The main event on the final day at the NHL scouting combine did not include the presumptive first overall pick.
Jack Hughes opted to skip the fitness testing portion of the combine on Saturday, citing a long season in which he represented the United States in both the Under-18 World Championship in April and the World Championship in May.
“I think I knew coming into the combine I wasn’t going to do the testing because I really haven’t trained for it, playing hockey the past two months,” Hughes told reporters, including NHL.com’s Mike Morreale. “I really haven’t had a break. It just didn’t make sense to do the testing. My body needed a bit of a break. That said, I’m a competitive kid and I felt like I could have done well in some of this stuff.”
Hughes did take his mandatory medical exam earlier this week and it showed that he was at less than 100 percent, according to Morreale, who noted that a specific injury wasn’t disclosed.
The dynamic forward has long been considered the favorite to be chosen No. 1 at the draft later this month, but projected second overall pick Kaapo Kakko did his best to make the New Jersey Devils’ decision difficult with a strong showing of his own at the worlds.
Kakko, who helped Finland defeat Canada for gold at that tournament, skipped the combine entirely to celebrate the victory.
Hughes took part in other portions of the combine. The 18-year-old was interviewed by 10 clubs, including the Devils, who won the draft lottery in April. The New York Rangers hold the second overall selection.
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