(Denver) It is through the draft that the teams are built, and it is from there that the pillars of the two teams of the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Colorado Avalanche in the final of the Stanley Cup come from: the Cale Makar, Nathan MacKinnon and Mikko Rantanen on the one hand , Victor Hedman, Steven Stamkos, Andrei Vasilevskiy and Anthony Cirelli on the other.
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But the many complementary pieces we see at work, those obscure players who suddenly get a lot more attention in the playoffs, are usually the work of professional scouts. A work that remains in the shadows.
At Avalanche, the trusted man of the West clubs, is Daniel Laperrière, former defender of the St. Louis Blues and the Ottawa Senators, who also played for several years in Germany.
Established in Las Vegas for three years, Jacques Laperrière’s son has been a professional recruiter for the Avalanche since 2011. He therefore mainly deals with clubs in the American West, but is also called upon to spy on Eastern teams towards the end of the season, when scouts cross paths.
“It’s a relief!”, He launched, met at the Amalie Arena skating rink during the post-game celebrations on Sunday. incredible feeling. ”
General manager Joe Sakic was hyperactive at the end of the season, acquiring Artturi Lehkonen, Josh Manson, Andrew Cogliano and Nico Sturm in the last week before the trading deadline.
These acquisitions are the product of the work of both recruiting departments. Because for Lehkonen as for Manson, Avalanche sacrificed the hopes of amateur recruiting. If the Montreal Canadiens don’t see potential in Justin Barron, if the Anaheim Ducks think Drew Helleson will never enter the NHL, those trades may never have materialized.
Of Montreal, Lehkonen is obviously the one most talked about. “He was on the radar, at the top of our list. We knew he would definitely be available. In the course of our discussions, we pushed for him, especially our explorers in the east. He was really good, ”explains Laperrière.
To afford Lehkonen, Sakic had to tap into the court of his amateur recruiters by sacrificing Barron, choice of 1.uh Avalanche tour in 2020, also offering the CH a choice of 2And round in 2024.
We paid a heavy price. It may take a few years for Montreal to reap the rewards of the transaction. But it is so. We have learned from lightning over the past two years. They paid a lot of money.
“Josh Manson, too, maybe got us through the second round against the Blues, a more robust club. We needed it. ”
In the playoffs Lehkonen was used all over the place, but often in an offensive role. Manson, on the other hand, played his role as fifth defender wonderfully, handing out strong checks and racking up 8 points in 20 games.
Sturm and Cogliano were employed in the fourth line. But in post-match interviews, Makar revealed that Cogliano had organized a team meeting the day before Game 6. On the summary, we will then read that the former iron man played 9 min 34 s in the elimination match, and that he got a shot on goal. But concretely, from the top of his 1140 NHL games, he has found his way to help his new team.
“I’m glad we had some pretty solid discussions, because we had to convince Joe that Lehkonen was the guy we needed, just like Manson. Cogliano too … he has more kilometers in his body, but he has a lot of experience in the playoffs. All these additions paid off. ”