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2011 NHL Entry Draft
2011 NHL Entry Draft Hats

Scouting combine could take on added importance

Monday, 05.02.2011 / 5:45 PM / 2011 NHL Entry Draft

By Adam Kimelman - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

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Scouting combine could take on added importance
The 102 forwards, defensemen and goaltenders will take part in the upcoming NHL Scouting Combine in preparation for the 2011 Entry Draft in Minnesota.
With the top spot for the 2011 Entry Draft as wide-open as ever, it could make the NHL Scouting Combine that much more of an important event.
 
The 102 best draft-eligible players from North America and Europe will spend May 30 to June 4 in Toronto, going through a vigorous round of physical, medical and psychological tests that could determine where they are chosen.
 
Among the most sought-after players will be Red Deer Rebels center Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Swedish defenseman Adam Larsson.
 
The 6-foot, 164-pound Nugent-Hopkins was No. 1 on NHL Central Scouting's final ranking of the top North American skaters. He led the Western Hockey League this season with 75 assists and was tied for third with 106 points. He then had 11 points in nine WHL playoff games.
 
"A couple of people high up in the Oilers' organization -- and I'm not naming names -- said Hopkins has the best vision on the ice since No. 99 (Wayne Gretzky)," Central Scouting's Peter Sullivan,

"A couple of people high up in the Oilers' organization -- and I'm not naming names -- said Hopkins has the best vision on the ice since No. 99 (Wayne Gretzky)" -- Central Scouting's Peter Sullivan on Ryan Nugent-Hopkins

who mainly scouts WHL prospects, told NHL.com. "That's the highest compliment you can get, but also another thing is the way Ryan competes. He never takes a night off and he works as hard in his own end as he does in the offensive zone. It takes a special player with special skills to be able to do that."
 
Larsson (6-3, 200) has been Central Scouting's top-rated European skater all season. He had 9 points in 37 games with Skelleftea in the Swedish Elite League, his third season playing against men in the nation's top professional league. He also had 4 points in six games for Sweden at the 2011 World Junior Championship and played for his country at the 2010 WJC.
 
"Adam is one of the best skaters in this year's draft," Central Scouting's Chris Edwards said. "He has excellent speed and mobility. He also has patient puck-handling abilities and can surprise an opponent with a solid hit. His size and skating ability make him comparable with Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman."
 
The Scouting Combine features a three-pronged approach. Teams are allowed four days to interview as many prospects as they wish. Players are given medical examinations by independent doctors, and then go through a rigorous off-ice physical test.
 
There is no on-ice component to the Combine, and that's done for a reason.
 
EJ McGuire, the former director of Central Scouting who died last month, told NHL.com that for one, the top players already have been viewed multiple times by scouts either in person or on video.
 
Also, there's the fact that some players, including many in U.S. colleges and high schools, haven't been on the ice since February -- compared with players with Canadian Hockey League teams who could be coming off long playoff runs that could end weeks or days before the start of the Combine. The championship game for the Memorial Cup is scheduled for May 29 in Mississauga, Ont., the day before the Combine starts.
 
"Is it fair to the kid whose high school season ended in February to stand next to the kid who played in a championship game on Sunday?" McGuire told NHL.com last year. "It might be unfair to the Memorial Cup participant if the (high school) kid had just been doing the Combine tests, sprinting five times a week and not having to practice. That Memorial Cup guy, did he block a shot to win a championship and his ankle is sore?"
 
Instead, the players are put through their paces in a three-hour crucible which includes events as simple as the sit and reach, push-ups and sit-ups, right through a pair of high-tech stationary bike tests -- Wingate anaerobic measure and an aerobic-max VO2 test.
 
The top 76 North American skaters as rated by NHL Central Scouting will be taking those tests. Besides Nugent-Hopkins, those looking to make an impression on the scouts are Kitchener Rangers left wing Gabriel Landeskog and defenseman Ryan Murphy; defenseman Dougie Hamilton and center Ryan Strome of the Niagara IceDogs; Drummondville Voltigeurs center Sean Couturier; Portland Winterhawks left wing Sven Baertschi; and a group of players from the Saint John Sea Dogs that includes centers Jonathan Huberdeau and Zack Phillips, defenseman Nathan Beaulieu, and right wing Tomas Jurco.
 
