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POSTED ON Friday, 06.03.2011 / 6:10 PM

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

Coyotes considering move -- at Draft

Phoenix Coyotes General Manager Don Maloney said holding the 20th pick at the 2011 Entry Draft, as well as a pair of second-round picks, puts his team in a pretty advantageous spot.

"I like where we sit," Maloney told NHL.com during the fitness testing at the Toronto Congress Centre. "There's a lot of intriguing players that are going to be (available). It's an interesting spot to be in. We have two second-round picks. I know what'll happen -- we'll have the ability to move up in the draft, realistically we could move up five or six spots -- probably the most you could move up. Basically taking one of our seconds and our first, so somebody would have to drop to 20 and get a second-round pick. I know that'll be available to us depending on how the draft flows. On the other hand, we're not against looking and saying 'hey, we're at 20 to go to 25 or 26 or 27.' That could happen, too, to gain another asset in the second round."

While Maloney said he's open to moving back, he doubts he'll move out of the first round with any deal he might make.

"What you do when you get to your list, we might have a guy there at 16 that's a little under the radar, you take a risk to go back, maybe to 25, but 30 and beyond, that's a big drop," he said. "Probably that's too dramatic. Last year we traded down with Montreal, we we're sitting at 27 and we had the ability … the Islanders offered us three picks to drop back. We knew Visentin was a little high where we took him. It was up to (director of amateur scouting) Keith Gretzky and his staff. I said guys, here's an ability to trade down and get a couple second and I might have been able to do better than that, but they said no. We want to take the player. That drop --  we thought there's too much risk to get the guy we really wanted."

Maloney said wherever he ends up in the first round, he's got an idea of the kind of player he'll be looking for.

"We're not looking at a goaltender in an early round, that's a given this year based on what we did with Mark Visentin last year," Maloney said of the goaltender the Coyotes picked at No. 27 in 2010. "We would prefer, if it comes down to all things being equal, we might prefer a centerman to a winger, or we might prefer a defenseman to a winger. Either way, it's find the best top two-line forward or top-four defenseman, that's what we try to find where we're drafting."

Contact Adam Kimelman at akimelman@nhl.com.
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POSTED ON Friday, 06.03.2011 / 4:04 PM

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

No betting in Portland

Four members of the Portland Winterhawks were invited to the Combine, but only three -- Joe Morrow, Sven Baertschi and Ty Rattie -- took part in the fitness testing today. Tyler Wotherspoon passed due to injuries suffered during the WHL playoffs.

Among the three Winterhawks going through the fitness circuit, no wagers were put down on who would perform best on any event, or who could keep their breakfast down after bike tests.

"We support each other," Morrow told NHL.com. "It's more a friendly competition than anything more than that."

Morrow and Baertschi were in the same group, with Rattie about two hours behind them. Morrow said he would give Rattie a few details about the testing -- some real, some a bit of an exaggeration.

"I might tell him it's a little worse than it is just to scare him a little bit," Morrow said with a laugh.

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POSTED ON Friday, 06.03.2011 / 2:06 PM

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

Goalie test

The bike tests at the Scouting Combine are a nice opportunity to test skaters' endurance and recovery time between shifts. But how does it work for goaltenders?
 
"It was pretty rough," said John Gibson, NHL Central Scouting's top-rated North American goaltender. "Bikes are tough."
 
For a player who won't skate much more than a few feet most of the game, testing for speed bursts isn't something he'll have to worry about.
 
"Doesn't really go through your head in the moment, you just want to do the best you can," he said. "But now that I look back on it, it comes in your head, 'What did I do that for?' It gets you in shape, that's all that matters."
 
Contact Adam Kimelman at
akimelman@nhl.com. Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK

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POSTED ON Friday, 06.03.2011 / 1:18 PM

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

Nugent-Hopkins on the bench

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins accepts the fact that he'll never win any power-lifting competitions.
 
"I'm not a big bench press guy, as you can probably tell," he joked with reporters yesterday. But as one scout said, until a barbell starts scoring goals, he'll worry about bench press totals another time.
 
When Nugent-Hopkins' turn came on the bench, he did about six reps with the 150-pound bar. But his ability on a bench isn't why he's NHL Central Skating's top-ranked North American skater and a candidate to be the first pick of the draft next month.

"It went all right," he said after finishing the fitness testing circuit. "I don't have the biggest chest out there, so I didn't lift the most on the bench press, but I did alright."
 
Nugent-Hopkins is listed at 164 pounds, but he says he's put on five pounds since the season ended, and believes he could put on another five to 10 before next season starts. So he's not spending a lot of time worrying about how much bigger or stronger he might have to be to play in the NHL next season.
 
"I think about it a little bit," he said. "I'm not going to stress too much about it. I'm working hard at it, I'm trying to put on the weight and put on some strength. That's all I can do."
 
