The 2018 NHL Scouting Combine is taking place this week at KeyBank Center and HarborCenter in Buffalo. The combine will allow NHL teams an opportunity to conduct interviews and provide physical and medical assessments of 104 top prospects eligible for the 2018 NHL Draft. NHL.com will bring you all the sights and sounds.
BUFFALO -- Noah Dobson's whirlwind tour has brought him to the combine.
The defenseman for Acadie-Bathurst of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League celebrated the Memorial Cup championship Sunday, with a 3-0 win against host Regina of the Western Hockey League.
Dobson tied with Josh Mahura of Regina for the most points among defensemen with seven (two goals, five assists) in four games and was named to the tournament all-star team.
He and his teammates flew home from Saskatchewan to Bathurst, New Brunswick, where they had a victory parade Tuesday.
"It was a pretty crazy atmosphere, 5,000 people there," Dobson said. "The population is 11,000 so almost half the town was there. Pretty cool experience."
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He arrived in Buffalo on Wednesday and started interviewing with teams Thursday; he met with nine teams and is scheduled to meet with three more Friday.
Dobson, who had 69 points (17 goals, 52 assists) in 67 QMJHL games this season, is No. 5 in NHL Central Scouting's final ranking of North American skaters for the 2018 NHL Draft.
After fitness testing Saturday, Dobson will travel to Washington for Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final between the Washington Capitals and Vegas Golden Knights on Monday.
"My dad's a little jealous, he's a Capitals fan," Dobson said. "Obviously it's going to be a great experience. You dream of playing in the Stanley Cup Final one day, so to go out there and experience it, it's going to be great."
As for his father?
"I'll get him a conference championship T-shirt or something like that," he said.
Here are four takeaways from Day Four at the combine Thursday:
1. First-round feedback
Adam Boqvist with Brynas in Sweden's junior league has been compared to Erik Karlsson of the Ottawa Senators because they are defenseman from Sweden with similar size (Boqvist is 5-11, 168; Karlsson was 5-11, 165 in his draft year) and high-end offensive games.
Boqvist, No. 2 in Central Scouting's final ranking of International skaters, said he watches a Karlsson highlight video before every game.
"I love to look up to Erik Karlsson very much," he said. "I look at video before every one of my games. That's one ritual I have, watch Erik Karlsson tributes, a YouTube video."
2. Scouts honor
London forward Liam Foudy made the biggest jump in Central Scouting's final ranking of North American skaters, to No. 19 after being No. 91 in the midterm ranking.
Part of that rise came from getting more playing time in the second half of the Ontario Hockey League season. He had seven points (four goals, three assists) in his first 35 games, but 33 points (20 goals, 13 assists) in his final 30.
"Early on the in the year we saw what we thought was a top-end player and his playing time was really limited," Central Scouting's David Gregory said. "He dropped a little bit only because we couldn't get a read. But as we saw him play and as his playing time went up he showed us what we thought he was and even more from what the beginning of the year said. He's earned his status to be a first-round rank for us."
3. Top underrated prospect
Tri-City forward Tyler Madden's final interview Thursday was with a team close to his family, the New Jersey Devils.
His father, John Madden, won the Stanley Cup as a forward with the Devils in 2000 and 2003.
"It was really cool," he said. "I grew up around that rink and that's where I really started to love the game. I remember getting a little (Devils) jersey made for me when I was 1 or 2 years old, tearing around down there. It was awesome."
Madden, who had 34 points (15 goals, 19 assists) in 50 United States Hockey League games, is No. 39 in Central Scouting's final ranking of North American skaters. He'll play next season at Northeastern University.
4. Question of the day
Defenseman Filip Johansson of Leksand in Sweden's junior league said he was confused when a team showed him a picture of a bus and asked him which way the bus was going.
Johansson, No. 10 in Central Scouting's final ranking of International skaters, said that because the front and the back of the bus looked identical he took a guess. He realized later that he gave the wrong answer.
"I got it wrong because I didn't see the door," he said. "You just saw windows. I think it should be going left because you didn't see the door on the side. If I had seen the door the bus should have gone right."