The recent firing of Mike Smith and then Nick Beverley,Bill Lesuk,Marshall Johnston and Joe Yanetti have definitely impacted what had been a re-organized Hawks' scouting system that had won high praise in recent years after many many years as a laughingstock..... Yes --Smith was fired for other reasons--but the rest of the staff did their jobs well and only got canned because Smith brought them in.NOW poor old Dale Tallon is left doing the job of 4 others and the director of Amateur Scouting is once again Michel Dumas =responsible for some of the worst drafyting of anyone in hockey! It is Sad.. HOWEVER--not understood by many--besides the vengeance factor and the money saving factor --IS THIS: The Pulford/Wirtz "braintrust" MAY be signalling a coming DE-EMPHASIS on the draft as a building strategy given their expectation of a new CBA (after-lock-out) with a HARD CAP and LOWER UFA age limits....the better way to get to a contender QUICKER may be via the proper magagement of turnover among existing pros on a team and via UFA acquisitions off other teams who cannot keep everyone under lower CAPS......IT IS THUS INEVETABLE that less resources will be allocated to the DRAFT ...the quicker fix will be proper CAP management and selection from a larger pool of already experienced NHL players and minor leaguers available as UFAs--there will still be youth entries but after more years in the minors or europros than now--and except for special talent usually the top 1-4 of round one of a draft,it will take MORE YEARS than currently get to the NHL level for most draftees.... --if 20 to 23 is an age when better prospects of a team's farm system reach the NHL in the majority of cases,this age expectation could be pushed back on average by 2-3 more years in the minors..... I for one still have an immense interest in young prospects--BUT the fact is,the majority will be prospects and not NHL players for a lot longer period than under the current system......EVENTUALLY--the draft might even be dropped altogether.....just offer a contract to players deemed ready to play in the NHL (I don't say it will happen--but if there is sufficient ability for teams to re-stock each year as long as they are under their CAP --perhaps there won't be a need for a draft;perhaps that ALSO means no need for NHL teams to own a minor league farm team---perhaps another system can be put in place for call-ups in case of emergencies due to injuries;perhaps lager NHL rosters will handle that--but some players on a practice only "taxi-squad" at a LESSEER PAY SCALE until they get "activated"? So our beloved hockey's "future" in terms of speculating on the potential of young players MAY TAKE ON LESS IMPORTANCE and while sad --it may be What IS To Come). IF this is the case,the PULFORD/WIRTZ may be much more VISIONARY than we realized.