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Eichel bests McDavid at 2015 NHL Scouting Combine

by Mike G. Morreale

BUFFALO -- Erie Otters center Connor McDavid and Boston University center Jack Eichel went head-to-head on the ice at the 2015 IIHF World Junior Championship.

On Saturday they had another chance to see who was better during the fitness testing portion of the 2015 NHL Scouting Combine.

Eichel got the best of McDavid in five of the six tests that posted results: Standing long jump, vertical jump, pro-agility test, bench press and pull-ups. Eichel also lasted longer than McDavid on the VO2 Max stationary bike on Friday. That test measures a player's endurance and stamina.

McDavid and Eichel didn't hesitate when asked which of the nine tests Saturday offered the greatest challenge.

"It was obvious; the Wingate (bike test)," McDavid said. "That one was absolutely crazy.


McDavid Eichel
97.3" Standing Long Jump 115"
19.488" Vertical Jump 26.181"
Left: 4.43
Right: 4.53
Pro Agility Left: 4.48
Right: 4.24
9 Bench Press 16
6 Pull Ups 9
17.49 Wingate (Bike) 17.42
10:15 VO2 max (bike) 12:15

The Wingate Cycle Ergometer peak power output test, the last test of the day, is a 30-second all-out sprint on a stationary bike that measures a player's explosiveness. McDavid's power output number was 17.49, 0.7 higher than Eichel's 17.42.

McDavid said he wasn't exactly sure how well he did on the Wingate.

"I thought I scored OK; I don't really know what is a good number for that," he said. "I felt pretty good afterwards though. The number comes on the board and seemed to be OK; I don't really know."

Eichel considered the Wingate tougher than expected, primarily because it was the last test of the day.

"It's at the end of the testing, you’re tired, and you've done a few tests already," Eichel said. "You're sore and then have to jump on the bike and go really hard for a 30-second sprint with some resistance."

Since Eichel was in the group of prospects that began their tests one hour after McDavid's group, he was able to see McDavid's scores when he reached each station. He said it didn't make a difference to him.

"I was looking at the scoreboard and saw he was on there but I was looking at what I did," Eichel said. "It's in anyone's competitive nature to want to top all the scorers on that list."

McDavid said he thought he had executed nine pull-ups, but the spotters at the station recorded six.

"I guess they were pretty tough on that; they're looking for tempo and form," McDavid said. "Some guys thought they deserved better, but I guess I don't have to worry about that now."

Eichel was particularly impressive in the standing long jump (115 inches), bench press (16 repetitions) and pull-ups (nine).

"It was a great week," Eichel said. "I think it's a great experience. It was just another piece of the season and step toward the draft. I think Buffalo did a great job putting on this event and hats off to the Buffalo Sabres organization and everyone else involved."

Eichel is expected to be selected by the Sabres with the second pick in the draft June 26 at BB&T Center in Sunrise, Fla. McDavid likely will go No. 1 to the Edmonton Oilers.

"Buffalo has been very welcoming," Eichel said. "I've gotten a lot from the locals. I've heard, 'Welcome home,' and, 'We're happy to have you here.' The people here are very welcoming, they care about hockey."

Eichel became the second freshman to win the Hobey Baker as the best player in NCAA hockey. He led NCAA players with 71 points, 45 assists, a 1.77 points-per-game average and plus-51 rating in 40 games.

"Everyone around here is pretty excited," Eichel said. "Nothing is set in stone, but it seems that this is where I will end up; people are really excited about the future."

Now he's just looking forward to the draft.

"It'll be a dream come true for me [at the draft] and a dream come true for my parents," Eichel said. "They've done a lot for me to get to this point and I think they're just as excited as I am. It's a neat experience to be able to go through this with my family."

McDavid, the Canadian Hockey League Player of the Year, was third in the Ontario Hockey League with 120 points and tied for fourth with 44 goals in 47 regular-season games. He had nine fewer points than League leader and Erie teammate Dylan Strome despite playing 21 fewer games.

McDavid had points in 45 of 47 games, 36 multipoint games and a point streak of 27 games, the longest in the OHL since the 2007-08 season. He also helped Canada win the gold medal at the 2015 IIHF World Junior Championship; he was tied for the tournament lead with 11 points and was named to the tournament all-star team.

He said he is looking forward to getting a little rest prior to the draft. He did say he bought a new suit for the big day.

"It's been an exciting journey and I'm surely looking forward to [draft day] getting here," McDavid said. "I know it's going to be a long couple of weeks. There's great anticipation for it but I'm looking forward to experiencing it with my family and friends. It'll be a dream come true."

McDavid also said he enjoyed his week in Buffalo.

"I thought overall it was a very well-run week and the testing was hard in terms of going through a long year and then coming to the Combine," McDavid said. "You look at the number of games some players have played. [Kelowna Rockets forward] Nick Merkley must have played over 100 games this year, but he came here and did all this."


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