Features

Changing the Scouting Game

Video Scouting is adding an element to the Blue Jackets Draft preparations

Monday, 06.13.2011 / 10:07 PM / Features
By J. Ryan Mulcrone  - Multimedia Manager

Most jobs require quality over quantity and some the opposite, but what if you could get both.

The Columbus Blue Jackets have been getting quality looks at draft picks and seeing a lot of them over the past two-plus years by utilizing video scouting.

"It started a few years ago and (General Manager) Scott Howson was intrigued with it," Assistant General Manager Chris MacFarland said. "All the NHL clubs knew that Buffalo had gone to it pretty heavy. Scott talked to (Buffalo GM) Darcy Regher and it gave us a ground floor as to what we wanted to do with it."

Director of Video Scouting Bryan Stewart was added in 2007 bringing with him two years of knowledge of how Buffalo had created this new department of scouting in their team.

"Buffalo out of the lockout had to adapt to the new culture of the NHL and with uncertainty, they were looking to separate themselves in some way from other clubs," Stewart said. "Buffalo was the first team and really dove in."

The Blue Jackets essentially became team number two in this area when Stewart was hired, but the initial focus was on professional scouting. Stewart said the club saw how effective the video scouting was on the pro side during trade deadline and free agency, so management figured why not try it on the amateur side.

In 2009 Stewart brought in Assistant Video Scout Scott Harris to run the amateur side, which meant collecting video, cutting it up and then distributing it to scouts, Howson and MacFarland or watching it and making his own reports. "It's great for me as a young scout," Harris said. "I watch hockey at least 8 hours a day."

Harris still goes to watch games live and says the video scouting brings a balance to seeing a player live and that both ways have their pros.

The biggest advantage on the video side is the sheer volume of games available to the Columbus management and scouting staff. Harris was able to get his hands on around 1,200 game tapes prior to last years draft and had access to a little over 2,000 this season.

Throughout the year, Harris distributes it to Scott Howson, Chris MacFarland or anyone else in the department in by various methods from his almost never ending library of games.

"(Scottie Harris) gives us three or four games (to watch) on a trip," said MacFarland. "He also has a library, so we can go back and see what a player looked like (in previous games or years). Did the player get bigger, did he grow, did his skating improve and that sort of thing. It's amazing the amount of footage (Harris') been able to secure in two years." Even though the video scouting has not caught on league-wide at the level it has in Buffalo, Carolina and Columbus, Harris says he knows some of other 27 teams are obtaining amateur video. Stewart feels this is just this generation’s way making their mark in scouting, by utilizing technology to change the scouting game.

So, what's next for the video scouting department?

"The next step is to grow the contacts and the department," MacFarland said. "The time consuming part is getting the tape and breaking it down, so not spending so much time on the technical side cutting the tapes. That's in the short term.

"In the future, getting (the video directly) on your phone someday."

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EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - BOS 82 54 19 9 261 177 117
2 y - PIT 82 51 24 7 249 207 109
3 x - TBL 82 46 27 9 240 215 101
4 x - MTL 82 46 28 8 215 204 100
5 x - NYR 82 45 31 6 218 193 96
6 x - PHI 82 42 30 10 236 235 94
7 x - CBJ 82 43 32 7 231 216 93
8 x - DET 82 39 28 15 222 230 93
9 WSH 82 38 30 14 235 240 90
10 NJD 82 35 29 18 197 208 88
11 OTT 82 37 31 14 236 265 88
12 TOR 82 38 36 8 231 256 84
13 CAR 82 36 35 11 207 230 83
14 NYI 82 34 37 11 225 267 79
15 FLA 82 29 45 8 196 268 66
16 BUF 82 21 51 10 157 248 52

STATS

2013-2014 PLAYOFFS
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
B. Dubinsky 4 1 5 1 6
J. Johnson 4 3 2 1 5
R. Johansen 4 2 3 0 5
B. Jenner 4 2 2 -2 4
M. Calvert 4 2 1 3 3
D. Savard 4 0 3 2 3
M. Letestu 4 1 1 -1 2
C. Atkinson 4 1 1 2 2
J. Wisniewski 4 0 2 -4 2
A. Anisimov 4 0 2 -1 2
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
S. Bobrovsky 2 2 0 .900 3.22
 
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