Slowly disappearing are the days of ‘meathead’ tests devaluing the NHL Draft Combine. Whether by design or not, seemingly every year the brass is designing new ways of sharpening the testing methods. Maybe they have been working off of a clever long term plan to phase in and out tests in order to keep the ‘older guard’ comfortable in the evolving fitness landscape.
This year, they expanded the lower body dynamic power testing bracket. In addition to the Vertical Jump and Standing Long Jump, the category now also includes two other cuts of jumping: one with a squat and no arm swing pre-ceding the jump and another with hands on hips and lack of arm swing. Furthermore, they also moved the resistance style bench press to become more dynamic by measuring the velocity of the bar from chest pause to full arm extension. Because of this change, I will now include chest press in the dynamic power breakdown and give readers an idea of players with systemic explosiveness.
The Dynamic Power Leaderboard, or obviously their version of it, may well be the ‘river card’ that teams wait to see before going all in on a given prospect (anaerobic power testing can also be combined as they usually go hand in hand). It has been a fantastic pre-draft indicator to tipping off who may crack the first round (sometimes surprisingly). Look at last year alone for those who registered top ten placements in both jumps: #1 Josh Norris, #3 Morgan Frost, #6 Henri Jokiharju, and #7 Cale Makar.
With that in mind, here’s the 2018 Dynamic Power Leaderboard:
|Rk||Player||St Long Jump||Vert Jump||Sq Jump||No Arm Jump||Bench Press||COUNT||SCORE|
*Liam Foudy (London, OHL) is about on par with a Josh Norris or Trent Frederic – anything is possible but I am not expecting him to make it out of the first round despite not being a consensus top 31 prospect.
*Nils Lundqvist (Luleå HF) = a faster rising, yet more seasoned Henri Jokiharju.
*After drooling over K’Andre Miller‘s (USA, USHL) pure athletic ability all year on ice, it’s interesting to see him place in only two of the four LB power cats. What I see there is a physical freak who has an insane kinetic chain and can channel his explosiveness throughout his entire body IE with using UB and swinging arms. My prediction: valued more than P-O Joseph was last year meaning probable top 20.
*Andrei Svechnikov (Barrie, OHL) showed up in the bottom portion of 3 of the 5 tests and I love it. Tells me he showed just enough physical prowess to let teams know he’s ready without intimating that he was overpowering OHL’ers en route to having his fantastic season.
*Barrett Hayton (Sault Ste. Marie, OHL) has some hops…even if it was only popping up on radar for one test, it may give some team the cojones to select him high. This might suggest he has some growth potential on a somewhat down skating forecast.
*Lastly, Noah Dobson (Acadie-Bathurst, QMJHL) has no business being on any top ten combine list after playing an 87 game schedule with his last championship winning game happening on May 27th. Well done champ, you’re not getting out of the top ten on June 22nd.