A number of top European players scouts will be examining beside Larsson are Swedish center Mika Zibanejad, Finnish right wing Joel Armia, Swedish defenseman Jonas Brodin and right wing Dmitri Jaskin from the Czech Republic.
 
Among the goaltending prospects in attendance will be John Gibson of the U.S. National Team Developmental Program and Christopher Gibson of Chicoutimi Sagueneens, Central Scouting's top two-rated goaltenders.
 
Contact Adam Kimelman at akimelman@nhl.com. Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK

SCOUTING COMBINE INVITATION LIST
NORTH AMERICAN SKATERS
NAME TEAM LEAGUE POS. HT WT
Seth Ambroz Omaha USHL RW 6-foot-2 211
Olivier Archambault Val d'Or QMJHL LW 5-foot-11 170
Sven Baertschi Portland WHL LW 5-foot-10 181
Nathan Beaulieu Saint John QMJHL D 6-foot-2 174
Myles Bell Regina WHL D 6-foot 214
Tyler Biggs USA U-18 USHL RW 6-foot-2 210
Austen Brassard Belleville OHL RW 6-foot-2 191
Daniel Catenacci Sault Ste. Marie OHL C 5-foot-10 183
Adam Clendening Boston University HE D 5-foot-11` 190
Nick Cousins Sault Ste. Marie OHL C 5-foot-11 166
Sean Couturier Drummondville QMJHL C 6-foot-4 197
Joseph Cramarossa Mississauga St. Michael's OHL C 6-foot 188
Phillip Danault Victoriaville QMJHL LW 6-foot 170
Joel Edmundson Moose Jaw WHL D 6-foot-5 191
Travis Ewanyk Edmonton WHL LW 6-foot-1 178
Rocco Grimaldi USA U-18 USHL C 5-foot-6 163
Dougie Hamilton Niagara OHL D 6-foot-4 187
Jonathan Huberdeau Saint John QMJHL C 6-foot-1 170
Philippe Hudon Choate-Rosemary HIGH-CT C/RW 6-foot 190
Colin Jacobs Seattle WHL C 6-foot-1 197
Boone Jenner Oshawa OHL C 6-foot-1 204
Nicklas Jensen Oshawa OHL LW/RW 6-foot-2 187
Tomas Jurco Saint John QMJHL RW 6-foot-2 187
Alexander Khokhlachev Windsor OHL C/LW 5-foot-10 188
Patrick Koudys Rensselaer ECAC D 6-foot-2 190
Sean Kuraly Indiana USHL C 6-foot-2 192
Joseph Labate Holy Angels HIGH-MN C 6-foot-4 180
Gabriel Landeskog Kitchener OHL LW 6-foot-1 207
Zac Larraza USA U-18 USHL LW 6-foot-2 192
Maximilien LeSieur Shawinigan QMJHL RW 6-foot-2 203
Lucas Lessio Oshawa OHL LW 6-foot-1 197
Luke Lockhart Seattle WHL RW 5-foot-10 180
Adam Lowry Swift Current WHL LW 6-foot-4 186
Mario Lucia Wayzata HIGH-MN LW 6-foot-2 183
Scott Mayfield Youngstown  USHL D 6-foot-4 197
Mark McNeill Prince Albert WHL C 6-foot-2 201
Jonathan Miller USA U-18 USHL C 6-foot-1 198
Joseph Morrow Portland WHL D 6-foot 197
Connor Murphy USA U-18 USHL D 6-foot-3 185
Ryan Murphy Kitchener OHL D 5-foot-11 166
David Musil Vancouver WHL D 6-foot-3 198
Vladislav Namestnikov London OHL C 6-foot 166
Matthew Nieto Boston University HE LW 5-foot-11 175
Marcel Noebels Seattle WHL LW 6-foot-3 195
