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Elkhorn's Samheim ranks Top 10 in NHL agility tests

HIS rise in NHL draft-prospect rankings since mid-season has been meteoric but Elkhorn's Travis Sanheim doesn't seem to get too worked up about much.

Sanheim, an 18-year-old defenceman with the WHL's Calgary Hitmen, is ranked 53rd on NHL Central Scouting's final list of North American skaters and a lot higher on other lists, some even as high as the first round..

He was at No. 167 on the NHL's mid-season list.

Last week at the scouting combine, he interviewed with all 30 NHL teams and didn't seem fazed at all by Saturday's fitness testing, difficult though it was.

"A rough one," he said of his day on Saturday. "It was a hard fitness testing. Obviously the first little bit was a little easier than the end. Those bike tests were fairly hard.

"But it's all about grinding through it, whether it's 30 seconds or 10 minutes, you just make sure you put in the work right to the end and know that you've got the summer and this time off until the draft and hopefully all the hard work pays off."

The six-foot-three, 183-pound blueliner did record one top-10 ranking in the tests, where he placed fourth overall in the pro agility (left).

One name that showed up frequently in the top results from Saturday's fitness testing at the NHL's scouting combine was that of Winnipeg native Brett Lernout.

The 18-year-old defenceman from the Swift Current Broncos was the top-ranked prospect in a pair of jumping tests, the vertical leg power with pause and without pause.

He also tied for second with 12 pull-ups, was second and third in jumping in leg-power peak with pause and without pause, third in bench-press in relation to body weight and sixth in repetitions with 17 (150 pounds), fourth in vertical jump with pause and fifth in long jump.

The 6-4, 206-pound Lernout is ranked No. 52 among North American skaters by NHL Central Scouting.

One of the more impressive rankings of the day would belong to left-winger Dylan Larkin of Detroit, a player ranked 17th by Central Scouting and one who might be in the Jets' wheelhouse.

Larking was well into the toughest test of the day, the VO2 bike ride, when he was forced to start over due to an equipment problem.

It didn't matter, he finished in the top 10.

JETS GM Kevin Cheveldayoff took in much of the day's fitness testing Saturday at the combine.

He indicated last week he's had some discussions about trades in the coming weeks. He also said the Jets are not going to have any stress about picking at No. 9 in the first round when the draft likely has five clear top choices, then falls off considerably in short-term impact.

It could leave Winnipeg and other teams in that region of the draft with no clear choices.

"You know how you'd like your list to unfold but even in the years where there's not uncertainty, there's always uncertainty because there are organizational differences," Cheveldayoff said. "Scouting is not a science, it's an art.

"There really is only one consensus, and that's what's on your list. It's not a publication. Publications glean information from stuff that's out there but it's all opinion."

And neither is the GM regretting the Jets' success in the last week of the season, when despite being ousted from the playoff picture, they won three of the final four games.

"Stressed about nine versus six or whatever we would have been had we got one less point?" he said. "You try to win each and every game and the chips fall where they fall."

CHEVELDAYOFF was asked if, during the 85 interviews he and the Jets' staff conducted with prospects last week, there were any wrong answers.

"The wrong answers are the ones you can tell are rehearsed and in the can," he said. "It defeats the purpose. It doesn't help the player, not that it would vault him one way or another, but it's just that you can tell an answer is rehearsed as opposed to being a genuine thought."

tim.campbell@freepress.mb.ca

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