Alex Pietrangelo is a big guy, especially wearing skates, so the fact that the 18-year-old defensemen is being highly touted as one of the best linemen prospects in the NHL this season really comes as no surprise.
Even less of a surprise, however, is the fact that Pietrangelo has proven himself to host a similar skill set to that of probable-Hall of Fame defenseman Chris Pronger.
Whether it be the unquestionable puck handling skills of the soft-spoken giant, or his ability to maintain a level head in the often hectic OHL, Pietrangelo promises to live up to all of his pre-draft hype.
With Draft Day scheduled for June 20, The Brock Press caught up with the current Niagara Ice Dog to talk about the weeks leading up to his first taste of an NHL career.
Austin Kent: Run through a typical day of your life leading up to this draft?
Alex Pietrangelo: Well, lately after the [Ontario Hockey League (OHL)] season ended, it has been pretty much the same concept.
I wake up, do my normal school stuff, etc, then just be a kid. This is certainly an exciting time for my family and I especially, but I am just trying to enjoy myself before things get pretty crazy with all the things involved with the draft.
Leading up to the draft recently, my typical day has involved flying to various cities to meet with teams and sleeping in hotel rooms. This is an exciting time for me and not a day passes by when I don't think of how lucky I am to be part of the draft as I am.
Kent: Before the draft, teams run prospects through a series of drills and tests. Can you describe it?
Pietrangelo: Well, there are both mental and physical tests involved. The physical tests are things like bike tests, cardio and other fitness tests to test the strength and athleticism of a player.
The mental tests are a little different as they involve answering hundreds of questions so teams can see how you respond in certain situations and to learn more of the players on a personal standpoint.