Contact Adam Kimelman at
akimelman@nhl.com. Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK
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POSTED ON Friday, 06.03.2011 / 12:10 PM

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

First through the Combine

Youngstown Phantoms defenseman Scott Mayfield, No. 24 on NHL Central Scouting's final ranking of North American skaters for the 2011 Entry Draft, had the privilege of being the first player to complete the fitness testing circuit at the NHL Scouting Combine.
 
"It felt good," he said. "I'm done. I got it out of the way. I'll be on a plane home while some of the kids are still testing, so that's nice."
 
The fitness testing for the first time was held in a larger room at the Toronto Congress Centre, but a larger room allowed for more scouts, general managers and media to pack the room.
 
"That was new to me," Mayfield said. "You're definitely in the spotlight out here. I enjoyed it, though. It's something to compete in and I want to see how my results turned out against all the other kids here."
 
Like most of the prospects, the two bike tests -- the Wingate Cycle Ergometer, which measures a player's power output during a 30-second burst, and the VO2 Max test, which measures a player's endurance -- were the toughest.
 
"The bike tests are, of course, the hardest and I was on the bike quite a bit the last two months leading up to this," Mayfield said. "I think I did good. They didn't tell us our results, we won't get to see those just yet. I was happy with what I did. I definitely tried my hardest."
 
He had no shortage of motivation -- two trainers were screaming at jet-engine decibels inches from his face. 
 
"I got a personal trainer at home who told me to keep going … they told me they were going to be pretty loud," he said. "I said, be really loud, that pushes you that much harder. They were pretty loud in my ear."
 
Contact Adam Kimelman at akimelman@nhl.com. Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK

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POSTED ON Friday, 06.03.2011 / 10:08 AM

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

Fun, fashion and bike riding with top prospects

NHL.com videographer Steven Hoffner came up with a great idea -- take two of the top prospects here at the NHL Scouting Combine to the Eaton Centre, the biggest mall in Canada, conveniently located in downtown Toronto.
 
We piled into a rented Buick with Gabriel Landeskog and Mika Zibanejad, who have known each other since they were 8-year-olds growing up and playing hockey together in Stockholm. Landeskog, who plays for the OHL's Kitchener Rangers, is NHL Central Scouting's No.2-ranked North American skater in its final rankings for the 2011 Entry Draft, while Zibanejad is the No. 2-ranked European skater.
 
How did it go? Well the video here tells the story better than I can, but I'll try filling in a few blanks on a video shoot that had a little bit of everything.
 

Our first stop was H&M, a Swedish clothing store. We got the guys looking at jeans and ties and trying on a few hats and glasses. Landeskog, who you would think would be a familiar face in Toronto due to his success in the OHL, was recognized, but not for his hockey skills. A gentlemen saying he was representative of a modeling agency approached Landeskog and asked him if he would be interested in being a model. Landeskog politely declined, but I guess if the hockey thing doesn't work out, he's got a second career lined up.
 
Our next stop was music store HVM. Zibanejad eyed an Adam Lambert CD, while Landeskog found a Queen CD, and made sure to note that former teammate Jeff Skinner was a fan. And as a fitting cliché, the two young Swedes spent the most time with an ABBA CD.
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POSTED ON Thursday, 06.02.2011 / 4:24 PM

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

Binnington 'drafted' by Hockey Canada

Jordan Binnington, NHL Central Scouting's third-ranked goaltender, was announced today as one of 10 goalies invited to Hockey Canada's summer goaltending camp. It's the first step in the tryout process for Canada's 2012 World Junior Championship team.

Binnington, who plays for the OHL's Owen Sound Attack, is the only one of the 10 eligible for the 2011 Entry Draft. Eight have been drafted or signed by NHL teams; only Belleville Bulls goalie Malcolm Subban doesn't have an NHL affiliation as he doesn't become draft-eligible until next year.

"I'm pretty excited about it," Binnington told NHL.com. "It's a great opportunity for me to showcase myself. Obviously I'm young … chances are slim for me, but I'm going to show what I can do and hopefully we'll see what happens from there."

Other goaltenders invited are Mississauga's J.P. Anderson (Sharks), University of Denver's Sam Brittian (Panthers), Medicine Hat's Tyler Bunz (Oilers), Quebec's Louis Domingue (Coyotes), Seattle's Calvin Pickard (Avalanche), Everett's Kent Simpson (Blackhawks) and Niagara's Mark Visentin (Coyotes).

Hockey Canada also invited six goalies to the same camp as a tryout for the summer under-18 team that will represent Canada at August's Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament. None of that group is eligible until next year's draft: Daniel Altshuller, Nepean (CCHL), Chris Driedger, Tri-City (WHL), Alex Dubeau, Shawinigan (QMJHL), Domenic Graham, Drummondville (QMJHL), Matt Murray, Sault Ste. Marie (OHL), Francois Tremblay, Val-d'Or (QMJHL).

