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Combine curiosity

by Derek Jory / Vancouver Canucks
The NHL Combine has been a somewhat foreign event to Canucks fans over the last few years.

The event, held at the First Niagara Center in Buffalo for the second straight year, gathers the who’s who of NHL prospects for a series of medical and physical testing, as well as interviews galore. The five-day showcase gives every team access to every player to find out everything about them, in hopes of making the most educated draft selections possible during the 2016 NHL Draft, June 24-25 in Buffalo.

Canucks scouts and management will be on hand, as they always are. Despite only having three top-10 picks in the last 10 years, Vancouver is always in attendance, getting a lay of the land.

With the fifth overall pick this year, the Canucks obviously have more interest than usual. They’ll comb through the 114 players attending, observe functional movement screen, V02 max and fitness testing and meet one-on-one with as many prospects as they’d like.

General Manager Jim Benning, alongside President Trevor Linden and the entire hockey operations staff, including scouts from far and wide, use this week to adjust their already formulated draft list. Players move up, down and all around until a draft game plan is set.

Things can all change draft day when trades come into play, but the Canucks will go into the draft as educated and prepared as possible. Benning’s track record for drafting studs cannot be questioned, so clearly the process is working and the combine is a big part of it.

Player interviews run all week, Monday to Friday, while medicals take place Wednesday and various physical testing going Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

"The Combine week is always an interesting event for Central Scouting that seems to go by very quickly," NHL Director of Central Scouting Dan Marr told NHL.com "The goal is to present an event that allows NHL personnel to interact with the future stars of our game and assist the NHL clubs in their pursuit of gaining as much knowledge about the draft prospects as possible. Central Scouting looks forward to hosting the prospects during Combine week so that they can further showcase themselves."

CanucksTV will be attending the combine later this week, speaking with potential draft picks and Canucks brass. Stay tuned to Canucks.com and our social media channels for the latest.

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It’s fun to play armchair GM, so let’s do just that.

What would be your draft strategy? Draft based on positional need, or maybe best player available?

Any players stand out you hope end up in Canucks colours?

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