From May 27 to June 1, the top prospects in the world will compete to draw the attention of general managers at the 2013 NHL draft scouting combine. From established prospects looking to prove their worth as top-five picks to physical specimens needing to prove their worth, we'll have it all.
The question is, which players have the most to prove?
Certain athletes are highly regarded for their physical gifts, while others have proven to have the raw skills necessary to succeed. At the scouting combine, however, both breeds of players will have the opportunity to prove that they can piece it all together.
An opportunity that could completely reshape when and where they're selected.
According to Mike G. Morreale of NHL.com, at least 100 draft hopefuls will take part in the scouting combine. Of those players, 86 players from North America and the top 15 international players are expected to be in attendance.
So who has the most to prove?
Zachary Fucale, G, Canada
The 2013 NHL draft is one that will be measured by the quality of the skaters available. With defenders such as Seth Jones and Darnell Nurse complementing playmakers such as Nathan MacKinnon and Jonathan Drouin, this draft has it all.
The question is, can any of the goaltenders make their mark?
Arguably the best goaltender available is Canadian Zachary Fucale of the Halifax Mooseheads. The 6'1", 181-pound goalie has been very strong for Halifax, but he's also had a luxury that no other goaltender can claim.
He's played behind MacKinnon and Drouin.
Without those two handling the puck in front of him, it will be interesting to see how Fucale performs. He stopped 40 of 44 shots in the Mooseheads' Memorial Cup final victory, which saw Jones and the Portland Winterhawks attempt to penetrate the net.
How Fucale performs at the scouting combine could go a long way towards determining whether he's a franchise player or just a quality goalie in a relatively weak class at his position.
Joshua Morrissey, D, Canada
Joshua Morrissey was once regarded as one of the top prospects in the 2013 NHL draft. According to NHL.com, however, Morrissey has gone from their No. 11 North American prospect to No. 27 overall.
Morrissey can put an end to those concerns by shining at the 2013 NHL draft scouting combine.
Morrissey could be classified as slightly undersized, as the southpaw stands at 6'0", 186 pounds. While he's not the biggest player, Morrissey is a capable facilitator that is capable of working his way into the offensive zone and making an impact.
The question is, can Morrissey overcome his lack of elite size and put his athletic abilities on display at the scouting combine? Or will his drop down draft boards continue as he fails to perform in the manner expected of him?
This top-tier prospect certainly has the potential to shine.
Juuse Saros, G, Finland
According to Mike G. Morreale of NHL.com, the only European goalie expected to be in attendance is Finnish net-master Juuse Saros. For that reason alone, he has the best opportunity of any player to move up draft boards.
The question is, will he capitalize on that chance to shine? Or will he prove to be undeserving of any pending hype?
The pressure is on.
Saros, a southpaw, stands at 5'9", 161 pounds. While size could be a concern, Saros moves well in net and helped Finland win a bronze medal at the 2013 IIHF World Under-18 Championships in Sochi, Russia.
In that time, Saros allowed just 1.86 goals per game.
At the combine, Saros will have all eyes on him with no other international goalies in attendance. That may create a magnifying lens on his weaknesses, but it could also create the opportunity for his strengths to shine bright.
No prospect is under more pressure than Saros but even fewer have this grand opportunity to step up.
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