Scouting Combine expected to draw 119 prospects
Many of the top players on NHL Central Scouting's final list of North American and international prospects eligible for the 2014 NHL Draft will be front and center when the NHL Scouting Combine takes center stage later this month in Toronto.
Dan Marr, the director of NHL Central Scouting, is anticipating the attendance of 119 players, including 101 North Americans, at the Combine from May 26-31.
There are 18 international prospects, including two goalies, expected to attend. All NHL teams will have the opportunity to sit down for interviews with the invited prospects from May 26 through May 30. The medical examinations of each player will take place May 30 and the fitness portion, headed by Dr. Norman Gledhill and his York University Fitness staff in Toronto, will be held May 31 at Toronto International Centre.
Unlike previous seasons, the player invitation process was revised to enable NHL clubs an opportunity to participate.
"It's a change from past practice of invites being solely based on Central Scouting's final rankings," Marr said. "Research has shown over the last decade that an average of 78 invites to the Combine were selected in the top 100 at the NHL Draft.
"For the 2014 Combine, a two-stage process was adopted. In the initial stage, the top 75 players on Central Scouting's Players to Watch List were invited [at an earlier date] and the final stage involved the NHL clubs voting in the remaining 45 players. The number of invites increased this year."
Central Scouting provided NHL.com the list of invites to the Scouting Combine. The Combine consists of three elements (team interviews, medical examinations, physical testing) and players participate in all segments.
Among the players invited are forwards Samuel Bennett of the Kingston Frontenacs in the Ontario Hockey League and Sam Reinhart of the Kootenay Ice in the Western Hockey League, defenseman Aaron Ekblad of the Barrie Colts in the OHL and goalie Thatcher Demko of Boston College.
Additionally, included in the mix of top international players prepared to fly to North America to participate are forwards William Nylander of Modo in Sweden and Kasperi Kapanen of Kalpa in Finland.
Follow Mike Morreale on Twitter at: @mikemorrealeNHL