Defenseman Patrick Koudys of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute might have been the last North American skater invited to the NHL Scouting Combine in Toronto this week, but don't expect him to settle for anything less than his finest effort.
"I'm excited to be here," Koudys told NHL.com. "It wasn't guaranteed that I'd come here so for the tests, hopefully I'll perform well. The interviews are also a big part of this. I'm just hoping to be myself and hopefully a team will like me for me and that's all I could ask for right now."
As a freshman, Koudys had a goal and a pair of assists in 31 games with RPI in 2010-11 -- all his points came in 19 ECAC contests. In addition participating in the Scouting Combine, Koudys was also a participant in the NHL Research, Development and Orientation Camp last summer.
Koudys, a civil engineering major, has every intention of continuing his career at RPI in the fall despite the fact he was drafted 124th overall by the Oshawa Generals in the 2009 OHL draft. He chose to follow the same path as his father's cousin, Randy Koudys, and attend RPI.
"Personally, it was good year, we had a great team, great coaching staff, and we made it to the NCAA tournament, which is a big thing," he said. "I learned a lot, the coaching staff was great to me. They taught me a lot and the guys were great. I'm looking forward to going back and winning a national championship next year."
Before going to RPI, he spent a season with the Burlington Cougars and transformed into one of the team's best players, scoring 5 goals and 33 points. He was also the Cougars' most reliable defenseman, evidenced by the fact he was named the club's Most Promising Player, Top Defenseman and Rookie of the Year. Koudys, who is sometimes compared to Boston blueliner Dennis Seidenberg, was also named the Ontario Hockey Association Top Prospect, that season.
Koudys isn't concerned with the fact he dropped five slots to No. 76 on NHL Central Scouting's final list of North American skaters.
"With a college kid like that, you have to like his potential as much as anything because he's a first year college guy and he's in the lineup regularly but doesn't always get in on every shift," Central Scouting's Gary Eggleston told NHL.com. "He's going to be a strong player in college next year as he gets a little more time to develop. He has really good upside, a really strong skater, good defensively. He was a little bit restrained offensively but I think he can still go with the puck and contribute to the offense. He's a pretty physical kid, strong in the corners and capable of moving to the puck quickly. He played with a lot of poise for a freshman."
His father, Jim, was drafted in the 12th round (No. 252 overall) by the New York Islanders in 1982 and played hockey for the OHL's Sudbury Wolves for three seasons (1981-84).
"I know I'm the last North American to be invited to this, so there's still lots of room for me to grow," he said. "I learned a lot at RPI this year and, hopefully , I'll go back and learn a lot more. I think teams will see that in the next couple of years when I'm able to step up and be a more of a big-name person."
Follow Mike Morreale on Twitter at: @mike_morreale