Two Hamilton Bulldogs will be put through their paces this weekend at the NHL Combine.
Matthew Strome and Mackenzie Entwistle will be among 104 of the top prospects for the 2017 NHL Draft later this month, invited to take part. There will be 84 North American players and 20 international prospects including 10 goalies, 36 defensemen and 58 forwards.
A total of 22 players are from the OHL including 16 forwards, 5 defensemen and 1 goalie.
The combine takes place in Buffalo for the third year in a row at the combined venues of First Niagara Center and the nearby HarborCenter.
Following medical tests, the prospects will be through a gauntlet of grueling aerobic, anaerobic and strength testing on Saturday. Strome and Entwistle are in a group that begins at 3 pm.
What has become almost as important as the strength and fitness testing is the Combine interview process that began earlier this week. It gives NHL general managers and scouting staffs the opportunity to meet the draft-eligible prospects, speak with them in one-on-one situations and examine what they are capable of off the ice mentally.
Both Strome and Entwistle have been on the radar of NHL scouts since they entered the OHL and they haven’t disappointed. Strome led the Bulldogs in scoring during the regular season and was one of the team’s top scorers in the playoffs. Meanwhile, Entwistle has shown he’s not afraid of the spotlight by shining at the CHL Top Prospects game where he recorded a goal and an assist and leading Team Canada in scoring with four goals and three assists at the 2017 IIHF U18 World Championship in Slovakia.