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SCOUT'S POSTCARD FROM...Jay Heinbuck

Friday, 02.10.2006 / 12:00 AM / News
New York Islanders
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SCOUT\'S POSTCARD FROM...Jay Heinbuck
Chief U.S. Regional Scout

To me the short Christmas break signifies the beginning of the second half of the scouting season.  As Head of USA Scouting for the Islanders it is my job to evaluate the draft-eligible talent in the USA.  Our USA Scouting staff also consists of Regional Scout Jim Madigan in the East and Regional Scout Brian Hunter in the West.  They scour their respective regions, then report their findings to me and our other staff members.  I then travel to see these players, evaluate them, make comparisons, then slot the players on to one list for the USA. 

Another aspect of my job is to "crossover" into other regions in North America and to attend some tournaments in Europe which involve a Team from the USA.  This helps me, and ultimately our staff, evaluate and compare the world's draft eligible prospects.  

The second half began for me on Christmas night.  I was scheduled to fly on the morning of December 26th to Edmonton to scout the Viking Cup Tournament in Camrose, Alberta.  But after checking the weather forecast and seeing that there would be snow on the 26th, I decided to make the 70-minute drive to the airport on Christmas night while the roads were still navigable.  I flew from Ottawa to Toronto where I met fellow Islanders scout Doug Gibson.  Together we flew to Edmonton and then made the hour drive to the tournament.

The Viking Cup consists of quality players from six countries.  Some of the top 1988 birthdated players represented the USA, Slovakia, Germany, Finland, and Switzerland.  There were also two all-star teams from the Alberta Junior Hockey League represented in this tournament.  Some of these players will go on to play NCAA college hockey in the USA. 

After two days in Camrose it was off to the World Junior Tournament in Vancouver.  This tournament has become a huge holiday tradition in Canada.  The television and media coverage is amazing.  While many of the players in this tournament have already been drafted, there are some high-end prospects to see.  An added bonus was being able to see some of the Islanders prospects play here.  My schedule allowed me to see our second round pick in 2004, Blake Comeau, and our first round pick in 2005, Ryan O'Marra, represent Canada.  Both players played key roles in Canada winning the gold medal. 

Because this is such a prestigious tournament, many of the Islanders scouts were in attendance at various times throughout the tournament. This allowed us to get together after the New Year's Eve game and have dinner, then toast in the New Year.  An early morning flight curtailed any lengthy celebration. 

I awoke early to catch my flight to Regina and the Under 17 Championship.  This tournament consisted of 1989 birthdated players who won't be eligible for the draft until 2007.  The teams consisted of top players from regions in Canada Pacific, West, Ontario, Quebec, Atlantic, and teams from the USA, Finland, Czech Republic, Slovakia and Germany.  This was a nice preview of many of the players we will be considering for the 2007 draft.

After 10 days on the road it is always nice to spend some time at home, albeit for only two days.  Then it was off to the Michigan area to watch some college hockey prospects.  After viewing a Friday and Saturday game, I flew toward home on Sunday.  But before heading home I made a short jaunt to Kingston, Ontario to view some prospects in an Ontario Hockey League game between Kingston and Erie.  This also enabled me to see Ryan O'Marra, who plays for Erie.

In the middle of January our scouting staff met on Long Island for our midseason meetings.  This allowed us to view our AHL affiliate in Bridgeport and to see the Islanders play twice at home.  Our days were spent compiling our overall midseason list of prospects.   

January is a point where you look at your scouting schedule and see that time is running out on the hockey season for many of the prospects you want to see.  Some college, high school, and junior players will be done playing early in March.  Trying to fit these players into a schedule can make for some hectic travel and long periods away from home.  For example, as I write this in early February, I am in the middle of a 10 day trip to Western Canada where I will be able to evaluate many of the Western Hockey League's top prospects.  After this trip I will spend three days at home before embarking on another 10-day trip to Minnesota and the Midwest to view some high school, college, and USA Junior prospects.  As the season winds down, the Islanders Scouting Staff will be hustling from game to game trying to learn as much as possible about each prospect in the draft. 

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 MTL 61 40 16 5 167 135 85
2 NYR 60 38 16 6 190 148 82
3 NYI 62 40 20 2 200 173 82
4 TBL 62 37 19 6 203 167 80
5 DET 60 34 15 11 176 156 79
6 PIT 61 35 17 9 176 152 79
7 WSH 62 33 19 10 184 156 76
8 BOS 60 29 22 9 158 158 67
9 FLA 61 26 22 13 145 172 65
10 PHI 62 26 25 11 164 181 63
11 OTT 59 26 23 10 167 161 62
12 NJD 61 25 27 9 137 161 59
13 CBJ 60 26 30 4 157 189 56
14 TOR 61 25 31 5 170 185 55
15 CAR 59 22 30 7 134 159 51
16 BUF 62 19 38 5 120 207 43

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Tavares 62 29 34 4 63
K. Okposo 46 14 30 -2 44
R. Strome 62 13 26 21 39
B. Nelson 62 17 19 6 36
F. Nielsen 62 11 25 11 36
A. Lee 56 20 12 12 32
J. Bailey 50 12 19 10 31
J. Boychuk 52 7 22 15 29
N. Leddy 62 8 17 14 25
T. Hamonic 52 4 19 16 23
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
J. Halak 32 13 0 .910 2.49
C. Johnson 8 7 1 .890 2.95

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