When Rick Pracey was dismissed without so much as a mention to the media this fall, the first thing on most fans' minds was why? After careful thought and endless debate we either liked the move or we didn't, but the question wasn't answered in a satisfactory way. Now with the Avs season in tatters and a smart-looking crop of youngsters available in next June's Amatuer Draft, the question turns to who is gathering data and making recommendations for the possible 4th lottery pick for Colorado since 2009.
Since Pracey's sacking, the title of Director of Amateur Scouting has not been filled. This worries quite a few people, but it's not completely surprising. The title was pretty much created when he took that job from Ted Hampson, known then as "Chief Amateur Scout". There is still an Assistant Director of Amateur Scouting, but no Director.
Since the Avs are almost completely silent on all management issues and there isn't any pesky local media to bother them, it's difficult to figure out the chain of command from afar, but let's give it a whirl.
Obviously the buck stops with President Josh Kroenke but his level of involvement in day-to-day issues is unknown. Joe Sakic is the Executive VP/General Manager, Patrick is the VP - Hockey Operations and Greg Sherman is the VP - Business Operations and an Assistant GM. Craig Billington is also an Assistant GM focused mainly on Player Development, he also runs the Monsters.
Then we get to the Director level, and who these folks report to is hazy. Brad Smith is the Director of Player Personnel and the few times you hear his name mentioned, you get the feeling he's higher up in the organization than his title indicates. He runs both scouting departments and is a major part of determining what the roster looks like on a year-to-year basis. He's been with the Avs since they moved to Denver and succeeded Michel Goulet as DPP 5 years ago.
Garth Joy has been the Assistant Director of Player Personnel since 2013 and has been with the Avs since 1999. Former LEM Asst Coach Dan Laperriere and Former Buffalo Director of Pro Scouting Terry Martin are the other scouts on the pro side.
David Oliver is the Director of Player Development and oversees prospects at all levels of the org. Anecdotally, I know that he had a hand in signing Borna Rendulic last summer and is about to head to Europe to look at some more players so he's a bit of a scout as well.
Alan Hepple is the Assistant Director of Amateur Scouting and has been since 2009, he's been a scout with Colorado since 2002. His staff is as follows:
Anders Carlson from Sweden, European Scout since 2006
Joni Lehto from Finland, European Scout since 2001
Anton Edlund from Sweden, European scout since 2013
John Harrington, Amateur Scout since 2011, from his background I'd say he handles the NCAA
Rick Lanz, Amateur Scout for Western Canada since 2007
Don Paarup, Amateur Scout for the CHL, started with the Nords in 1988
Neil Shea, Amateur Scout out of Boston, with the Avs since 2006
Jerome Mesonero, Amateur Scout since last Spring, former GM of Victoriaville in the Q
Just to note this, Guy Perron was an Amateur Scout from 2008 until last summer.
Moves since Patrick and Joe took over: The Avs have hired another European Scout (Edlund) and a Scout with extensive knowledge of the QMJHL (Mesonero), fired Rick Pracey, and Guy Perron either left or was asked to leave. Add to this the restructuring of the development staff (Billington & Oliver).
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So, will there be a new Director of Amateur Scouting? Maybe. They might have taken the responsibilities from that job description and spread them out over a few other folks. Perhaps they felt there were too many layers between the DAS and the ultimate decision-makers. They might have someone in mind from another org that they'd like to hire but can't right now. They might have someone currently in the org that they are grooming for the job.
Regardless, I'm sure Pracey's old job is getting done this year. The importance that Sakic and Roy have shown towards improving the organization top-to-bottom definitely doesn't make me feel otherwise. If anything, it seems like they've paid more attention to scouting & development than to the Avs this season. The Avs have been asset poor for over a decade and the badly needed process of revamping how Colorado identifies and acquires talent will take a few years to find it's ultimate form.
As a fan, what would you like to see? Are you concerned with the process or only the results? Is there an organization that has a structure that the Avs should emulate?