PHILADELPHIA -- The focus for most of the top prospects who took part in a media availability session at the National Constitutional Center on Thursday was what they could do to make the NHL next season. For Calgary Hitmen left wing Jake Virtanen, the goal is a bit different: He's focused on getting healthy enough to return to the lineup as soon as possible.
Virtanen had surgery on his left shoulder in May to repair a torn labrum. The initial diagnosis was a recovery time of four to six months, and he told NHL.com he's targeting a mid-October return.
PHILADELPHIA -- It appears it will be the NHL or Europe next season for NHL Central Scouting's top two European skaters for the 2014 NHL Draft.
Kasperi Kapanen of KalPa in Finland and William Nylander of Sodertalje in Sweden's second division both said they would like to play in the NHL in 2014-15. If not, they would rather play against more developed opponents in their home countries rather than play junior hockey in the Canadian Hockey League.
Individually, defensemen Jack Dougherty, Jack Glover, Jonathan MacLeod and Ryan Collins did well for the United States National Team Development Program Under-18 team this season.
Together, they elevated each other and capped their season with a gold medal at the 2014 IIHF World Under-18 Championship.
That togetherness carried them through a stressful time that saw them under the microscope of NHL scouts.
The NHL Draft is two days away, so let's take a look at some mock drafts from the NHL.com
Adam Kimmelman's mock draft is up first - and he has an intriguing selection for the Blue Jackets at No. 16 overall. What do you think of the mock draft? If you love it, don't worry - we'll have more posted in the hours and days ahead.
TORONTO -- The first day of fitness testing at the NHL Scouting Combine saw 72 players get measured, poked, prodded and tested in front of scouts and managers from all 30 teams, as well as members of the media.
The two most infamous tests are the bike tests: the Wingate Cycle Ergometer and the VO2 Max. The Wingate measures a player's peak output in a 30-second sprint, and the VO2 tests a player's stamina and ability to recover between shifts.
Defenseman Samuel Morin of the Rimouski Oceanic had the highest peak power output in the Wingate test, measuring 15.8 watts per kilogram. Defenseman Shea Theodore of the Seattle Thunderbirds was second, also at 15.8.
Another defenseman, Mirco Mueller of the Everett Silvertips, lasted the longest on the VO2 test, clocking in at 14:39. Owen Sound Attack blueliner Chris Bigras was second at 14:30.
The two players with the longest wingspans also were defensemen: Jonathan-Ismael Diaby of the Victoriaville Tigres and Seth Jones of the Portland Winterhawks, NHL Central Scouting's top-rated North American skater. Each measured in at 81.00 inches. London Knights defenseman Nikita Zadorov was next at 80.50 inches, along with Eamon McAdam, a goaltender with the Waterloo Black Hawks of the United States Hockey League.
TORONTO -- The NHL Scouting Combine is an opportunity for teams to learn about the players they might take in the 2013 NHL Draft. But sometimes the players learn something about themselves. That was the case for Aleksander Barkov, NHL Central Scouting's top-rated European skater.
"I didn't know that my English is so good," he said. "I thought that I can't speak but then it was easy."
Barkov already was highly regarded because of his play. The 17-year-old center had 21 goals and 48 points in 53 games with Tappara in sm-Liiga, Finland's top professional league, and also had three goals and four assists in seven games for Finland at the 2013 IIHF World Junior Championship. He had five assists in five playoff games in Finland before sustaining a season-ending shoulder injury March 27. He had surgery in April and said he can start skating next week, with the intention of being 100 percent when NHL training camps open.
The injury prevented him from going through the fitness testing portion of the Combine, but that likely won't keep teams from taking him high, especially because of the success he had playing against grown men in Finland.
TORONTO -- Jonathan Drouin is five days removed from winning the Memorial Cup, and after 72 games of hockey this season during the regular season, playoffs and international hockey, he opted Friday to not take part in the fitness testing portion of the NHL Scouting Combine.
Drouin, No. 3 in NHL Central Scouting's final ranking of North American skaters for the 2013 NHL Draft, went through the medical exams and had his height, weight and body fat measured, but chose to skip the more rigorous testing.
"We've been through a lot of hockey lately," Drouin said. "Just came back [from the Memorial Cup] four days ago. We didn't want to hurt each other. We didn't train a long time, no off-ice stuff. Just a little dangerous to do it."
Drouin said it was a tough decision, but after talking to his agent, he decided it would be for the best.
"For sure it's hard," he said of skipping the testing. "Some guys probably don't like it, but it's hard on yourself. You want to prove you're able to do the stuff."
TORONTO -- Anthony Mantha of the Val-d'Or Foreurs comes from a rich hockey background. His grandfather, Andre Pronovost, won four Stanley Cups with the Montreal Canadiens during a 10-season NHL career that started in 1956-57. His three great uncles -- Claude, Jean and Marel Pronovost -- all played in the NHL.
Mantha had led the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League with 50 goals this season, so as he told NHL.com, "It's in the family."
A 6-foot-3.75, 190-pound right wing listed at No. 10 on NHL Central Scouting's final ranking of North American skaters for the 2013 NHL Draft, Mantha certainly is a lot bigger than his grandfather, who measured in at 5-9 and 185 pounds. But the legend of his grandfather's success, including Stanley Cups in 1957, 1958, 1959 and 1960, looms large.
"There's no words to describe those moments," Mantha said his grandfather would say. "It's really the moments that he reminds himself of the most, and he tells his sons and grandchildren."
Mantha said he's never tried on any of his grandfather's championship rings for a simple reason.
"I hope I'll get my own in the next few years," he said.
TORONTO -- Every kid who ever picked up a hockey stick at some point pretended to be the player to score the championship goal at the buzzer.
London Knights forward Bo Horvat, No. 15 on NHL Central Scouting's final ranking of North American skaters for the 2013 NHL Draft, got the rare opportunity to live the dream in Game 7 of the Ontario Hockey League finals.
With the Knights and Barrie Colts tied in the waning seconds of regulation, Horvat banged in a bouncing cross-ice pass just as the final buzzer sounded.
"Griff [Seth Griffith] made a nice play to dump it in and get it in deep," Horvat told NHL.com, reliving the moment. "I think there was five seconds left when he did that. It came around to [Alex] Broadhurst and he got along the wall and just fired it out front as fast as he could. Fortunately it made a couple bounces and came right to me and all I had to do was put it in."
TORONTO -- Ryan Hartman is right-handed, but that arm hasn't done much for him this season.
The Plymouth Whalers forward sustained a nasty skate cut to his right wrist during an Ontario Hockey League playoff game April 9 that needed surgery to repair and sidelined him for two weeks.
That came after he sustained a torn labrum in his right shoulder in late December, an injury he was able to play through. He finally had surgery two weeks ago.
Despite the injury, Hartman had 23 goals and 60 points in 56 regular-season games and four goals and two assists in nine playoff games. He also had two goals in seven games to help the United States win the gold medal at the 2013 IIHF World Junior Championship.
"It [shoulder injury] happened the first game after Christmas in Saginaw," Hartman told NHL.com. "I was driving the net, got hit from behind, run in to the crossbar. It happened three times throughout the year. Just something … it was definitely an injury you could play with, but something I wanted to get fixed at the end of the year."