Making a point at the NHL combine

Matthew Gourlie
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Brayden Point isn't going to blow anyone away in the weight room.

Brayden Point, right, from the Moose Jaw Warriors looks to make a pass in front of Regina Pats defenceman Colby Williams.

However, when it comes to work ethic, his personality and demeanour, the Moose Jaw Warriors centre never fails to impress.

Point tried to put his attributes in the forefront at the National Hockey League's scouting combine in Toronto this past weekend. Point was one of 119 prospects from North America and Europe who took part in fitness testing and interviews with NHL teams.

The five-foot-nine, 160-pounder is still developing physically, but felt he held his own while taking part in the various tests the NHL puts their prospects through.

"The testing was good. It was hard for sure, but it's nice to be done it. While I was doing it, it was a lot of fun," said Point who is ranked 31st amongst North American skaters by NHL's Central Scouting Bureau.

While top prospect Sam Bennett made news by failing to do a single pull-up, Point managed to do enough that he lost count of how many he finished with.

"I thought I did pretty good. I did my best and I definitely didn't have anything left in the tank after. I'm pretty confident that I did OK," said Point.

Unlike the National Football League combine where measurables are heavily weighted, the NHL prospects aren't expected to be finished products physically. Bennett's pull-up failure likely didn't affect his draft stock. The line of thinking being: if he looks as good on the ice as he does while physically underdeveloped, imagine what he will be like when he fills out. Point is in a similar situation — his ability to get to the front of the net and win puck battles along the boards is even more impressive given that he is still developing physically.

Point had his best showing during the testing in one of the hardest tests — the VO2 max. That and the Wingate are a pair of tests that are done on a stationary bicycle. Players head into the combine dreading the two bike tests, but the VO2 max has the reputation for being the hardest test of the day. Point saw it the other way.

"The Wingate was a little bit harder than the VO2. The Wingate was going from doing nothing the whole week to going as hard as you can go, so it was tougher," said Point who finished seventh in the VO2 max.

The Wingate measures peak anaerobic power and capacity. Players cycle got full out against resistance on the bike for 30 seconds and their output is measured. The VO2 max measures the rate of oxygen consumed on the bike as the resistance increases and is a good indicator of the endurance capability of a player's heart, lungs and muscles.

"I tried to enjoy it. It's a relief that it's over and it was a relief when I did the second bike, but it was a lot of fun," said Point. "I got to see the guys I know from under-18 and the guys I know from Calgary, so it was a pretty good experience."

Point scored 36 goals and finished with 91 points in 72 games to lead the Warriors in scoring. He was interviewed by 14 teams in Toronto.

"There was nothing too crazy. It was pretty standard stuff," Point said of the interview process. "They were just trying to see what you need to improve on and also see what kind of guy you are."

Point began his off-season by playing for Canada at the IIHF World Under-18 Championships in Finland. He had had a pair of assists in three games at the tournament playing with Brendan Perlini and Travis Konecny.

Point's tournament ended in the first period of Canada's fourth game when Russian winger Danil Vovchenko checked him head-first into the boards. Vovchenko picked up a major and a game misconduct. but Russia beat Canada 3-2 to close out the preliminary round.

"I thought it went pretty well. I was really started to get some chemistry with Perlini and Konecny. It was unfortunate that I got hurt, but I thought I was playing well until then," said Point. "It was frustrating watching the semis and the bronze medal game knowing you could be doing something. It was tough, but I tried to help out the team any way I could."

Point was forced out of the lineup for a week due to post-concussion symptom protocol. Canada's tournament ended five days after the injury with a 3-1 win over Sweden in the bronze medal game. Point was healthy and feeling good by time he returned home to Calgary.

"Right when I got home I was skating and working out again, so it wasn't too serious," said Point.

The NHL Draft will be held Jun 27-28 in Philadelphia.

Point is still busy getting ready for the upcoming WHL season by playing some three-on-three hockey and doing some power skating, but he's also looking forward to spending some time at home in Calgary.

"There's nothing too serious coming up. For the first time in awhile since I got home, I'm not preparing for something else. It's good to be home and finally relax for a bit," said Point.

Organizations: National Hockey League, North American, Central Scouting Bureau National Football League Bennett's

Geographic location: Toronto, North America, Europe Calgary Canada Finland Russia Sweden Philadelphia.Point

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