In addition to thinking about what the NHL Scouting Combine has in store for him this week, Youngstown Phantoms defenseman Scott Mayfield
has also been pondering issues much closer to home these days.
The St. Louis native, rated No. 24 on NHL Central Scouting's final list of North American skaters, resides just three hours East of Joplin, Mo., where the tragic EF-5 tornado resulted in the death of at least 125 persons, over 750 injuries, and major damage to countless homes and businesses.
"I didn't have any family or friends affected by the tornado but it was just horrible … I was watching all day on television," Mayfield told NHL.com. "The strange thing is, a lot of tornadoes have come through Missouri this year. A guy right down the street from us had shingles ripped off his roof that are still in my yard from a tornado that hit weeks ago, but the one that hit Joplin was a lot more serious."
Mayfield has been hard at work over the last month preparing his body for the rigors of the Combine, which is slated May 30 through June 4 in Toronto. He arrived in Toronto on Tuesday evening, all smiles, in obvious anticipation of the big week ahead.
The trip to the Combine is not Mayfield's first trip to an NHL event held in Toronto. At the start of the season, he took part in the NHL's Research, Development and Orientation Camp.
"The VO2 max (bike test) is probably the most important one so that's something I've been training for," he said. "It's kind of different training when you know the exercise you're training for. It's fun at the same time doing the different exercises. We're at the bike a lot during the season, but we never do a Wingate or VO2 max, so I'm having fun doing it with my trainer."
Mayfield explained his training regimen in his monthly blog for NHL.com. Read it here
"While you want to make sure you're ready the best you can be, I'm not looking at not trying to get stronger while doing 100 pushups for the sake of the Combine," Mayfield said. "I'm actually still trying to get stronger and put on weight so I think I'm ready and excited for it."
Mayfield dressed in 52 games and tallied 7 goals and 16 points in his second season with the Phantoms. He connected for 3 goals and 8 points on the power-play. A skilled, intelligent defender with good size (6-3 1/2, 197 pounds), Mayfield was named MVP for Team USA at the 2010 World Jr. A Challenge after the team claimed its third straight gold medal in November.
He'll likely attend the University of Denver next fall, where he hopes to earn a role along the blueline. He admitted he might look to major or concentrate on hotel and restaurant management.
"I found that school pretty interesting and pretty cool," Mayfield said. "It's something I could use as a backup to professional hockey."
In addition to Mayfield, Denver's coaching staff might also be high on another incoming recruit on defense in Joey Laleggia
of the Penticton Vees in the British Columbia Hockey League. Laleggia, who had 20 goals and 82 points in 58 games this season, has racked up 147 points in 114 career games in three seasons with the Vees.
"I know (Denver), of course, is waiting to see how everything turns out," Mayfield said. "I know there's another recruit who's highly offensive in Joey Laleggia
. I don't think they're looking at me too hard as an offensive-type defender … just kind of an all-around game like I've been the last two years. I'm not all a stay-at-home type of player, I play offensive as well. But I play defense too."
Follow Mike Morreale on Twitter at: @mike_morreale