BOSTON – Bruins Director of Amateur Scouting Wayne Smith was conspicuously absent at this year’s development camp, and now the reason is readily apparent.
CSNNE.com has confirmed the Bruins fired Smith following the 2013 NHL Draft held at the Prudential Center home of the New Jersey Devils. They haven’t yet hired a replacement.
“We wanted to freshen up our amateur scouting and shift things a little bit, and we felt this was the way to do it,” Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli told Ken Campbell of the Hockey News. “Wayne has done a good job and I’ll give him a good reference, but we wanted to inject some new life.”
That leaves Boston without both Smith and assistant director of amateur scouting Scott Fitzgerald, who is going to miss a significant amount of time while recovering from a serious car accident last winter. Smith was one of Chiarelli’s first hires after taking over B’s reins in 2006. Smith sat in the top scout post since 2007 while overseeing drafts with mixed results.
The Bruins drafted elite players Tyler Seguin and Dougie Hamilton during that time period – largely thanks to the Phil Kessel trade – and Boston’s scouting department has done a good job of identifying college talent like Matt Bartkowski and Torey Krug over that same period of time.
But they’ve also had some clunkers among their drafts run by Smith: Zach Hamill, Joe Colborne and Jordan Caron were all first-round picks that have yet to establish themselves at the NHL level. There were also never any “diamond in the rough” draft picks in the lower rounds that turned into real finds for the Bruins organization. In the 2007-2011 drafts the only significant NHL players produced have been Seguin and Hamilton with Lane MacDermid, Colborne and Caron all still pushing for regular NHL gigs.
By the same token, the Bruins farm system has been considered above-average for some time, and there doesn’t seem to be any dearth of young talent within their system.
The sense among NHL circles was the Bruins were perhaps too focused on OHL players, and needed a head scout capable of running a worldwide scouting operation with scope beyond Canada.
It’s also interesting to note the Bruins went very European with their 2013 draft picks for the first time under Chiarelli’s regime, and selected Linus Arnesson, Peter Cehlarik and Anton Blidh out of the Swedish League. It’s also interesting to note that scout Keith Gretzky was a somewhat recent hire within the Bruins organization, and the Great One’s brother is credited with first unearthing Oliver Ekman-Larsson in the Swedish Leagues during his time as the director of amateur scouting with the Phoenix Coyotes.
Smith has long been respected as a good hockey mind with a keen eye for recognizing talent. He had been a crossover scout with the Columbus Blue Jackets for seven seasons prior to getting hired by the Bruins.