Roeszler Tests NHL’s Top Prospects
The game features the top NHL Draft eligible players from the Canadian Hockey League, this year including the likes of phenom Connor McDavid, Lawson Crouse, Travis Konecny, and Dylan Strome.
“The overall size of these players was unbelievable,” says Roeszler of the prospects involved. ” For being 17-years-old, the majority of these players were built physically far beyond their age. Seeing these players on television or going to a game doesn’t necessarily do justice. The game has changed; it’s a game that is dominated by those with the size, strength, speed, and power. These things cannot be fully developed on the ice. These high-profile players have been educated and understand the importance of developing their fitness off the ice to improve their on-ice performance.”
According to Roeszler, he and a group of other trainers and coaches conducted a series of body composition tests, as well as the vertical and broad jumps, 5-10-5 sprint, seated medicine ball throw, and grip strength to assess players’ power, speed, and agility.
Despite the high level of athleticism these athletes showed, Roeszler says what may be most impressive, is that many of these sure-fire NHLers still have the potential to exponentially improve physically.
“It was very apparent that these players’ ceiling for improving these physical qualities is high. They are still very young and haven’t been properly training for very long. So the key for developing these players long-term still comes down to developing general fitness through off-ice training, and on-ice skill and tactical development.”
Roeszler says the off ice portion of the testing allows NHL scouts another view at the full capabilities of these athletes.
“NHL Central Scouting wants to know the player beyond what they see in a 60-minute game,” explains Roeszler, who was also a coach at the 2014 Under Armour OHL Combine. “They want to gather as much analytical data as possible so they are able to properly rank players, and provide NHL scouting staffs with the necessary information so they choose the best player for what their team needs. More importantly however, the purpose of the event was to give these players a similar experience to what they will encounter at the NHL Combine later this year. Since the NHL Combine will be the biggest job interview of these players’ lives, it’s important the players are prepared both mentally and physically for testing.”
On a personal level, Roeszler hopes to bring back knowledge from his experience with the next crop of NHL superstars, to help his own clients in Chatham-Kent, who include a growing group of OHL players.
“This was an experience that has helped me so that I can further prepare my current OHL players for testing of this magnitude,” said Roeszler, who trains OHLers Joseph Raaymakers, Trent Fox, Brendan Johnston, Brady Pataki, and Levi Tetrault, as well as recent OHL draft picks Brendan Harrogate and Nolan Gardiner.
Day one of the CHL/NHL Top Prospects event includes media access, off ice fitness testing, and on ice skills evaluation. The second day of the event, is a game played by two teams, divided into Team Orr and Team Cherry, that is one of the most highly scouted single game events in the world.
This year, Clachan’s Travis Konecny, a Chatham-Kent Cyclones product, will suit up for Team Orr. Konecny is the 26th ranked North American skater for the upcoming NHL Draft, captains the OHL’s Ottawa 67s, and is the reigning OHL Rookie of the Year.
The BMO CHL/NHL Top Prospects game is taking place in St. Catherines, Ontario.