NHL Scouting Combine News and Notes

St. Louis Game Time PROSPECT SUNDAY

By Brian Weidler, "Game Time" Prospect Department


2011 ENTRY DRAFT PREVIEW SPECIAL SECTION: The Combine

2010 Draft Logo

Every year, the NHL invites a hundred or so of the top North American and European prospects for that year's draft to Toronto, several weeks ahead of the NHL Entry Draft.

These prospects are then evaluated physically and mentally by the 30 NHL clubs, using a standard set of psychological and physical tests designed to evaluate the prospect's fitness for an NHL career. There are interviews, questions, and a physical testing circuit that has produced horror stories passed down from one draft class to the next in dressing rooms from Alaska to Zlin and all points in between.

While the physical and psychological tests may be standardized, each of the 30 NHL clubs is looking for different things and evaluating the players in different ways. In this special Draft Preview section, we'll naturally focus on the Blues' approach, as reported by NHL.com staff writer Adam Kimmelman in THIS article at the NHL.com website.

Body type equals commitment for Blues' chief scout

When the prospects first arrive at the Combine site for testing, they are measured, weighed and photographed, and the evaluation process begins at that point. Some teams look at the player and are able to project at that point if he is physically mature or if he still has some filling out to do. Other teams do what they call "postural analysis," which is nothing more than observing how a player moves, how he walks around, seeing if there are imbalances in the stride or obvious muscle/bone movements that predispose a player to potential injury.

For Blues' Director of Amateur Scouting Bill Armstrong, however, there's a slightly different emphasis:

"You're looking at body types. Explosive body types, thick body types. Maybe that kid might be stronger than you originally thought. You want to see how much time they put into their body -- that tells you a little about them. If a kid has really put a lot of time into the weight room you can assume he's got a good work ethic, he's dedicated to what he's doing."

After the jump, hear more of Armstrong's thoughts about the Combine, and find out which of the various physical tests he and the Blues place the most emphasis upon. Plus, see which prospects did the best on the tests that Armstrong identifies as most signifcant for the Blues.

2010 Draft Armstrongs and T-90

That emphasis on thick and explosive body types was nowhere more evident than in last year's draft, where Armstrong and the Blues' scouts collaborated to evaluate and select Russian prospect Vladimir Tarasenko (shown at left between Armstrong and GM Doug Armstrong).

Tarasenko, known as "The Tank" or "T-90" to Blues' fans, is a thick-bodied player with powerful legs that make him a solid skater and strong on his skates. The emphasis on powerful body types also manifests itself in other aspects of a prospects' game that the Blues look for.

Per Armstrong, the most important exercises to him are the ones that measure leg strength, like vertical leap and standing broad jump, as well as the dreaded bike tests -- the Wingate Cycle Ergometer, which measures a player's power output during a 30-second burst, and the VO2 Max test, which measures a player's endurance.

"I think you always look for the leg power," Armstrong said. "Bench pressing in hockey doesn't correlate to too much. When it comes to the leg stuff and the endurance stuff, that tells you about him as a hockey player. That's what you're looking at, those exercises. There are a few exercises here that look pretty good but don't really correlate to what we like."

The Blues' emphasis on work ethic and hockey sense are already well-known around the league. When players can combine those mental aspects of the game with solid performances in the physical tests that measure leg strength -- and thus stamina and skating ability -- you're looking at players who are more likely than many others to hear their names called when Gary Bettman announces that "the St. Louis Blues are on the clock."


2011 SCOUTING COMBINE TEST RESULTS

Following are the results of the tests identified by Bill Armstrong as being the ones most significant to the Blues in their physical evaluation of prospects:

 

Anaerobic Fitness: Peak Power Output (watts/kg)

Rank Score Player Team
1 15.9 TY RATTIE Portland (WHL)
15.9 JONATHAN RACINE Shawinigan (QMJHL)
3 15.7 PHILLIPPE HUDON Choate-Rosemary (USHS-CT)
4 15.4 VLADISLAV NAMESTNIKOV London (OHL)
15.4 MAXIMILIEN LE SIEUR Shawinigan (QMJHL)
6 15.3 TOBIAS RIEDER Kitchener (OHL)
7 15.2 DUNCAN SIEMENS Saskatoon (WHL)
8 15.1 SCOTT MAYFIELD Youngstown (USHL)
15.1 BRETT RTICHIE Sarnia (OHL)
10 15.0 LUCAS LESSIO Ottawa (OHL)

