BUFFALO -- Spencer Knight from USA Hockey's National Team Development Program Under-18 team showed why he's viewed as one of the best athletes available in the 2019 NHL Draft, as well as one of the best goalies.
Knight, No. 1 on NHL Central Scouting's final ranking of North American goalies for the 2019 Draft at Rogers Arena in Vancouver on June 21-22, finished in the top 15 in eight of the testing categories conducted the past two days during the NHL Scouting Combine at HarborCenter.
The goalie displayed his explosive lower-body strength by finishing second in the standing long jump at 117 inches, 0.8 inches behind defenseman Jayden Struble from St. Sebastians School.
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In the traditional version of the vertical jump he was fifth at 23.58 inches, but from a squat position he was second at 18.84 inches, behind goalie Taylor Gauthier of Prince George of the Western Hockey League (23.19).
Knight also finished second in the pro agility shuttle run starting to the right (4.32 seconds) and third starting to the left (4.29 seconds). His peak power output of 15.8 watts per kilogram of body weight on the Wingate ergometer bike test, a 30-second full-out sprint that replicates a shift for a skater, was tied for 10th. And his time of 14:20 on the Vo2 Max bike test, which measures stamina, was 15th.
"I think the part of this is you have to showcase some of the skills [scouts] can't see on the ice," Knight said. "On the ice you can do some things but they can't tell what you're like physically off the ice, so it's good to go out there and show them what you've got."
Video: Top goalie Spencer Knight on his development
Those who watched Knight play with the NTDP this season didn't need much of a reminder.
"I've worked with goalies for many years and I don't think I've ever seen a kid so physically and mentally ready for the next level than Spencer," NTDP goaltending coach Thomas Speer said. "I think 'special' is exactly what Spencer is."
He also had the seventh-best body fat percentage at 7.73, and his wingspan was tied for 18th at 76.50 inches.
Knight wasn't the only NTDP player to excel during the fitness testing.
Right wing Cole Caufield, No. 8 on Central Scouting's final ranking of North American skaters, did 16 pull-ups, tied for the most of any player; his vertical jump of 23.08 inches was sixth; and his bench press power, which measures upper-body explosiveness by setting the bar at 50 percent of a player's body weight, was seventh at 7.07 watts per kilogram.
Center John Beecher, No. 49 on Central Scouting's final ranking of North American skaters, lasted 15:00 on the Vo2 Max test, tied for the sixth longest; he had the third-best grip strength with his left hand (155 pounds) and right hand (160 pounds); his standing long jump of 115.3 inches was fifth.
Defenseman Marshall Warren (No. 61) had the highest vertical jump at 26.05 inches; center Owen Lindmark (No. 93) was third in peak power output on the Wingate at 16.9 watts per kilogram, and defenseman Henry Thrun (No. 39) was fourth at 16.7; and right wing Judd Caulfield (No. 67) was fourth in the standing long jump at 116.3 inches.
Jack Hughes, Central Scouting's top-rated North American skater and the leading candidate to be the No. 1 pick of the 2019 Draft, did not take part in the testing after medical testing conducted Wednesday showed he was less than 100 percent after returning from playing for the United States at the 2019 IIHF World Championship in Slovakia; the U.S. was eliminated in the quarterfinals on May 23.
"I think I knew coming into the combine I wasn't going to do the testing because I really haven't trained for it, playing hockey the past two months," Hughes said. "I really haven't had a break (after playing in the IIHF World Under-18 Championship in Sweden in April and the World Championship). It just didn't make sense to do the testing. My body needed a bit of a break."
For a look at the top 25 finishers in all categories, click here
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