Flyers Director of Hockey Operations Chris Pryor is currently at the NHL’s annual Scouting Combine. PhiladelphiaFlyers.com caught up with Pryor who gave his thoughts on this year’s Combine.
As of today (May 30), the Flyers have FIVE picks in this year's NHL Entry Draft (June 22-23 in Pittsburgh, PA).
1st Round (1)
3rd Round (1 - from San Jose)
4th Round (1)
5th Round (1)
7th Round (1)
PF.com: What is your main objective and focus at the Combine?
CP: “From Monday through Thursday it’s interviews. We have a group of players that everyday we bring in. Every guy the [NHL] allows you 15-20 minutes, so we just sit down and talk to the kid. Our [scouts] have seen these kids on the ice all year. Some of the kids we’ve already interviewed, but it’s a good chance to put a face with a name and get to know them a little bit. You don’t want to put too much into the interview, but it’s also good to get a feel for the player and ask some questions.”
PF.com: How important is that process to just talk to the prospects and potential draft picks?
CP: “The most important part has already been done during the year and that’s seeing them play on the ice. This fills in some blanks to get to know the player a little bit, but most of the guys that we’re interested in we’ve already interviewed in their hometown or during the season. Some of the bigger guys we’ll usually bring in again in Pittsburgh [at this year’s draft]. All of the kids are put through their physical testing on Friday and Saturday so you see a little bit more about their physical testing at that time.”
PF.com: How many other members of the Flyers are up there?
CP: “It’s myself and four others: Dennis Patterson, Mark Greig, Ilkka Sinisalo and Todd Hearty.”
PF.com: What do you get from going to the NHL Combine year-to-year?
CP: “Well, I think you need to make sure you do all you can do and know as much as you can know about the players that you see. You just gather more information to help you in your final decision.”
“You don’t want to put too much in the interviews because a lot of these kids have never done this before and obviously some of them are going to be a little bit nervous. All of them handle it differently and they’re only 17-years-old, but I do think you might come across something that might be a red flag. If two players, A and B, are alike, then this [process] might push you to the other guy just because there’s something that doesn’t sit right with you, so I think it’s a good process to go through.
“I don’t think you want to put all of your eggs in one basket based on interviews, but it’s information that helps you and if you don’t use it, I think it’s a little bit of ignorance on our part. All of the other teams are up here doing the same thing as well.
PF.com: What’s the final step in this process?
CP: “The Combine goes through Saturday and then all of our guys will come in next week and have final meetings in Philly. We’ll sit down for three or four days and get our players in order as best we can. Then we have a couple weeks before the draft and a couple days in Pittsburgh to go over it. We do the best that we can at it, but obviously things change from now until that point. We have a group of players that we think could be there, so we’ll see what happens on the first night [of the draft].”
PF.com: Are there any questions or interviews with players after the NHL Combine is over?
CP: Yes. There have been times where we bring players into Philly and sit down with them specifically and individually at that time too. We have a two week gap where, if we need to bring guys in, we can do that.”