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Video: DRAFT | 1-on-1 with Ryan Kennedy
We've highlighted some interesting prospects who are either near the top of the draft, in the Devils range in the second round, have a relationship to top prospect Jack Hughes, or have unique storylines, to interview throughout the day. Stay tuned for coverage as the players become available.
Video: DRAFT | 1-ON-1 with Sam Cosentino
Victor Soderstrom is a top 15 prospect in the upcoming 2019 NHL Draft. The 5-foot-11, 176-pound blueliner out of Skutskar, Sweden is known as a nice all-around defender. He commented on the combine process during an interview with newjerseydevils.com.
"It's been going good," he said. "Lots of meetings, but it's been fun. It's been a really good experience. Now you're really looking forward to the draft. It's going to be fun."
Soderstrom played 44 games in the top Swedish league this season, potting four goals and adding three assists. It was his first taste of SHL action.
"In the beginning of the season, my goal was to be the leading player on the junior team and maybe have a couple of practices and maybe a couple games in the SHL," he said. "For it to turn out the way it did, I didn't really expect that. It was a very fun season and very good experience playing with the men. It was a lot of fun."
Video: COMBINE | Marshall Warren with Amanda Stein
New York native defenseman Marshall Warren, who played Under-16 hockey in New Jersey, has a unique story. He grew up as a figure skater before transitioning to the game of hockey. It has helped prepare him for a flourishing career which will continue with Boston College next season.
"My mom was like, 'you've got to be a good skater first.' So I figure skated for like four years," Warren said. "It was some of the greatest times of my life and my sister figure skates. She just won nationals for Boston University. Skating is one of my biggest assets. It was great to just learn everything and be creative on the ice. It was probably one of the biggest [reasons] I'm here today."
Jack Hughes' USNTDP had a lot of good things to say about the potential first-overall pick.
"Jack is one of my really good buddies," said Zegras. "He's a competitor so he and I kind of pushed each other in practice every day. He wants to be the best at everything he does. He's awesome."
Video: COMBINE | Trevor Zegras with Amanda Stein
Zegras, who scored 26 goals and added 61 assists this past season, has been compared to Patrick Kane, one of his hockey idols.
"It's awesome," Zegras said of the comparisons. "Growing up, he was kind of like my idol I guess. Emulating my game after him is something I try to do, so that's pretty cool to hear."
Spencer Knight was the goalie for the USNTDP and he's committed to Boston College. As the netminder for such a talented team that will boast numerous first-round picks, Knight recognizes the play of those in front of him.
"I think any goalie can't get where they are without their teammates in front of them," said Knight. "It's a special group, I think we all know that. We all know they're a bunch of really high-end players. But from top to bottom, we've got a lot of people over the next couple of years who are really good hockey players."
Ethan Phillips has a unique Devils connection as his family billeted Nico Hischier in Halifax.
"It was pretty cool, just seeing him go through the whole process and everything and learning from him was something I'll always have and I'm thankful for it," said Phillips.
Video: COMBINE | Ethan Phillips with Amanda Stein
Watch the video above for more.
Ryan Suzuki had 25 goals and 75 points this season for the Barrie Colts. His brother, Nick Suzuki was drafted 13th overall by the Vegas Golden Knights in 2017 and while Ryan isn't expected to go that high, the experience of his brother has helped him with this entire process.
"He's definitely a guy, anytime I have any questions he's always there to ask. Having someone who went through it firsthand is pretty special" "Being able to go to the draft with him was a special moment for our family and gave me some perspective on what's to come."
Turcotte could go as high as third in this year's draft. A teammate of Jack Hughes this past season with the U.S. National Team Development program, he had high praise for his teammate, who was also his roommate.
"He's just a normal kid. He likes to have fun and joke around. He's really competitive, too but is normal and wants to be a kid and have fun with it," said Turcotte. "He's special. A lot of it has to do with his talent on the ice but what puts him in the special category is how he handles it. He was our captain for a reason and he's just a special player and person."
The towering 6-foot-7 goaltender from Denmark
"I'm a big guy, but I can still move well in the net," he said. "I can go out there and make the first pass and make it easy on the defensemen. I think those are some of the best things about me."
Sogaard had a solid year in the WHL, posting a 2.64 goals-against average and .921 save percentage in 37 games for the Medicine Hat Tigers.
"I still have a long road," he said. "I still have tons of stuff to work on. Knowing that is pretty exciting."
Sogaard is one of the 60-plus players to have met with New Jersey at the combine.
"I really enjoyed talking with them. It was a fun one."
Jack Hughes is going to have a busy couple of weeks in what has already been a whirlwind start to his summer.
The top North American prospect and potential first-overall pick is going to take a step back ahead of the draft, which takes place June 21 in Vancouver.
"I think it's always in your head," said Hughes. "Its always going to be upstairs, especially with the draft coming up I'll be thinking about that. But I love to golf, hang out with friends, hang out with my brothers. I'll try to be an 18-year-old kid. Once the draft comes, my life will change a little bit. I will try to take advantage of these next few weeks."
Video: COMBINE | Jack Hughes
One of the things that really jumped out at Philip Tomasino was the exhaustive nature of the Scouting Combine testing.
"I think a lot of guys are tired. It was fun, though. A chance to do a lot of testing and I think I did pretty well, too," Tomasino noted, adding that the mental portion was certainly one he enjoyed, being interviewed by clubs all week.
"I was told I might get a few weird questions but didn't get any. I enjoyed the process for sure. Got to talk hockey and talk to some great NHL staff."
If he ends up getting drafted by New Jersey, Cam York has some ties already to the Devils organization, being coached by Scott Niedermayer as a member of the Junior Ducks from Mites through Bantam.
"I was in the Honda Center when Scott was raising the Cup and it's a moment I'll never forget. For that guy to end up being my coach is super special. He's a super humble guy. He makes seven million a year and you'd think he'd have a Bugatti but he's driving a Honda Civic."
Video: COMBINE | Cam York with Amanda Stein
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Cole Caufield rode shotgun with Jack Hughes all season long on the U.S. National Team Development Program and netted an unbelievable 72 goals playing wing.
"I thought it was a little bit of both," he said when asked about who helped who more during the record-breaking season. "He does some crazy things with the puck. We both helped each other and complemented each other so well. Sometimes I'd catch myself watching the things he does."
Alex Vlasic, cousin of NHL defenseman Marc-Edouard Classic, is one of the top defensemen in the upcoming draft.
His poise with the puck was a major asset this past season, which he says is no coincidence. It's something he worked on.
"I think it has definitely improved over the last couple of years," he said. "I just try to keep working on it and keep having self-confidence. I think that's huge in any sport for sure, even just in life making sure you believe in yourself and you have the ability to make any play. I try to maintain that level of self-confidence."
Samuel Poulin had a monster year in the QMJHL, scoring 29 goals and finishing with 76 points in 67 games for Sherbrooke. He also wore the "A" as an alternate captain.
"It was a really good year for me," he said. "As the year went on, I just got better and felt more comfortable on the ice. I'm really happy about how I [did] at the end of the year."