Monday, 28 May 2012

Scott Mellanby named Canadiens' Director of Player Personnel

The Canadiens have announced that they have appointed Scott Mellanby as the Director of Player Personnel.  The director of player personnel is in charge of all the players in the Canadiens’ system except those with the Grand Club, so he will oversee the prospects in Junior, NCAA, Europe, and the AHL players. This is a hockey/human resources position.
I think this is a vital link in player development. Some guys will just naturally end up in the NHL, but some will need to be pointed in the right direction and be offered all kinds of support. I think of two guys who I’ve touched on today, Olivier Archambault and Ian Schultz. These guys need to be coached up and put on programs and have constant encouragement and coaching.
Another guy who I think needs this support is Alex Avtsin, who seems like a kid who came over to North America and put in a pro league too soon. He should probably have spent a year in junior. Anyway, after two disappointing seasons, there needs to be some focus on him and an attempt to harness all that raw talent and get it going in the right direction.
A story that staggered me, having a bit of a HR background, was one told by Ryan McDonagh, who when he was asked if he saw the trade to the Rangers coming, answered that he didn’t expect it at all. In fact, he continued, he was a couple days away from attending the Canadiens’ development camp, and was looking forward to it to find out what the team had in mind for him, since, in his words, “I hadn’t heard anything from them in a long while.” This story boggled my mind, and is why I’ve been very receptive to the idea of a bigger front office with lots of talented staff and defined priorities for each. If we had that kind of front office instead of a very small centralized hierarchy with tight control on all aspects of hockey operations, like Bob Gainey and Pierre Gauthier ran, the Ryan McDonagh story would never have happened as such. Heck, maybe there would have been a strong voice in place that would have advocated against trading away the kid, would have seen him as much more than just disposable trade bait.
So Scott Mellanby joins the team as Director of Player Personnel, great.
Now, let’s get some former Habs in the front office in junior roles to learn the ropes and prepare a succession plan.

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