There’s no real debate that the Edmonton Oilers’ record of player acquisitions by way of trades and free agent signings under former GM Peter Chiarelli was abysmal.
The bad trades and free agent signings during Chiarelli’s regime speak for themselves. They also speak to a glaring deficiency in the pro scouting staff the team employed. While the amateur staff is in charge of keeping tabs on draft eligible prospects, the pro scouts provide the GM with information about potential targets from the pro ranks. That end of acquisitions has been dismal.
With new POHO and GM Ken Holland, whose career was built in the scouting ranks before he took over as GM in Detroit, running hockey ops for the Oilers now, it’s reasonable to expect that both the amateur and pro staffs will improve, especially the latter. To that end, new director of pro scouting Archie Henderson suggested Monday we’ll likely see more resources and manpower put into the pro scouting end of the things.
It’s about time because, frankly, the Oilers are light in the pro scouting department right now with just three people dedicated to the pro staff full time – Henderson and scouts Paul Messier and Chris Cichocki. Back in 2012, for example, the Oilers had five people on the pro staff – chief scout Morey Gare, Sutter, Cichocki, Dave Semenko and Mike Abbamont.
Not only will Cichocki and Messier get help from Henderson, who was on Holland’s pro staff in Detroit, VP of player personnel Scott Howson will do some pro scouting and it sounds like is more help on the way. Henderson discussed what’s next in an interview with Oilers Now host Bob Stauffer.
“Yes we have,” Henderson said when asked if he and Holland have discussed expanding the pro staff in manpower and scope. “Those decisions will all be made ultimately by Kenny as far as adding people. Right now, it’s status quo. The guys are still under contract obviously. Chris will be working in the west and Paul will be working in the east.
“Scott Howson is going to step up and do more pro scouting for us. I’ll definitely be on the road a lot covering off those guys and also with an area I will be taking care of, but I will have to spend time with the big club and the minor league team. We’re sort of going through that right now with team assignments and stuff like that for each and every scout.
“I know our coverage moving forward is going to be quite a lot heavier maybe than it has in the past. I have talked to Kenny about coverage not just in North America but worldwide because we need to make sure that we turn over every stone and there are so many different leagues, not just in North America but Europe where we have to find a player.
“Pro scouting is a little bit of a different gig because you’re really looking for under-valued players and you’re looking for that one guy who is a needle in the haystack. The only way you can do that is by having proper coverage across the board.”
EYES ON THE PRIZE
The Oilers really haven’t had a dedicated pro scout in Europe. They had Frank Musil scouting on the amateur side, but he’s no longer with the team. In August 2017 they hired Vaclav Burda as director of European amateur scouting, but Burda was killed in a car crash less than a year later.
People like Musil and Burda were amateur scouts, but would check in on pros from time to time, as would other members of the amateur staff and hockey-ops people like Howson and Craig MacTavish. Maybe, with the likes of Mikko Koskinen, Joakim Nygard and Gaetan Haas coming out of Europe, we’ll see the Oilers employ a full-time pro scout across the pond.
Finding players in Europe, especially on the amateur side under Hakan Andersson, was a staple for Holland during his years in Detroit. It makes all the sense in the world for the Oilers to cast a wider net on the pro side of the business, as suggested by Henderson Monday.
After having such a blast over the past two years, we absolutely knew that we were going to organize another golf tourney for the summer and, after a few months of planning, we’re psyched to finally be able to launch our third annual golf tournament.
- When – August 29th, 2019 (Thursday). Tee off at 2 p.m.
- Where – Cougar Creek Golf Resort
- How much – $1000/team
- Teams – Groups of Four (4)
- How – Book your team here
As always, a portion of all proceeds from your ticket purchase will be donated directly to a local charity. This time we’ve partnered up with the Gregor Foundation to make sure that our kids are at their most handsome.