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NHL Combine

What we learned at Scouting Combine

Nolan Patrick expects to play in NHL right away; unpredictable first round of Draft on tap

NHL.com @NHL

BUFFALO -- The top prospects for the 2017 NHL Draft learned Saturday at the NHL Scouting Combine just how passionate trainer Jordan Marwin can be.

Marwin, 30, who assisted with the Wingate bike test Saturday, often providing motivation at an ear-splitting volume, became a bit of an internet sensation, trending on Twitter as #bikeguy for a good part of the day.

Positioning himself inches from the prospects during their 30-second full-out sprint, he yelled, screamed and exhorted the prospects to push themselves as hard as they could.

"I love what I do and I love these kids," Marwin said. "I love motivating people and adding to their energy. It's something I've always been able to do."

Tweet from @NHLAdamK: Here's what #bikeguy AKA @jsmarwin sounds like. I suggest headphones at low volume. pic.twitter.com/0OVxdnG90T

The screaming went nearly nonstop, from the first rider at 8 a.m. until the last one at 4:15 p.m.

"Had a little bit of voice loss around 12:00 and somebody brought me some lozenges, so I'm good now," Marwin said. "I might not be good tomorrow."

The players appreciated his motivational technique.

"I think at that moment you hear it a little bit, but you're just focused on trying to give it everything you can," said Halifax center Nico Hischier, the No. 2 North American skater on NHL Central Scouting's final ranking. "But it helps motivate you for sure."

Here are a few other things we learned this week at the combine:

 

Primetime Patrick

Brandon center Nolan Patrick, the No. 1 North American skater in Central Scouting's ranking, believes he will be healthy and NHL-ready when NHL training camps open in September.

Patrick was limited to 33 games this season because of a sports hernia, and a lower-body injury kept him out of Brandon's four-game loss to Medicine Hat in the first round of the Western Hockey League playoffs.

"After a summer of training and getting bigger, stronger, faster and more healthy, [the NHL is] the goal for me," he said. "I don't set too many goals for myself, but that's been one I've had for three years and I feel confident in my abilities that I can make the jump."

 

Nico "Catfish" Hischier

Hischier arguably had the best response to any question during the combine.

During his interview with the New Jersey Devils, who have the No. 1 pick of the draft, director of team and player development Dr. Aimee Kimball made Hischier an interesting offer for when he goes to Nashville with other top draft prospects to watch Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final between the Nashville Predators and Pittsburgh Penguins on Monday.

"I said if you throw a catfish onto the ice, we'll pick you first," Kimball said.

At the conclusion of the interview, Kimball asked Hischier if he had any questions. His response: "Where can I buy a catfish?"

Video: Hischier on his combine strengths and weaknesses

 

Nolan vs. Nico rages on

The combine did little to answer the leading question of the 2017 draft: Who should be the first pick, Patrick or Hischier?

"I think the interview process is confusing [teams] even more," Central Scouting director Dan Marr said. "Because they're both impressive young men when you talk to them. They're both high-character, they're going to be very low-maintenance type of players for a team. One or two here, if those are the guys, you're getting some players that are going to be with your franchise for a long time."

 

Unpredictable first round

It's not just the top pick that remains uncertain. When Marr was asked if it would be unpredictable from picks five through 15, he broadened the view a bit.

"I'd say it's more like five through 25," he said. "This draft class did not sort themselves out for the scouts this year. I think a lot of teams are going to be quite pleased because there's 31 different philosophies going into a draft. I wouldn't be surprised if you're going to hear somebody say, 'We got a guy we had ranked in our top 10,' all the way through the draft."

Video: An inside look at the 2017 NHL Combine

 

Hawaiian breakthrough is close

Spokane forward Kailer Yamamoto has one of the most unique backgrounds among the players eligible for the 2017 draft.

If he reaches the NHL, he would be the first with Hawaiian bloodlines to play in the League.

Yamamoto was sixth in the Western Hockey League this season with 99 points (42 goals, 57 assists) in 65 games and is No. 17 among North American skaters in Central Scouting's final ranking.

"I've never went over there," said Yamamoto, whose father is half-Hawaiian and half-Japanese. "I wish in the near future I can go to Hawaii and Japan. Those are the two places I want to go to most in life."

NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor Adam Kimelman, staff writer Mike G. Morreale and correspondent Joe Yerdon, and LNH.com staff writer Guillaume Lepage contributed to this report.

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