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Ranking the 10 Most Impressive Performances at the 2013 NHL Combine

James OnuskoContributor IIIJune 4, 2013

Ranking the 10 Most Impressive Performances at the 2013 NHL Combine

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    The NHL Combine does yet not rival the NFL Combine for spectacle or importance to the people selecting potential draftees.

    However, the NHL is certainly moving in that direction as the event has taken on increased importance for participants and evaluators in the 20 years since its introduction.

    Seth Jones, Nathan MacKinnon and Jonathan Drouin did not participate in the fitness tests, and that took some of the luster off the 2013 event.

    Not all of the combine results are made public, but NHL.com did release the top-10 results in several categories.

    Based on the main categories, such as the VO2 Max test that measures the amount of oxygen that you’re able to deliver to your muscles when exercising at your hardest, and Peak Power Output, here are the 10 most impressive performances at the 2013 NHL Combine.

10. Rasmus Ristolainen

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    Finnish prospect Rasmus Ristolainen performed very well at the combine. He finished fourth in the VO2 Max testing and seventh in the Pull Test for strength.

    The 6’3” defenseman displayed a combination of power and endurance.

    Ristolainen’s on-ice talents have contributed him to being in the top five among European skaters, so this strong performance at the combine should serve him well in the upcoming draft.

9. Zach Nastasiuk

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    Zach Nastasiuk displayed some overall athleticism by winning the Standing Long Jump competition. He also finished in a tie for seventh in Push-ups.

    The right winger from the OHL’s Owen Sound Attack improved his Central Scouting ranking by 20 points this season, and this combine performance should not hurt that standing.

8. Kerby Rychel

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    Kerby Rychel proved to be dynamic in his fitness testing at the 2013 NHL Combine in Toronto.

    Rychel was in the top 10 in the Vertek Vertical Jump and fifth overall in the Right-Hand Grip testing.

    He also tied for second in the Bench Press with 15 presses while tying for fourth in the Push Strength test.

    This should reinforce that Rychel, at least from a physical strength standpoint, is ready for the rigors of a grueling NHL season in the near future.

7. John Hayden

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    John Hayden scored very well in several fitness tests. He was tied for fourth in the Bench Press and tied for third in Push-ups.

    The native of Chicago was also in the top 10 in the Upper Body Power 4 Kg Ball Toss testing.

    While not projected to be selected until the third or fourth round, Hayden certainly scored highly in these three important strength categories, and this may improve his selection on draft day.

6. Samuel Morin

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    Samuel Morin was first in the Peak Power Output testing and finished in a tie for fifth in the VO2 Max testing at the NHL Combine.

    The 6’6” defenseman also tied for sixth in the Vertek Vertical Jump competition.

    The QMJHL standout displayed both endurance and athleticism at the combine, and this should help to maintain his rising position on draft day.

5. Connor Hurley

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    Connor Hurley did very well at the combine despite being the youngest draft-eligible player in 2013.

    Hurley was an impressive seventh in the Peak Power Output contest and in the top 10 in the Push-ups testing.

    He will not be ready for the NHL for a few more seasons, but the Minnesotan seems to be on the cusp of playing professional hockey for several years.

4. Mirco Mueller

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    Swiss national Mirco Mueller had the best result in the taxing VO2 Max testing at the 2013 NHL Combine, which was no small feat.

    The Everett Silvertips defenseman was third in the Push Strength testing, and these two results demonstrate Mueller’s athletic versatility.

3. Bogdan Yakimov

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    Bogdan Yakimov had an impressive performance at the combine. He was in the top 10 in both the Right-hand Grip and Left-hand Grip competitions.

    He also finished tied for sixth in the Bench Press and second in the Pull Strength testing.

    Yakimov earned the fourth spot in the Upper Body Power 4 KG Ball Toss as well.

    The 6’5” Russian center displayed exemplary power at the combine, which would indicate that he has the required strength to make the next step to professional hockey.

2. Ryan Pulock

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    Brandon Wheat Kings standout Ryan Pulock was the eighth-place finisher in the Peak Power Output testing.

    He also finished first in the Left-Hand Grip competition and tied for seventh with 32 push-ups in that category.

    The WHL defenseman certainly turned some heads with this impressive performance at the combine.

1. Tyler Lewington

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    Tyler Lewington had a very impressive combine and may move up from his current ranking of 66th on NHL Central Scouting’s ranking of North American skaters.

    The Medicine Hat Tigers defenseman led the way with 16 repetitions on the Bench Press. He also finished first in the Push-ups testing.

    Lewington placed first in the Push Strength measurement and a solid sixth in the Pull Strength testing.

    It was an excellent display of strength from Lewington, who had the top performance at the 2013 NHL Combine.

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