In one whirlwind weekend, Henrik Samuelsson was pushed to his limits – both physically and mentally.
In what served as his final pit stop on the road to the 2012 NHL Entry Draft, the Edmonton Oil Kings standout attended the 2012 NHL Combine just a week after participating in the Memorial Cup.
And after interviewing with dozens of clubs and being pushed to his physical limit, the six-foot-two, 200-pound forward is excited for the prospect of being drafted in Pittsburgh.
“It made me more excited just talking to teams and seeing some of the guys that will get drafted high,” Samuelsson said from his home in Sweden.
Samuelsson, much like his fellow draft eligibles, started the Combine with a series of rigorous interviews, more than 25 in all. With an interesting season that saw him leave MoDo – a team coached by his father Ulf – midseason, teams had plenty to question him about.
But teams took it relatively easy on the Swede.
‘There are some weird questions but mostly awkward,” Samuelsson admitted. “Like describing yourself in three adjectives.”
While some prospects stressed the interviews, it was the physical portion of the combine that left the former US NTDP product exhausted.
“I was definitely more tired after the physical testing,” said Samuelsson, who had 23 points in 28 regular season games before adding 14 more in 17 playoff tilts. “(It) probably had to do with just finishing playing a week before.”
With the Oil Kings in the thick of the Memorial Cup chase, Samuelsson didn’t have the luxury of hitting the gym for the better part of two months. That didn’t stop him from testing well, though, including finishing seventh in the fatigue index, sixth in Vertek leg power and eighth in pull strength.
It was his performance in the VO2 max that caught the attention of most after lasting for 13:25 in the VO2 max, third best among participants.
“I actually tried to stop at 11 but the people do the test didn’t let me get of so I just kept going until I couldn’t move my legs,” Samuelsson said. “It was more mental because once you get going and stop thinking about it, it’s easier then.”
What Samuelsson likely won’t stop thinking about is how his draft day will unfold. Though he’s got the Combine under his belt, Samuelsson has no indication on which teams he’s peaked the interest of.
“All the interviews went the same I felt like,” he said. “There wasn’t a specific team that made it obvious they wanted me.”
Which could mean the waiting game will be Samuelsson’s final test before being selected in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft.