Today it was reported by the Calgary Flames website, and twitter @NHLFlames that two top ten prospects are expected to miss the fitness portion of the NHL combine. Left Defenseman Darnell Nurse from the OHL’s Sault Ste Marie Greyhounds is the first of these prospects. The other is Aleksander Barkov, who plays for Tappara in SM-liiga. It’s been widely speculated that Barkov is prospect number four out of the “can’t miss prospects”.
Both of them are recovering from postseason injuries. For Barkov it is a upper body injury, and for Nurse it is an undisclosed injury. Only time will tell how much this will affect their draft stock, should one prospect have a really impressive combine is it possible that they will jump ahead of either Nurse or Barkov? I would like to think not, but if I had the GM hat on I would want to know more on what Darnell Nurse’s injury is before I decide to take a flyer on him. If it is a lower body injury, is it something that could be recurring?
They have both already had postseason surgeries, and both of them are currently rehabbing said injury. It is unknown at this time if they both will be ready for camp. That might be another determining factor if two prospects are neck and neck, which one of them is going to be able to play right away. That again is just speculation, and could be a factor…but who really knows what these General Managers are thinking when they’re scouting players?
In terms of the two players themselves, both of them had career years. I would give the advantage to Barkov over Nurse however, because Barkov was playing grown men night in and night out and was nearly a point per game player at the age of 17. Nurse played in the OHL, who has some talented forwards, but the oldest player he can face by rule is 20. Either way, Nurse managed to notched 41 points in OHL games, while Barkov had 48 in SM-liiga. It will be interesting to see how this could potentially play out, especially with so many hot prospects on the board all the way through ten. It is also important to note that both of them WILL take part in the non-physical part of the combine. If we have any other prospect news we will keep you up to date.