The NHL Scouting Combine has returned after a two-year absence because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Buffalo, New York's KeyBank Center and LECOM Harborcenter served as the hosts for this year's event, which ran from Monday through Saturday.
Some of hockey's top 2022 draft prospects took part in this year's combine, including Kingston Frontenacs center Shane Wright and U.S. National U18 Team center Logan Cooley.
TPS center Juraj Slafkovsky, a potential No. 1 pick, did not take part in testing after representing Slovakia at the Ice Hockey World Championships in May. However, he did attend the combine and spoke with both reporters and teams.
You can find information on all three prospects below as well as the NHL Combine fitness results for the top 25 prospects in each event through NHL Central Scouting.
Top Prospect Notes
Wright has long been considered the top draft prospect, but word from the combine is that it's not a lock the OHL star will be No. 1.
Per Mike Harrington of the Buffalo News:
"The year-long coronation of Kingston center Shane Wright into the choice of the Montreal Canadiens at the draft next month in Bell Centre is no sure thing.
"Draftniks, web sites and mock drafts aren't so sold anymore about Wright, who hardly dominated the OHL this year the way people expected and is said to not attack the game on the ice as much as experts said he did last year."
Wright had a solid week, though. NHL Director of Central Scouting Dan Marr still has him ahead of Cooley but noted it's so close that the top three teams in the draft could all get their top choice:
Melissa Burgess @_MelissaBurgess
“The first three teams that draft, they could all get the number one pick on their list,” Marr says, it’s that close. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/NHL?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#NHL</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/NHLDraft?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#NHLDraft</a>
Mark Scheig of the Hockey Writers relayed Wright's height and weight combine measurements:
Wright can be seen here doing pull-ups as well as the Wingate test:
Wright also spoke with reporters and noted how excited he was to order a $60 steak during his dinner with the Montreal Canadiens, who hold the No. 1 overall pick:
Julianne Pelusi @JuliannePelusi
Shane Wright was excited he got a “free steak” out of his dinner with Montreal, who own the top pick in the <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/NHLDraft?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#NHLDraft</a>. He said he was a little nervous to order it because it was expensive.<br><br>“Like 60 bucks.” <a href="https://twitter.com/WGRZ?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@WGRZ</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/NHLScoutingCombine?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#NHLScoutingCombine</a> <a href="https://t.co/Mq3V4Wucnh">pic.twitter.com/Mq3V4Wucnh</a>
He also spoke about his hope to go No. 1 overall and addressed concerns about an alleged lack of intensity:
Mike Harrington @ByMHarrington
A post-workout Shane Wright on the No. 1 pick: “I have my own opinion but at this point, my opinion doesn’t matter as much.” <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/NHLCombine?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#NHLCombine</a> <a href="https://t.co/vRDtg4NuVc">pic.twitter.com/vRDtg4NuVc</a>
TSN Hockey @TSNHockey
Shane Wright: “You always want to be the first guy chosen; That's always been my mindset…” <a href="https://t.co/ALqNODZ0q5">https://t.co/ALqNODZ0q5</a><br> <br>Wright on how critics mistake his cerebral approach for lack of intensity: <a href="https://t.co/oVzHhhza5B">https://t.co/oVzHhhza5B</a><a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/TSNHockey?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#TSNHockey</a> | <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/DraftCentre?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#DraftCentre</a> <a href="https://t.co/ROgIBTMWCI">pic.twitter.com/ROgIBTMWCI</a>
Cheering The Logo 📝 🎙 💻 @CheeringTheLogo
Shane Wright:<br><br>“People who talk about me like a player who lacks intensity don’t understand my style. I’m a cerebral and methodical player. I pick my moments to explode.”<br><br>“Yes, the pandemic slowed my development.”<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/GoHabsGo?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#GoHabsGo</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Habs?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Habs</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Canadiens?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Canadiens</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/CH?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#CH</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/GHG?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#GHG</a>
Even if Wright doesn't go No. 1, he'd be perfectly fine with going No. 2 to the New Jersey Devils:
Amanda Stein @amandacstein
Shane Wright on <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/NJDevils?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#NJDevils</a>: <br><br>"I think any time you can step into a team like that, with that young core and the amount of young prospects they have in their system, that would be pretty special and a really good situation to be in."
