As I mentioned on Tuesday, it’s easy to judge the work of a scouting team a few years after a draft. We know which picks were good and which were not.
What’s even more interesting is to try and retrace the course of events to find out why these choices were made. What tipped the balance? Who was at the top of the list of teams? Who had the final say on the selections?
Sometimes, however, we are fortunate enough to have access to solid testimonies, and we can find partial answers to these questions. Such is the case today, after Richard Labbé of La Presse appeared on BPM Sports.
The journalist took advantage of the announcement of Patrice Bergeron’s retirement to revisit his draft.
– BPM Sports (@BPMSportsRadio) July 27, 2023
In fact, he makes this statement in a kind of rule of three. You know, that famous mathematical rule that allows you to discover an unknown fact. Basically, he’s talking about his numerous discussions with CH executives on the subject of the draft, and according to what he says, Bergeron’s name has never come up. As he puts it so well, it would have been easy to say, years later, that the team would have liked to draft him, but that he was no longer available when they selected him for the second time in the second round of the 2003 draft.
But he says that was never the case. So he makes the calculation that if the Habs aren’t talking about Patrice Bergeron, it’s because they really didn’t have him on their radar back then.
Of course, now that he’s had the career he’s had, it’s easy to claim loud and clear that the Habs got it wrong. But back then, Bergeron was far from the spotlight. In a 2019 article, Mathias Brunet spoke with Daniel Doré, who was a Bruins scout in 2003.
In the article, he recounts how Bergeron didn’t attract scouts:
“There was also Bruno Gervais with the Titan, but teams probably thought there wasn’t much to go recruiting there. Based on the lack of scouts there, we were convinced that he would be available in the second round.” – Daniel Doré
The Bruins did just that, selecting Mark Stuart in the first round instead. A selection that didn’t have as much impact as Bergeron’s 45th overall.
Returning to the Habs, Labbé also reveals that the team had considerable hesitation with its first-round pick, 10th overall. There was a lot of discussion between the various scouts, and in the end, they settled on Andrei Kostitsyn rather than Jeff Carter.
In both cases, the players’ off-ice behavior was quite problematic. Carter eventually calmed down after leaving the Philadelphia Flyers, while Kostitsyn never seemed to understand the importance of a healthy lifestyle for success in the NHL.
So, either it’s not a very good evaluation criterion, or Timmins wasn’t very good at evaluating it properly!
– A new teammate for Tomas Plekanec.
Michael Frolik agrees with Rytíři Kladnohttps://t.co/SgUeARsgui
– RDS (@RDSca) July 27, 2023
– Will it be enough to get the Penguins back to the big time?
– Inside The Rink (@inside_the_rink) July 27, 2023
– In any case, both clubs seem to me to be ahead of the Canadian.
– NHL Network (@NHLNetwork) July 27, 2023
– Learn more about Patrice Bergeron off the ice and at the Gagné-Bergeron Pro-Am in Quebec City.
We offer you a tribute episode to Patrice Bergeron this week. Enjoy! https://t.co/1BvU1ZyvYc
– La Puck (@LaPuckPodcast) July 27, 2023