More from TSN as they blog the 2nd day of testing and here are some of the interesting notes:
The atmosphere is not quite as tense as the largely European contingent rolled in for the second day of testing.
The biggest name of Saturday’s first group is that of London Knights centre Nazem Kadri (ranked #15), who measured 5-foot-11. He didn’t have a great showing on the vertical jump or the bench press; perhaps reflecting that he’s not the most explosive athlete here, but let’s not forget that on-ice production (of which Kadri has plenty) is going to count for a whole lot more come draft day.
The second group brought a return of Victor Hedman, this time as a spectator, watching his Swedish compatriots go through the paces, while Hedman mentioned that he was glad the combine torture was over for him.
Perhaps the most intriguing group of the second day was Group Four, which included a couple of top Swedish prospects. Defenceman Olivier Ekman-Larsson (#4 among European skaters) was really skinny, but has a projectable frame with lots of room to grow. At the same time he only managed half a dozen bench presses, so he’ll need to get stronger.
Despite the elite Swedish prospects, the most interesting player in the group may have been Toni Rajala (#11 among Europeans). While virtually all of the prospects look young, Rajala looks like somebody’s 12-year-old brother.
He might be 5-foot-8 or 5-foot-9 and, while he’s listed at 163 pounds, it wouldn’t be a surprise if that was overstated. He mustered just four on the bench press (and even a couple of those may have been questionable), but keep in mind, he was just named the Best Forward at the Under-18 World Championships in North Dakota, after scoring 10 goals and 19 points in just six games. No matter how small he is, he’s got talent.
To sum up this year’s combine, there was not that one special workout warrior, so when draft day rolls around, do not expect the results from this year’s combine to vault anyone up the board dramatically.
For complete report from the NHL combine, click here.