Anaerobic Fitness: Mean Power Output (watts/kg)

Rank Score Player Team
1 11.9 LUCAS LESSIO Oshawa (OHL)
2 11.6 JONATHAN RACINE Shawinigan (QMJHL)
3 11.4 TY RATTIE Portland (WHL)
4 11.2 ALEXANDER RUUTTU Jokerit U20 (FIN Jr)
11.2 MAXIMILIEN LE SIEUR Shawinigan (QMJHL)
6 11.1 JOEL ARMIA Ässät (FIN)
11.1 DOUGIE HAMILTON Niagara (OHL)
8 11.1 MARK SCHIEFELE Barrie (OHL)
9 11.0 DUNCAN SIEMENS Saskatoon (WHL)
11.0 VLADISLAV NAMESTNIKOV London (OHL)

Anaerobic Fitness: Fatigue Index

Rank Score Player Team
1 33.7 NICK COUSINS Sault Ste. Marie (OHL)
2 34.8 JONATHAN HUBERDEAU Saint John (QMJHL)
3 36.7 JOEL ARMIA Ässät (FIN)
4 37.9 ZAC LARRAZA USNTDP U-18 (USHL)
5 38.4 ZACK PHILLIPS Saint John (QMJHL)
6 39.2 MIIKA SALOMAKI Kärpät (FIN)
7 39.4 SEAN KURALY Indiana (USHL)
8 39.5 CONNOR MURPHY USNTDP U-18 (USHL)
39.5 LUCAS LESSIO Oshawa (OHL)
39.5 SVEN BÄRTSCHI Portland (WHL)

Aerobic Fitness: VO2max (ml/kg/min)

Rank Score Player Team
1 68.7 SVEN BÄRTSCHI Portland (WHL)
2 67.9 RYAN TESINK Saint John (QMJHL)
67.9 OSCAR KLEFBOM Färjestad BK (SWE)
4 66.9 ZACK PHILLIPS Saint John (QMJHL)
5 65.6 PHILLIP DANAULT Victoriaville (QMJHL)
6 65.1 SEAN KURALY Indiana (USHL)
7 64.5 MIIKA SALOMAKI Kärpät (FIN)
8 64.2 ALAN QUINE Peterborough (OHL)
9 63.8 AUSTEN BRASSARD Belleville (OHL)
10 63.6 DAVID MUSIL Vancouver (WHL)

Aerobic Fitness: Test Duration

Rank Score Player Team
1 14:00 DAVID MUSIL Vancouver (WHL)
14:00 ADAM LARSSON Skellefteå (SWE)
3 13:00 GREGORY HOFMANN Ambri-Piotta (SUI)
13:00 BRANDON SAAD Saginaw (OHL)
13:00 DOUGIE HAMILTON Niagara (OHL)
13:00 LAURENT BROSSOIT Edmonton (WHL)
7 12:30 PATRICK KOUDYS Rensselaer (ECAC)
8 12:17 MARCEL NOEBELS Seattle (WHL)
9 12:15 JAMESON OLEKSIAK Northeastern (HEA)
10 12:06 SETH AMBROZ Omaha (USHL)

Musculoskeletal: Standing Long Jump (in)

Rank Score Player Team
1 119.3 JONATHAN RACINE Shawinigan (QMJHL)
2 115.5 CONNOR MURPHY USNTDP U-18 (USHL)
3 115.0 TRAVIS EWANYK Edmonton (WHL)
115.0 JOHN GIBSON USNTDP U-18 (USHL)
5 114.5 SCOTT MAYFIELD Youngstown (USHL)
6 114.0 ADAM LOWRY Swift Current (WHL)
114.0 JOE MORROW Portland (WHL)
114.0 LUKE LOCKHART Seattle (WHL)
114.0 OSCAR KLEFBOM Färjestad BK (SEL)
10 112.0 STEPHEN MICHALEK Loomis-Chaffee (USHS-CT)

Musculoskeletal: Vertek Vert Jump/Pause (in)

Rank Score Player Team
1 31.5 MAXIMILIEN LE SIEUR Shawinigan (QMJHL)
2 29.8 JONATHAN RACINE Shawinigan (QMJHL)
3 29.5 TRAVIS EWANYK Edmonton (WHL)
29.5 ADAM CLENDENNING Boston University (HEA)
5 29.3 JOE MORROW Portland (WHL)
6 28.8 LUKE LOCKHART Seattle (WHL)
7 28.5 COLIN SULLIVAN Avon Old Farms (USHS-CT)
8 28.3 JOHN GIBSON USNTDP U-18 (USHL)
28.3 J.T. MILLER USNTDP U-18 (USHL)
28.3 VINCENT TROCHEK Saginaw (OHL)

