Scott Fitzgerald is taking on an unusual role with the San Jose Sharks.
Fitzgerald, formerly Chief College Scout for the Boston Bruins, is now the Director of Player Personnel. According to the San Jose Sharks’ press release, Fitzgerald “will focus on pro and amateur scouting, including potential top-two round selections at the NHL Draft and college free agents.”
Fitzgerald has been with the Bruins since 2006-07, holding a variety of scouting titles, from College Scouting Coordinator to Assistant Director of Amateur Scouting to Amateur Scout. From 1999 to 2006, he was a Columbus Blue Jackets scout.
For the most part, Fitzgerald’s emphasis over his career has been in the NCAA.
What caught my attention was Fitzgerald’s specific focus on the first two rounds of the NHL Draft. That’s not a league norm, as far as I can tell.
“Never heard of that,” an amateur scout from an outside NHL organization confirmed.
San Jose Sharks GM Mike Grier made sure to distinguish Fitzgerald’s role from new director of amateur scouting Chris Morehouse’s.
“Chris is going to be in charge of all amateur scouting. He’ll be the one setting up the schedules for the rest of the staff. He’ll be the one going back and forth to Europe to check over there, spending time in all the different leagues in North America. He’ll run the Draft,” Grier said. “Him and Scotty will be in touch. [Chris] and his staff will come up with a group of who they think are the possible top two-round talents. They’ll get that list to Scottie and Scottie will scout those guys as well.”
I mean, it makes some sense. Those are your highest-value picks.
“It’s just making sure that we have another set of eyes and another set of opinion on the players, these top players. It will be important for us to hit on our top picks,” Grier offered. “I think they can help each other.”
Fitzgerald’s acumen certainly helped in 2016, when the Bruins were choosing between NCAA prospects Charlie McAvoy and Dante Fabbro with the 14th pick of the Draft. Sources have told San Jose Hockey Now that Fitzgerald advocated hard for McAvoy, who has become the linchpin of Boston’s blueline since the departures of Zdeno Chara and Torey Krug.
Fitzgerald and Morehouse appear, to some degree, to be taking the reins of San Jose’s drafts from assistant general manager Tim Burke and director of scouting Doug Wilson Jr.. Grier has moved Burke to a senior advisor/pro scout role, while the Sharks and Wilson Jr. parted ways shortly after the Jul. 7-8 Draft.
Speaking of Krug, Fitzgerald was part of the group that signed the college free agent out of Michigan State in 2012. Krug, Frank Vatrano, Kevan Miller, Karson Kuhlman, and Noel Acciari form an impressive group of college free agents that the Bruins inked in Fitzgerald’s time in Boston.
“He’s got a great eye,” a source told SJHN.
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