tabbed as the successor to Lou Lamoriello when the legend left New Jersey. Conte quickly denied those reports, but the fact he was out of the organization later that year and hired in Vegas shortly thereafter indicates otherwise.

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Vojtech Kucera Hired As Director Of European Scouting

From Washington Capitals Media Guide

From Washington Capitals Media Guide

It appears George McPhee is back at it, filling the seventh spot in the Las Vegas front office with the fifth person who was a member of the Washington Capitals staff when he was let go.

According to a tweet from Steve Carp of the Las Vegas Review Journal, Las Vegas has hired Vojtech Kucera as Director Of European Scouting. Here’s the tweet, because I think stories look cooler when they have embedded tweets.

Kucera has been a European scout for the Caps since 1999 and was directly linked to the selection of Jakob Vrana by McPhee in the first round (13th overall) of the 2014 NHL Entry Draft.

He was one of many players in the 70’s and 80’s to defect from Eastern Europe to pursue a career in the NHL. Kucera, however, never played a game in the league. He has retraced his roots to the Czech Republic where he owns the Ice Arena Letnany.

Kucera becomes the second scout, with Wil Nichol, to leave the Capitals organization and join McPhee in Las Vegas.

UPDATE (10:29 AM 8/16/16) – An official press release has been sent out confirming the hire.

Andrew Lugerner, The New Vegas NHL Capologist

A Capologist is the member of the front office who specializes in the ins-and-outs of the NHL salary cap. He needs to know every nuance of the rules, where every dime of the cap is allocated, and the future vision of the team to ensure they never enter the dark scary place known as… “Cap Hell.

Andrew Lugerner (Photo from LinkedIn)

Andrew Lugerner (Photo from LinkedIn)

That job is now officially in the hands of Andrew Lugerner, a lawyer from Latham & Watkins in New York City. He has a law degree from the University of Cal and a bachelor’s from Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia. His only previous NHL experience was from 2011-2013 when he was a legal intern with, wait for it, the Washington Capitals.

Because the word Capologist is still a little progressive and millennial-y, Lugerner’s business cards will say Director of Hockey Legal Affairs.

He’s an experienced guy, he’s a lawyer, he’s been involved with analyzing the cap situation as an attorney and he just took it on himself to do it. He’s a very experienced guy. -The Creator

George McPhee has mentioned in just about every interview he’s done, including multiple times on our podcast, that he’s going to run a tight ship when it comes to the salary cap.

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