Jimmy Devellano, a senior vice president (and former player) with the Wings, says this:
"Yeah, we've been a little lucky getting players where we've gotten them,"
but then he adds:
"How come we're lucky and how come other teams are never lucky in terms of late round picks?"
Clearly, because luck has nothing do with it. Here in Edmonton, we might tend to blame the scouting staff, especially the European section of it, for producing few memorable late rounders, or for producing few memorable Europeans at all. With this in mind, I decided to have a look at the Red Wings scouting staff and compare them with our own. The results probably shouldn't have surprised me, but they did, and they also changed the way I perceive our group.
This April 21st article details the breakdown of the Red Wings
Amateur Scouting Staff. A review shows the following allocation of
Assistant GM Jim Nill, a former Red Wing based in Detroit, has the
final say on all draft selections. In addition to personally viewing all
of the top-rated prospects in Europe and North America, he scouts
Director of scouting Joe McDonnell is an ex-coach, ex-NHL'er, and
he's based out of Ontario. He scouts both the OHL and Ontario Jr.
A, in addition to viewing the top prospects and evaluating free
Hakan Andresson is the Director of European scouting, and he's
based in Sweden. In addition to scouting Sweden and Finland,
Andersson often makes the final call on late round picks.
In addition to these management types, Detroit has seven amateur
scouts, three full-time in Europe (Czech Republic, Finland, Russia),
three full-time in North America (B.C, Minnesota, New Hampshire),
and a part-time scout in BC.
Compare this to the Oilers' group, who I did a run-down on here.
The Oilers actually have a similar number of scouts, nine, but the
differences are telling. The Oilers have done fairly well with their
North American selections, but they have only two scouts for all
of Europe (as compared to four for the Red Wings), and it's fairly
obvious that the focus isn't the same.
I'm beginning to reevaluate that opinion. How is
Edmonton supposed to compete with a team like
Detroit when they only have half the staff?