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Posted On Tuesday, 05.28.2013 / 9:19 PM

By Mike G. Morreale - Staff Writer / - Combing the 2013 NHL Combine

Red Wings scout looking forward to NHL Draft

TORONTO -- One reason the Detroit Red Wings have been a perennial contender is the organization's knack for finding premier players in the NHL Draft.

It's one thing to find a future all-star in the first round, but to pinpoint one in the later rounds takes a tremendous amount of foresight and vision. Hakan Andersson, who began scouting for the Red Wings in 1990 on a recommendation and is now the director of European scouting for the club, saw that potential in Tomas Holmstrom (No. 257 in 1994), Pavel Datsyuk (No. 171 in '98), Henrik Zetterberg (No. 210 in '99), Niklas Kronwall (No. 29 in 2000), Jiri Hudler (No. 58 in '02), Valtteri Filppula (No. 95 in '02), Jonathan Ericsson (No. 291 in '02) and Johan Franzen (No. 97 in '04).

More recently, right wing Gustav Nyquist (No. 121 in '08) has burst upon the scene.

Joe McDonnell, Detroit's director of amateur scouting with the Red Wings, is armed with a pick in each of the seven rounds for the 2013 NHL Draft in Newark, N.J., on June 30. It's a situation he's extremely pleased about.

"I think it's real deep draft," McDonnell told "We just finished up our year-end meetings [on May 26] and know we're going to get a player if we're picking in the 18th spot or lower. We think we're going to get a real good player no matter where we're picking in the first round."

Posted On Tuesday, 05.28.2013 / 9:13 PM

By Mike G. Morreale - Staff Writer / - Combing the 2013 NHL Combine

Comrie benefits from visit by Carey Price

TORONTO -- When Montreal Canadiens goalie Carey Price made a surprise visit to his former junior hockey team during the work stoppage last year, top 2013 draft-eligible prospect Eric Comrie was front and center.

Comrie, ranked No. 2 on NHL Central Scouting's final list of North American goaltenders, finished 20-14-3 with a 2.62 goals-against average, .915 save percentage and two shutouts in an injury-shortened season for the Tri-City Americans of the Western Hockey League.

Though Comrie (6-foot, 167 pounds) is quick to credit Tri-City goalie coach Lyle Mast for much of his progress and success, he also was impressed with Price in the short visit he made with the team. The Canadiens goalie spent four seasons in Tri-City from 2003-07.

"He came to Tri-City and it was an unbelievable experience," Comrie told "He came back and practiced with us and shared his knowledge with me, and it was the most fun I've ever had in some time. Just being around him … he showed you how hard you have to work. It was amazing how humble he was."

Posted On Tuesday, 05.28.2013 / 9:12 PM

By Mike G. Morreale - Staff Writer / - Combing the 2013 NHL Combine

High school rivals are roommates at Combine

TORONTO -- Two of the top high school players eligible for the 2013 NHL Draft were given quite the surprise this week after learning they would be sharing a hotel room during their six-day stay for the NHL Scouting Combine.

Further complicating matters is the fact defenseman Thomas Vannelli of Minnetonka, Minn., and center Connor Hurley of Edina happen to play for rival schools. As members of the Lake Division, Minnetonka defeated Edina twice last season, each time by a 4-3 score. Hurley had three assists and Vannelli two assists in the two matches.

"We're friends off the ice, but on the ice it's kind of a rivalry," Hurley told "We played against each other a couple of times since we're in the same conference and his team got the best of us. But 1-on-1, I got the best of him on the ice. Don't tell him that though."

Posted On Tuesday, 05.28.2013 / 5:09 PM

By Mike G. Morreale - Staff Writer / - Combing the 2013 NHL Combine

Nichushkin '100 percent sure' he's ready for NHL

TORONTO -- Sports agent Mark Gandler confirmed to Tuesday that his top draft-eligible client, Russian right wing Valeri Nichushkin, has terminated his contract with Moscow Dynamo in order to play in North America next season. But there is a provision.

"If he's not playing in the NHL, he's going to have to play for Dynamo," Gandler told "The termination [of his contract] occurred without compensation to the team. This is what we would owe the team for that provision."

Gandler isn't the only person who is confident the 6-foot-4, 202-pound left-hander will earn a roster spot on an NHL team next season.

Asked how confident he is that he will play in the NHL in 2013-14, Nichushkin said, "100 percent sure."

Posted On Tuesday, 05.28.2013 / 9:02 AM

By Mike G. Morreale - Staff Writer / - Combing the 2013 NHL Combine

Functional Movement Screening set to be unveiled

TORONTO -- More than a dozen prospects Tuesday will undergo the newest element added to the NHL Scouting Combine this year, the Functional Movement Screening (FMS).

The list of players includes all 14 of the top European skaters on NHL Central Scouting's final ranking and the top European goalie, Juuse Saros. The only North American player performing the test, which will be given beginning at 7 p.m. ET and in groups of four, will be defenseman Mirco Mueller of the Everett Silvertips. Mueller is No. 9 on Central Scouting's final list of the top draft-eligible North American skaters.

The FMS is a ranking and grading system in which players perform seven specific joint tests which document movement patterns. The test could help reveal imbalances and symmetry deficiencies in the various fundamental movement patterns of the body.

