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Prospects Show What They Are Made of at Combine

Draft hopefuls impress at the 2014 NHL Scouting Combine

Sunday, 06.01.2014 / 10:09 AM / News
By Adam Kimelman | NHL.com
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Prospects Show What They Are Made of at Combine
Draft hopefuls looked to impress at the 2014 NHL Scouting Combine

TORONTO -- Brandon Wheat Kings forward Jayce Hawryluk used the fitness testing at the NHL Scouting Combine on Saturday to show any NHL scouts or general managers he was fully healthy.

Hawryluk showed upper- and lower-body strength during his stops at each of the 11 stations.

The fitness testing came two months after he had a serious health scare. After scoring a hat trick in a Western Hockey League playoff game against the Regina Pats on March 26, Hawryluk collapsed in the locker room. He was hospitalized, and the collapse was blamed on dehydration. Hawryluk returned for the next game and didn't have another health issue.

"I'm better than ever," Hawryluk, No. 37 in NHL Central Scouting's final ranking of North American skaters for the 2014 NHL Draft, said earlier this week. "Everything is fine. I went through tests and it's all good. It was a scary situation with the dehydration. The doctors told me it was overexertion and dehydration, which caused my light-headedness. There was no heart problem and all my medical reports are good."

He showed he was good Saturday, finishing in the top 10 in a number of events. He completed 12 pull-ups, second to Windsor Spitfires forward Joshua Ho-Sang, who had 13. Hawryluk did 14 repetitions on the 150-pound bench press, tied for ninth. He also showed how strong his legs were with a 111.0-inch standing long jump, the ninth farthest.

Hawryluk wasn't the only impressive top prospect. Sonny Milano, a forward with the United States National Team Development Program under-18 team, lasted 14:00 on the VO2 Max bike test, tied for the second-longest of any player, and completed 11 pull-ups. Milano is ranked No. 16 by Central Scouting.

Barrie Colts defenseman Aaron Ekblad, No. 2 on Central Scouting's final North American skater rankings, showed impressive grip strength among other traits. He tested at 143 pounds (seventh) with his right hand, 147 pounds (fifth) with his left. He completed 13 reps on the bench press.

The top two European skaters showed their leg power in the Wingate Cycle Ergometer bike test. Sodertalje right wing William Nylander, a Swedish forward ranked No. 2 by Central Scouting, had the highest peak power output; No. 1-ranked right wing Kasperi Kapanen of KalPa in Finland was fourth.

Other category leaders were Clark Bishop, a center with the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, who led all players by lasting 15:03 on the VO2 Max test; USNTDP forward Shane Gersich went the farthest in the long jump at 118.0 inches and the highest in the vertical leap at 35.0 inches; and Cape Breton left wing Julien Pelletier did 19 reps on the bench press, one more than Plymouth Whalers right wing Connor Chatham and left wing Shane Eiserman of the Dubuque Fighting Saints of the United States Hockey League.

Plymouth defenseman Alexander Peters is the one player you wouldn't want to shake hands with. He had the No. 2 grip strength in his right hand at 170 pounds and No. 1 with his left at 163 pounds. Gatineau Olympiques left wing Vaclav Karabacek was first in right-hand grip strength at 199 pounds.

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