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POSTED ON Friday, 06.28.2013 / 6:23 PM

By Adam Kimelman -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - 2013 NHL Draft blog

Drouin able to shine in MacKinnon's shadow

WEEHAWKEN, N.J. -- Nathan MacKinnon stands 6-feet tall, but on the hockey rink he casts quite a shadow.

It was big enough to block some from discovering how good Jonathan Drouin, his teammate with the Halifax Mooseheads of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, really is.

Drouin certainly produced worthy of the No. 3 ranking NHL Central Scouting gave him in its final ranking of North American skaters for the 2013 NHL Draft. He finished second in the QMJHL with 105 points in 49 games, played for Canada at the 2013 IIHF World Junior Championship, helped Halifax win the QMJHL title, and capped a run to the Memorial Cup championship with five assists in the title game. He was named the Canadian Hockey League Player of the Year.

"He deserves all that [attention]," MacKinnon said Friday. "He's had a heck of a year and definitely helped carry us to the Memorial Cup championship. He's been a great player and a great teammate all year. He definitely deserves all the attention he's getting."

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POSTED ON Thursday, 06.27.2013 / 6:49 PM

By Adam Kimelman -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - 2013 NHL Draft blog

Nurse's father pushed him to hockey

NEW YORK -- It's no secret that Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds defenseman Darnell Nurse comes from an athletic background.

Most sports fans have heard of his uncle, former NFL All-Pro quarterback Donovan McNabb. His father, Richard Nurse, was a wide receiver with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats of the Canadian Football League.

Darnell said he's seen the result of that career crop up as his father has gotten older.

"The other day we were sitting on the back deck and that was one of my questions," Nurse said during a press event Thursday at the Empire State Building. "He can't straighten one of his elbows, he's got a couple fingers pointing the wrong way."

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POSTED ON Thursday, 06.27.2013 / 6:26 PM

By Adam Kimelman -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - 2013 NHL Draft blog

MacKinnon not focusing on Avalanche's praise

NEW YORK -- While the Colorado Avalanche appear to have decided on taking Halifax Mooseheads center Nathan MacKinnon with the top pick of the 2013 NHL Draft on Sunday (3 p.m. ET; NBCSN, TSN), MacKinnon said he isn't paying much attention to it.

Joe Sakic, the Avalanche's executive vice-president of hockey, said of MacKinnon during a television interview Monday, "I think if we had to do it today, right now, he would probably be the guy, yes."

In an interview with ESPN.com on Monday, Avalanche coach Patrick Roy echoed those sentiments: "It would be tough for us not to take MacKinnon. MacKinnon is ready to play tomorrow."

MacKinnon said he didn't hear the comments directly, but learned pretty quickly what had been said.

“Actually both times I was asleep in bed, so I woke up with a bunch of texts and I didn't know what was going on at first," MacKinnon said during a press event Wednesday at the Empire State Building. "But I kind of just checked my [Twitter] mentions and then people will kind of let me know what's going on in my own life. That's the way it works these days -- you find out from Twitter and not the news or anything. Word gets around pretty quick, I guess."

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POSTED ON Saturday, 06.01.2013 / 3:14 PM

By Adam Kimelman -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - Combing the 2013 NHL Combine

Lewington stands out in Combine fitness results

TORONTO -- Medicine Hat Tigers defenseman Tyler Lewington measures in at 6-foot-1 and 189 pounds, but no player was bigger when it came to some of the upper-body tests during the two days of fitness testing at the NHL Scouting Combine.

Lewington, No. 66 in NHL Central Scouting's final ranking of North American skaters, performed a Combine-best 16 repetitions on the 150-pound bench press, one more than forward Kerby Rychel of the Windsor Spitfires and Shawinigan Cataractes defenseman Dylan Labbe.

Lewington also did the most pushups, 42, finishing ahead of Rimouski Oceanic defenseman Jan Kostalek, who had 37. United States National Team Development Program center John Hayden and Portland Winterhawks center Nicolas Petan were next with 36.

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POSTED ON Saturday, 06.01.2013 / 2:11 PM

By Adam Kimelman -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - Combing the 2013 NHL Combine

Desrosiers shines at World U-18s

TORONTO -- Goaltender Philippe Desrosiers of the Rimouski Oceanic had a solid season in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, and earned the No. 7 spot in NHL Central Scouting's final ranking of North American goalies for the 2013 NHL Draft.

However, if those rankings had been re-done after the 2013 IIHF World Under-18 Championship, there's a chance Desrosiers might have been a bit higher.

The 6-foot-1.25, 182-pound goalie topped the tournament with a 0.80 goals-against average and .970 save percentage in five games to help Canada win the gold medal. He allowed three goals in his final three games, including a shutout against the Czech Republic in the quarterfinals.

