Jan11WedJanuary 11, 2017
This week pro scout of the Buffalo Sabres, Jon Christiano, dropped by our office and gave us some insight as to what he looks for in a hockey player. Though the job of a scout is much more complex, Jon broke it down into four basic qualities:
- Speed: pretty self-explanatory but that’s a huge factor when looking at any player. How fast can you skate? Are you mobile? That’s the first thing any scout will notice and factor in. More than just pure skating speed you need to be able to play fast. You can get it away with playing a bit slower in junior leagues but once you make it to the NHL everything needs to happen at top speed.
- Smarts: if you don’t have speed you better have hockey smarts. If you have a high hockey IQ you will be able to make up for a bit of a lack of speed and mobility by being in the right spots.
- Compete: do you have your ‘nose over pucks’? Jon looks for players that can play ‘greasy’ that will get inside and compete rather than stay out on the perimeter.
- Puck/Play skills: can you advance the puck and extend plays? Jon wants players that can play in tight zones and that can make something out of nothing. He doesn’t want to see a player that will just whack the puck out of the zone, but someone with the poise to make a play. In a situation where most players would have to give up possession, can you hold on to the puck and extend the play?
Who are two of the best players that have great “puck skills”? Jon pointed to Patrick Kane and Connor McDavid. He went on to talk about encounters meeting Kane’s father and McDavid’s mother. He asked each of them what did your son do to become so good? Kane’s father pointed to the fact that Patrick always had a stick in his hands, he just never stopped playing. While McDavid’s mother pointed to his rollerblades, if Connor wasn’t on the ice he was playing roller hockey. That allowed him to get more reps when he couldn't be at the rink.
Jon Christiano in the middle