[...] Mark Yannetti, the Director of Amateur Scouting for the Los Angeles Kings [...] [hails] from Massachusetts. He started scouting for the Toronto Maple Leafs in 1999 and has been working in the Kings organization for five years [...].
Who travels more, a player on the Los Angeles Kings, or you [...]?
Not even close – I do, a minimum of four European/Russia trips per year. Last year I spent well over 200 days in a hotel, not to mention days where I traveled to games but came home that night.
[There's a lot of] debate about [whether] you need to have been a hockey player [...] to be an effective scout. What are your thoughts on that?
[...S]couts that have not played some form of pro hockey are at times behind those that did – it is nearly impossible to "tell" someone how tough playing hockey is. You have to live it – the travel and the absolute grind, especially in the minors. [...] However, I do know more than a few scouts whom I consider exceptionally competent even though they have never played at this level or even a competitive level. [...]
[Beyond] viewing and judging talent [...] what [do] scouts do that people may not realize?
Judging character…and not just the good old all-american boy whom you’d want your daughter to marry. Many times the things that make you a fierce competitor, single-minded and, especially, a winner, are not the traits of a good citizen. [...S]ome of the players I’d want in the playoffs would not pass people’s or society's test. it's all about figuring out which flaws can be overcome and which cannot be overcome – and which you can live with.
Sometimes the best talent doesn't equal the best player – actually quite often.
[...The] toughest part [...] is projections [...]. [E]ven though player A will be better than player B, there are circumstances where I will choose player B because of intangibles – such as taking a hard, nasty physical defenseman over a more skilled wing because the defenseman are harder to find [...].
[Who] is your proudest discovery?
[...] Wayne Simmonds [...] – a kid that wasn’t even rated by central scouting when we drafted him and [whom] we, as an organization, took some flak for drafting as high as we did. But Wayne made our team just his second year after the draft and has even played on our first line [...]
What is the best and worst part about your job?
The best part is the guys I work with. It is the closet thing to a team atmosphere since I stopped playing. This isn't always the case, though – the group Dean Lombardi [...] has put together is truly special. It’s corny, I know, but I do really believe it. The fact that we have gotten the opportunity to build something from the ground up – I love that challenge. [...]
The worst is that the travel is pretty tough. Everyone always says "wow, you get to travel for a living and watch hockey!" but it’s really no fun. I had a trip last year where I was home only 1 day in all of February [...] I flew 20 different segments and the warmest place I stayed was Winnipeg!
There's more to the interview so follow the link if you're interested. I trimmed it down quite a bit, and really I'm posting it just for the quote I high-lighted in bold above, which I will now reprise:
"Many times the things that make you a fierce competitor, single-minded and, especially, a winner, are not the traits of a good citizen. [...S]ome of the players I’d want in the playoffs would not pass people’s or society's test. it's all about figuring out which flaws can be overcome and which cannot be overcome – and which you can live with."
Hey, maybe the newly-minted Dickhead Exception might not be that crazy after all.