With respect to Wright, Slafkovsky believes he's the top player in the NHL draft:
Lance Lysowski @LLysowski
Shane Wright had dinner with Canadiens management and told TSN recently that he deserves to be their pick at No. 1 overall.<br><br>Juraj Slafkovsky disagrees. He didn’t get a free meal, but the ultra-confident winger thinks he’s the best in the draft.<a href="https://t.co/Y2oLZAdnR2">https://t.co/Y2oLZAdnR2</a>
Slafkovsky didn't get to eat dinner with the Canadiens, but he did enjoy the talk he had with the 2021 Stanley Cup runners-up:
Adam Kimelman @NHLAdamK
Canadiens at Combine had dinners w/Shane Wright and Logan Cooley but not Juraj Slafkovsky. Slafkovsky did meet with Canadiens & said it went well & believes he could still go No. 1. "I didn't have the dinner but I think the talk we had, maybe to me, it tasted better than dinner."
Both Wright and Slafkovsky have a clear desire to be the best. Slafkovsky notably has impressed on a big stage already with seven goals for the bronze medalist Slovakia at the 2022 Olympic Games.
He also explained why he deserves to go No. 1:
Kyle Cannillo @KyleCannillo
Juraj Slafkovsky on why he should go first overall: <br><br>“I’ve already played men’s hockey. I can play physical and both ways. If I get a good chance and trust from the coach, I can score.” <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/NJDevils?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#NJDevils</a> <br><br>H/T: <a href="https://twitter.com/NHLAdamK?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@NHLAdamK</a>
Cooley could go first overall, too. He took part in drills, including the Wingate, in which he excelled:
NHL Public Relations @PR_NHL
The 2022 NHL Scouting Combine concluded with<br>fitness testing on Saturday with <a href="https://twitter.com/USAHockeyNTDP?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@USAHockeyNTDP</a> teammates Cutter Gauthier and Logan Cooley finishing first and second in the same bike test. <br><br>Top 25 results from each test can be found at this link: <a href="https://t.co/q1bJc7Y2iC">https://t.co/q1bJc7Y2iC</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/NHLDraft?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#NHLDraft</a> <a href="https://t.co/lMEyaAJhvs">pic.twitter.com/lMEyaAJhvs</a>
Scheig dropped the height and weight measurements:
The Pittsburgh native spoke about what it would mean to make it big as a representative from the area:
Taylor Haase @TaylorHaasePGH
Forward Logan Cooley is set to become the highest-drafted Pittsburgh native in NHL history next month.<br><br>"I'm just trying to make maybe a bigger name for the city, make it more of a hockey town."<br><br>More on the kid from West Mifflin ⬇️<a href="https://t.co/XlFoBJyGW3">https://t.co/XlFoBJyGW3</a>
Like Wright and Slafkovsky, Cooley is understandably confident in his abilities and has a clear goal to be an impact player at the next level:
Mike Morreale @mikemorrealeNHL
Logan Cooley <a href="https://twitter.com/USAHockeyNTDP?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@USAHockeyNTDP</a>: "The NHL is a business. It's all about winning. It's not about developing anymore. I want to win. I want to be an impact player in the NHL." Cooley No. 2 in <a href="https://twitter.com/NHLCentralScout?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@NHLCentralScout</a> final ranks of No American skaters
Logan Cooley said, "I have all the skills and all the attributes to be an impact player in the NHL right now,"<br><br>That and more from <a href="https://twitter.com/NHLAdamK?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@NHLAdamK</a> at the 2022 NHL Draft Scouting Combine in Buffalo.<a href="https://t.co/VZG1dwjaDu">https://t.co/VZG1dwjaDu</a>
The 2022 NHL draft will occur July 7-8 from Montreal's Bell Centre.
The Canadiens, Devils, Arizona Coyotes, Seattle Kraken and Philadelphia Flyers own the top five selections, in that order.