Vegas Golden Knights eyeing talent at NHL draft combine

Updated June 1, 2017 - 10:14 pm

BUFFALO, N.Y. — Does the number of pullups a player can do truly determine if he’s good enough to play in the NHL?

Dan Marr would understand if you were skeptical. But the head of the league’s Central Scouting Bureau said the exercise, which is a small part of the Scouting Combine, has relevance.

“It’s not about whether a player is the strongest or most powerful,” he said. “It’s about gauging where he is athletically at 17, 18 years old.”

The NHL invited 104 players to Buffalo for a week of dry-land testing, medical exams and interviews with the league’s 31 teams. The process began Monday, and by the time the combine wraps up Saturday, teams should have a better idea of how their draft boards will look.

The entry draft will be June 23-24 in Chicago.

The Golden Knights have five people in Buffalo, led by general manager George McPhee, who has been attending the combine going back to the mid-1990s as an assistant GM with Vancouver. Marr said the Knights may be an expansion team, but when it comes to assessing talent they have a wealth of experience.

“George is one of the best evaluators out there,” Marr said. “He has assembled an outstanding hockey staff. I have no doubt Vegas will be well prepared this week.”

Marr said there are three components to the combine. The first, and perhaps most overlooked and critical, is the medical exam each of the 104 players will undergo. It is a comprehensive workup, complete with blood tests as well as neurological exams.

“It’s the most important because if someone’s hurt or there’s something wrong, the other things won’t matter,” Marr said. “They go through the same medicals as a pro’s training camp and it’s everything. Ninety-nine percent of the time, they’re healthy 18-year-olds. But the teams want to make sure that’s what they’re getting, a healthy player.”

Getting grilled

The testing, which includes strength and endurance drills, has refined itself over the years. Marr and his staff have consulted with strength and conditioning coaches from the teams to devise drills that can truly gauge performance.

“The teams have seen these kids on the ice,” he said. “What you’re trying to do is match up what they do off the ice and project how that will be on the ice. Will a kid need to put on weight or add strength? In some cases, does a kid need to lose some weight and add 10 pounds of muscle? Can we make this kid stronger or a faster skater?

“Remember, you’re trying to predict where a kid will be four years from now. By seeing how they perform in these off-ice drills helps you establish a baseline of where they’re at physically.”

The most fascinating element are the interviews. Most will last from 20 to 30 minutes. Some teams will ask players to take a psychological exam. Others will rely on gut instinct. All will want to see what kind of person they would be dealing with should they draft him.

“They don’t know what they’re getting as a person so that’s an area where a player can make an impact on his draft status,” Marr said. “I tell the kids they’re going to a barbecue and that they’re going to get grilled. We tell them to be honest, tell your story and sell yourself.”

Marr said this year’s draft class lacks the kind of generational player such as a Sidney Crosby or an early emerging superstar such as a Connor McDavid or an Auston Matthews. But he believes there are a number of good players who will have a positive impact in the NHL.

“This year’s group didn’t separate themselves,” he said. “There’s some players who can make a difference. But are there franchise players? No.”

Contact Steve Carp at scarp@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-2913. Follow @stevecarprj on Twitter.

