2016 NHL Combine Need To Know: What the players will go through

NHL young guns Jack Eichel, Michael McCarron, Sonny Milano and others talk about the toughest tasks they had to perform at the NHL Combine.

As the 2016 NHL Draft quickly approaches, it’s that time of year when the top draft-eligible prospects in hockey have gathered to complete physical and medical assessments with all 30 NHL clubs watching.

The 2016 NHL Scouting Combine is underway, here’s what you need to know about it:

More on the 2016 NHL Combine here:

  • 2016 NHL Combine Live Stream: Watch Matthews and Laine in action on Saturday
  • Alex DeBrincat goes from unknown to potential first-round pick
  • How NHL teams benefit from the Draft Combine interview process

  • When is it taking place?

    The 2016 NHL Scouting Combine takes place from May 30 through June 4, approximately three weeks prior to the 2016 NHL Draft. Teams will have the opportunity to conduct one-on-one interviews with prospects in attendance for the duration of the week. Medical examinations for the players take place June 2 with the majority of fitness testing occurring June 4.


    The combine takes place in Buffalo, the host city of the June 24-25 draft. The two combine venues are the First Niagara Center and nearby HarborCenter just like last year. The fitness tests take place at the HarborCenter.

    Buffalo Sabres on Twitter

    What’s the point of the combine?

    This gathering of draft-eligible hockey talent affords NHL general managers and scouting staffs the opportunity to meet the prospects, speak with them in one-on-one situations and examine what they are capable of off the ice both physically and mentally.

    Who will be there and where can I find the results?

    There are 114 prospects scheduled to participate in the combine this year, including the consensus top two of Auston Matthews and Patrik Laine. Check out the FULL LIST of prospects.

    Sportsnet.ca will be on site providing coverage with Gare Joyce and Ryan Dixon taking in the sites and sounds in Buffalo. Fans can watch two live streams of Saturday’s fitness testing by going to Sportsnet.ca/NHLcombine or on the Sportsnet App. The first of these streams will go live starting at 9:30 a.m. ET as Auston Matthews’ group starts. The second live stream will go live at 3:00 p.m. ET as Patrik Laine begins. The streams will be hosted by Jeff Marek and Sam Cosentino with special guests.

    What will the players be put through?

    The following tests will completed during combine week…


    Wingate Cycle Ergometer Test – Athlete warms up by pedalling at a low resistance for two minutes. To start the test, the athlete pedals at a progressively quicker cadence so that by the time the designated workload has been reached, he is pedaling at his maximal capacity. The athlete pedals at his maximal capacity against the designated workload for 30 seconds. Revolutions are recorded for each five second period, then power output is calculated for both the peak five second period and the 30 second duration.


    Bench Press – Athlete lies on his back on the bench and grips the barbell with thumbs approximately shoulder width apart. The buttocks must remain on the bench with the feet on the floor. The starting position of the bar is touching the chest at approximately the axillary line and the bar is pushed to full extension of the arms while keeping a specific pace of 25 reps per minute.



    Jump Station (Kistler Force Plate System) – A Kistler Force Plate System will be used to objectively measure the direction, strength and timing of the forces the athlete produces during hockey related movement. The test will provide immediate feedback allowing teams to assess movement efficiency, physical performance and injury potential… The test will include six separate maximum effort vertical jumps separated by 10 seconds of rest. The three best jumps are taken and averaged to get the final scoring and rankings.


    Functional Movement Screen – This is a series tests which assesses mobility and stability in the athlete during following seven movement exercises: deep squat, hurdle step, in­line lunge, shoulder mobility, active straight leg raise, trunk stability push­up and rotary stability. It is meant to identify the quality, limitations and weaknesses (or right and left side imbalances) of basic movements by an athlete.


    Grip Strength – The athlete adjusts a hand grip dynamometer to his hand size, fully extends his arm and squeezes the dynamometer as forcefully as possible. The test is conducted on both hands.


    Standing Height – Athlete stands against a wall (barefoot, heels together with the backs of the feet touching the wall) and their height is measured.

    Wingspan – Athlete extends his arms straight out to the sides. Wingspan is measured to the nearest 0.2 cm from the middle finger tip to middle finger tip.


    Pro Agility Test – The 5-10-5 yard shuttle (or 15-30-15 feet) evaluates multi-directional speed, agility and whole body reaction plus control. Each player will perform one sequence starting to the right and one sequence starting to the left.



    Pull Ups – Athlete does as many consecutive pull ups they can while maintaining the correct technique.


    Standing Long Jump – Athlete stands with feet slightly apart with toes behind the jumping line. Using an arm swing to assist, the athlete jumps as far as possible.


    Y-Balance Test Station – The Y-Balance is a dynamic test performed in single-leg stance that requires strength, flexibility, core control and proprioception. It has been used to assess physical performance, demonstrate functional symmetry and identify athletes at greater risk for lower extremity injury. The goal of this test is to maintain single-leg stance on one leg while reaching as far as possible with the contralateral leg. Each test is repeated three times with the maximum reach in each direction recorded.

    The players were asked to watch this video to get an understanding of the drill.


    VO2max – Aerobic fitness is assessed by measuring the amount of oxygen utilized (VO2 max) during maximal exercise employing volume determination and analysis of expired air. In addition, heart rate is monitored continuously, providing data for heart rate based training. This test will be performed on the Matrix IC7 indoor cycle using a Cortex Metalyzer VO2 cart.

    The end point is determined by either:
    a) the athlete physically stops pedalling
    b) the athlete experiences difficulty breathing or chest pain or
    c) the appraiser stops the subject because the athlete can no longer maintain the required rpm despite intense effort.


    Graphics of each drill created by Erika Vanderveer.

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