The top lieutenant in the Dubuque Fighting Saints' draft-day war room will be moving on to the National Hockey League.
The Montreal Canadiens recently hired Bobby Kinsella, the Saints' director of scouting, to scout the Midwest. Kinsella will relocate to Chicago, and his primary territory will cover the United States Hockey League, the NCAA and top-tier high school and Midget programs.
"It's a fantastic opportunity for me, and I'm excited about working for a first-class organization that does things the right way," Kinsella said. "When you look at the number of championships they've won and the number of Hall of Famers they've produced, you compare the Canadiens to the New York Yankees in baseball and the Boston Celtics in basketball."
When the expansion Saints hired Jim Montgomery as head coach and general manager in the spring of 2010, he immediately sought the services of Kinsella, who helped build a Clark Cup championship team in Sioux City. Dubuque won the Clark Cup last spring, and Montgomery credited his scouting staff for assembling a character-rich team.
Despite graduating the bulk of its 2010-11 roster to NCAA Division I programs and experiencing several key injuries this season, Dubuque went 36-20-4 and advanced into the second round of the playoffs.
"Bobby does an incredible job coordinating all of our player development and scouting areas, and he's such a huge part of our organization, so he'll be sorely missed," Montgomery said. "But he's certainly earned this, and he deserves this.
"Our organization takes a tremendous amount of pride in advancing not only our players, but members of our staff.
"It's a credit to our organization that he's being recognized at the NHL level. I have no doubt he'll be successful because of his work ethic, his organizational skills and his keen eye for talent. He won't be outworked."
Kinsella scouted more than 200 games for the Saints this season and filed reports on nearly 1,100 players prior to the USHL's Futures Draft and Entry Draft.
Throughout the season, he constantly adjusted a ranking system to prepare for both drafts.
Kinsella expects a similar workload in the NHL. The difference will be the absence of on-ice responsibilities. His scouting duties caused him to miss roughly half of the Saints' 60 regular-season games.
"With such heavy turnover (in players) and expansion in the USHL, you really have to spend that much time on the road if you're going to be successful on draft day," Kinsella said. "I'll still see 200-plus games a year, but I probably won't be seeing seven on a Saturday and I won't have to worry about wrapping up a scouting trip and being back on the ice the next day.
"The nice thing is I'll have a little more down time during the day to spend with my wife and my daughter. There will still be those trips where I'm gone for 10 days, but I will still have more family time.
Marc Bergevin, the rookie general manager of the Canadiens, hired Kinsella in an effort to boost the Canadiens' scouting presence in the Midwest. Kinsella will be Montreal's first full-time scout specifically hired to evaluate USHL players.
"Marc Bergevin is going to be a great G.M. in the NHL, because he's paid his dues and he's worked extremely hard to get there," Montgomery said. "He knows there's a lot of value in the players you draft in Rounds 4-7. That's where an organization builds a lot of depth.
"It speaks volumes about our league that the Canadiens would invest so heavily in scouting us that much more. You're seeing a lot more USHL players move on to the NHL and become integral parts of championship teams."