NHL teams got a final look at some of the top-end prospects, which included Kootenay Ice captain Sam Reinhart, at the scouting combine in Toronto this past weekend.
Scouts and management from all 30 teams were on hand to see the cream of the 2014 draft class undergo fitness testing and conduct player interviews.
It’s a process that isn’t unfamiliar to Reinhart, as his older brother, Griffin—a prospect with the New York Islanders—went through the same process two years ago.
Reinhart went in ranked as the third overall North American skater in the final Central Scouting report at the end of the season. Sam Bennett of the Kingston Frontenacs (OHL) holds down the top spot, with Barrie Colts (OHL) defenceman Aaron Ekblad the runner up.
While prospects can point to their body of work in their junior careers, the combine is also a final chance to make a positive impression on NHL teams during the interview process.
There’s no consensus on who will go first overall, but there is a core of five potential players who fit in that range, according to Dan Marr, the director of central scouting.
But when it comes to Reinhart, there is definitely one attribute that sets him apart.
“Sam could be the smartest hockey IQ in this draft class,” Marr told NHL.com. “His hockey sense and his offensive hockey sense is exceptional. He’s one of the best at, when he’s given an opportunity to capitalize on it, so if you turn the puck over and you’re not careful, he’s going to burn you.
“And when he gets the chance to score, he’s a good scorer, but his vision, his anticipation, his hockey sense is what sets him apart from a lot of players.”