It’s one of the last events Mathew Dumba will experience in his draft year, and it could be one of the most exhausting.
Before Dumba will hear his name called on the first day of the 2012 NHL Entry Draft, he’ll be poked, prodded and pinched by 30 potential suitors at the Draft Combine next week.
Though it goes without saying the Calgary, AB. product hasn’t experienced anything like what he’ll face from May 28th to June 2nd, that doesn’t mean the Red Deer Rebels defenseman hasn’t done his homework on what to expect.
“I talked to Pets (Alex Petrovic) about it,” Dumba said. “He’s a strong guy and trains hard so he gave me the low-down about it and said I’d be fine with my training and everything I do.”
But bench presses, vertical jumps, long jumps, bench presses, VO2 Max (aerobic) and Wingate (anaerobic) tests are just one component to the process. While teams are pushing prospects to their physical limit, the combine – now in its 19th year – will leave this year’s draft class mentally exhausted as well.
Teams will be given the opportunity to sit down with the 17 and 18-year-olds comprising the draft class, giving them the chance to evaluate the personality of what could become the latest additions to their prospect pools.
That process, which can have players scheduled for upwards of 15 face-to-face consultations in a day, can leave a player weary. The nature of some of the questions posed by NHL clubs will keep Dumba sharp, though.
“(Petrovic) has told me some weird ones,” he said. “A couple teams threw some curveballs at him. I’m not too worried about it.”
Canada’s captain from both the 2011 Ivan Hlinka Memorial and 2012 World Under-18 Championship is ready to tackle anything thrown at him.
For instance, would Dumba rather have a long, prosperous career as a sixth defender or instead prefer to be an elite blueliner for a quarter of that time?
“I think you ought to be the sixth defenseman,” Dumba said. “I think 10, 12 years in the show, that’s the dream – to play and have a long career in the NHL. A lot of guys, sixth defensemen, you can make a living making that first pass and staying at home, or be the guy on the power play. Guys make careers out of that. I think I’d have to take that.”
Dumba can expect even more difficult questions in what will be an exhausting experience – both mentally and physically – as he enters the final stages as a draft eligible prospect.