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NHL Combine

Nolan Patrick interviews with Devils at Combine

New Jersey expected to choose between him, Nico Hischier with No. 1 pick at NHL Draft

by Mike G. Morreale @mikemorrealeNHL / Staff Writer

BUFFALO -- The New Jersey Devils interviewed Brandon center Nolan Patrick, No. 1 in NHL Central Scouting's final ranking of North American skaters, at the 2017 NHL Scouting Combine at KeyBank Center on Monday.

The Devils, who have the No. 1 pick in the 2017 NHL Draft, sat down with Patrick on the first afternoon of the six-day combine. New Jersey is scheduled to interview Halifax center Nico Hischier, No. 2 in NHL Central Scouting's final ranking, on Tuesday.

"It was straightforward questioning, they were really friendly," Patrick said. "They asked at one point what was most important to me, being a top scorer or winning the game. That answer is pretty obvious: winning the game.

"I'm a really competitive guy and hate losing and obviously you want to contribute as much as you can, but if you're not putting up the numbers and your team is winning, I'd still be happy."

The interview was the second meeting Patrick had with Devils general manager Ray Shero, who traveled to Patrick's hometown in Winnipeg earlier this month. In addition to Shero and the Devils scouting team, Patrick took questions from Devils director of player and team development Dr. Aimee Kimball, Ph.D.

"I'm a real competitive guy and I want to be the best player in the draft, but at the end of the day, whether I go No. 1, No. 2 or No. 3, it's just a chance to try out for that team," Patrick said. "At the end of the day, I'd be honored to play anywhere."

Video: Brian Lawton on NHL Draft prospect Nolan Patrick

Patrick, who has 13 team interviews this week, also sat down with the Buffalo Sabres and Winnipeg Jets on Monday. The Sabres have the No. 8 pick in the first round; the Jets have the No. 13 pick.

"The Winnipeg interview was good," Patrick said. "They know me pretty well already, so they were just getting a little background stuff. All the interviews went well and my first day of meetings were fun."

Patrick said if medically cleared he wants to take part in the physical testing at the combine. All players must be medically cleared by the NHL combine medical staff in order to participate. Any player who is not 100 percent able to perform an upper- or lower-body test because of postseason surgery, current injury or rehabilitation or medical condition will be classified as injury- or medically-exempt, depending on the circumstances.

Patrick, 18, winner of the Canadian Hockey League Sherwin-Williams Top Prospect Award during the CHL Awards ceremony on Saturday, will take his medical exam Wednesday. He missed 35 regular-season games because of an upper-body injury this season and four first-round Western Hockey League playoff games with a lower-body injury.

Patrick had 46 points (20 goals, 26 assists) in 33 games; his 1.39 points per game average was 10th in the WHL. In 2015-16, Patrick was fifth in the WHL with 102 points (41 goals, 61 assists) in 72 games, and tied for the WHL scoring lead with 30 points (13 goals, 17 assists) in 21 games and was named playoff MVP.

"I do want to go through all the testing if I'm cleared to do so," Patrick said. "It's a once-in-a-lifetime thing and some of these tests I haven't done. I don't want to leave the combine knowing I wasn't able to do all the tests because you are only here once. Hopefully I get to go-ahead to go through it all."

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