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Nugent-Hopkins checks in from NHL Combine

by Ryan Nugent-Hopkins
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins is a center for the Red Deer Rebels of the Western Hockey League. Nugent-Hopkins, selected first overall in the WHL's 2008 bantam draft, was named the league's top rookie in 2009-10 after posting 24 goals and 65 points in 67 games. He was named the top player for Team Orr at the 2011 Home Hardware CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game on Jan. 19. Nugent-Hopkins, rated No. 1 among North American skaters on NHL Central Scouting's final report, had 31 goals, 106 points and a plus-30 rating in 69 games for Red Deer this season. He chipped in with 4 goals, 11 points and a plus-5 rating in nine playoff games. Nugent-Hopkins offered to maintain a monthly blog for this season that will chronicle his season leading up to the NHL Entry Draft in St. Paul, Minn.

Hi everyone. I'm here at the NHL Scouting Combine at the Westin in Toronto. I arrived to the hotel on Monday and, on Monday night, me and my dad went to the Toronto Blue Jays game against the Cleveland Indians. My dad's a big Blue Jays fan so he was happy they came out on top.

It was my first time going to a Major League Baseball game so that was pretty cool. On Tuesday, I kind of hung around the hotel and met some of the guys I know around the (Western Hockey League) and went out to dinner with them … I ordered a Oscar sirloin. It was pretty good.

My first interview on Wednesday was with the Edmonton Oilers. It went really well and I got a good feeling from them. I'm starting to feel more comfortable around them now because I've had a couple of interviews with them so it's been going pretty well. I'm looking forward to draft day.

The media requests and interviews have gotten easier for me. The biggest thing is, I feel more comfortable with all of it, but I think it's still really cool and this was the first time I got to see a lot of these teams here so it was definitely a great opportunity to meet new people.

People have been asking me who I'm rooting for in the Stanley Cup Final. I never really was a Canucks fan, but I think it's great how well they're doing now. It's looking really good for them right now.

I know there's been a lot of talk about my weight and if I have the strength to play in the NHL next year, but I really feel I took some strides this year. I feel like I could play in the NHL next year. I know I need to bulk up a little bit, but if I put on five to 10 pounds, I'll be ready to play.

I'm a little anxious about the fitness testing (on Friday). The bike tests are pretty tough but everyone has to do them so I'm just going to work as hard as I can on it and just get through it. I'll be leaving for Red Deer right after the testing.

If I don't get drafted first overall, I don't know if it'll be disappointing really. But I'd love to go first. If I didn't, I'd be happy to be drafted wherever it is.
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