While the 2018 Scouting Combine has evolved over the years, much of the combine is nothing more than cardio and fitness events to pick apart the differences between prospects. While there is plenty more than that, change could be coming in the future as Ryan Kennedy of The Hockey News writes that on-ice drills could be coming soon.
The scribe writes that he spoke to one executive who believes that on-ice testing will be required, especially if the league intends to televise the combine in the future. The main reason there are no on-ice drills is because some players haven’t been on the ice in months, while others have only recently finished their playoff runs.
Another testing issue that has come up that recently is the constant improvement of technology as times are so much more accurate that you can no longer compare times to older times of five and 10 years ago when they used stopwatches compared to laser times. Another problem is that the combine keeps changing its events. The bench press is no longer about reps and more about power output, while the Wingate bike test made changes in its times as well to simulate real NHL shifts. While the changes are good, teams now can’t compare how a prospect did compared to even players from a couple of years ago.
For a look at the top-10 performers for each drill, go here.
- Kennedy also reports that prospect Martin Kaut left the combine early after a physical detected a heart problem that was swiftly dealt with. The 18-year-old Czech winger, who was considered to be a mid to late first round pick, won’t see his stock drop. According to Kennedy, everyone he talked to said that it shouldn’t affect his draft stock.
- NHL.com’s Mike Morreale writes that defensemen combine prospects Evan Bouchard and Noah Dobson each had solid fitness tests Saturday. The top two right-handed defensemen in the 2018 NHL draft are expected to be taken in the top 10. Bouchard, who led all defensemen in the OHL with 87 points this year, excelled in upper-body exercises, including a second place finish with 14 pullups and 16th in the bench press after generating a 6.73 watts of power. Dobson, who was an all-star in the QMJHL with 69 points, reached 20 inches in the vertical jump and 110.3 inches in the standing long jump event, both good scores.
- The Athletic’s Scott Wheeler reports that OHL prospect Ryan Merkley, one of the top offensive defensemen in the draft, has seen his stock drop due to issues with both his defense and character concerns, met with 25 teams at the combine and was repeatedly asked about his attitude. Merkley supposedly admitted he needs to work on both his defense and body language. He hopes to be taken anywhere from 10-31 in the first round.