Wings, HSJ interviewing prospects at the NHL’s Scouting Combine

Updated 2x at 7:48 PM: The Red Wings and the Free Press’s Helene St. James took part in the media availability at the NHL’s Scouting Combine in Buffalo this afternoon, doing their due diligence in interviewing some of the more likely Red Wings targets at this month’s draft:

And the Free Press’s Helene St. James posted a 4-minute clip of interviews with Evan Bouchard, Andrei Svechnikov and Noah Dobson:

The Chicago Tribune’s Mark Lazerus reports that Dobson was not wined and dined by a wide selection of NHL teams:

Most teams interview just about all the top prospects, even Swedish defenseman Rasmus Dahlin, who is a lock to go first overall to the Buffalo Sabres. But they tend to be pretty stilted affairs — “Just straight poker faces,” said possible No. 2 or 3 pick Filip Zadina — The dinners are somewhat more exclusive. So it was telling that touted defenseman Noah Dobson — who didn’t get to Buffalo until Wednesday because he was busy winning junior hockey’s Memorial Cup and enjoying a parade in tiny Bathurst, New Brunswick — only had dinner with two teams: the Hawks and the Red Wings, both of whom are in the market for some help on the blue line.

It would be a bit of a surprise if Dobson fell to the Hawks at No. 8 (the Wings pick sixth), but the Hawks still want to do their due diligence in case they get lucky.

“It’s great to get away from the stressful interview setting,” said Dobson, who called the Hawks brass “really great people.” “It’s more casual. They get to know you as a person away from the rink and away from the interviews and stuff.”

That’s not to say the physical tests don’t matter. While it’s unlikely that elite forward Brady Tkachuk’s vertical leap (both with and without “arm swinging”) is going to greatly affect his draft positioning, it can help break a tie. [Chicago Blackhawks director of amateur scouting Mark] Kelley’s draft board is pretty well set, but there can always be last-minute adjustments. Hawks strength and conditioning coach Paul Goodman and his staff are on hand to assess players’ physical maturity and extrapolate what they might look like in a year or two. Kelley, on the other hand, will be looking at how they handle themselves during all those physical challenges.

And that’s what the combine is about — it’s a chance to really get into the minute details of every prospect — on the ice, in the gym, and between the ears.

Update: The Red Wings posted a pair of videos of Bouchard and Svechnikov speaking with the media:

Update #2: Here’s more from the Free Press’s Helene St. James, this time in text form:

Bouchard was one of 80 players interviewed by the Detroit Red Wings over the past few days, and among 50 or so they also took to dinner. Bouchard holds appeal on several levels: He has a heavy shot that makes him a threat to score from the blue line, makes a great first pass, runs power plays, shoots right, and at 18 years old, already is 6feet 2 and 193 pounds.

He finished 2017-18 with 25 goals and 62 assists in 67 games with London in the Ontario Hockey League. That’s the kind of performance that bolsters his confidence that he can make the jump to the NHL in his draft year.

“For me I think it’s next season,” Bouchard said. “I know it’s a big jump and a big step but I’m really working hard this summer to be ready for next season. My focus is on getting ready for main camp and turning heads there and going from there.

“The game keeps getting faster and faster, so speed is a big thing. You are going from playing against teenagers to men, so I think size is also a big thing.”

Red Wings general manager Ken Holland was among a handful of Wings hockey operations personnel at the combine. The Wings hold the sixth overall pick, as well as Vegas’ first-round pick.

“We know who interests us,” Holland said. “Players are close. It’s not like five is way better than six, and six way better than seven.”

St. James continues

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George Malik

My name is George Malik, and I'm the Malik Report's editor/blogger/poster. I have been blogging about the Red Wings since 2006, when MLive hired me to work their SlapShots blog, and I joined Kukla's Korner in 2011 as The Malik Report. I'm starting The Malik Report as a stand-alone site, hoping that having my readers fund the website is indeed the way to go to build a better community and create better content.

One thought on “Wings, HSJ interviewing prospects at the NHL’s Scouting Combine”

  1. If Ottawa isn’t even meeting Dobson then they may have their mind made up on taking a forward…so Svech, Zadina, Tkachuk. Whoever is available. A bit surprised that Arizona didn’t sit with Dobson, but great news for us.

    I think San Jose at #21 might be interested in trading for #30 and #33? Maybe add another later pick. Would love to jump up and grab Kupari there. Maybe even Dellandrea.

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