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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 / 3:07 PM

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

Ristolainen, Saros debate who was in charge of room

TORONTO -- There seemed to be a difference in opinion between Finnish countrymen Rasmus Ristolainen of TPS and Juuse Saros of HPK after their stay at the Westin Bristol Place during the 2013 NHL Scouting Combine this week.

Ristolainen, No. 4 in NHL Central Scouting's final ranking of the top draft-eligible European players, informed the media Saturday following Day 2 of fitness testing that his roommate for the week was Saros.

Ristolainen, who is regarded as one of the more physical defenders among all the European players eligible for the 2013 NHL Draft, seemed sure about one thing too.

"I think I'm the boss in our room," Ristolainen (6-foot-4, 207 pounds) said. "I'm bigger and older. He's just a junior."

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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 / 1:00 PM

NHL.com - Combing the 2013 NHL Combine

Lehkonen admires Barkov's game

TORONTO -- Aleksander Barkov of Tappara and Artturi Lehkonen of KalPa are opponents on the ice in SM-liiga, the top Finnish professional league. They're also NHL Central Scouting's top two Finnish-born forwards in their final ranking of European skaters. Off the ice, however, the two are close friends from their time as teammates on various Finnish national teams and were roommates at the NHL Scouting Combine this week.

"We have been friends for four years," Lehkonen told NHL.com. "Since we started with the national team. We've been roommates, like, seven times. We're close to each other."

That relationship gives Lehkonen a unique viewpoint on Barkov's game, and what makes the 6-foot-3, 209-pound center Central Scouting's top-rated European skater.

"He's an amazing player," Lehkonen said. "I think he sees the game well. When I watch his game, it's like art. He does many things that he doesn't even have to think about. He doesn't have to hurry any situation. He always finds the space to pass and shoot."

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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 / 4:22 PM

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

MacKinnon 'would love to play for' Roy, Avalanche

TORONTO -- Halifax Mooseheads center Nathan MacKinnon finally can take a deep breath -- at least for 24 hours.

There's no telling what's next for the 17-year-old, who undoubtedly will be traveling to meet with several NHL teams for personal examinations and interviews now that his part in the 2013 NHL Scouting Combine is complete.

"I don't know if I'm living the dream yet because I'm not in the NHL, but [this week has] been fun," MacKinnon said. "It's been busy for sure. I've had a lot of requests and demands, but obviously I wouldn't trade it for anything. I had a lot of fun this year, and this was just another step toward the draft."

MacKinnon said he would be honored if the Colorado Avalanche selected him No. 1 at the 2013 NHL Draft on June 30. He said playing for new Colorado coach Patrick Roy, who was hired last week, would be a good experience.

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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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Posted On Friday, 05.31.2013 / 2:37 PM

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

Nurse will have cheering section at draft, with McNabb

TORONTO -- Sault Ste. Marie defenseman Darnell Nurse anticipates a large family contingent to join him at Prudential Center on June 30 for the NHL Draft.

Nurse, No. 4 on NHL Central Scouting final list of the top draft-eligible North American skaters, is expected to be chosen among the top 10 players. He told NHL.com that one of his biggest supporters is his uncle Donovan McNabb, who spent 13 seasons as a quarterback in the NFL, including 11 with the Philadelphia Eagles, and is Darnell's uncle by marriage.

"The draft will be a whole family affair, with my aunts and uncles, cousins and my parents," Nurse said at the NHL Scouting Combine. "And Uncle Donovan will be there and he can't wait. He's excited for it too."

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Posted On Friday, 05.31.2013 / 12:48 PM

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

Oilers would consider dealing their first pick

TORONTO -- Edmonton Oilers president of hockey operations Kevin Lowe wasn't ready to talk about what his team's plans were for the 2013 NHL Draft, but did tell NHL.com that with the seventh pick, "We're going to get another great piece to add to the group."

That's if the Oilers keep the pick.

Edmonton appears to be overflowing with young talent, thanks in part to having the first pick of the draft in each of the previous three years.

Lowe said the decision to keep or move the pick lies with general manager Craig MacTavish, but admitted the organizational mindset is to listen to any suggestions.

"Because the draft is deep, as you move along, if someone offered us something we felt could fit in with our group, a different age and a certain type of positional player we need, we wouldn't be opposed to moving the pick," Lowe said. "Maybe where teams are positioned with the [salary] cap going down, all those sorts of moons aligning could lead to something."

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Posted On Friday, 05.31.2013 / 12:31 PM

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

Father had basketball dreams for Jones

TORONTO -- Portland Winterhawks defenseman Seth Jones might make things look easy on the ice, but NHL Central Scouting's top-rated North American prospect for the 2013 NHL Draft said he didn't have the easiest time getting started in the sport.