"If there's a range imbalance or if one side of the body is stronger or weaker than the other, this test will help determine that," NHL Director of Central Scouting Dan Marr told "A majority of NHL teams utilize FMS in some form and the NFL has been performing this screening as part of the medical process for their combine for a number of years.

Posted On Monday, 05.27.2013 / 9:32 PM

By Mike G. Morreale - Staff Writer / - Combing the 2013 NHL Combine

'Smallish' Saros stands tall as only European goalie

TORONTO -- Juuse Saros might be the only European goaltender invited to the 2013 NHL Scouting Combine this week, but he's determined to make the best of it.

"Of course, it's nice to see that NHL scouts have seen me play and have invited me and I'm proud of that," Saros told "But I'm just taking it day by day and not thinking too far ahead."

Saros, who has 15 interviews with NHL scouts and general managers scheduled through Thursday before taking part in the fitness portion of the Combine on Saturday, said he's been asked most about his size. That doesn't come as a shock to the 5-foot-10.25, 178-pound goaltender.

"I just have to keep good position, move well and read the plays," he said. "Everyone is asking me about my strengths and weaknesses, and almost every team asks about my size and how I compensate."

Posted On Monday, 05.27.2013 / 8:56 PM

By Mike G. Morreale - Staff Writer / - Combing the 2013 NHL Combine

Top Halifax players to arrive after celebration

TORONTO -- Those scouts and general managers at the 2013 NHL Scouting Combine anticipating an interview with Halifax Mooseheads forwards Nathan MacKinnon and Jonathan Drouin and goalie Zachary Fucale will have to wait.

That's because Halifax will be holding a short procession and rally at 11 a.m. ET on Tuesday for the first "Mooseheads Day" to honor the team's victories in the President Cup of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League and Memorial Cup as the best team in the Canadian Hockey League.

According to Halifax general manager Cam Russell, the three standout prospects will be traveling to the Combine early Wednesday morning following festivities Tuesday.

Posted On Monday, 05.27.2013 / 8:15 PM

By Mike G. Morreale - Staff Writer / - Combing the 2013 NHL Combine

Defenseman Nurse recovering from finger surgery

TORONTO -- Sault Ste. Marie defenseman Darnell Nurse said he was just as surprised as everyone else when informed he would need surgery to repair a torn flexor tendon in his left ring finger at the end of the season.

Nurse said he was playing with his injured finger throughout most of the Ontario Hockey League playoffs. Following his team's six-game series loss to the Owen Sound Attack in the opening round, during which Nurse had one goal, four points and six penalty minutes, he was advised to have surgery performed.

"I was playing in the playoffs with it and all of sudden the season was over and I couldn't play for Canada at the World Under-18 Championship because I needed surgery," Nurse told "It was disappointing because I wanted to keep playing hockey whether with the Greyhounds or the U-18's. But now I'm almost at the point where I'm at 100 percent, and I looked at it as better to get it done now before it gets any worse."

Posted On Sunday, 05.26.2013 / 12:18 PM

By Mike G. Morreale - Staff Writer / - Combing the 2013 NHL Combine

Top prospects set for NHL Scouting Combine

TORONTO -- After the Memorial Cup final is staged at Credit Union Centre in Saskatoon on Sunday (May 26), it's off to Toronto for the start of the 2013 NHL Scouting Combine.

Numerous interviews and those infamous bike tests await those future NHL stars of tomorrow.

The first day of the Combine should be a relatively slow one while players are interviewed by NHL teams within their stationed headquarters. will be here all week, logging exclusive daily stories and video. This event is a great opening prelude to the 2013 NHL Draft at Prudential Center in Newark, N.J., on June 30.

The NHL Scouting Combine will give NHL clubs a chance to evaluate 101 of the top North American and European hockey prospects in the world. The interviewing phase and new element being added to the Combine this year -- the Functional Movement Screen (FMS) -- will be Monday through Thursday. The fitness portion of the testing at the Toronto Convention Centre will be Friday and Saturday.

Posted On Thursday, 05.23.2013 / 2:13 PM

By Mike G. Morreale - Staff Writer / - 2013 NHL Draft blog

Bruins' Dougie Hamilton shares draft memories

NEW YORK -- Boston Bruins defenseman Dougie Hamilton may be two years removed from hearing his name called at the NHL Draft, but he still remembers it as if it were yesterday.

The Bruins selected the 6-foot-5, 199-pounder with the ninth choice in the first round of the 2011 Draft at Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, Minn. Hamilton realizes that draft day will be a whirlwind for many of the top prospects, particularly those at the top end of everyone's draft board.

He took the time out of his busy Stanley Cup Playoffs schedule to discuss that memorable moment with

"I think most importantly, players just need to try and enjoy it as much as you can," Hamilton told "I think it's definitely a different process where you don't really know where you're going and, obviously, it means a lot where you're going to be living and things like that.

"But most of all, you have to soak it in and really enjoy it."

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[Stamkos] is a great teammate and a great leader, that's why he's got the 'C'. He brings that tremendous work ethic to the rink and he's one of the top players in the game. I know if I put the passes where they are supposed to be, there's a very good chance he's going to put it in the back of the net.

— Lightning forward Jonathan Drouin on linemate Steven Samkos
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