Leading up to the National Hockey League entry draft, player rankings are here, there and everywhere.
There are obviously the two big players in draft rankings: NHL Central Scouting Service and International Scouting Services. Both scouting services have developed very credible reputations for hiring top-notch scouts who do their due diligence. Frankly, if they aren’t credible, no one is.
It seems McKeen’s Hockey and HockeyProspect.com are the next scouting services in line. Well-established scouts, Mark Edwards for HockeyProspect, and former NHL scout David Burstyn for Mckeen’s Hockey, lead both scouting websites. Past them, other scouting services such as Future Considerations and the Red Line Report have gotten its names out there.
Even though I have my suspicions that some scouting services use CSS and ISS’ rankings as a guideline for their own lists, I’m going to give all of the scouting services mentioned above the benefit of the doubt.
But what about all of these other random rankings from various hockey websites? What are they based on? It is obvious they don’t employ scouts, or at least educated ones. Therefore, they must be using scouting services’ rankings to put together their own lists. There is nothing wrong with this if they credit the scouting services’ lists that they used. In fact, I enjoy reading draft lists based on a consensus of a handful of scouts. I have made my own in the past with the help of my friends and acquaintances who scout the junior ranks.
Most hockey website draft rankings, however, don’t credit scouting services or scouts as sources for their lists. This is essentially plagiarism since they take someone else’s work and pass it off as their own. Sure, some of the writers probably watched some of those prospects they listed. Anything less than four live viewings isn’t sufficient enough to give an accurate take on said players, though. And if I was a betting man, I would put money on most draft ranking writers not watching at least half of their list’s players four times or more.
The plagiarising of draft rankings has even gone beyond the NHL. I have seen WHL and OHL rankings put together by websites without giving credit to scouts or scouting services.
That begs the question – is plagiarising scouts’ draft rankings no different than a writer’s column? I would argue it is even worse since putting together a real draft ranking takes countless hours. Most columns, meanwhile, take 2-3 hours.
As it stands, websites that make draft rankings aren’t being held accountable for their plagiarism. Instead, readers give them credit for their “hard work.” When it reality, they didn’t do the hard work, the scouts whom they didn’t credit did.