I’ve been getting some questions lately about how exactly a GM prepares for the CWHL Draft. I love answering people’s questions about my job, so if you have any, send them my way at firstname.lastname@example.org or tweet at me @KristaPatronick.
So, preparing for the CWHL Draft really starts as soon as the season ends. Of course it’s always nice to give yourself some time to breathe between the last games of the season and recruiting but I like to get a head start on it.
On Twitter, I was asked if I draft/recruit for need or just take the best player available. This season Boston needs depth in pretty much every area. I’m looking for more of a scoring touch up front. But we also need to run more than 4 or 5 D. Last season some players were getting such heavy minutes, it’d be nice to give them a break with some depth players who can step in and make plays happen. So when you have such big needs, you just recruit for every position. That said, Boston has the first pick of the first round, so I will be taking the best player available 🙂 I suppose if our situation were different, though, I might recruit around need.
For us, scouting and recruiting has a lot to do with a combination of finding talent on the ice, character off the ice, and a player who finds it feasible to move to or stay in Boston. (For those who aren’t familiar, players enter the draft with which locations they’d like to play in, ranked 1st choice, 2nd choice, 3rd choice). When you get all of those, you hit the jack pot.
On Twitter, I was asked what my #1 criteria was for choosing players in the draft. In addition to those three things above – I look for players with workhorse type attitudes. A player who is mentally tough, who will always be ready for their next battle, is the type of player we will take any day.
So, most college players, we go out and watch toward the end of their season. We will ask them to enter the draft if we feel they would be a good fit for our team. We try to visualize where they would fall in our line up. Sometimes players like to keep their options open. Maybe they’re considering playing in Europe or in the end they decide they don’t want to come to Boston for whatever reason. You have to be prepared for them to make the best decision for themselves, even if it means it’s not your team. Sometimes you lose players you really hoped you’d get; that’s part of the job. I’m not going to lie, it sucks when that happens. But it’s not always about us; it’s about making the best choice for them. You just have to let it roll off your back and remember that everything will work out the way it is supposed to, no matter what. Life – and your season – goes on.
Other players enter the draft of their own accord. I’m usually pretty thorough in my recruiting but sometimes you get a diamond in the rough with those who enter themselves. With so many draftees with the potential to come to Boston this season, it puts us in a really good place. It fosters competition during tryouts. It makes everyone work that much harder; nobody’s jobs are safe here. If you want to be on our squad you have to earn it during tryouts. That’s the kind of culture we want.
The draft is definitely one of the most exciting events of the year. It marks a new beginning – a new season, new professional hockey careers starting, a chance to wipe the slate clean and start again. Nothing feels better than that.
Be sure to follow us on twitter at @BostonCWHL for draft updates. Post-draft I’ll share more about the event and about the draftees coming our way. Can’t wait for you all to meet them!