Tag: EJ McGuire


Scouting director EJ McGuire dies at age 58 after battle with cancer

Today is a sad day for the hockey world, as Edward John “EJ” McGuire died today in Toronto due to complications from cancer. McGuire was 58 years old and is survived by his wife Terry and his two daughters, Jacqueline and Erin.

McGuire has been the Director of the NHL’s Central Scouting Department since 2005, heading the most relied-upon source of draft information in a sport that requires extensive international research. Of course, he will be missed for far more personal reasons than his presence as a go-to guy regarding draft prospects, though.

The NHL’s press release notes that McGuire was a head coach at the collegiate, junior and AHL levels along with being an assistant coach for three different NHL teams and a scout for two.

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman and VP of Hockey Operations Colin Campbell provided statements about a man who was well-respected in hockey circles.

“The National Hockey League was privileged to benefit from EJ’s expertise and enthusiasm, both of which were limitless,” NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said. “EJ loved scouting games and loved the internal debates over the strengths and weaknesses of Entry Draft prospects. The way he ran Central Scouting made it vitally important to every one of our Clubs.

“The NHL family has suffered a tremendous loss. As we celebrate EJ’s contributions and mourn his passing, we send our condolences — and our gratitude — to EJ’s family and friends.”


“EJ was a colleague, a friend and a mentor who influenced and enriched the hockey lives of thousands of players, coaches, parents and administrators in more than 30 years in the game,” said NHL Senior Executive Vice President of Hockey Operations Colin Campbell. “As a coach, he combined attention to detail with innovation to teach the game to players at all levels — from teenage college and junior players to the elite professionals in the NHL.  As the NHL’s Vice President of Central Scouting and a member of the Hockey Operations Department, he brought wisdom, guidance and unparalleled commitment to the game to advance it on so many levels.

“EJ had two loves in life: His love of family and his passion for hockey,” Campbell said. “The hockey world extends its deepest sympathies to his wife, Terry, and daughters Jacqueline and Erin.”

(Photo via NHL.com.)

Swedes Gabriel Landeskog and Adam Larsson top mid-season rankings for 2011 NHL Entry Draft


While the NHL Entry Draft lacks the bloated three-day pomp and circumstance of its NFL equivalent, it’s possible that the draft has become a more immediate window into the league’s future than ever before. The reasoning is simple: younger, smaller players can succeed because the game rewards skill and speed far more than it did during the “Dead Puck Era.”

(It’s also fair to say that there might be a considerably larger influx of young talent, period.)

While NHL Central Scouting Director EJ McGuire says that this year’s more wide-open pool indicates that this isn’t a “Crosby draft year,” they did name two Swedes as the top prospects at this point: left wing Gabriel Landeskog and defenseman Adam Larsson. Landeskog plays for the Kitchener Rangers of the Ontario Hockey League while Larsson skates with Skelleftea AIK of the Swedish Elite League. If one of those two players manages to become the first pick of the ’11 draft, that player would become the first Swede to earn that honor since the Quebec Nordiques drafted Mats Sundin first overall in 1989.

(Want to peruse the rankings? Here are Central Scouting’s picks for North American skaters, North American goalies, European skaters and European goalies.)

Here is a little bit of insight regarding Landeskog from McGuire.

Topping Central Scouting’s list of North American skaters is power forward Gabriel Landeskog of the Ontario Hockey League’s Kitchener Rangers. Landeskog is currently sidelined with a high-ankle sprain suffered with Kitchener prior to joining the Swedish National Junior Team at the World Junior Championship two weeks ago. He re-aggravated the injury in the first game of the WJC after notching a goal and an assist in a 7-1 victory against Norway.

“He came over to North America as an under-age player and that’s unique in that most Swedes don’t,” McGuire said. “He’s a fearless forward who goes to the net and stays there.”

While many will lazily make the equation: “Adam Larsson” + “Swedish” + “defenseman” = Nicklas Lidstrom, it’s probably not fair to compare him to the best Swede of the last 20 years. It’s probably more balanced to compare Larsson to Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman, a fellow Swede and the second overall pick of the ’09 draft. One scout obliged and compared him favorably to the tall Tampa Bay blueliner.

Larsson, a Swedish defenseman whose exceptional puck-handling, poise and booming shot will have scouts and general managers considering their options, is the top-rated European prospect on the board.

One European NHL scout from a Western Conference team told NHL.com that Larsson might be ahead of where Victor Hedman was at the midway point of his draft year two years ago. Hedman was chosen by the Tampa Bay Lightning with the No. 2 pick in 2009.

“Hedman was allowed to do more with his home team in Sweden, so they let him be more active with the puck and try different things,” the scout said. “I think Adam Larsson plays a safer game. I certainly think he has the same potential as Hedman. He’s every bit as good with the puck and he might be a touch tougher. Hedman is a little bigger, but they’re both unbelievably good skaters. I think I would take Larsson over Hedman if I could, based on what I’ve seen the last three years.”

So there’s the lowdown on two players who might end up going first and second in the ’11 draft, but again, this is a pretty wide-open pool. Check out interesting behind the scenes footage of scouts discussing different prospects (including Ken Hitchcock’s “no pressure, kid” comparison between Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Joe Sakic) in the video below.