Just yesterday our Zach Leach provided a comprehensive breakdown on the NHL Scouting Combine and the effect it may have on players draft stock. Especially in a year that there is no consensus throughout the first round, the performance in the physical tests and team interviews may have a big impact on how the draft shakes out. Details are already leaking out about how many interviews certain players have, like Eeli Tolvanen who has an amazing 28 meetings scheduled according to Mike Morreale of NHL.com. Also from Morreale, the exciting news that Nolan Patrick and Nico Hischier will both take part in all the physical testing, provided that Patrick is medically cleared.
Patrick and Hischier are both still in real competition for the first-overall pick, even as New Jersey takes calls on a possible trade. While there is no indication that Ray Shero and the Devils will deal the selection, the top two players will take 13 and 14 interviews respectively, way more than usual for the top of the draft. That does lend some credence to the idea that they might be available, and also to the idea that Miro Heiskanen or someone else could be a draft-day surprise and find his way into the top 2.
We already know that the Stars are considering moving the third-overall pick, and with Heiskanen putting on a late push to be considered among the top players perhaps some think Hischier or Patrick will fall to third. For what it’s worth, Grant McCagg of Recrutes.ca now has Heiskanen as his top available player. While it would be a huge draft-day surprise to see Heiskanen go first (or Patrick fall out of the top two), the intrigue continues to build. The players will undergo the fitness testing on Saturday, June 3rd after a week full of interviews with teams. It’s busy for teams too, as Pierre LeBrun of TSN reports that Peter Chiarelli and the Oilers front office spoke with 20 players just today.