August 14 2013 11:21AM
The Oilers announced a front office move on Wednesday, hiring Edmonton Oil Kings general manager Bob Green as the team’s new director of amateur free agent scouting.
The New Job
The Oilers' official press release describes Green's new duties this way:
Green, who was honoured as the WHL's Executive of the Year in 2011-12 and 2012-13, will work closely with the Oilers Hockey Operations department and Amateur Scouting staff, assisting with identifying and recruiting NCAA, CHL and select European free agents, as well as develop a free agent priority list.
The title and the above description don't make the organizational relationship between Green and the current heads of amateur scouting (Stu MacGregor) and professional scouting (Morey Gare) perfectly clear, but Oilers Now host Bob Stauffer gives us a better idea of what that relationship will likely be.
Pretty sure Bob Green will NOT be in charge of Amateur Scouting. Bob's focus will be on undrafted NCAA Free Agents, overagers in Junior...— Bob Stauffer (@Bob_Stauffer) August 14, 2013
The Oilers will now have a "dedicated" guy in finding those sort of players. Team came in 2nd far too often last few years in College FA's..— Bob Stauffer (@Bob_Stauffer) August 14, 2013
Green seems to be the new czar of amateur player acquisition outside of the NHL Entry Draft. We've seen the importance of those players in recent years - certainly the signing of Justin Schultz would seem to qualify - but college free agents have been important for ages. Players like Curtis Joseph and Ed Belfour and Adam Oates all came into the league without going through the NHL Draft, and having a designated point man to keep track of undrafted players and unsigned drafted players and the like makes a good deal of sense.
The Man They Hired
Green has a long history in the WHL. Of course he was named the general manager of the Edmonton Oil Kings when the club began operation in 2007-08, but prior to that he was the assistant general manager in Medicine Hat, where he started in 1993. Put it all together, and he has 20 years of experience in the Western Hockey League.
There's more than experience at play here, though; Green has also enjoyed success, guiding the Oil Kings from being an expansion team to the best team in the WHL. The team took off in 2010-11, jumping from 45 points and a minus-116 goal differential to 69 points and a minus-3 goal differential; then they did it again in 2011-12, putting up 107 points and a plus-117 rating. They won the WHL championship that season, and then lost in the finals this year.
From here, this is a hard decision to criticize. The Oilers hired a man who both might be the best fit for the job and has an existing relationship with the club's leadership, and they hired him for a specific role of obvious importance. What's not to like?
This article has been edited to reflect a change in the Oilers' press release; Green's official title is director of amateur free agent scouting, not director of amateur and free agent scouting.
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