Per a report in The Athletic on Monday, the Montreal Canadiens rounded out their amateur scouting department just prior to the 2022 Hlinka Gretzky Cup.
Former Florida Panthers amateur scout Billy Ryan and former Boston University head coach Albie O’Connell have been hired to oversee amateur scouting in the United States for the Montreal Canadiens.
Ryan is the new Director of Player Evaluation for the Canadiens. In addition to his duties below the border, Ryan will also work with closely with Montreal Canadiens Director of Player Development Rob Ramage and keep a watchful an eye on Canadiens drafted prospects.
Per a source to The Athletic, and confirmed to Montreal Hockey Now by a former Florida Panthers executive source late Monday afternoon, Ryan oversaw the Panthers’ draft during significant changes in the front office in 2020, and just before former Montreal Canadiens Director of Amateur Scouting Shane Churla got hired for the same job with the Panthers. That was the draft in which the Panthers when drafted Anton Lundell 12th overall and current Canadiens prospect Emil Heineman 43rd overall.
Ryan, 36, is a native of Milton, Massachusetts. He was drafted in the third round (80th overall) of the 2004 NHL Entry Draft and then played four seasons (2004-05 until 2007-08), at the University of Maine. Ryan never played in the NHL but he did play 22 games in the AHL for the Philadelphia Phantoms, Lake Erie Monsters and the Hershey Bears, as well as 46 games in the ECHL with the Wheeling Nailers and the South Carolina Stingrays between 2008-09 and the 2011-12 seasons. Ryan also played 54 games for the Nottingham Panthers of the EIHL during the 2010-11 season.
Based on the report in The Athletic, O’Connell will serve as Ryan’s assistant. O’Connell, 46, spent the last four seasons as head coach of the Boston University Terriers after four seasons as an assistant and associate under his predecessor at Boston University and newly named San Jose Sharks head coach David Quinn. Prior to that, O’Connell spent 11 seasons as an assistant coach for Colby College, Niagara University, Holy Cross, Merrimack College, Northeastern University and Harvard University. O’Connell is a native of Watertown, Massachusetts and ironically played high school and college hockey with new San Jose Sharks general manager Mike Grier.
With both Ryan and O’Connell being based in Boston for the better part of the last decade, they have strong ties to Canadiens executive vice president of hockey operations Jeff Gorton, general manager Kent Hughes and co-director of amateur scouting Nick Bobrov, who spent plenty of time in and around Boston.