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New Feature: “Masters Class”, Behind-the-scenes at what scouts really look for at the NHL trade deadline



I’m excited to add what will be a recurring feature with Colorado Hockey Now, a first-person account of what really goes on “behind the ropes” with NHL teams, when it comes to how they evaluate players. With the NHL trade deadline just five days away, this is the perfect time for 18-year NHL scout Scott Masters to introduce himself to the CHN readership.

Scott has had a long career in the NHL as a scout, but he also was the Avalanche’s video coach in 2012-13. He is a former volunteer assistant coach with the University of Denver, and has worked as a pro scout and video coach with the Florida Panthers and Montreal Canadiens. He was the St. Louis Blues’ video coach from 2007-12. He went to Colorado State.

A warning: there is a bit of NSFFV language in this, but I want this column to be real, with how hockey people really talk and think, and so does Scott.

This first piece can be titled “Leading up to the Deadline”

By Scott Masters

For Colorado Hockey Now

“Buyers or Sellers?”
What is your team doing at the trade deadline, and how is it decided?
I spent 17 years inside the war rooms with this question every NHL team has to answer during the final weeks leading up to the deadline.

In Florida, where I spent my first four seasons, we were always sellers. It sucked. But it was still exciting to get a haul for your good players.  Trade deadline day in the NHL is like Christmas for the buyers. For sellers, it’s more like returning your unwanted gifts, exchanging them for something shiny and new.

Every NHL team has mid-year meetings at some point in January. The meetings consist of a variety of topics, a review of all the teams, all the players, and their biggest aspects, the discussion of which path the team could take for trades. This is usually the first time the scouts would get the inside scoop on their team. Scouts can be out in the cold during the year: at times, they have no idea about trade talks or team dynamics.  Scouts’ jobs are not to know everything about the team they work for: it’s their job to know everything about the teams they cover.

I love this time of year. “Wait what? They are shopping who? What the hell, I am interested!”
How are Hockey Operations structured, and who does what? I’ll break it down for you:

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