Chris Pryor

A pro scout on technology in scouting

By Chris Pryor

 Much of today’s communication and information is based on the Internet and has made day-to-day life easier and faster. Over the years, between video via the Internet  and the World Wide Web at your fingertips, the scouting world has seen drastic changes.

Computer technology in scouting has become a valuable resource tool. You are now able to pull up game highlights literally minutes after they happen. Game clips on potential prospects are just a click of the mouse away. Information is endless, good or bad. It can help expose strengths or weaknesses, or drive home a point a scout wants to make to verify his opinions.  

The one problem with video is that it’s usually puck friendly, meaning the camera follows the puck. That can work well when the player you’re watching has the puck, but unfortunately when you break down a game, the time of possession usually amounts to seconds. For the players that don’t  fall into this category, it can be very deceptive.

For example, a defenseman who is more of a defensive-type player, seeing how he reads the play in his own end, closes the gaps, etc., is an intergal part of his game, but might not be able to be seen on film unless a camera is there with the sole purpose of following that player.

There are a variety of roles for players. Being on the offense and having the puck is just one part of the game. Playing without the puck is as much of a valued trait than having it.

To make a long story short, to get a “big picture” of a player you need to see him “live.” Video is a very good tool for filling in the blanks but it gives you a “one dimensional view.”

In my opinion nothing can replace the human element. Video and the Internet adds information to your player database but that “feel” the scouts have cannot be replicated by a video camera. Only the human eye can do that.
 
Chris Pryor is the director of hockey operations for the Philadelphia Flyers. He is in charge of the amateur and pro scouting departments. A native of St. Paul, Pryor spent eight seasons as a scout for the Flyers. He played parts of six seasons in the NHL with the Minnesota North Stars and New York Islanders. If you have a question for a pro hockey scout, e-mail it to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .