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Panthers Draft Insider

Director of Scouting Scott Luce takes us behind the scenes as the Cats prepare for the 2014 Draft.

Thursday, 06.05.2014 / 11:53 AM / News
By Staff
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Panthers Draft Insider
With the 2014 NHL Draft in Philadelphia under a month away, and the Cats holding the first overall pick, caught up with longtime Panthers Director of Scouting, Scott Luce, to find out how the team is preparing for the big weekend.

With the 2014 NHL Draft in Philadelphia under a month away (June 27-28), and the Cats holding the first overall pick, caught up with longtime Panthers Director of Scouting, Scott Luce, to find out how the team is preparing for the big weekend.

What’s it like preparing for the draft as we get closer and closer?

The lead-up to the draft is a real rush. Talking trade scenarios and draft strategy makes for an exciting month. Sorting through the game reports and various character checks provides us with the required clarity we strive for. It is the most exciting time of the scouting season.

On a typical day right now, what is the scouting group focused on?

Right now, after reviewing the data acquired at last weekend’s Draft Combine, we will speak daily on specific draft-related items that pertain to our internal draft list. There will be trade scenarios discussed, and we will go through our list and project the many different scenarios that may play out.

Speaking of the Combine, which you attended last week in Toronto, what are you looking to learn when seeing some of the top prospects up close as they run the gauntlet of fitness tests and interviews?

We are looking to establish or further our due diligence process with each prospect of interest.

We try to get an improved idea of them as people away from the rink as well as where they are at with their physical training.

Sometimes it is interesting to see if a player’s on-ice personality matches their off-ice personality. We try to determine if they are a fit with the direction we are taking the organization.

As far as the physical testing, what kind of conclusions do you draw from the results?

The physical testing shows us a prospect’s starting point as it pertains to their level of fitness. Some prospects have played at a level where physical training is not as important. All this means is that they are starting a little behind, but that does not mean they will not get their fitness level to where it needs to be in the future.

At this point, you are already familiar with many of the players. How much stock do you put in Combine performance when you are making your evaluations?

The Combine provides our scouts an opportunity to speak in person with some of the prospects they may have scouted during the season. Their performance at the Combine is important, but it is only a small portion of a bigger body of work that goes into drafting a player.

Do you often see players making big jumps/falls as a result of their Combine performances or at this point is it more of a fine tuning of your rankings?

You rarely see a player drop or rise significantly from their performance at the Combine. Every year there seems to be a few situations that arise that catch you off guard. Usually it relates to an injury or an awkward interview \ physical testing. If a red flag pops up with a prospect, our staff has three weeks to look into and see if our list should be adjusted accordingly up or down.

Finally, to tie it all up, let’s play a little rapid fire. Tell us the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the names of the following guys, each of whom is widely considered a top prospect:

Sam Bennett - Offensive center that played the wing in minor hockey. Very good offensive instincts and vision. Plays with edge and passion. Very competitive. Wants to be a difference maker.

Aaron Ekblad - Outstanding two way defender that plays a very team oriented game. Leads by example. Great size and range. The best defender in the draft.

Sam Reinhart - Very cerebral pivot with great vision. Sees the ice extremely well. Has versatility in his game.

Leon Draisaitl - Big and strong, with a power element in his game.

Michael Dal Colle - Goal scoring winger with a great release.

Kasperi Kapenen - Speed forward with finesse. Dangerous on the rush.

William Nylander - Dynamic offensive prospect. Sees the ice well and can shoot or pass equally well.





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


N. Bjugstad 76 16 22 -14 38
S. Upshall 76 15 22 1 37
B. Campbell 82 7 30 -6 37
B. Boyes 78 21 15 -6 36
S. Bergenheim 62 16 13 -16 29
J. Huberdeau 69 9 19 -5 28
T. Fleischmann 80 8 20 -18 28
T. Gilbert 73 3 25 -5 28
B. Pirri 49 13 12 6 25
A. Barkov 54 8 16 -3 24
R. Luongo 25 23 7 .919 2.40
S. Clemmensen 6 7 1 .896 3.09
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