Even though the Stanley Cup Final begins tonight, it is still important to take a look into a subject that doesn't get as much attention as it possibly should, that is, the NHL Combine. However, before I go any further, I'd like to note that my first Stanley Cup Final preview has been written along with a wrap up of Game 7 of the Western Conference Final.
(Photo Credit: NHL.com)
Now for the Combine; much like the NFL Combine, the NHL Combine puts prospects under the microscope giving scouts the ability to test the physicality and athleticism of the future of the NHL. This year's combine featured 119 of the top prospects from both North America as well as Europe. This year however was somewhat different. Not in terms of layout but in terms of the dynamic physical tests that the prospects were put through. Some of these included pull-ups, squats, and pro agility shuttle run. The addition of these tests give the NHL as well as scouts the ability to further analyze the athleticism and strength of the prospects. Amidst all of the physical testing, prospects were also interviewed by front office personnel from different teams around the league. As a side note, not every team interviewed every prospect. A prospect would be interviewed by the teams that feel like he will fit best in their program.
(Photo Credit: whl.ca)
What usually happens after a combine, whether its in the NHL, NFL, or any sport in between, is that a top rated prospect might move down in the rankings. This did in fact happen this year. The midterm rankings had; Samuel Bennett (1), Leon Draisaitl (2), Aaron Ekblad (3), Sam Reinhart (4), and Michael Dal Colle (5). After the wrap-up of the combine, the rankings looked more like; Samuel Bennett (1), Aaron Ekblad (2), Sam Reinhart (3), Leon Draisaitl (4), and Michael Dal Colle (5). For future reference, the combine rankings are more than likely to be the first round position predictions come the NHL Draft on June 27 and 28.