Spokane Chiefs defensemen Ty Smith (pictured above, right) and Filip Kral (left) are two of only 104 players invited by the National Hockey League to their annual draft combine, set to take place this week in Buffalo, N.Y.
Among North American skaters, Smith is ranked 14th by the NHL’s Central Scouting service ahead of June’s entry draft. Some experts project the smooth-skating rearguard as a top-10 choice after he led the WHL’s Western Conference in scoring by a defenseman with 73 points (14G-59A); the most by a first-year draft eligible WHL blueliner since the 2001-02 season.
Kral is ranked 54th on the same list after a breakout rookie season, during which he scored 35 points (9G-26A), earning the team’s Rookie of the Year award. Kral also competed with his native Czech Republic at the 2018 IIHF World Junior Championship, helping the Czechs earn a surprising fourth place finish.
The combine provides the opportunity for NHL general managers and scouting staffs to meet draft-eligible hockey prospects, speak with them in one-on-one situations and examine what they are capable of off the ice both physically and mentally. Teams can meet with players throughout the week prior to fitness testing, which puts players through 12 drills designed to measure agility, strength and conditioning.
Sportsnet has an expanded breakdown and explanation of the 12 drills, available here.
Individual interviews and medical screening began on May 27, while the fitness testing is set to get underway on Friday and Saturday. Sportsnet.ca will live stream a portion of the fitness testing beginning at 9 a.m. ET on Saturday.
The 2018 NHL Entry Draft will take place in Dallas, Texas on June 22-23.
Ticket packages for the 2018-19 regular season are on sale now and start as low as $70! For more information, visit spokanechiefs.com or call a ticket account executive at 509-535-PUCK.