Musculoskeletal: Vertek Vert Jump/No Pause (in)

Rank Score Player Team
1 30.5 MAXIMILIEN LE SIEUR Shawinigan (QMJHL)
2 30.3 JOE MORROW Portland (WHL)
30.3 VINCENT TROCHEK Saginaw (OHL)
4 30.0 ADAM CLENDENNING Boston University (HEA)
5 29.8 ROCCO GRIMALDI USNTDP U-18 (USHL)
29.8 JONATHAN RACINE Shawinigan (QMJHL)
29.8 LUKE LOCKHART Seattle (WHL)
8 29.5 TRAVIS EWANYK Edmonton (WHL)
9 29.3 ZAC LARRAZA USNTDP U-18 (USHL)
10 29.0 COLIN SULLIVAN Avon Old Farms (USHS-CT)

Musculoskeletal: Vertek Leg Power Average (Lewis)/ Pause (watts)

Rank Score Player Team
1 1865 JOE MORROW Portland (WHL)
2 1841 JAMESON OLEKSIAK Northeastern (HEA)
3 1717 JOHN GIBSON USNTDP U-18 (USHL)
4 1693 MAXIMILIEN LE SIEUR Shawinigan (QMJHL)
5 1682 MARK McNEILL Prince Albert (WHL)
6 1650 TYLER BIGGS USNTDP U-18 (USHL)
7 1638 COLIN SULLIVAN Avon Old Farms (USHS-CT)
8 1605 BRETT RITCHIE Sarnia (OHL)
9 1604 BRANDON SAAD Saginaw (OHL)
10 1602 ZAC LARRAZA USNTDP U-18 (USHL)

Musculoskeletal: Vertek Leg Power Average (Lewis)/ No Pause (watts)

Rank Score Player Team
1 1886 SCOTT MAYFIELD Youngstown (USHL)
2 1859 JAMESON OLEKSIAK Northeastern (HEA)
3 1743 MARK McNEILL Prince Albert (WHL)
4 1717 JOHN GIBSON USNTDP U-18 (USHL)
5 1716 JOE MORROW Portland (WHL)
6 1665 TYLER BIGGS USNTDP U-18 (USHL)
7 1664 MAXIMILIEN LE SIEUR Shawinigan (QMJHL)
8 1663 BRANDON SAAD Saginaw (OHL)
9 1652 COLIN SULLIVAN Avon Old Farms (USHS-CT)
10 1646 ZAC LARRAZA USNTDP U-18 (USHL)

Musculoskeletal: Vertek Leg Power Peak (Sayers)/ Pause (watts)

Rank Score Player Team
1 6765 MAXIMILIEN LE SIEUR Shawinigan (QMJHL)
2 6604 JAMESON OLEKSIAK Northeastern (HEA)
3 6560 JOHN GIBSON USNTDP U-18 (USHL)
4 6532 JOE MORROW Portland (WHL)
5 6371 COLIN SULLIVAN Avon Old Farms (USHS-CT)
6 6351 ADAM CLENDENNING Boston University (HEA)
7 6298 JONATHAN RACINE Shawinigan (QMJHL)
8 6286 MARK McNEILL Prince Albert (WHL)
9 6243 TYLER BIGGS USNTDP U-18 (USHL)
10 6224 ZAC LARRAZA USNTDP U-18 (USHL)

Musculoskeletal: Vertek Leg Power Peak (Sayers)/ No Pause (watts)

Rank Score Player Team
1 6714 JOE MORROW Portland (WHL)
2 6664 JAMESON OLEKSIAK Northeastern (HEA)
3 6613 MAXIMILIEN LE SIEUR Shawinigan (QMJHL)
4 6596 MARK McNEILL Prince Albert (WHL)
5 6560 JOHN GIBSON USNTDP U-18 (USHL)
6 6455 ZAC LARRAZA USNTDP U-18 (USHL)
7 6450 COLIN SULLIVAN Avon Old Farms (USHS-CT)
8 6430 ADAM CLENDENNING Boston University (HEA)
9 6366 BRANDON SAAD Saginaw (OHL)
10 6322 TYLER BIGGS USNTDP U-18 (USHL)

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