The 21st installment of the NHL Combine was a huge success this week. A total of 119 top prospects from North America and Europe underwent rounds of interviews and fitness tests to see if they have what it takes to be a professional hockey player in the NHL.
This year, more dynamic tests were created for overhand pull-ups, single-leg squats and a pro agility shuttle. There were also live display monitors for members of the NHL to view height, weight, pro agility shuttles and vertical jump scores.
However, bad scores are not the end of the road for players.
No. 1 on NHL Central Scouting’s final list of North American skaters eligible for the 2014 Draft is Samuel Bennett. He didn’t score well at all in pull-ups, however NHL director of central scouting Dan Marr believes this won’t be held against him.
“The fact he can play the game the way he plays the game, I think teams feel he’s a pretty complete package and the combine process allows teams to fill in any blanks. The team that will get Sam Bennett knows what work is needed and they’ll be able to put him on the proper path for development.”
It’s good to know that one bad score will not keep these young men from being considered for the NHL draft.
Marr was also impressed with how the men represented themselves professionally.
“This is a genuinely good group of kids. There used to be a time when all these prospects had that deer-in-the-headlights look and were a little apprehensive when they get here. Now they know what’s coming because they hear from their friends who have already gone through it. I think the guys in the first testing group are more apprehensive than the others, but once they get going they’re just fine.”
Eager and willing, these prospects just encountered one of the most difficult weeks of their lives.