Contact Adam Kimelman at akimelman@nhl.com. Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK

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POSTED ON Thursday, 06.02.2011 / 12:59 PM

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

Blues' clues

The St. Louis Blues are one of four teams that don't have a first-round pick at the 2011 Entry Draft -- the 11th pick belongs to Colorado from the Erik Johnson-Chris Stewart trade -- but Blues GM Doug Armstrong believes he might have the ammunition to change that.

The Blues have three second-round picks and a pair of third-round selections, and Armstrong said that could be enough to entice a team to part with one of its top-round picks.

"With the possibility of the way our picks are clumped together there's the potential to move up into the first round, we believe," Armstrong told NHL.com. "We approach it pretty well the same way. You still have to do your homework; you never know what's going to transpire at the draft table. We're approaching it the same way as if we had a first pick. My experience shows me where you think you can move to in the first round with the assets we have and we'll focus in that area."

Armstrong said his targets could be the Avalanche, Senators, Oilers and Maple Leafs -- all of which with multiple first-round picks.

"The teams that have multiple first-round picks might want to consider moving back and gaining extra second-round picks," said Armstrong. "It all really depends on how those teams have their lists."

While he said getting into the first round is a hope, it's not an imperative, because the player available at 23 or 24 could be just as good as the player available 43 or 44.

"There's really good depth in this draft," Armstrong said. "Our scouting staff has a belief where certain players will go. There's a range that if we can move up to we'd like to get into (but) history has shown that players that go in the early 30s have the same success as players that go in the early 20s. You just have to do your homework, know your players and understand what you're looking for in an NHL player."

Contact Adam Kimelman at akimelman@nhl.com. Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK
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POSTED ON Wednesday, 06.01.2011 / 5:49 PM

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

Another Subban nears Draft day

While scouts and fans are focused on the 2011 Entry Draft, there's a familiar name getting ready for the 2012 Draft.

Malcolm Subban, younger brother of Canadiens defenseman P.K. Subban, on Wednesday visited the Westin Bristol Place, home of this week's NHL Scouting Combine, to get a feel for an event he'll almost certainly be invited to next season.

Subban spent his first Ontario Hockey League season with the Belleville Bulls in 2010-11. In 32 games, he went 10-17-2 with a 3.16 goals-against average and .900 save percentage. He also earned an invitation to Hockey Canada's summer goaltending camp, which could see him earn the chance to audition for a spot on Canada's 2012 World Junior Championship team.

Before that, though, there was a little shopping trip around the mini-Reebok store set up in a hotel ballroom. Subban tried out gear and checked out some of the stuff pros like Roberto Luongo, Marc-Andre Fleury and Ryan Miller use. He even pulled on a Miller Buffalo Sabres jersey.


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POSTED ON Wednesday, 06.01.2011 / 1:13 AM

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

Devils continuing to write their book

New Jersey Devils scouting director David Conte was asked if his goal for next month's draft is to find a player that could skate into the NHL next season.

"No," he told NHL.com. "It's a goal to find a guy who can play 20 seasons."

It's interesting Conte picked that number. The Devils have the fourth pick at the 2011 Entry Draft, the first time they've earned a spot so high since 1989. They had the fifth pick that year and selected forward Bill Guerin, who nearly played 20 seasons -- he retired in December 2010 after 18 NHL seasons.

(The Devils drafted third in 1991, but acquired that pick in a trade.)

Conte, going into his 18th year leading the Devils' drafts, said picking this early in the draft really doesn't change much about how he does his job.

"it's certainly easier in the sense that you don't have as many players to consider," he said. "It's also more important because the quality of the player, at least at this stage in time, seemingly is better, higher upside, and more critical to the team because you need to improve. How we go about it? No, I don't think we need to make too many adaptations to what we've done in the past."

Conte said he and his staff is considering a group of 8-12 players for the fourth pick, but isn't prepared to start narrowing that list yet. He's using this week's NHL Scouting Combine to continue compiling information, and said when he leaves Toronto, he likely won't have crossed any names off his list.

"We have the interviews, the testing -- the book's not complete, so what's the point of trying to figure it out?" he said. "I talk to people … why do you open your Christmas presents before Christmas? There's no need."

While it's possible New Jersey's first pick could be in the opening-day lineup, Devils fans shouldn't expect the Christmas present they see in June to be available to play with in October.

"In an ideal world you'd like to give them more seasoning," said Conte, who then added the choice wasn't really his to make.

"Players will pick the team. We won't."

Contact Adam Kimelman at akimelman@nhl.com. Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK
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I was in there icing my face as she was trying to push a baby out.

— Anaheim Ducks forward Ryan Getzlaf on going to the hospital with a facial laceration while his wife was in labor following Game 1 on Wednesday