Who was best at the Combine?
Two days of fitness testing put prospects through the paces
For the first time, fans were able to follow along at Central Scouting's new-look Web site while the top prospects for the 2009 Entry Draft went through the two days of fitness testing.
The tests measured a number of different aspects of the players' fitness, from upper- and lower-body strength to flexibility to aerobic and anaerobic fitness.
Simple body measurements came first. Two players had wingspans of 80 inches -- 6-foot-6.5 Kingston defenseman Taylor Doherty and 6-3 defenseman Brian Dumoulin, who plays for the New Hampshire Junior Monarchs of the Eastern Junior Hockey League and is headed for Boston College in the fall.
Dumoulin, No. 64 on Central Scouting's final ranking of North American skaters, also had the lowest body fat measurement, at six percent. Vancouver Giants center Evander Kane, a likely top-five pick, tied for second at seven percent.
The biggest surprise among the upper-body strength measurements was University of Minnesota center Jordan Schroeder. Despite measuring in at 5-8.25 and 175 pounds, he did 17 repetitions of 150 pounds on the bench press, one fewer than the leaders -- Saginaw right wing Jordan Szwarz, Erie center Ryan O'Reilly and Swedish forward Carl Klingberg. Schroeder also generated 351 pounds on the push-strength measure, one pound less than leader Carter Ashton of the Lethbridge Hurricanes.
Other players to do well on the bench press were Kane and Peterborough power forward Zack Kassian, who tied for sixth with 16 reps each.
Former U.S. National Team Development Program forward Kyle Palmieri was another smaller player (5-10, 191) who did well on the strength tests. Like Schroeder, Palmieri did 17 reps on the bench press. Also, he was eighth in push strength (311 pounds) and topped the pull strength with 309 pounds, more than 70 pounds above average.
Swedish defenseman Victor Hedman, a likely top-two selection, was seventh in pull strength with 276 pounds.
Palmieri, ranked No. 19 by Central Scouting, also won the push-up competition with 41, one more than Hotchkiss School defenseman Mac Bennett.
Ashton had the strongest grip, generating 156 pounds with each hand. Only Spokane Chiefs defenseman Jared Cowen was stronger with either hand, measuring 167 pounds with his right; he finished out of the top 10 with his left.
Finnish defenseman Sami Vatanen crushed the field in the curl-ups, finishing with 72. Red Deer left wing Cassidy Mappin was next with 65; the average was 19.6. Among the elite players, Brandon center Brayden Schenn was sixth with 40.
Brampton defenseman Matt Clark had the best distance in the seated medicine ball throw, tossing the eight-pound ball 243 inches. Andover Philips Academy center Chris Kreider was second at 234, followed by Schenn at 233.
Palmieri also was impressive in the lower-body tests. He had the highest vertical jump at 33 inches, tying him with former USNTDP teammate Chris Bourque. Palmieri also tied for third in the standing long jump at 115 inches. Bennett was first at 119 inches, followed by Saskatoon defenseman Stefan Elliott at 116.
Szwarz was among the best on the Wingate Cycle Ergometer, which tests a player's anaerobic fitness by measuring their peak energy output over a 30-second span.
Szwarz, ranked No. 53 by Central Scouting, had the highest peak power output, at 15.6 watts per kilogram of body weight. He also had the second-best mean power output at 11.7 watts per kilogram of body weight. Only Saskatoon right wing Burke Gallimore had a better mean power output, at 11.8. Kane tied for fifth at 11.0.
The average peak power output was 13.4 watts per kilogram, up from 13.2 at the 2008 combine. The average mean power output was 10.3, up from 10.2 last year.
Vatanen, who finished far above the average in the curl-ups, also was well above average in finishing with the best result in the VO2 max aerobic fitness test, which measures how quickly a player can recover between shifts. His mark of 68.9 milliliters per kilogram per minute was just ahead of Swedish defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larson's 68.7. The average for the group was 56.8, up from 56.3 a year ago.
Central Scouting only announced the top 10 finishers in each category.