The scouting and hockey operations staffs of all thirty NHL teams are experiencing the most stressful few days of the year. For a year and maybe longer, the scouts, traveling by commercial airline and rental car, have gone from one hotel to the next, as they covered hockey rinks in North America, Europe and parts of Asia looking for the next generation of the world's best hockey players.
In the past year, each of these staffs have collectively filed 3-4000 reports about hundreds of prospects. Each of the most interesting prospects has had hundreds of reports filed about him. There have been further interviews with flesh and blood families and billet families, as well as teachers, teammates and, of course, coaches.
For several days now, the hockey ops and scouting people have been huddled in their hotel rooms eating room service while the prospects have photo opportunities around Pittsburgh. On top of the thousands of interviews conducted in the past year and the hundreds done at the Scouting Combine and in the weeks since, the teams are each conducting many more interviews of prospects in their hotel rooms and holding meeting after meeting.
The point of all the traveling, the interviews, the meetings and the bad hotel food is to compile "The List". This List will contain the names of 100 or so prospects that the team likes best, in the order the team thinks they should be picked.
In their meetings, the teams will discuss everything from Nail Yakupov's concussion history, to the ACL injuries of Slater Koekkoek, Morgan Rielly and Alex Galchenyuk, to when Mikhail Grigorenko was really born. They will also discuss more mundane things like the attitude of a coach, the body language of a prospect during an interview, or something the billet mom said.
Sometime tomorrow afternoon, they will hold one final meeting. At this meeting, the names on that list and their ranking will be finalized. Some teams will undoubtedly have Filip Forsberg, Ryan Murray, Alex Galchenyuk, Mikhail Grigorenko or some prospect other than Nail Yakupov, the consensus favorite, as their number one. In any event, they will have their list and they'll be ready to select the future of their franchise.