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Posted On Thursday, 05.31.2012 / 12:58 PM

By Adam Kimelman -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - Combing the 2012 NHL Combine

Good view from the back

TORONTO -- Florida Panthers GM Dale Tallon said the best part of being at the draft is sitting in the back row on the draft floor.

With the 23rd pick in the first round of the 2012 NHL Draft, the Panthers will sit near the back of the room at Consol Energy Center for the first time in Tallon's tenure with the team -- Florida had the third pick of the draft the last two years.

However, he's quick to say getting to the back of the room is nice, but staying there is the key.

"It feels great," Tallon told NHL.com. "That's the goal, to stay back there. It's out of necessity you stay in the front row. To be good, you have to be bad. You've got to make the best of the opportunities when you're there. Hopefully the result is a back-row position for a long time."
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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 / 7:07 PM

By Arpon Basu -  Managing Editor LNH.com /NHL.com - Combing the 2012 NHL Combine

Senators’ Dorion feels quality of draft class is miscast

There has been some talk that the class of 2012 for the NHL Draft is not as strong as it’s been in other years.

Nonsense, says Ottawa Senators director of player personnel Pierre Dorion.

"I think it’s a good draft class,” Dorion told NHL.com on Wednesday at the NHL Scouting Combine. “At the top, like every draft, there are some good players. I think sometimes because there’s a better quality of defensemen than forwards, people tend to say that it’s not as good of a draft class because you don’t see the offensive production.”

Indeed, eight of the top 12 North American skaters on NHL Central Scouting’s final ranking are defensemen, while nine of the top 18 European skaters play on the blue line.
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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 / 1:37 PM

By Adam Kimelman -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - Combing the 2012 NHL Combine

Mahoney: Caps will take best player available

TORONTO -- For the fifth time in the last nine drafts, the Washington Capitals will have multiple first-round picks when the teams convene in Pittsburgh for the 2012 NHL Draft.

They have the Colorado Avalanche's choice at No. 11, and their own pick at No. 16, and Capitals director of amateur scouting Ross Mahoney told NHL.com that those are pretty nice places to be.

"We think we're in a good position at 11 and 16, if we maintain those picks, to pick up some good prospects," he said.

Mahoney said the GM George McPhee will listen to all options, as he does every year, and said moving up or down certainly could be an option.
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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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Posted On Wednesday, 05.30.2012 / 12:12 PM

By Adam Kimelman -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - Combing the 2012 NHL Combine

Pearson has good excuse to skip Combine bike tests

TORONTO -- The two bike tests -- the Wingate Cycle Ergometer and the VO2 Max test -- are the double-feature horror show at the annual NHL Scouting Combine. Every player has to go through it, and all greet it with some level of trepidation.

Well, not every player. Barrie Colts forward Tanner Pearson is excused from the bike tests while he recovers from the broken right ankle that ended his season.

Pearson told NHL.com he's been skating since the beginning of the month, and while he's close to 100-percent healed, he's still doing strengthening and balance work in his leg. Because of that, Pearson will sit out the jumping and bike portions of the fitness testing.
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Posted On Tuesday, 05.29.2012 / 10:59 PM

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

USNTDP's Sieloff to play in OHL next season

TORONTO -- Defenseman Patrick Sieloff of the U.S. Under-18 National Team Development Program on Monday turned down a scholarship offer to Miami University of Ohio and instead will play for the Ontario Hockey League's Windsor Spitfires in 2012-13.

Why?

"It came down to the fact I wanted to play in the NHL and I feel like this is the fastest route," Sieloff told NHL.com. "I feel like the school part would get in the way a little bit because school is a little hard for me. I felt like school will always be there but hockey won't. There's going to be a point in time when hockey ends, whether we like it or not. I feel like I want to make the best of this for as long as I can go, and am looking forward and really excited to play in Windsor."

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Posted On Tuesday, 05.29.2012 / 8:16 AM

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

Yakupov, Galchenyuk, Grigorenko ready for Combine

TORONTO -- Many of the top draft-eligible prospects were still filing into NHL Central Scouting headquarters here late on Monday night following their arrival at Toronto's Pearson International Airport.

At one point in the evening, Sarnia Sting teammates Nail Yakupov and Alex Galchenyuk decided to take a late-night tour of the mini-Reebok store set up in the hotel ballroom. Yakupov is rated the No. 1 prospect in North America by NHL Central Scouting. Galchenyuk, who appears to be fully recovered from ACL surgery in October, is No. 4 on the list.
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2012 NHL Draft