Blackwood shines at 2015 NHL Scouting Combine
Article courtesy of www.nhl.com
By Adam Kimelman – NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor
BUFFALO — Boston University center Jack Eichel showed he has a fitness level to match his tremendous on-ice skills at the 2015 NHL Scouting Combine in Buffalo on Saturday.
Eichel, NHL Central Scouting’s No. 2-ranked North American skater for the 2015 NHL Draft, finished in the top 10 among all prospects at the fitness testing in seven categories, more than any other player.
Among his top accomplishments was lasting 12 minutes and 15 seconds on the VO2 Max bike test, which measures a player’s endurance. The only player to match Eichel was Gatineau Olympiques center Iakov Trenin. Seattle Thunderbirds right wing Keegan Kolesar stayed on for 12:01, and Portland Winterhawks left wing Paul Bittner and center Joel Eriksson Ek of Frolunda of the Swedish Hockey League tied for fourth at 12 minutes.
Eichel also excelled in the pro-agility test, which was a shuttle run of five, 10 and five yards. Starting to his right he was the second-fastest prospect, completing the test in 4.24 seconds; starting to his left he tied for eighth at 4.48 seconds.
In addition Eichel tied for the fourth-most repetitions on the bench press with 16; had the fifth-best vertical jump at 26 inches; tied for the fifth-best long jump at 115 inches; and had the strongest right-hand grip at 176 pounds.
Erie Otters center Connor McDavid, Central Scouting’s top-rated North American skater had two top-10 finishes. He tied for fourth in the pro-agility test to his left, finishing it in 4.43 seconds, and he was fifth in left-hand grip at 165 pounds.
Prince Albert Raiders defenseman Brendan Guhle, No. 56 on Central Scouting’s list, also had seven top-10 finishes.
Guhle led all prospects with a peak power output score of 19.9 on the Wingate bike tests, which measures a player’s explosive leg power. The 6-foot-1, 184-pound left-shot defender also had the best long jump at 122 inches, and the fourth-highest vertical leap at 27 inches.
He tied for third-most pull-ups with 12; tied for the fifth-fastest in the pro-agility test starting right at 4.39 seconds; the seventh-fasted in the pro agility starting left at 4.47 seconds; and tied for the seventh-most repetitions on the bench press with 15.
Four players had peak power output scores better than 19.0 on the Wingate: Kamloops Blazers right wing Deven Sideroff at 19.5; Regina Pats left wing Austin Wagner at 19.4; Barrie Colts goaltender Mackenzie Blackwood at 19.2; and left wing Karch Bachman from Culver Academy (Ind.) at 19.1.
As a point of comparison, the leader in this category at the 2014 Combine was William Nylander at 17.5.
Center Colin White of the United States National Team Development Program under-18 team swept the top spots in the pro-agility test, finishing in 4.34 seconds starting to his left and 4.21 seconds starting to his right.
Regina left wing Jesse Gabrielle did 20 repetitions on the bench press, topping all prospects. Cedar Rapids RoughRiders left wing Erik Foley and Regina defenseman Connor Hobbs each did 17. Joining Eichel with 16 reps was Ottawa 67s center Travis Konecny and Cape Breton Screaming Eagles left wing Evgeny Svechnikov.
Shawinigan Cataractes left wing Dennis Yan topped all prospects with 14 pull-ups, one more than Konecny.
USNTDP goaltender Luke Opilka and Saint John Sea Dogs left wing Samuel Dove-McFalls had the strongest left-hand grip at 180 pounds. Dove McFalls had the second-strongest right-hand grip at 175 pounds, followed by Blackwood and right wing Mikko Rantanen of TPS in Finland at 174 pounds.
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