"I think it was a good showcase for me to prove myself," Desrosiers told NHL.com. "I played great and coming to Canada with the gold medal was awesome. I'm very proud of myself. Maybe I proved something. Maybe a lot of scouts saw me. I'm very happy."

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POSTED ON Saturday, 06.01.2013 / 10:16 AM

By Adam Kimelman -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - Combing the 2013 NHL Combine

Return to first round possible for Blues

TORONTO -- The St. Louis Blues won't make their first pick at the 2013 NHL Draft until the middle of the second round. At least, that's the plan right now.

"We don't have a first round pick yet," Blues general manager Doug Armstrong told NHL.com. "But the draft's not tomorrow either."

The Blues traded this year's first-round pick to the Calgary Flames as part of the Jay Bouwmeester deal, but Armstrong said getting back into the top round this year remains a possibility.

"We know we're not going to get into that top five or six, but anything after that is always a potential on draft day," he said. "There's a lot of emphasis put on, don't worry about what we don't have, we could acquire something, and make sure we're prepared for it."

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POSTED ON Friday, 05.31.2013 / 9:58 PM

By Adam Kimelman -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - Combing the 2013 NHL Combine

Defensemen take lead in first day of Combine testing

TORONTO -- The first day of fitness testing at the NHL Scouting Combine saw 72 players get measured, poked, prodded and tested in front of scouts and managers from all 30 teams, as well as members of the media.

The two most infamous tests are the bike tests: the Wingate Cycle Ergometer and the VO2 Max. The Wingate measures a player's peak output in a 30-second sprint, and the VO2 tests a player's stamina and ability to recover between shifts.

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POSTED ON Friday, 05.31.2013 / 7:18 PM

By Adam Kimelman -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - Combing the 2013 NHL Combine

Quebec forward Duclair familiar with fitness test

TORONTO -- It was a long wait for Quebec Remparts forward Anthony Duclair, but he became the final draft hopeful to complete the fitness testing portion at the NHL Scouting Combine on Friday.

"The excitement builds up to it, but at the same time it's done and it was a pretty good experience," Duclair told NHL.com.

Though the tests can be challenging or unique to some prospects, Duclair had a bit of an advantage; he had gone through a mock test with the same York University professionals. That includes the bike tests, which feature players having their feet duct-taped to the pedals and trainers screaming motivation from their left, right and front.

"I did it with the same staff," Duclair said. "My trainer had contacts. We called them up and we had them scream in my face as well, so it was pretty fun."

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POSTED ON Friday, 05.31.2013 / 4:14 PM

By Adam Kimelman -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - Combing the 2013 NHL Combine

Barkov believes he can be top-seven pick

TORONTO -- The NHL Scouting Combine is an opportunity for teams to learn about the players they might take in the 2013 NHL Draft. But sometimes the players learn something about themselves. That was the case for Aleksander Barkov, NHL Central Scouting's top-rated European skater.

"I didn't know that my English is so good," he said. "I thought that I can't speak but then it was easy."

Barkov already was highly regarded because of his play. The 17-year-old center had 21 goals and 48 points in 53 games with Tappara in sm-Liiga, Finland's top professional league, and had three goals and four assists in seven games for Finland at the 2013 IIHF World Junior Championship.

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POSTED ON Friday, 05.31.2013 / 3:17 PM

By Adam Kimelman -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - Combing the 2013 NHL Combine

Stars' Jackson looking forward to NHL Draft

TORONTO -- Les Jackson has been scouting prospects for the Dallas Stars organization for 25 years, so he knows there are no guarantees when it comes to the NHL Draft.

"Nothing's for sure," he told NHL.com. "We've picked high and never gotten anybody. You just hope that you draft the right guy if there's a player there and you take him. You work with him, develop him, be patient with him and see what you get."

Jackson, the Stars' assistant general manager, oversees the team's amateur scouting department. This year, the Stars have two first-round picks: their own at No. 10 and the Boston Bruins' pick they acquired in the Jaromir Jagr trade (number yet to be determined).

"Anytime you can get two picks it's a good deal," Jackson said. "It's a good draft this year. We're fortunate. We got one late. We wish our first pick was late, but unfortunately it's 10. It's a deep draft, so I think teams are going to do well in the first top of the draft."

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Once again, it shows character in this dressing room. Once again, there's no quitting in here. We all wanted this so bad and we worked so hard to get home-ice advantage and we weren't going to let this one slide.

— Colorado Avalanche captain Gabriel Landeskog on his team's OT Game 1 win vs. Minnesota Wild