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Posted On Friday, 05.31.2013 / 12:48 PM

By Adam Kimelman - Deputy Managing Editor / - 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 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."

Posted On Friday, 05.31.2013 / 12:31 PM

By Adam Kimelman - Deputy Managing Editor / - 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."

Posted On Friday, 05.31.2013 / 12:13 PM

By Adam Kimelman - Deputy Managing Editor / - 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."

Posted On Friday, 05.31.2013 / 12:08 PM

By Nick Baptiste -  Special to / - Nick Baptiste Draft blog

Baptiste gearing up for bike tests

Nick Baptiste, No. 61 on NHL Central Scouting's final list of the top draft-eligible skaters in North America, concluded his second season with the Sudbury Wolves of the Ontario Hockey League in 2012-13. The 6-foot, 189-pound right wing produced 21 goals and 48 points in 66 games for the Wolves. He also won a gold medal for Team Canada at the World Under-18 Championship in Sochi, Russia, in April, collecting three goals, eight points and a plus-6 rating in seven tourney games. Baptiste has agreed to take the time and maintain a blog for during his stay at the NHL Scouting Combine in Toronto this week.

Hi everyone. On Tuesday, I arrived in Toronto and made my way to the hotel. I registered and met up with my roommate Phil Desrosiers and some of the other players. I had a bit of time to catch up with some guys before my first dinner meeting with a team.

On Wednesday morning, my meetings started at 8:45 a.m. I was scheduled to meet 19 teams over the course of the two days and the meetings went well. Each meeting was pretty relaxed. There were a few difficult questions but most teams asked about my season, my strengths and my game.

Posted On Friday, 05.31.2013 / 10:51 AM

By Adam Kimelman - Deputy Managing Editor / - 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."

Posted On Friday, 05.31.2013 / 10:39 AM

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

Posted On Thursday, 05.30.2013 / 8:58 PM

By Seth Jones -  Special to / - Seth Jones Draft blog

Jones ready to relax, prepare for testing

Seth Jones is a defenseman for the Portland Winterhawks of the Western Hockey League. The 6-foot-4, 205-pounder has solid athletic bloodlines -- his father, Popeye Jones, played 11 seasons in the NBA. The top-ranked player in NHL Central Scouting's final ranking of North American skaters eligible for the 2013 NHL Draft, Jones was named the best professional prospect in the WHL, and helped the United States win the gold medal at the 2013 World Junior Championship. Jones has offered to maintain a monthly blog for that will chronicle his season leading up to the 2013 NHL Draft.

Hello again from Toronto. Things have been going real well up here. I had about 10 more meetings today. It's pretty exciting. I had Tampa Bay today and I got the chance to meet Steve Yzerman, which is pretty cool.

I also met with Colorado today. I'm not sure who was in the room. I guess Patrick Roy came in today but I didn't get to meet him. Colorado really didn't treat me any different. I talked to a lot of other guys that went in with them and they pretty much asked the same questions -- if I think I'm NHL-ready, what can I bring to the team next year -- that sort of thing.

After the meetings I had an event to announce I signed an endorsement deal with CCM-Reebok. They've been great to me. I finally got it finalized tonight. It feels good to be in a family with a lot of great players -- Carey Price, Sidney Crosby, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. So it's pretty cool to do that. They have a lot of young guys with Jonathan Huberdeau and Alex Galchenyuk, also. Definitely feels like a big family. The gear is awesome. I switched last summer and I've loved it ever since. I don't see myself going to another brand.

We announced the deal with Nathan MacKinnon and Jonathan Drouin. They're both great players. I've had the chance to play with them and against them a couple times. It's pretty cool sharing some of the same experiences as your friends.

Posted On Thursday, 05.30.2013 / 8:16 PM

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

Posted On Thursday, 05.30.2013 / 8:00 PM

By Nathan MacKinnon -  Special to / - Nathan MacKinnon Draft blog

MacKinnon enjoying time at Scouting Combine

Nathan Mackinnon is in his second season with the Halifax Mooseheads of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League this year. The 6-foot, 182-pound forward has 32 goals, 75 points and a plus-40 rating in 44 regular-season games for the Mooseheads in 2012-13. In 17 playoff games, MacKinnon finished with 11 goals and 33 points to help lead his team to the QMJHL championship. He was then awarded with the Stafford Smythe Memorial Trophy as Memorial Cup MVP after finishing with tournament highs of seven goals and 13 points in four games as Halifax won its first Cup crown. MacKinnon, who served as captain for Team Cherry at the 2013 CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game and represented Canada at the 2013 World Junior Championship in Russia, has offered to provide with a monthly blog leading up to the 2013 NHL Draft in Newark, N.J.

Hi everyone!

First of all, I want to say it was an honor to be named Memorial Cup most valuable player. It was a very special feeling. I know there have been some very special players who have won that over the years and I'm just so proud to be a part of those names. It's really cool.

It was a long couple of days, but a lot of fun at the same time. We had a parade in Halifax on Tuesday and that was something else. We flew in to Toronto on Wednesday morning, so it was an awesome experience and I'm really happy to be here [at the Combine] … it's been a lot of fun.

One of the most common questions asked in the interviews was what I felt was the biggest thing I needed to do to remain at the next level. I thought about each answer and gave an honest response. Everybody asked some similar stuff, but with a different approach, and I thought it went really well.

Posted On Thursday, 05.30.2013 / 6:43 PM

By Dan Rosen - Senior Writer / - Blackhawks-Kings series blog

Kings mum on Stoll's return to lineup

ROSEMONT, Ill. -- Los Angeles Kings coach Darryl Sutter would not give an update on the status of concussed center Jarret Stoll when asked for one at the team's media availability Friday.

"Nope," is all Sutter said.

But Stoll's chances of playing in Game 1 of the Western Conference Final against the Chicago Blackhawks at United Center on Saturday (5 p.m. ET; NBCSN, RDS, TSN) have to at least be getting better, considering he practiced in his regular spot on the third line between Dwight King and Trevor Lewis.

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