NHL Central Scouting will continue to make the 2020 NHL Draft as streamlined as possible for teams even after the postponement of the NHL Scouting Combine due to concerns surrounding the coronavirus.
Dan Marr, director of NHL Central Scouting, addressed the three main areas of the combine during a videoconference arranged by the NHL on Wednesday, including prospect interviews.
“NHL clubs are allowed to do interviews with the players basically all season long, but at this point it’s just moved to an online format by whatever technical means they have,” Marr said. “Obviously with all the social-distancing restrictions, there are no in-person interviews that are allowed.”
Marr also discussed how Central Scouting is handling the medical and testing portions of the combine, which was scheduled for June 1-6 in Buffalo before it was postponed March 25.
“We’re proceeding on our medical collection side as far as getting the players to provide a medical history questionnaire and any medical reports that are available, and that information is posted and made available to our clubs’ doctors and trainers,” Marr said. “On the testing side, there are no fitness results that are going to be obtained with the postponement of the combine, but we have an arrangement in place at our top prospects games where we do get some testing done, so the teams do have test results of 75 of the top 100 prospects for this draft.”
The Kubota CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game was played at FirstOntario Centre in Hamilton, Ontario, on Jan. 16, and the USA Hockey Biosteel All-American Game was held at USA Hockey Arena in Plymouth, Michigan, on Jan. 20
The NHL paused its 2019-20 season March 12 because of the coronavirus. The remainder of the regular season and playoffs in the Canadian Hockey League (Ontario Hockey League, Western Hockey League, Quebec Major Junior Hockey League) and various European leagues have been canceled, as was the NCAA postseason.
Jean-Luc Foudy, No. 33 in NHL Central Scouting’s final rankings of North American skaters, was first overall in on-ice testing at the CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game with three No. 1 finishes in the 10 categories.
Foudy (5-foot-11, 177 pounds), a right-shot center for Windsor of the OHL, was first in transition agility, transition agility with puck and reaction with puck, and second in 30-meter forward skate and 30-meter forward skate with puck. Sarnia right wing Jacob Perreault (5-11, 192; No. 17 ranking) finished second in the on-ice testing, and Sudbury center Quinton Byfield (6-4, 215; No. 2) was third.
Spokane (WHL) center Jack Finley (6-6, 213; No. 38) was first in off-ice testing in seven different categories, including medicine ball toss and right-hand grip strength. Byfield was second in the off-ice tests. Brock Gould (6-4, 198; No. 9 on North American goalie list) of Moose Jaw (WHL) was first among goalies after a strong showing in reaction, agility and movement tests.
NHL Central Scouting released its final rankings of the top North American and International skaters and goalies eligible for the 2020 draft Wednesday after conducting its final meetings via videoconferencing for the first time in its 44-year history.
Jake Sanderson (6-1, 185; No. 4) of the USA Hockey National Team Development Program Under-18 team finished first overall in on-ice testing of 10 different categories at the All-American Game. The left-shot defenseman was first in weave agility and in reaction, and second in transition agility and transition agility with puck. Defenseman Mitchell Miller (5-10, 180; No. 49) of Tri-City in the United States Hockey League finished second in the on-ice testing, and NTDP center Ty Smilanic (6-1, 175; No. 24) was third.
“The thing that always happens is, the season starts and you wonder how deep the draft class is, but as we go through our scouting process and we meet, both at the midterm and final as a group, you realize there’s a lot of depth,” Central Scouting senior manager David Gregory said. “Teams are going to get very good players as they pick into the second, third, and fourth rounds. There’s going to be some real hidden gems and a few years from now, we’ll be talking about how a player was taken so late.
“There’s lots of depth here and lots of opportunity for the NHL clubs.”
Listen: New episode of NHL Draft Class