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Yakupov, Galchenyuk, Grigorenko ready for Combine

by Mike G. Morreale
TORONTO -- Many of the top draft-eligible prospects were still filing into NHL Central Scouting headquarters here late on Monday night following their arrival at Toronto's Pearson International Airport.

At one point in the evening, Sarnia Sting teammates Nail Yakupov and Alex Galchenyuk decided to take a late-night tour of the mini-Reebok store set up in the hotel ballroom. Yakupov is rated the No. 1 prospect in North America by NHL Central Scouting. Galchenyuk, who appears to be fully recovered from ACL surgery in October, is No. 4 on the list.

Yakupov has 18 interviews scheduled with NHL teams through Thursday before his fitness test on Friday. Yakupov will be testing in a group with Max Iafrate of Kitchener (OHL), Ben Johnson of Windsor (OHL), James Melindy of Moncton (QMJHL), Kevin Roy of Lincoln (USHL), Brady Skjei of the United States National Team Development Program (USHL), Malcolm Subban of Belleville (OHL) and Brandon Whitney of Victoriaville (QMJHL) during the testing phase that begins approximately 1:30 p.m. ET.

When Yakupov and Galchenyuk were asked on Monday evening if they practiced at all for the bike tests, they both responded, "No."

Galchenyuk, who has 22 interviews scheduled through Thursday, will undergo his fitness tests on Friday beginning 9:30 a.m. ET.

Defenseman Ryan Murray of the Everett Silvertips in the Western Hockey League is No. 2 among North American skaters and No. 3 is center Mikhail Grigorenko of the Quebec Remparts in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League.

Murray has scheduled a total of 17 interviews Wednesday and Thursday. Grigorenko, who will not be participating in any of the physical testing because he has not yet been cleared to begin training after coming off a case of mononucleosis, has 16 interviews with NHL clubs.

Yakupov was recently named the Canadian Hockey League's Jack Links Top Prospect, while Grigorenko was bestowed the BMO Rookie of the Year.

Follow Mike Morreale on Twitter at: @mike_morreale

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