It's that time of the year again as we travel to Mississauga, ON to watch the Top 101 hockey prospects at the 2013 NHL Scouting Combine.
Fitness testing starts at 6:30 AM (MT) as the prospects undergo a rigorous fitness testing. Stay tuned throughout the day as we'll be providing live updates, audio, video and more.THURSDAY'S INTERVIEW
The 3 top ranked prospects at the NHL Combine speak to the media a day before fitness testing. COMBINE | Top 3 ForumOILERS TV EXCLUSIVE
One-on-one with Head Amateur Scout Stu MacGregor
)One-on-one with General Manager Craig MacTavish
(ALL TIMES MT)
Group 1 Interview
Jonathan Drouin arrived in Toronto late last night and after talking to his agent, opted out of the exercise portion of the testing and only participated in the medical testing.
"We've been through a lot of hockey and we just came back four days ago. We didn't train a long time, we didn't train off-ice and it'll be a little dangerous to just jump in like that."
"Me and my agent talked about it and we decided not to."
Currently, the 5-foot-11, 176 lbs, left winger is ranked third in the 2013 NHL Central Scouting but hopes to go first overall.
"Obviously everyone wants to go number one, it'll be a great honour and obviously, Colorado is a great team. That's my goal for sure, to go number one and whatever happens, happens."
"For sure, it's a lot of excitement. As the season's over, there's no more hockey and that's all that's left to the summer. you want it to come earlier but there's a month left and I want to enjoy that."
Drouin is coming off his second and best season with the Halifax Mooseheads as he led the team with 105 points in 49 games. He was second in scoring in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League and helped lift the Mooseheads to their first Memorial Cup championship, by posting 35 points in 17 games in the post season.
He tied a tournament record with five assists in the championship game and was named QMJHL and player of the year in the Canadian Hockey League.
Group 2 Interviews
|Seth Jones |
Seth Jones also only participated in the medical testing and opted out of the exercise portion of the combine testing.
"I just played my last game on Sunday so I didn't have time to train or do anything for this. My body is still worn down, I've been nursing a couple of injuries all year so I didn't think i was really prepare and I had a good talk with my agent about it and he felt the same way."
He was ranked first in the NHL Central Scouting and was fourth in scoring for defensemen in the Western Hockey League with 56 points in 61 games with a plus-46 rating.
"It's obviously pretty special. I mean to be the number one rated player in North America by Central Scouting and it's what you work towards. Everyone wants to be their best but with that being said, no one knows what the team is thinking, no one knows what the team needs. I'm just going to control what I can control which is trying to develop and get better. I thought I laid it all out in the season and I did what I could to impress them but at the same time, like I said, you really don't know what they they want."
When asked about being picked overall, Jones remained humble and simply said he's trying to make it to the next year.
"First overall? I just want to play in the NHL, that's it, that's all. I want to make it to next year."
Recently, the Portland Winterhawks lost to the Halifax Mooseheads in the Memorial Cup on May 26 and in five games, posted four points with a plus-6 rating.
Jones was named top prospect in the CHL, as well as being nominated for the CHL rookie of the year award.
Group 3 Interviews
|Sean Monahan |
Sean Monahan is currently ranked fifth overall in the NHL Central Scouting and spent the last three seasons with the Ontario Hockey League's Ottawa 67's.
"It was a great experience meeting all the scouts and gm and what not and I really enjoyed that. It's starting to feel real and I guess going through that testing and I've got a few other teams combine I'll be going to and up next is the draft. It's getting close and it's getting really exciting."
I think it's really important. I want to show them I'm NHL ready. Obviously, people know my weaknesses and I know my weaknesses so I've been trying to improve on those since my season ended and I think I'll be trying to continue working on those throughout the summer.
Monahan was named the 67's captain this year and took on the leadership role quickly. He led the team in goals and points with 31 goals and 78 points in 58 games.
"Being the captain of that team, it was pretty special to me. I think I'm a leader and I liked the challenge. I've learned a lot and it really mature me as a person and a player this year."
Group 4 Interviews
|Valeri Nichushkin |
This season, Valeri Nichushkin played 18 games and had four goals and six points for the Chelyabinsk Traktor. The team advanced to the post-season but lost to the Dynamo Msk in the Championship final. In the post-season, Nichushkin had six goals and nine points in 25 games.
