By John Vogl
The Sabres are still in discussions to host the NHL Scouting Combine. It appears that’s the only way draft prospects will get to work out in Buffalo.
During the past three springs, the Sabres supplemented the league’s combine with one of their own. They brought in more than 75 prospects last year for workouts, including on-ice testing. Because the draft-eligible players don’t skate at the NHL’s combine, the on-ice work was an added look.
Opposing teams, especially those without the Sabres’ funds, felt this gave Buffalo an unfair advantage. The practice was discussed at the general managers’ meetings this week, and the NHL plans to strengthen the penalties against teams that conduct their own workouts.
“The GMs overwhelmingly feel that this is an area where clubs should be put on a level playing field with a common set of rules,” NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly told The News via email today.
Rules were already in place to prohibit teams from working out prospects, but the penalty was a small fine. The board of governors will vote on bigger penalties, and they will be in place by the time the NHL Scouting Combine is held May 25-31 in Toronto.
“After the combine, you can bring a player to your city, interview him, take him out to dinner, medically test him, MRI him, whatever you need to do," Colin Campbell, the NHL's senior executive vice president of hockey operations, said at the GM meetings in Florida. “But you can't physically test him. You can't put him on the ice.”
The NHL would like to add on-ice testing to the combine, which is where Buffalo comes in.
The Sabres would like to move the league combine to Buffalo, beginning next year. HarborCenter and its dual rinks will be completed, which would give scouts a facility to test prospects on and off the ice.
“Nothing new to report on that,” Daly wrote The News, “but you know that we have been in discussions with the Sabres and are certainly seriously considering moving the league combine to Buffalo, perhaps as early as next year.”
taggedNHL Entry Draft