TORONTO -- Red Deer Rebels defenseman Haydn Fleury feels pretty comfortable this week at the NHL Scouting Combine. He has a former teammate to thank for that.
Fleury, No. 9 on NHL Central Scouting's final ranking of North American skaters for the 2014 NHL Draft, and No. 2 among defensemen, learned a lot from Matt Dumba, a first-round pick by the Minnesota Wild (No. 7) in 2012.
"He just tells me not to listen to all the outside influences," Fleury told NHL.com. "There's going to be a lot of critics during a year like this. Just play your game and showcase yourself as much as you can."
Dumba and Fleury were teammates in the 2011-12 and 2012-13 seasons, and kept in touch after Dumba started the season with the Wild and then was traded to the Portland Winterhawks prior to returning to the Western Hockey League.
While they were together, Fleury said he watched closely as Dumba developed into a top-flight prospect.
"You can learn a lot of valuable things just by watching how he conducts himself around the rink and in public," Fleury said.
The 6-foot-2, 202-pound Fleury had eight goals, 46 points and a team-best plus-15 rating in 70 games. He also was named the best defenseman at the 2014 International Ice Hockey Federation World Under-18 Championship where he had one assist in seven games to help Canada win the bronze medal.
"He's got good, strong mobility, great vision and has a knack for making that first good outlet pass," Central Scouting's B.J. MacDonald said. "He's composed and calm with the puck and has an ability of knowing when to join the rush at the right moments."
Fleury said he'll meet with more than 20 teams by the time the interview portion of the combine ends. His personality, as well as his skills on the ice, should make him a high pick when the draft is held June 27-28 at Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia.
"Just go to the rink ready to work hard every day, that was the big thing," Fleury said he learned from Dumba. "If you keep working hard you'll develop more, your ranking will go up throughout the year. At end of the day it only takes one team to like you."