Stefan Noesen Plymouth OHL RW 6-foot 195
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins Red Deer WHL C 6-foot-1 164
Scott Oke Saint John QMJHL LW 6-foot-3 185
Jamieson Oleksiak Northeastern HE D 6-foot-7 244
Xavier Ouellet Montreal QMJHL D 6-foot 174
Stuart Percy Mississauga St. Michael's OHL D 6-foot-1 186
Zack Phillips Saint John QMJHL C 6-foot-1 178
Shane Prince Ottawa OHL C 5-foot-10 174
Matt Puempel Peterborough OHL LW 6-foot 196
Alan Quine Peterborough OHL C 5-foot-11 178
Jonathan Racine Shawinigan QMJHL D 6-foot-1 182
Rickard Rakell Plymouth OHL RW 6-foot 191
Ty Rattie Portland WHL RW 5-foot-11 163
Mike Reilly Shattuck-St. Mary's HIGH-MN D 5-foot-11 150
Tobias Rieder Kitchener OHL C 5-foot-11 173
Brett Ritchie Sarnia OHL RW 6-foot-3 210
Robbie Russo USA U-18 USHL D 6-foot 189
Brandon Saad Saginaw OHL LW 6-foot-1 208
Reece Scarlett Swift Current WHL D 6-foot-1 164
Mark Scheifele Barrie OHL C 6-foot-2 182
Logan Shaw Cape Breton QMJHL RW 6-foot-3 197
Nicholas Shore Denver WCHA C 6-foot 195
Duncan Siemens Saskatoon WHL D 6-foot-3 192
Ryan Sproul Sault Ste. Marie OHL D 6-foot-3 175
Michael St. Croix Edmotnon WHL C 5-foot-11 176
Ryan Strome Niagara OHL C 6-foot 175
Colin Sullivan Avon Old Farms HIGH-CT D 6-foot-1 190
Ryan Tesink Saint John QMJHL C 5-foot-11 157
Vincent Trocheck Saginaw OHL C 5-foot-10 184
Andy Welinski Green Bay  USHL D 6-foot 188
Tyler Wotherspoon Portland WHL D 6-foot-1 203
Zachary Yuen Tri-City WHL D 6-foot 205
NORTH AMERICAN GOALTENDERS
Jordan Binnington Owen Sound OHL 6-foot-1 156
Laurent Brossoit Edmonton WHL 6-foot-3 193
Christopher Gibson Chicoutimi QMJHL 6-foot-1 193
John Gibson USA U-18 USHL 6-foot-3 205
Matt Mahalak Plymouth OHL 6-foot-2 183
Matt McNeely USA U-18 USHL 6-foot-2 205
Stephen Michalek Loomis Chaffee  HIGH-CT 6-foot-2 183
Michael Morrison  Kitchener OHL 6-foot 177
EUROPEAN SKATERS
Joel Armia Assat FIN RW 6-foot-3 191
Rasmus Bengtsson Rogle SWE-2 D 6-foot-3 189
Jeremy Boyce Rotevall Timra SWE LW 6-foot 169
Jonas Brodin Farjestad SWE D 6-foot-1 169
Max Friberg Skovde SWE-3 LW 5-foot-11 185
Markus Granlund HIFK FIN-JR C 5-foot-10 169
Gregory Hofmann Ambri SWISS C 6-foot 177
Dmitri Jaskin Slavia CZE RW 6-foot-1 196
Karl Johansson Brynas SWE-JR D 5-foot-9 167
Oscar Klefbom Farjestad SWE D 6-foot-4 200
Nikita Kucherov CSKA RUS-JR W 5-foot-10 163
Adam Larsson Skelleftea SWE D 6-foot-3 200
Joachim Nermark Linkoping SWE-JR C 6-foot-1 187
Victor Rask Leskand SWE-2 C 6-foot-2 194
Alexander Ruuttu Jokerit FIN-JR C 6-foot-1 183
Miikka Salomaki Karpat FIN RW 5-foot-11 198
Mika Zibanejad Djurgarden SWE C 6-foot-2 191
EUROPEAN GOALTENDER
Samu Perhonen JYP FIN-JR 6-foot-4 172