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Posted On Saturday, 06.02.2012 / 3:46 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Combing the 2012 NHL Combine

Lukas Sutter learned from watching Brayden Schenn

Saskatoon Blades center Lukas Sutter certainly picked a good time to have a career-season with so much attention on him during his draft year.

In addition to being a feisty and agitating player to go up against, Sutter, the son of former Philadelphia Flyers forward Rich Sutter, also proved to be an extremely valuable asset on the score sheet. He connected for career highs in goals (28), assists (31) and points (59). He also tied for second on the team with nine power-play goals and sported an impressive plus-15 rating.

Why all the success in his sophomore campaign with the Blades?

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Posted On Saturday, 06.02.2012 / 6:49 AM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Combing the 2012 NHL Combine

Young Russian goalie Vasilevski is the great unknown

It's amazing to think how much differently Russian goalie Andrei Vasilevski might have been viewed had he not pulled himself from the semifinal round game of the 2012 World Junior Championship in Calgary with just six minutes remaining in the third period.

Some may look at Vasilevski's decision to take himself out of the game at the 14:17 mark, and his country clinging to a 6-5 lead over Canada, as a move to help a seemingly winded Russian squad.

Others may view it as a sign of giving up or quitting. Either way, Vasilevski, who made 44 saves in the game, was replaced by Andrei Makarov, who closed out the victory in splendid fashion with seven saves.

Both Vasilevski and Makarov are eligible for the 2012 NHL Draft in June. But Vasilevski is the one viewed by many as a potential first-round selection.
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Posted On Friday, 06.01.2012 / 10:07 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Combing the 2012 NHL Combine

Red Wings prepared to find that diamond in the rough

Just because the Detroit Red Wings aren't making a pick in the first round of the NHL Draft for the second straight season, doesn't mean Director of Amateur Scouting Joe McDonnell can take the weekend off.

McDonnell and part of his scouting staff were front and center at the fitness-testing portion of the NHL Scouting Combine this weekend at the Toronto International Centre. The objective is simple -- find a diamond in the rough in the later rounds.

"We don't have a first round pick this year, so we're picking No. 49 [overall]," McDonnell told NHL.com. "You still want to check the kids out but for us, most of the kids that are here and are high-end guys that had injuries, we're never going to get a shot at anyway. So there's no one particular guy we're looking at."
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Posted On Friday, 06.01.2012 / 6:31 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Combing the 2012 NHL Combine

Tampa Bay will be very busy at NHL Draft

The Tampa Bay Lightning might just be the busiest team at the 2012 NHL Draft.

It's easy to see why with possibly six picks over the opening two rounds. Entering this year's Draft, slated June 22-23 at Consol Energy Center in Pittsburgh, Tampa Bay general manager Steve Yzerman will have two first-round picks and three, possibly four, in the second.

With this many picks at his disposal, Tampa Bay Director of Amateur Scouting, Al Murray, certainly has his work cut out.

"Steve has put us in a position with two first-round picks and three seconds, maybe a fourth, so we're going to be able to get a little bit of everything if we want," Murray told NHL.com. "We can go for a defenseman, a goalie, a center or wing or just load up at a certain position. We're entering the Draft pretty open-minded and trying to rank the best 40 players of the group."
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Posted On Thursday, 05.31.2012 / 3:10 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Combing the 2012 NHL Combine

Kelowna's Sissons is ready for testing

Kelowna Rockets captain Colton Sissons appears fully recovered from a concussion he suffered in February and is looking forward to joining the initial group through the fitness tests at Toronto International Centre on Friday.

The 6-foot-1, 187-pound forward, who is NHL Central Scouting's No. 14-ranked skater in North America, finished second on the team with 26 goals, including a team-leading 13 power play markers, in 58 games as the Rockets finished in sixth place in the Western Conference of the Western Hockey League.

Sissons was injured in the team's 3-2 loss to the Kamloops Blazers on Feb. 11 at Prospera Place in Kelowna.


