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Combine just part of the Draft Soup

by Adam Kimelman
TORONTO -- To Phoenix Coyotes GM Don Maloney, the decision on what to do at the draft is like cooking a meal. You need all the ingredients, but too much of one thing can spoil the meal. That's why he enjoys the annual NHL Scouting Combine, but he told it's important not to put too much emphasis on the event.

"It's like a soup," he said. "There's 20 ingredients and you have to make sure how much emphasis you put in certain areas."

Maloney, who said he didn't do a lot of amateur scouting this season, said he allows his scouts to run things in the interview room. He said the Coyotes talked to about 75 prospects during the four days of interviews, and for most of them he was a spectator.

"I sit in the back and listen," he said. "It's more if I hear something I'm curious about. … I enjoy it because now you become vested. It makes the draft that much more interesting."

For the fitness testing, Maloney said he likes to watch the prospects as they move through the testing area rather than examine the raw data.

"What I've learned over the years is body makeup is important," he said. "See what they look like, how they move around, how athletic they are. …  Ten years ago the player that was in well-cut shape, you could see muscle, you make note of him. Now, the rare time you make a note is if the guy comes in and has a bit of body fat or lack of definition -- that stands out. The U.S. [National Team Development] program players are always ... you can tell a guy from that program because they do so much of that upper-body building."

Maloney may be an observer for most of the Combine, but he said he still gains valuable information.

"You only have a certain amount of access to this group of players, so why not take advantage?" he said. "Even if you get one bit of a nugget [of information] out of this, it's worth the time, as far as I'm concerned."

Contact Adam Kimelman at Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK
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