The son of former NBA player Ronald "Popeye" Jones, Seth's father obviously hoped his three sons would follow in his path. Instead, Justin, Seth and Caleb opted for hockey.

Convincing dad they wanted to be hockey players wasn't easy.

"I have two brothers and we all started playing about the same time," Seth said. "He wasn't very happy at the time, but he's fine with it now.

"He was probably expecting all of us [to be basketball players]. A lot of kids want to follow their father's footsteps and do the same things he did. It was a little different in our house."

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Posted On Friday, 05.31.2013 / 12:13 PM

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

Quebec's Erne goes first in fitness test

TORONTO -- Quebec Remparts forward Adam Erne had the distinction of being the first player to complete the fitness testing circuit at the NHL Scouting Combine.

It wasn't easy, with the giant ballroom packed with NHL scouts and general managers, as well as media members staring at his every move.

"It's different," Erne said. "It really is. I didn't know what to expect with the setup. They're all right in your face, smiling at you. It's different, for sure."

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Posted On Friday, 05.31.2013 / 10:51 AM

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

Drouin skips fitness testing portion of Combine

TORONTO -- Jonathan Drouin is five days removed from winning the Memorial Cup, and after 72 games of hockey this season during the regular season, playoffs and international hockey, he opted Friday to not take part in the fitness testing portion of the NHL Scouting Combine.

Drouin, No. 3 in NHL Central Scouting's final ranking of North American skaters for the 2013 NHL Draft, went through the medical exams and had his height, weight and body fat measured, but chose to skip the more rigorous testing.

"We've been through a lot of hockey lately," Drouin said. "Just came back [from the Memorial Cup] four days ago. We didn't want to hurt each other. We didn't train a long time, no off-ice stuff. Just a little dangerous to do it."

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Posted On Friday, 05.31.2013 / 10:39 AM

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

Top prospects begin infamous bike testing

TORONTO -- Is there any doubt that the words "bike test" are enough to make any top draft-eligible prospect uneasy in the week leading up to the fitness portion of the NHL Scouting Combine?

It's a frozen moment in time for any blue-chip athlete looking to make an impression on NHL scouts and general managers. The heart starts beating faster the moment those technicians duct tape both feet to the pedals in preparation for those two infamous tests: the Wingate Cycle Ergometer and VO2 Max.

Those familiar with the VO2 Max, which measures the endurance capability of a player's heart, lungs and muscles, knows it happens to be the most grueling of all the endurance tests conducted by York University for the benefit of the 30 NHL teams.

The Wingate peak power output test measures the explosiveness of a skater and could provide critical information in learning how quickly a player might be able to begin a transition up ice.

Last year, one player lasted at least 14 minutes on the VO2: Swedish defenseman Hampus Lindholm, who was drafted No. 6 by the Anaheim Ducks.

NHL Central Scouting's No. 1-rated North American skater in 2012, Nail Yakupov of the Ontario Hockey League's Sarnia Sting, lasted 12:25 on the VO2.

Defenseman Mathew Dumba, drafted No. 7 by the Minnesota Wild, lasted 11 minutes.

"That's a killer, you come right off the Wingate and guys are throwing up in the back and your legs are just shot and you've got another one [VO2] to go," Dumba said. "It's pretty hard to bear down and it really challenges you."

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Posted On Thursday, 05.30.2013 / 8:16 PM

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

Jones, MacKinnon, Drouin might skip fitness test

TORONTO -- It's possible the long grind of the junior hockey season, including the Memorial Cup tournament that ended four days ago, will keep top 2013 NHL Draft prospects Seth Jones of the Portland Winterhawks and Nathan MacKinnon and Jonathan Drouin of the Halifax Mooseheads from participating in the fitness testing at the NHL Scouting Combine.

The trio is 1, 2, 3 in NHL Central Scouting's final ranking of North American skaters for this year's draft.

The agent for Jones and MacKinnon, Pat Brisson, told NHL.com his clients will undergo medical exams Friday as scheduled, but a decision on whether they would participate in the 13 individual tests designed to evaluate strength and fitness would be made afterward.

"In my opinion, you need about a week or two to get ready for some of those tests, and we have to respect what they've gone through here lately," Brisson said. "They're in game shape, but you have to treat them like Ferraris in a sense that now these athletes have to prepare for these things. Not that they can't do it, but we'll undergo the medical exam and take it from there."

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Posted On Thursday, 05.30.2013 / 2:57 PM

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

NHL-caliber shot makes Pulock one to watch

TORONTO -- Simply put, defenseman Ryan Pulock of the Brandon Wheat Kings is a warrior.

Despite missing considerable time in 2012-13 with a fractured orbital bone then a broken wrist, he impressed the scouts enough to earn the No. 12 ranking on NHL Central Scouting's final list of the top 2013 NHL Draft-eligible North American skaters.

