Bulls dig in at NHL Draft Combine

May 28, 2012 - 09:29 EDT
Written By: Sweetland, Josh

Three Bulls embark on a golden opportunity this week to show NHL brass their talent, strength and character at the NHL Draft Combine in Toronto.

Brendan Gaunce, Daniil Zharkov and goaltender Malcolm Subban, all highly touted prospects for June's NHL Entry Draft in Pittsburgh, will undergo a grueling set of physical tests in addition to a series of interviews with NHL clubs throughout the week. 

By week's end, NHL clubs should come away with a relatively good idea of what their top on-ice talent looks like away from the ice. A total of 105 draft eligible players are in attendance. The top eligible skaters in this year's draft class include Sarnia Sting forwards Nail Yakupov and Alex Galchenyuk, Mikhail Grigorenko of the Quebec Remparts and top ranked defenceman Ryan Murray of the WHL's Everett Silvertips.

Of the 105 players on hand, 61 are Canadian Hockey League representatives. A closer look reveals 30 OHL players, 22 from the WHL and  nine from the QMJHL.

Every player will take part in 13 separate physical tests being administered by Dr. Norm Gledhill of York University designed to evaluate strength and fitness.

Fortunately, all three Belleville players have been relatively healthy in the late portion of the 2011-12 season, something going against the grain of this year's group of prospects. Prominent recent injuries include Yakupov (concussion), Galchenyuk (ACL surgery), Grigorenko (sprained ankle, shoulder), Murray (ankle), Morgan Reilly (ACL surgery), Martin Frk (concussion), Slaker Koekkoek (shoulder injury), Tanner Pearson (ankle), Derrick Pouliot (broken arm) and several more. Gaunce and Zharkov played full seasons this year while Subban missed two stints with lower body ailments but finished the playoffs at 100% health.

With the Stanley Cup Final just getting started, these young players are already looking beyond and into the summer.