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Posted On Wednesday, 06.22.2011 / 4:13 PM

By Adam Kimelman -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - 2011 Entry Draft blog

Huberdeau the smartest prospect

Jonathan Huberdeau is renowned for his skill on the ice, but here at the Nickelodeon Amusement Park at the Mall of America, he showed his brains.

After going on the SpongeBob Plunge and the Brain Surge roller coaster, Huberdeau wisely sat out the Last Airbender ride. As the ride curved up and down, the riders were spun at high speeds.

"That was the roughest one," said a slightly pale Gabriel Landeskog.

Huberdeau said after the first two coasters, he'd had enough.

"They were good but I'm afraid of heights," Huberdeau said. "But it was great to hang out with the guys."
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Posted On Saturday, 06.04.2011 / 3:55 PM

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

And the winners are …

After two days, all 100 players have finished their testing here at the Toronto Congress Centre. After covering the Day 1 leaders, we have some final results to report:

Peak power output -- The Wingate Cycle Ergometer -- also known as the bane of prospects' existence -- measures how hard a player can go in a 30-second shift. Portland Winterhawks forward Ty Rattie and Shawinigan Cataractes defenseman Jonathan Racine, the first-day leaders, finished on top with 15.9 watts of energy per kilogram of body weight. Choate-Rosemary Hill School forward Philippe Hudon was third at 15.7.

VO2 Max test duration -- No one matched the two defensemen who lasted 14 minutes yesterday, Skelleftea's Adam Larson and the Vancouver Giants' David Musil, each at 14 minutes. Niagara IceDogs defenseman Dougie Hamilton, Saginaw Spirit forward Brandon Saad, Edmonton Oil Kings goaltender Laurent Brossoit and center Gregory Hoffman, who plays for Ambri in Switzerland's top league, all lasted 13 minutes.

Wing span -- Brossoit stands just 6-foot-2 1/2, but his 81-inch wingspan led the field. Moose Jaw Warriors defenseman Joel Edmundson, who stands 6-foot-4 1/2, was next at 79.24 inches.

Body fat -- U.S. National Team forward Rocco Grimaldi and Saint John Sea Dogs forward Ryan Tesink were the leanest players at 6.8 percent body fat. Shawinigan Cataractes forward Maximilien Le Sieur was next at 7.0 percent.

Long jump -- Shawinigan defenseman Jonathan Racine's first-day leap of 119.3 inches finished atop the leaderboard. U.S. National Team defenseman Connor Murphy was second at 115.5, followed closely by Edmonton Oil Kings left wing Travis Ewanyk and U.S. National team goaltender John Gibson, who each went 115 inches.

Vertical jump -- Le Sieur stands just 6-foot-1 3/4, but he had the best hops of all the prospects, going 30.5 inches in the vertical leap. That put him barely ahead of the first-day leaders, Portland Winterhawks defenseman Joseph Morrow and Saginaw Spirit forward Vincent Trocheck, who registered 30.3-inch leaps. Boston University defenseman Adam Clendening was fourth at 30.0 inches. Perhaps the most impressive performance of the Combine was turned in by the 5-foot-6 Grimaldi, who was fifth at 29.8 inches.

Curl-ups -- Three Finns owned this category. Karpat right wing Miikka Salomaki topped the list with 70, followed by JYP goaltender Samu Perhonen with 68, and Jokerit center Alexander Ruutuu with 66. Plymouth Whalers forward Rickard Rakell also had 66.

Grip strength -- The player you'd least like to shake hands with is Morrow, who measured 177 pounds with his right hand. The strongest overall grip, however, belonged to Prince Albert Raiders forward Mark McNeill, who was second to Morrow on right-hand grip at 162 pounds, and first with his left hand, also 162.

Bench press -- Clendening, McNeill, Saint John Sea Dogs forward Tomas Jurco and Seattle Thunderbirds center Luke Lockhart each did 13 reps with the 150-pound weight on the bench. Omaha Lancers forward Seth Ambroz, Northeastern defenseman Jamieson Oleksiak and RPI defenseman Patrick Koudys were next with 12.

Push-ups -- Kitchener Rangers goaltender Michael Morrison topped the field with 45, with Le Sieur second at 42. First-day leader Clendening finished third with 40, followed by Grimaldi with 39.

Push/Pull strength -- The hardest player to clear from the front of the net might be McNeill, who had 32 goals in 72 WHL games this season. His 366 pounds of push strength was far ahead of Oleksiak, who was next at 312. McNeill's pull strength of 306 pounds was second only to U.S. National Team forward Tyler Biggs, who totaled 323 pounds.

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

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Posted On Saturday, 06.04.2011 / 2:34 PM

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

The last competitor

After two days and 100 draft prospects, the final player stepped off the last bike. Windsor Spitfires forward Alexander Khokhlachev, No. 29 on NHL Central Scouting's final ranking of the top North American skaters for the 2011 Entry Draft, was the last player to finish his stint at the NHL Scouting Combine.