"He does everything well," Central Scouting's Peter Sullivan told NHL.com. "He's got the hardest shot I've seen in years. He's so smart. The thing that's even more impressive is I've seen him take seven or eight super hits -- body checks and hip checks -- laying guys into the boards. He's got all the tools to be a top pick."

Sullivan went as far as to say Pulock has an NHL-caliber shot right now.

"He's got one of the hardest shots not only in the Western Hockey League, but would have one of the hardest in the NHL," Sullivan said. "Don't laugh … it's that good."

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Posted On Thursday, 05.30.2013 / 1:54 PM

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

Current lack of first-round pick doesn't daunt Wild

TORONTO -- Even though the Minnesota Wild doesn't have a first-round pick, general manager Chuck Fletcher said he isn't approaching the NHL Scouting Combine this week or the build-up to the 2013 NHL Draft any differently.

The Wild sent their first-round pick to the Buffalo Sabres as part of the Jason Pominville trade. Minnesota's first selection will be in at No. 46 in the second round.

"You're always preparing because you never know what can happen between now and the draft," Fletcher told NHL.com. "Whether you make trades and maybe acquire an extra pick. Maybe you can package some picks and move up in the draft. We haven't focused on the top end of the draft as much, because realistically we're not going to pay to the price to get into that level. We're interviewing a lot of guys, as many as normal, and it's also a draft, too, with the depth of this draft, I think there's going to be a lot of variation on everyone's list between 15 and 40. And we expect at 46 to be looking at a player we have significantly higher than that on our list."

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Posted On Thursday, 05.30.2013 / 12:43 PM

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

Tambellini knows the drill at Scouting Combine

TORONTO -- It's pretty safe to assume that center Adam Tambellini of the Surrey Eagles in the British Columbia Hockey League had a good idea what questions would be asked during team interviews at the 2013 NHL Scouting Combine.

As the son of former Edmonton Oilers general manager Steve Tambellini, the 6-foot-2.25, 169-pound left-handed shot had quite the advantage.

"We had a little demo going at home, and it was cool to hear what he had to say about it and what they're looking for because he used to be the one asking the questions," Tambellini told NHL.com, referencing his father. "It was nice to lean on him for some help, and I think it worked out."

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Posted On Thursday, 05.30.2013 / 12:10 PM

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

Jordan Subban ready for his turn in Draft spotlight

TORONTO -- Belleville Bulls defenseman Jordan Subban has been hearing about NHL drafts for a long time -- going back to the 2006-07 season, when his oldest brother, P.K., was going through the process, including a trip to the Scouting Combine.

Last season Jordan got to watch his middle brother, Malcolm, go through it. Now, finally, it's Jordan's turn to meet with NHL teams, go through the fitness testing and enjoy a taste of the NHL draft experience.

"It's been exciting so far," Jordan told NHL.com. "I can't wait to get the testing going [Friday]."

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Posted On Thursday, 05.30.2013 / 12:00 PM

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

Mantha hoping to continue family's winning tradition

TORONTO -- Anthony Mantha of the Val-d'Or Foreurs comes from a rich hockey background. His grandfather, Andre Pronovost, won the Stanley Cup four times with the Montreal Canadiens during a 10-season NHL career that started in 1956-57. Three great uncles -- Claude, Jean and Marel Pronovost -- played in the NHL.

Mantha led the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League with 50 goals this season, so as he told NHL.com, "It's in the family."

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Posted On Thursday, 05.30.2013 / 10:34 AM

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

Shinkaruk remains a confident leader

TORONTO -- Medicine Hat Tigers forward Hunter Shinkaruk will enter the 2013 NHL Draft with an open mind, but he admits it's only natural for him to want to hear his name announced as early as possible.

"I'm not really out to set a number where I think I'm going to go, but obviously I want to go as high as possible in the first round," Shinkaruk told NHL.com. "I feel like I've had three good years in Medicine Hat, and the scouts have seen me and know what I'm all about. I'd like to go in the No. 6-to-15 range at the draft, but a lot of things change on draft day. Either way, it'll be an exciting day for me and my family."

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Posted On Wednesday, 05.29.2013 / 7:45 PM

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

Seth Jones arrives at NHL Draft Combine

TORONTO -- Three days removed from a disappointing loss in the Memorial Cup final, Portland Winterhawks defenseman Seth Jones was right back at it Wednesday at the NHL Scouting Combine.

Jones, ranked No. 1 among North American skaters on NHL Central Scouting's final list of the top draft-eligible skaters, had nine interviews on his first day at the Combine. He'll have eight more  Thursday before undergoing his fitness examination Friday at the Toronto International Centre.

Jones told NHL.com he did meet Wednesday with the Colorado Avalanche, the team holding the No. 1 pick at the NHL Draft on June 30 at Prudential Center in Newark, N.J.