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Posted On Thursday, 05.31.2012 / 1:21 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Combing the 2012 NHL Combine

Top prospect Jacob Trouba admired Lidstrom

As a native of Michigan, draft-eligible defenseman and top prospect Jacob Trouba of the U.S. National Team Development Program rarely missed an opportunity to watch Detroit Red Wings defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom at work.

When Trouba got word that Lidstrom was calling it a career after 20 seasons in the League on Thursday, he expressed much respect and admiration for one of the greatest defensemen to ever lace on the skates.
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Posted On Thursday, 05.31.2012 / 8:15 AM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Combing the 2012 NHL Combine

Top Euro prospect popular with fans at NHL Combine

It's become apparent that even NHL Central Scouting's top European prospect, Filip Forsberg, isn't safe from those rabid hockey fans waiting outside the hotel during lunch break at the 2012 Scouting Combine.

The Swedish sensation, Central Scouting's No. 1-rated skater from Europe, was seen signing autographs on several occasions when he wondered outside during a break between interviews the past few days. For a 17-year-old kid playing in Sweden's second-highest division for Leksand, it's quite overwhelming to be bombarded by people with pens and pictures.
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Posted On Thursday, 05.31.2012 / 7:43 AM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Combing the 2012 NHL Combine

Koekkoek looks to re-establish confidence in scouts

Of all the players attending this year's NHL Scouting Combine coming off serious injury, perhaps no one will be more scrutinized than Peterborough Petes defenseman Slater Koekkoek.

Let's face it, Koekkoek possesses as much raw skill as any other draft-eligible defenseman in the 2012 Draft. But a torn labrum suffered in the third period of a 6-3 loss to the Windsor Spitfires on Nov. 27 limited him to just 26 games this season, forcing scouts to rely on year-old projections.

At the time of the injury, Peterborough coach Mike Pelino told reporters, "Slater may be the most impressive defenseman I've seen in the [Ontario Hockey League] this year. If he's out for one day, we'll miss him, let alone if he's out for an extended period."

Koekkoek logged a ton of minutes and has a knack for playing in any part of the ice, capable of transitioning with a quick pass.


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Posted On Wednesday, 05.30.2012 / 3:19 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Combing the 2012 NHL Combine

Reinhart will opt out of bench press at Combine

A nagging shoulder injury will likely keep Edmonton Oil Kings defenseman Griffin Reinhart from taking part in the bench press during his fitness portion of the NHL Scouting Combine schedule on Friday.

Reinhart, ranked No. 10 by NHL Central Scouting among draft-eligible North American skaters, on Wednesday was making his rounds to those teams that scheduled interviews with him over the next two days.

"I don't think I'm going to do the bench press because I have a bit of a hurt shoulder," Reinhart told NHL.com. "It's fine to play with … I just haven't been able to rehab it yet. It's something I've been dealing with all season."

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Posted On Wednesday, 05.30.2012 / 12:42 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Combing the 2012 NHL Combine

Rielly excited to get opportunity at NHL Combine

Moose Jaw Warriors defenseman Morgan Rielly is pretty excited to be back in the mix after missing five-plus months of playing time after undergoing surgery to repair a torn anterior cruciate ligament earlier this season.

Rielly played five playoff games for the Warriors and produced three assists but the simple fact he was back on the ice was certainly a positive sign. Now he's going through the rigors that is the NHL Scouting Combine this week in an attempt to show NHL scouts and general managers that he is 100 percent.

"I think it's important just to prove that you're healthy and you're here and you have a pretty good attitude," Rielly told NHL.com. "I don't think this week will make or break anybody, but it's important to come and have a positive attitude."

Really, a positive attitude is all that the 5-foot-11 1/2, 190-pound left-hander has exhibited throughout the most trying season of his hockey career.
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Quote of the Day

When I first became captain here, Monsieur Beliveau came to me and said, 'You're going to be fine. You don't have to change, you got selected because of who you are.'

— Saku Koivu on Thursday, recalling what he was told by the late Jean Beliveau when he was named Canadiens captain in 1999
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