The Philadelphia Flyers are starting to gear up for the 2013 NHL Entry-Level Draft set to take place on June 30. Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren, Flyers Director of Hockey Operations Chris Pryor and a handful of Flyers scouts were in attendance for the NHL Draft Combine in Toronto this past weekend.
During the combine, the organization had the assistant strength and conditioning coach Ryan Podell watch the tests performed by the prospects to give the Flyers an unbiased opinion on each. The combine tests are actually a big deal for teams. Most of the kids going up for the draft have been watched by NHL teams all year long, so the tests are another way for teams to get to know the players.
The Combine also presents a chance for the teams to interview the prospects and get to know them on a personal level. Knowing a player’s personality can be helpful as the Flyers start to compile their draft picks list. It’s also good to see how they will mesh with the other players on the team. It’s a good practice, because a team does not want a Sean Avery-like character on their hands.
Prior to the combine, the Flyers met with about half of the invitees in casual style interviews, and both Holmgren and Pryor sat in on the interviews. The draft this year is probably the most stacked that it has been in recent years, so the Flyers are interested in a lot of players. The combine is just the final step in the decision making process.
As it gets closer to the draft date, we’re going to be hearing a lot more about what prospects the team is seriously considering. Darnell Nurse, Rasmus Ristolainen, and Hunter Shinkaruk are sure to be on the top of that list. So will the team take a strong defenseman in the first round? We’ll have to wait and see.