Willie Knierim, No. 149 on NHL Central Scouting's final list of North American skaters eligible for the 2016 NHL Draft, finished his second season with Dubuque in the United States Hockey League. The 6-foot-3, 210-pound right wing had 14 goals, 27 points, 161 penalty minutes and 103 shots on goal in 53 games this season. The Skokie, Ill., native is committed to Miami University in 2016-17. Knierim is in Buffalo this week at the NHL Scouting Combine.
BUFFALO - Hey everyone!
Well, my week at the NHL Scouting Combine is over, and I thought it went pretty well. It was a fun week in Buffalo and I got to see a couple guys I played with before and got to meet a lot of new guys as well. I finished up this week with testing on Friday and Saturday and it went pretty well, I thought.
The testing part of the combine had me really excited and anxious to get it going. I wouldn't say it was nerves or butterflies or anything, but when you're sitting there for 10-15 minutes watching other guys go, you just want to get in there. But once I started doing the height and the wingspan and I start doing the jumps and stuff, you start to calm down; you get going there. I thought it went well so I'm glad the Wingate [test] was last, it was a bit of a bag (difficult) at the end.
Even though the Wingate was hard, the VO2 max bike test was by far the hardest and that was a pretty big bag at the end. I was waiting to do it on Friday and one of the kids came out and I asked him how it went and he went to go answer and he covered his mouth and ran into the locker room, so that kind of scared me a little bit. But when you hop on the bike and start pedaling, it's just kind of natural. You bike for as long as you can and you show people that you can compete and that you're not going to quit.
When I wasn't interviewing with teams or going through testing, I had a chance to check out Buffalo itself and it's a great city. I've been here a couple of times for U.S. national camp and the All-American Prospects Game and stuff like that, but this time I got to walk around the town a little bit and it's beautiful. I actually got to go see a Buffalo Bisons [baseball] game, which was pretty cool, and focus on something that wasn't hockey.
We also went to Osteria 166, a real nice Italian restaurant, and it was great food. I also went to 716 right next to the HarborCenter here and that also had great food and great service and everything. Overall, a great experience here in Buffalo.
Looking ahead to the draft, anything can happen and hopefully all the players here at the combine did as well as they could and we'll see on June 24 and 25 how it all played out.