2008 NHL Draft Combine Under Way!

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2008 NHL Draft Combine Under Way!

ATTN: DRAFT GURUS!

The NHL combines have begun. Here is an interesting article I just read over on bostonbruins.com regarding the event:

According to McGuire, there's a three-pronged approach to the Combine.

"First, there are interviews," McGuire said. "Bring them in and allow (teams) to get a fair crack, 20-25-minute slots, where they interview these kids to get a little more insight into their personalities."

To go along with the interview is a psychological evaluation that tests, according to McGuire, "neuropsychological and behavioral phenomena.”

"Can you really tell who's going to be your best player in Game 7 by typing it into a computer?" asked McGuire. "Probably not, but it might help. We provide rudimentary data, and most teams' sport psychologist consultant can take this information and use it as starting at first base, rather than starting at square one and develop a psychological assessment of a player. It's not meant to be a secretive selection device; it's one more piece of a large mosaic."

Another piece of that mosaic is a routine medical evaluation, where the players are seen by independent doctors who then provide their data to teams.

"They write up any red flags," McGuire said. "The team scouts, if they see a red flag, will say to the agent or kid, does our team doctor have permission to contact your team doctor directly. Teams want to be wary of not drafting damaged goods."

Most prominent is the physical testing – something that, surprisingly, does not include an on-ice component.

The players are put through their paces in a three-hour crucible which includes events as simple as the sit and reach, push-ups and sit-ups, right through high-tech tests like a Wingate anaerobic measure and an aerobic-max VO2 bike test.

Also from another article today is "interview day":

“I would say if I had to put one ahead of the other, it’s the interviews,” said Edmonton Oilers General Manager Kevin Lowe. “You know what kind of player they are on the ice. We do some (psychological) testing of our own. We parcel that with the interviews.”

Top prospect Steven Stamkos has 12 interviews scheduled for his time at the Combine. Chicoutimi center Nicolas Deschamps has 26 scheduled – including 10 Tuesday, and another 11 Wednesday.

“I’m a little bit nervous, but most of the teams are asking the same questions,” said Swedish prospect Anton Gustafsson, who will meet with 15 teams. “What I think I’m good at, what I need to improve, how my future looks now. I’ve heard from guys at home that some teams will ask some (off-beat) questions to see how I react.”

But the winner – so to speak – is Ottawa defenseman Tyler Cuma, who has 29 interviews scheduled.

Obviously its not that all 30 teams wouldn't like a crack at Stamkos its just that realistically only one has a shot with some others perhaps weighing some trade offers to move up depending on how much they like kid. Truthfully I'm surprised there are 11 teams who are even bothering.

Cuma on the other hand is ranked right in the middle of everything and based on 29 teams wanting to talk to him it tells me that he could go just about anywhere from the top 10 of the of the draft to the first few picks of the 2nd.

My latest top 19 mock NHL draft:

1,Tampa Bay--(Steven Stamkos)--C

2,LA Kings--(Zach Bogosian)--D

3,Atlanta--(Drew Doughty)--D

4,St.Louis--(Luke Schenn)--D

5,NY Islanders--(Nikita Filatov)--LW

6,Columbus--(Alex Pieterangelo)--D

7,Toronto--(Mikael Bodker)--RW

8,Pheonix--(Tyler Myers)--D

9,Nashville--(Colin Wilson)--C

10,Vancouver--(Cody Hodgson)--C

11,Chicago--(Zach Boychuk)--LW

12,Anahiem--(Kyle Beach)--C

13,Buffalo--(Micheal Del Zoto)--D

14,Carolina--(Colby Robak)--D

15,Nashville--(Mattias Tedenby)--LW

16,Boston--(Josh Bailey)--C

17,Cagary--(Greg Nemisz)--RW

18,Ottawa--(Zach Dalpe)--C

19,Columbus--(Colten Teubert)--D

I have Columbus getting two d-men if they decided to hang onto their picks.

Central Scouting on Pietrangelo:
Strengths: "Alex is very poised out there on the ice. A tall player, who is still growing in to his body, Alex brings a keen ability to know when to pass the puck out of the zone, when to carry the puck out of the zone and he’s unflustered in the face of a hard forecheck."

Areas to improve: "Alex probably needs to get a little more assertive. There are times that he plays with that calm, cool and collective attitude and scouts might often question his assertiveness. But believe me that is there and he certainly doesn’t play with any kind of fear for what is coming at him."

Outlook: "He might have the best top-end (potential), and he might have the most under the cover that an 18-year-old could blossom into maybe the best player in the entire 2008 draft. He has (Chris) Pronger-like size and visibility attributes. A lot of scouts say that he might be playing better now than Pronger played when he was in his last year of junior."

Central Scouting on Tuebert:
"Colten is a smooth skating defenseman, who can skate the puck out of trouble and can jump up the ice with the puck. I like Colten for a lot of reasons, but most of all for his ability to take charge of the game. He projects as a support three or four defenseman, at least initially in the NHL, with a good offensive upside who won’t hurt you on defense."

Of course in no way/shape/form do I see Howson hanging on to both picks. In fact it wouldn't surprise me if he dealt both but it will taking something pretty good for him to part with that 6th overall.

-LTL

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