Khokhlachev said he had some advance warning -- he certainly had enough people to talk to about their testing experiences -- but said nothing really could have prepared him.

"They tell me what's happening here," he told NHL.com. "I know it's very hard. We just need to do this. Just all the scouts are here, and work hard.

"I work out, but never like this. I did push-ups, bench press. But not these bikes -- that's pretty hard."

Going last might have been even harder than any other competitor, because as Khokhlachev finished each exercise, the personnel from York Fitness, which oversees the testing for Central Scouting, was breaking down its equipment.

Khokhlachev said it didn't really bother him. "Just going and do your work," he said.

Contact Adam Kimelman at akimelman@nhl.com. Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK
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Posted On Saturday, 06.04.2011 / 2:01 PM

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

Binnington honest about his testing

While some players might try to gloss over their issues during the fitness testing at the NHL Scouting Combine, Owen Sound Attack goalie Jordan Binnington didn't find a need to hide.

"I got sick after both of them," he told NHL.com. "I guess they were both pretty tough."

Binnington, NHL Central Scouting's third-ranked North American goaltender for the 2011 Entry Draft, was in the second-to-last group Saturday, so that was a lot of time to hear stories from friends about what the testing would be like.

"(Daniel) Catenacci came back and he said, 'Holy (cow), it's tough, so long,'" said Binnington. "He got me all scared for it. Some guys were just like it's alright, you'll do fine. Dougie Hamilton was telling me you'll be alright, you'll do fine."

Even though he had little time to prepare for the Combine -- his team played in the Memorial Cup just nine days ago -- he felt pretty positive about his performance.

"I didn't have much time to prepare," he said. "No excuses. I worked my hardest."

Contact Adam Kimelman at akimelman@nhl.com. Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK
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Posted On Saturday, 06.04.2011 / 12:13 PM

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

Howson could have an active Draft

Columbus Blue Jackets General Manager Scott Howson currently holds the eighth pick of the 2011 Entry Draft. It doesn't mean he's going to be there by the time the 2011 Entry Draft starts.

"Possibly we'd look to move the pick -- even for a player, if we could," Howson told NHL.com. "We're open for anything. I don't think it's likely we'd move up, more likely we'd either make the pick or move back or perhaps trade it for a player."

Howson said if the Jackets stay at No. 8, he has an idea in mind on what kind of player he's looking for.

"We generally draft for best player available, but there are some positions we would like to fill with this pick and it seems like those positions will be available with the pick," he said. "If he's the best player on our board, that'll dictate it."

They got one of the best players on their board last year when they chose Portland Winterhawks center Ryan Johansen with the fourth pick. He finished seventh in the Western Hockey League with 92 points and second on his team with 40 goals, and his 28 points in 20 WHL playoff games led the league. He also had 9 points in seven games and made the all-tournament team playing for Canada at the 2011 World Junior Championship.

"He had a great year," said Howson. "We couldn't have written it down much better. Having the good year in Portland, being on a winning team, making the World Junior team, being a tournament all-star, leading the Western league in playoff scoring -- he's really made a statement this year."

Howson said Johansen will have every opportunity to make the NHL team this year.

"He'll be given him an opportunity to play," said Howson. "I think he's put himself into a very good position, and it'll be up to him in September to make sure he stays."

Who his teammates could be remains a question. Among the Jackets' unrestricted free agents are forwards Scottie Upshall, Chris Clark and Ethan Moreau, defensemen Jan Hejda and Craig Rivet, and goalie Mathieu Garon.

"I think we'll be fairly active in trying to improve certain areas of our team," said Howson. "We'll certainly talk to some of our free agents."

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

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Posted On Saturday, 06.04.2011 / 11:19 AM

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

Perhonen engineered way up leaderboard

The player with the MacGyver-inspired hair has engineered a way to take the lead in the curl-up competition here at the NHL Scouting Combine.

Finnish goaltender Samu Perhonen didn't need a paper clip, drinking straw, some gum and a comb to hit 68 curl-ups -- just hard work.

Perhonen, who plays for JYP in Finland's junior league, is NHL Central Scouting's top-rated European netminder. He said during the interview process, a team had asked him about his thick mane of blond locks.

"Someone asked me what the inspiration was for my hair style," Perhonen told NHL.com. "I said, 'I don't know, maybe MacGyver.'"

Contact Adam Kimelman at akimelman@nhl.com. Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK
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Posted On Saturday, 06.04.2011 / 9:43 AM

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

Sharks looking for a match

For the second straight year, the San Jose Sharks have the 28th pick in the first round of the 2011 Entry Draft. Last year, they grabbed Charlie Coyle with that pick and watched him flourish as a freshman at Boston University and with the U.S. at the World Junior Championship.

Sharks GM Doug Wilson told NHL.com if he stays at No. 28 this year, he's sure he'll find another solid player. However, he's not afraid to move out of that spot -- either up or down.