ad-high_impact_4
Golden Knights Videos
Gerard Gallant happy with Golden Knights bounce-back performance
The Golden Knights snapped a two-game losing streak Thursday, Jan. 18, 2018 in Tampa with a 4-1 win over the Lightning. (Steve Carp/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Marc-Andre Fleury on the Knights sweeping the Lightning
Golden Knights goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury stopped 28 of 29 shots and was the game’s No. 1 star Thursday, Jan. 18, 2018 in Tampa. (Steve Carp/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Brayden McNabb said Knights win over Lightning a team effort
Golden Knights defenseman Brayden McNabb said everyone contributed to the 4-1 win Thursday, Jan. 18, 2018 at Tampa. (Steve Carp/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Golden Edge: Knights make a statement, beat Lightning
Review-Journal Golden Edge host Bryan Salmond and reporter Steve Carp talk about the Golden Knights 4-1 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning, ending the Knights' 2-game losing skid.
Golden Knights defeat Lightning 4-1
Golden Edge video host Bryan Salmond recaps the Golden Knights 4-1 win over Tampa Bay.
Todd Richards is happy for Las Vegas having its own NHL team
Todd Richards, Tampa Bay Lightning assistant coach, spoke about his days with the Las Vegas Thunder on Thursday, Jan. 18, 2018 in Tampa (Steve Carp/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Jonathan Marchessault has fond memories of his time with Lightning
Golden Knights forward Jonathan Marchessault talks about his days with Tampa Bay after practice Wednesday, Jan. 17, 2018 in Tampa, Florida (Steve Carp/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Gerard Gallant remains positive despite Golden Knights’ current two-game losing streak
Golden Knights coach Gerard Gallant said his team isn’t discouraged after two straight losses following practice In Tampa Wednesday, Jan. 17, 2018. (Steve Carp/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Golden Edge: Predators Shut Out the Golden Knights
Golden Edge host Bryan Salmond and Golden Knights beat writer Steve Carp go over the Golden Knights loss to the Nashville Predators.
Golden Edge: Knights Shut Out By Predators
Bryan Salmond recaps the Golden Knights away game against the Nashville Predators.
Golden Knights' Deryk Engelland on 1-year contract extension
Golden Knights defenseman Deryk Engelland talks about his one-year contract extension following practice on Tuesday, Jan. 16, 2018 in Nashville, Tennessee. The Golden Knights face the Predators Tuesday night.
Golden Edge: Golden Knights hold Fan Fest on Fremont
Bryan Salmond talks to Golden Knights players, staff and fans during the first Fan Fest held on Fremont Street.
Golden Knights coach Gerard Gallant on goalie Malcolm Subban
Golden Knights coach Gerard Gallant talks about Malcolm Subban and the team's goaltenders. (David Schoen/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Golden Edge: Knights Fall To Oilers In Overtime
Golden Edge host Bryan Salmond, Review-Journal reporters David Schoen and Steve Carp recap the Golden Knights second loss to the Oilers.
Golden Knights React To Loss Against Oilers
Marc-Andre Fleury, Pierre-Edouard Bellemare, Reilly Smith and Deryk Engelland answer questions in the locker room about their loss against the Oilers.
Gerard Gallant Goes Over The Loss Against Oilers
Golden Knights head coach Gerard Gallant takes question after the loss to the Oilers.
Golden Edge: Interview With Shea Theodore
Golden Edge host Bryan Salmond interview Golden Knights defensemen Shea Theodore to talk about the fans and how he got into hockey.
Golden Knights coach Gerard Gallant on defenseman Brad Hunt
Golden Knights coach Gerard Gallant talks about increased playing time for defenseman Brad Hunt on Friday at City National Arena. (David Schoen/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Golden Edge Look Ahead: Knights Face Oilers After Break
Golden Edge host Bryan Salmond, Review-Journal reporters David Schoen and Steve Carp go over what the Golden Knights have to face after their break ends on Saturday.
Golden Edge: Knights Beat New York Rangers
Golden Edge host Bryan Salmond and Review-Journal reporters Steve Carp and David Schoen go over the Golden Knights win over the New York Rangers.
Karlsson Talks About His Performance During The First Half Of The Season
Golden Knights forward William Karlsson goes over his personal performance during the first half of the NHL season.
James Neal On Golden Knights Week Off From Hockey
Golden Knights forward James Neal talks about the one week vacation the Golden Knights will have before playing the Oilers on Saturday.
Gerard Gallant Talks After Win Against Rangers
Golden Knights head coach Gerard Gallant talks after the win against the New York Rangers.
Golden Edge: Knights Feel The Blues Against St. Louis
Golden Edge host Bryan Salmond and Review-Journal reporter Steve Carp go over tonight's Golden Knights game against the St. Louis Blues.
Golden Edge: Knights Fall to The Blues
Golden Edge host Bryan Salmond gives a quick recap on tonights Golden Knights game against the St. Louis Blues.
Golden Knights' Jonathan Marchessault on 6-year, $30 million contract extension
