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Combine Recap: Prospects on Dahlin, Drury's nephew and more

by Jourdon LaBarber @jourdonlabarber /

Rasmus Dahlin has earned the praise of figures throughout the hockey world, from scouts to the veteran players on his pro team in Sweden. As the NHL Scouting Combine came to a close at HarborCenter on Saturday, Dahlin's peers took their turn assessing the defenseman's talents.

Apparently, it doesn't take Dahlin long to leave an impression. Nils Lundkvist - like Dahlin, a Swedish defenseman - said he only faced Dahlin once last year in the Swedish Hockey League, yet he offered a glowing review of his game.

"He's unbelievable," Lundqvist said. "His potential or the stuff he can do on the ice is just, you can't even imagine how he does it. It's unbelievable."

Video: Scouting Combine 06/02/18

Fellow defenseman Adam Ginning has more experience, having played with Dahlin on Sweden's Under-17 National Team and against him multiple times in the SHL last season. Ginning said Dahlin's skill was apparent even back when they were teammates.

"Yeah, for sure it was. But he's taken huge steps after that too, and now he's really good," Ginning said. "You never know what he's going to do. He's got a lot of things to do, he's very skilled."

Even Dahlin's peers at the top of the draft have sung his praises. Filip Zadina, the second-ranked North American-based forward, said Friday that he believes Dahlin deserves be selected with the first overall pick. Adam Boqvist, the second-ranked international skater, lauded his hockey IQ.

Russian forward Andrei Svechnikov, the top-rated North American-based skater, said that Dahlin has "all the skills" and hopes they play as teammates in the NHL one day. When reminded that they're more likely to begin their careers as opponents, he smiled.  

"Then that'll be super interesting," he said. "I hope it will happen."

Here are other takeaways from testing day at the combine.


Taste of Buffalo

Dahlin hasn't had a ton of time to explore the city during the combine, but he did manage to try local wings for the first time.

"I actually ate chicken wings two days ago," he said. "It was good, but I probably took the little too spicy. I've got to go with the mild next time."


Questions of the day

Ty Emberson, a defenseman set to begin his collegiate career at the University of Wisconsin next season, interviewed with 20 teams, but two questions stuck out. One team asked what kind of animal he would be (he answered lion). 

The other? 

"What's the ballsiest thing you've ever done?" Emberson recalled. "A couple summers ago I actually went paragliding, so I ended up hooking up to a parachute and jumping off a cliff."

University of Minnesota commit Blake McLaughlin offered another contender.

"I did get asked if I'd rather live in a city homeless or live 50 miles away - in a forest - from any civilization," he said. "I picked a forest because I'm kind of from a northern Minnesota type area, but that was a pretty weird question."


A familiar name

Jack Drury is the nephew of former Sabres alternate captain Chris Drury, a fan favorite during his tenure in Buffalo. Sure enough, the Harvard University commit said his name was recognized by locals during his stay at the combine.

"You can tell how dedicated the fans are," he said. "When I went to the hospital for my testing, a lot of the volunteers here, they all say how they know Chris and they remember him. I think it shows a lot about how dedicated the fans in Buffalo are and it's pretty cool to know those things."

Drury, the 27th-ranked North American-based prospect, said Buffalo was among the teams to interview him during the week.


Let's get physical

While the bulk of the combine is dedicated to teams getting the chance to interview prospects, the last day is used for physical testing. Full scores are available here.

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