Krupa examines the front office ‘brain drain’

The Detroit News’s Gregg Krupa takes note of some of Red Wings GM Ken Holland’s post-draft and free agency day comments regarding the “front office brain drain.”

As Krupa points, the Wings’ draft record hasn’t been stellar, really, since the Wings’ 2008 Cup win. Losing Steve Yzerman, Scotty Bowman, Jim Nill, Joe McDonnell and several scouts haven’t helped…

And the truth of the matter is that the final years of Jim Nill’s status as the Wings’ director of amateur scouting weren’t good, with the Wings whiffs including a long cast of characters, from Tom McCollum and Teemu Pulkkinen to a whole generation of blueliners in Brendan Smith, Ryan Sproul, Xavier Ouellet and Alexey Marchenko…

So now, with Tyler Wright as the director of amateur scouting and nearly half-a-dozen new scouts on the payroll, the Wings are trying to move forward, and they’re moving forward with the remaining members of the front office (see: Holland and Kris Draper) taking a more active scouting role:

“It’s up to me and my people to prove that the plan that we’ve got is a good plan,” Holland said. “How do we want to build our team?”

By moving Jiri Fischer from director of player development to director of player evaluation, and hiring Shawn Horcoff to direct development and Daniel Cleary to assist him, the Wings are hoping to improve the preparation of their prospects, Holland said.

After dispatching Jurco, Kindl, McCollum, Ouellet, Sheahan, Smith and Sproul, in recent seasons, development results clearly could improve.

 “We’re trying to develop the skill of the players that we’ve drafted,” he said.

For the first time this year, before the entry draft, he said the video and scouting staffs prepared a video of the top-10 prospects.

“Is there something in there, through video, through analytics, through numbers?” Holland said. “So, we’re trying to do things a little differently. Right now, we need good young players and lots of good young players. Next up will be trying to complement them by bringing in some players who are a little more experienced.

“I’d like to say a year or two,” before the team regains the playoffs, Holland said in April. “But, there are teams that run eight, nine, 10 years in a row, who miss the playoffs.”

Krupa continues… and I would also suggest that the Wings’ prospect development has seen a “long game” improvement since Fischer and now Horcoff and Cleary have come along. The Wings now allocate more resources to developing the not-quite-sure-things they draft, and they’ve done better in developing NHL’ers over the course of Fischer’s reign.

That being said, you can’t develop skill that isn’t there, and the Wings’ scouts will be judged as much on who they draft as much as how their draft picks develop.


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George Malik

My name is George Malik, and I'm the Malik Report's editor/blogger/poster. I have been blogging about the Red Wings since 2006, when MLive hired me to work their SlapShots blog, and I joined Kukla's Korner in 2011 as The Malik Report. I'm starting The Malik Report as a stand-alone site, hoping that having my readers fund the website is indeed the way to go to build a better community and create better content.