Golden Knights forward Jonathan Marchessault addressed his six-year, $30 million contract extension prior to the team's game with St. Louis on Thursday, Jan. 4, 2018 at the Scottrade Center in St. Louis. (Steve Carp/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Golden Edge: Marchessault signed, Knights on a roll
Bryan Salmond talks to David Schoen about the Golden Knights magical December as well as Jonathan Marchessault's contract extension, including a special picture he has hanging in his locker.
Golden Knights' David Perron says key to team's success is never being satisfied
Golden Knights forward David Perron talks to the media following practice on Wednesday, Jan. 3, 2018, and says the team's hard work and focus as factors in the team's current eight-game winning streak. (Steve Carp/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Golden Knights' Alex Tuch on the camaraderie of the team
Golden Knights rookie Alex Tuch talks about how the team is very close on and off the ice following practice on Wednesday, Jan. 3, 2018, at the team's practice facility in Las Vegas. (Steve Carp/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Jonathan Marchessault signs contract extension
The Vegas Golden Knights announced they have signed forward Jonathan Marchessault to a 6-year contract extension worth an average of $5 million. Marchessault has tallied a team-high 37 points this season. Marchessault ranks in the top-25 in the NHL in scoring, and his 22 assists are a career-high. Last season, Marchessault recorded his first 30-goal season with the Florida Panthers. "Since we all came here, we just feel like part of a big family and we love this city," Marchessault said.
Golden Edge: Golden Knights Shut Out Predators
Golden Edge host Bryan Salmond and Review-Journal reporters David Schoen and Steve Carp go over tonights shutout win against the Predators.
Golden Knights players' favorite hockey Christmas presents
Sticks and skates dominates the list. Steve Carp/Las Vegas Review-Journal.
Abandoned Pomeranians adopted through Golden Knights event
Many Pomeranians found their fur-ever homes for the holidays The Animal Foundation and the Vegas Golden Knights hosted a Pucks for Paws event, to kick-off the adoption of 164 Pomeranians found abandoned in Sandy Valley. 5 dogs were available at auction, while 10 more were available in a raffle to benefit Animal Foundation. The dogs were named by Golden Knights players and donned small Knights sweaters. The other Pomeranians will be available through an online raffle, open through Jan. 1
By the numbers: Expectations, challenges for Las Vegas’ WNBA team
The newly relocated Las Vegas WNBA franchise will begin play in the 2018 season. New owners MGM Resorts will integrate a professional franchise into Las Vegas’ busy sports landscape that’s shared with the 51s, Lights FC, Golden Knights and Raiders. Here are some of the expectations and challenges the team will have. 1. Ticket prices: The key to any sports franchise is selling season tickets and group outings. For Las Vegas’ team, that starts with locals. "(You don’t) just open the doors and tell everybody you’ve got a game and stand there waiting to sell tickets," 51s president Don Logan said. "You’ve got to get out, you’ve got to get out into the community and you’ve got to do everything we do. There’s no easy way." Last year, San Antonio charged $12 to $165 for single-game tickets for 17 home games. 2. Creating an identity: Coach Bill Laimbeer inherits a team from San Antonio that hasn’t made the playoffs or had a winning season since 2012. Las Vegas' team is also a franchise that lost its first 14 games last season before finishing a league-worst 8-26. 3. Patience will be required: Will they have to fill all 12,000 seats at Mandalay Bay for the season to be deemed successful? "They have to be realistic," Connecticut Sun CEO Mitchell Etess said. "If they could get 5,000 bodies into every single game, that would be pretty good for the first year."
VGK University: Introduction to hockey, and much more
Vegas Golden Knights officials Misha Donskov and Murray Craven chat about VGK University, a five-course instructional for hockey fans, at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Dec. 3, 2017. (Ron Kantowski/ Las Vegas Review Journal)
Nate Quote
Golden Knights defenseman Nate Schmidt is leading the team in time on ice. He talks about the adjustment to the style of play in the Pacific Division, as well as his pregame "Magic trick" ritual. (Steve Carp/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Golden Knights goaltender Maxime Lagace on starting in goal
Golden Knights goaltender Maxime Lagace talks about his journey to becoming the starting goaltender Saturday, Nov. 12, 2017 at City National Arena. (David Schoen/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Golden Knights defenseman Nate Schmidt
Golden Knights defenseman Nate Schmidt talks about goaltender Maxime Lagace at City National Arena. (David Schoen/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Golden Knights forward William Karlsson
Golden Knights forward William Karlsson on the team's blue-collar mentality. (David Schoen/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Golden Knights coach Gerard Gallant
Golden Knights coach Gerard Gallant talks about his team's accountability in the locker room. (David Schoen/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
TOP NEWS
News Headlines
ad-infeed_1
ads_infeed_2
Local Spotlight
Events
Home Front Page Footer Listing
Circular
You May Like

You May Like