"They said there's a lot of hype that goes into [the first pick], and lot of attention and scrutiny as well," Jones told NHL.com. "They asked if I could handle it and obviously I gave them an honest answer. They listened to what I had to say and, I guess, were fine with my response."

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Posted On Wednesday, 05.29.2013 / 6:43 PM

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

Solid postseason could make Horvat a high pick

TORONTO -- Every kid who ever picked up a hockey stick at some point pretended to be the player to score the championship goal at the buzzer.

London Knights forward Bo Horvat, No. 15 in NHL Central Scouting's final ranking of North American skaters for the 2013 NHL Draft, got the rare opportunity to live the dream in Game 7 of the Ontario Hockey League finals.

With the Knights and Barrie Colts tied in the waning seconds of regulation, Horvat banged in a bouncing cross-ice pass just as the final buzzer sounded.

"[Seth Griffith] made a nice play to dump it in and get it in deep," Horvat told NHL.com, reliving the moment. "I think there was five seconds left when he did that. It came around to [Alex] Broadhurst and he got along the wall and just fired it out front as fast as he could. Fortunately it made a couple bounces and came right to me and all I had to do was put it in."

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Posted On Wednesday, 05.29.2013 / 5:20 PM

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

Hartman persevered in unlucky season of injuries

TORONTO -- Ryan Hartman is right-handed, but that arm hasn't done much for him this season.

The Plymouth Whalers forward sustained a nasty skate cut to his right wrist during an Ontario Hockey League playoff game April 9 that needed surgery to repair and sidelined him for two weeks.

That came after he sustained a torn labrum in his right shoulder in late December, an injury he was able to play through. He finally had surgery two weeks ago.

Despite the injury, Hartman had 23 goals and 60 points in 56 regular-season games and four goals and two assists in nine playoff games. He also had two goals in seven games to help the United States win the gold medal at the 2013 IIHF World Junior Championship.


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Posted On Wednesday, 05.29.2013 / 4:46 PM

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

Panthers want player who can contribute immediately

TORONTO -- Florida Panthers general manager Dale Tallon is at the NHL Scouting Combine this week with an open mind as to who his team will select with the second pick of the 2013 NHL Draft. Though he wasn't going to divulge publicly whom he and his scouting staff have on top of their list, there is one thing Tallon hopes that player can do, and that's step into the NHL lineup immediately.

"We're hopeful," Tallon told NHL.com. "We're going to be a young team. It's going to be a necessary part of our puzzle moving forward. I would hope the guy we select can play for us next year."

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Posted On Wednesday, 05.29.2013 / 2:28 PM

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

Parade a unique backdrop for Fucale's 18th birthday

TORONTO -- When was the last time more than 4,000 fans sang "Happy Birthday" to you?

It happened to Halifax Mooseheads goalie Zachary Fucale on Tuesday during a parade 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.

Fucale, who turned 18, said it was one of the most memorable moments of his life.

"The parade was cool, and it's amazing that it fell on my birthday," Fucale told NHL.com. "There were like 5,000 people in the streets, yelling and everything. During the little ceremony we had, there were 5,000 people singing [for] my birthday. Can you believe that?"

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Posted On Wednesday, 05.29.2013 / 11:33 AM

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

Remparts prospect reminisces about Roy's mentoring

TORONTO -- It has to be a bittersweet moment this week for the four players invited to the NHL Scouting Combine from the Quebec Remparts.

That's because Remparts coach Patrick Roy recently was hired as coach of the Colorado Avalanche. Roy, who also served as general manager for eight seasons, and is a part-owner of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League franchise, was introduced to the Colorado media Tuesday during a press conference.

Remparts center Kurt Etchegary, No. 72 in NHL Central Scouting's final ranking of the top 2013 NHL Draft-eligible North American skaters, considered it an honor to be coached by a legend.

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Posted On Tuesday, 05.28.2013 / 9:19 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 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 NHL.com. "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."

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Posted On Tuesday, 05.28.2013 / 9:13 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 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 NHL.com. "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."

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Posted On Tuesday, 05.28.2013 / 9:12 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 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 NHL.com. "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."

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Posted On Tuesday, 05.28.2013 / 5:09 PM

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

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

TORONTO -- Sports agent Mark Gandler confirmed to NHL.com 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 NHL.com. "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."

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Posted On Tuesday, 05.28.2013 / 9:02 AM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 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 NHL.com. "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.

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Posted On Monday, 05.27.2013 / 9:32 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 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 NHL.com. "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."

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Posted On Monday, 05.27.2013 / 8:56 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 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.

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Posted On Monday, 05.27.2013 / 8:15 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 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 NHL.com. "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."

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Posted On Sunday, 05.26.2013 / 12:18 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 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. NHL.com 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.

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