Nichuskin signed a deal with his new KHL team, Moscow Dynamo but his contract is a little different. He made an arrangement with the Dynamo where next season, he can play with the NHL but cannot play in the AHL or major league. If he doesn't remain on the NHL roster, he must return to the KHL and play with the Dynamo.
"He's a free agent to sign a contract with any NHL team. If the next season will not be good for him, he'll go back to Russia," said Nichushkin's translator.
"He's either in the NHL or KHL, but not in the American Hockey League."
When asked about the comparison between him and other Russian players like Evgeni Malkin or Alexander Ovechkin, he said he doesn't want to be compared to them.
"I don't want to compare myself to Malkin or Ovechkin, every player is unique."
Group 5 Interviews
Nathan MacKinnon also opted out of the exercise portion of the fitness testing as he was trying to recover from Memorial Cup championship.
|Nathan MacKinnon |
"I'm a little tired. I've lacked sleep in the past few days. Flew to Halifax Monday, had a parade Tuesday, woke up at 4:00 on Wednesday to get here and have had interviews the past two days so obviously, I'm a little drain but when I get back to Halifax, I'll kick my feet and get back at it."
MacKinnon was fourth in points for the Halifax Mooseheads with 32 goals and 75 points in 44 games. He was a vital part of the Mooseheads' first Memorial Cup championship as he scored two hat tricks in the series against the Portland Winterhawks. Overall in the post-season, MacKinnon had eleven goals and 33 points in 17 games and was named the tournament's best player.
He was awarded with the Stafford Smythe Memorial Trophy as Memorial Cup MVP.
The 5-foot-11 right winter was ranked second in the NHL Central Scouting.
"I've been talking about it since my first game last year, as a 16 year old so it's kind of weird there's a lot of build up to it, a lot of hype and speculation and stuff like that, but that's almost all over, still have some stuff left but it's only a month away."
"The lead up to the draft will be great and the day itself will be the best thing and I'm looking forward to it."
"Any team that I'll be getting drafted to, I'm looking forward to it and hopefully have a career one day."
Group 6 Interviews
|Curtis Lazar |
In 72 games with the Edmonton Oil Kings, Curtis Lazar had 38 goals and 61 points in 72 games. In the post-season, Lazar played 22 games with nine goals and eleven points. It was a rematch of last year in the Western Hockey League Championship as the Oil Kings faced the Portland Winterhawks again but lost the series in six games.
"I got off to quite a slow start, which I wasn't happy with but come Christmas time, I really picked up my game in the second half and I learned a lot. Having a really deep team in Edmonton helped me out but unfortunately, we came out short in the end."
Lazar is currently ranked 20th in the NHL Central Scouting and has already had a busy week meeting with NHL teams.
"I had 26 meetings throughout the week so I was quite busy. Just getting a talk with them, getting a feel for their thoughts on my game and also explain to them my game process was a huge help for me and I can't wait until draft time."
"You get first round or seventh round, you'll be going to camp and getting an equal opportunity."
When asked about being drafted by the Oilers, Lazar would be excited to join the organization.
"It would be huge. My meeting with the Oilers was probably the easiest one because I pretty much know all the brass there. I live in Edmonton, I feel like I have a pretty good relationship with the fans already and they expect to win. If I end up in Edmonton, I would love to be a part of that."
Group 7 Interview
Tristan Jarry is currently ranked third for goalies in the NHL Central Scouting report.
|Tristan Jarry |
"Well I thought it was pretty fascinating to me. I thought it was really exciting. I had 22 interviews this week and I thought, just walk in with a smile every time and wish for the best and I thought I did really well."
The 6-foot-2 netminder played in his second season for the Edmonton Oil Kings and started in 27 games with an 18-7-0 record. Jarry had a save percentage of 0.936 with a 1.61 goals against average.
"I think our team had a great year, we fell a little short but a lot of the guys were happy with their performances. It set up a lot of guys for their pro camps next year and their pro teams. I think we should be happy with the year we had, we fell a little short but that's we go again next year for."
"For me, it's basically coming in strong and showing that I can be the number one guy, just taking the ball and running with it."