Futa/Yannetti interview IV

Here’s the second-to-last installment of the interview with Michael Futa and Mark Yannetti. Unfortunately, the final installment will have to wait, since I left my recorder at home this morning. Oops. This part is some real meat-and-potatoes stuff about the job these guys do leading up to the draft…


Question: During this evaluation time, if we’re talking about “Prospect X,” how many times will you guys watch him play, as a staff?

Yannetti: “You would think the area (scout) would see him maybe 10 times?”

Futa: “Yeah, that’s safe to say.”

Yannetti: “Then the secondary, crossover guy might see him four or five times?”

Futa: “Maybe a little less in the West, because it’s a broader base. A minimum of five to seven for the area guys, and then we probably see them two times each.”

Yannetti: “First- or second-round guys, we might see them eight or 10 times each. When it’s all said and done, you might be talking about 40-plus viewings (as a staff). As he said, it’s a little harder to see some of the guys in the West, so you allow a little more on your area guy to tell you who you need to focus on. Same with Quebec, because that’s kind of getting spread out. Then you have Tony in the U.S., who actually has to do a lot of weeding out in terms of who not to see.”

Futa: “As the funnel starts to spit out the guys that are being considered for the higher spots, the viewings are ridiculous. And when you get to that stage, with the top guys, Dean has probably seen the top guys four times each, five maybe. Especially with the World Juniors. Probably twice in their home venues and then the World Juniors, in particular this year, allowed him to see guys.”

Yannetti: “Then don’t forget, we spent 13 days in Prague and then another 15 in Russia (for the under-18 World Championships). That’s not normal. That’s good. It’s beneficial. That’s a lot of coverage.”


Question: Do you know when it’s time to step back, before it becomes paralysis by analysis and you’ve actually seen too much of the kid?

Futa: “(laughs) When is that? When the gun goes off in Ottawa? The thing is, with these top guys, you don’t find any (negative) spots on them until you get really close to the day. Then you start eyeing them too close. (laughs) You’re talking about guys you’ve seen, and it’s like you’re comparing lobster and prime rib. You’re comparing some really prime dishes to each other, and it becomes, `Oh, my lobster was a little off today.’ (laughs) You’re finding things wrong with them as you get closer to the date. You have to realize that everybody has a wart. Nobody is the perfect player. Then you start to compare. Whereas when you read the first few reports, you think, `Holy smokes, this guy is ready to step in right away.”’

Yannetti: “He’s ready for canonization.”

Futa: “Yeah. Then as you get closer, you start to look more for warts. It’s just a part of the thorough process.”

Yannetti: “Would you say the area guys fit that mold, because they’re seeing far more? The area guys, sometimes, may have to step away. When you see a guy 15 or 18 times, you have to step back.”

Futa: “It’s a good question, because there’s a certain time — and I couldn’t give you the exact date — when you’re writing a report and you’re like, `I can’t write any more about this guy.’ You end up writing the same thing, game after game. That’s when it’s time to sit back. You’re supposed to use your time properly, and if you’re writing the same thing, five games in a row, and it’s all good or all bad…”

Yannetti: “If it’s consistent…”

Futa: “If it’s consistent, that’s the time to take a step back, and we’ll back it up with what we see here. That’s when you probably lean more on your character checks. That would probably be when the bell goes off.”

Yannetti: “That’s when you know. He’s right. And it’s different, probably for every player and different for each scout. There comes a time where it’s like, `What am I doing?’ It’s like reading the same sentence two or three times in a book. It’s time to go to bed.”


Question: We’re looking at seven rounds, 200-some players in this draft. How many guys, draft-eligible players, will you end up looking at?

Yannetti: “Even the ones that don’t make our list?”

Question: Yeah.

Yannetti: “Oh my God. I shudder to think. I can’t even give you an estimate. We will have seen every single player that Central Scouting lists, as well as those the other publications list, as well as other guys that aren’t listed. Especially in regards to Europeans. Wow. What do you think? What you even be able to guess?”

Futa: “I can’t even fathom right now.”

Yannetti: “I can’t even imagine a guess. That’s how many it would be.”

Futa: “Because you go to some games, and watch the whole game and nobody gets rated. That’s a hard number to figure.”

Yannetti: “I’ll go to high school tournaments for New England prep schools. Tony and I and our area guy, Bob Crocker, went to that. We saw eight games a day for five days. We saw 30 to 40 games. A lot of those times, you might see eight draft-eligible guys who you don’t even rate. So those are the guys you can’t even count. Then you have the guys you do rate. It would be a mind-boggling number, I think.”

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