"At 28 do we think we'll get a good player? Yes," Wilson said. "But if there's a player we need to move up a couple spots to get, we're willing to do that. And we're willing to move out of that spot and find a couple guys in the second round. We can do that, too."

Wilson said making that decision is two-fold -- obviously there has to be a player in mind, and he also has to find a willing partner to make a deal with.

"I think more and more teams are looking to do that," he said of moving at the draft. "It was tougher five or six years ago. I think there are more teams that are willing to look and be creative … It's matchmaking when you have those conversations."

Contact Adam Kimelman at akimelman@nhl.com. Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK
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Posted On Friday, 06.03.2011 / 7:30 PM

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

A look at the prospects who aced their Scouting Combine fitness tests

TORONTO -- The first day of NHL Scouting Combine fitness testing here at the Toronto Congress Centre has finished, so it's time to look at a few first-day leaders in some of the categories.

Peak power output -- The Wingate Cycle Ergometer -- also known as the bane of prospects' existence -- measures how hard a player can go in a 30-second shift. Portland Winterhawks forward Ty Rattie and Shawinigan Cataractes defenseman Jonathan Racine led the way at 15.9 watts of energy per kilogram of body weight.

VO2 Max test duration
-- The players who stuck with it the longest were a pair of defensemen, Skelleftea's Adam Larson and the Vancouver Giants' David Musil, each at 14 minutes. Next were Niagara IceDogs defenseman Dougie Hamilton and Saginaw Spirit forward Brandon Saad.

Wing span -- Moose Jaw Warriors defenseman Joel Edmundson, who stands 6-foot-4 1/2, had a 79.24-inch wing span, about a quarter-inch longer than Racine, who stands 6-1.

Body fat -- Rogle defenseman Rasmus Bengtsson measured in with only 3.6-percent body fat. The next leanest players were U.S. National Team forward Rocco Grimaldi and Saint John Sea Dogs forward Ryan Tesink at 6.8 percent.

Long jump -- Racine pops up again, setting the standard with 119.3 inches. U.S. National Team defenseman Connor Murphy was second at 115.5.

Vertical jump -- Portland defenseman Joseph Morrow and Saginaw Spirit forward Vincent Trocheck had the best hops, scoring 30.3-inch vertical leaps, just ahead of Boston University defenseman Adam Clendening, who went 30.0 inches. Perhaps the most impressive performance of the day was turned in by the 5-foot-6 Grimaldi, who tied Racine for fourth at 29.8 inches.

Curl-ups -- Swift Current Broncos defenseman Reece Scarlett led the way with 51, with Murphy second at 48.

Grip strength -- The player you'd least like to shake hands with is Morrow, who measured 177 pounds with his right hand. The strongest overall grip, however, belonged to Prince Albert Raiders forward Mark McNeill, who was second to Morrow on right-hand grip at 162 pounds, and first with his left hand, also 162.

Bench press -- Clendening, McNeill and Saint John Sea Dogs forward Tomas Jurco each did 13 reps with the 150-pound weight on the bench. Omaha Lancers forward Seth Ambroz and Northeastern defenseman Jamie Oleksiak were next with 12.

Push-ups
-- Clendening led the way with 40. Grimaldi was next with 39.

Push/pull strength
-- The hardest player to clear from the front of the net might be McNeill, who had 32 goals in 72 WHL games this season. His 366 pounds of push strength was far ahead of Oleksiak, who was next at 312. McNeill's pull strength of 306 pounds was second only to U.S. National Team forward Tyler Biggs, who totaled 323 pounds.

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

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Posted On Friday, 06.03.2011 / 6:30 PM

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

Clendening on the bubble?

Boston University defenseman Adam Clendening is ranked No. 45 among North American skaters by NHL Central Scouting. But he's the kind of player who, with a good showing at the NHL Scouting Combine, could raise his stock in the eyes of the scouts watching him here on the first day of fitness testing.

Clendening certainly put on a strong performance. He did the most pushups of any of the 56 players tested Friday; he tied for the lead with 13 reps on the 150-pound bench press; and his 30.0-inch vertical leap was second on the day.

"If I am a bubble guy and you put a big performance out, it'll pop into their minds, perhaps that's the difference," said Clendening, who had 5 goals and 18 assists in 36 games as a freshman at BU. "I thought I did well today. Some of the guys in there were pretty encouraging. One guy said I got the record so far with the pushups and tied for the bench (lead). I thought the Wingate (bike) went well, the VO2 (bike test) I went until I almost passed out. I went as hard as I could."

Contact Adam Kimelman at akimelman@nhl.com. Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK
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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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Quote of the Day

The groove of being behind a bench is going to be interesting at first, but thank God we have a few exhibition games to get rid of those cobwebs. Overall the excitement of it all and the freshness and coming back refreshed, all those things are going to be assets. If [the players] come ready to give their best effort in practice and games, good things are going to happen. I'm always looking for results. It's not always on the scoreboard. It's winning and building something.

— Bryan Trottier on making his return to coaching as an assistant with the Sabres