Kadri set for NHL's combine

RYAN PYETTE, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:25 AM ET

Nazem Kadri graduated from Lucas last semester.

But he still has one final exam left.

It won't require sitting in front of a computer like the London hockey player did yesterday alongside a bunch of Grade 6 pupils during the launch of a Knights-themed math program.

The NHL draft combine, scheduled for May 25-30 in Toronto, is a different test. It puts together the top prospects and runs them ragged.

"I really don't know what to expect," the 18-year-old Londoner said. "I've heard the stories from the past. Guys have ended up puking. They want to test your physical endurance there, which is fine."

Kadri's name will be called by an NHL team in the first round of the draft at Montreal's Bell Centre on June 26. Right now, he's cramming for the combine to make sure he doesn't slide down the board from his current spot, No. 8 according to International Scouting Services.

"I'm working out with Lee Griffith, my trainer," Kadri said, "and (top-ranked Plymouth goalie) Matt Hackett too. He's been invited to the combine and he's expected to go very high."

Kadri put up big playoff numbers.

He bounced back after the Hunters scratched him in a February game against Sarnia, a move that sent all the Knights a message.

"I think I did what was expected of me this season," said Kadri, who played in the Memorial Cup final with Kitchener last spring before returning to his home-town team. "Personally, it wasn't a bad year. It sucks that we weren't able to move on. You have five overtimes, it could've gone either way. Then, you look at 10-1 (Windsor's win over Brampton in the OHL final opener) and it makes you mad.

"That could be us."

Kadri has already spoken to a lot of NHL teams. He hasn't talked to the Maple Leafs yet, who own the No. 7 pick.

"I'm sure I will because they fall in that range (where he might be picked)," Kadri said. "It'll be different after rocking a Habs jersey my whole life but no, Toronto would be awesome."

It's unlikely he'll fall further than No. 14. That pick belongs to the Florida Panthers, whose head coach knows Kadri so well.

"I would love to play for Pete (DeBoer, the former Kitchener Rangers boss) again," he said, "but there's so much that could happen before draft day. There are trades and teams could move up. You never know what's going to happen all the way through.

"I wish the best for Johnny (Tavares). I hope he goes first overall but we'll have to wait and see."

Kadri is an early favourite to be the Knights leader if he returns to the OHL this fall. Wearing the 'C' on his jersey could depend on the status of fellow alternate captain Justin Taylor.

The Londoner and Washington Capitals prospect had left-shoulder surgery eight days ago. He is required to wear a brace until May 13 and then faces a four-month rehabilitation.

"They say four months but I'm pretty resilient so I hope it goes a little quicker," the 20-year-old said. "My goal is to be ready for (Caps) camp. I want to take that next step. But if I have to come back and play for Mark and Dale (Hunter), that's great. I know I'm going to learn a lot again."

The Knights have started the process of making contact with their 2009 first-round draft pick -- Kingston defenceman Scott Harrington. Mark Hunter has spoken with the 16-year-old's advisor Darren Ferris of the Bobby Orr Hockey Group.

Harrington's Kingston Kimco Voyageuers lost 5-0 to the host Victoria Grizzlies in their first game Sunday at the RBC Cup Canadian Tier II junior A championship in British Columbia.

"We're going to try to see if we can get together with him and his family when he comes back," Hunter said.

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KNIGHTS IN THE CLASSROOM

-- Math/data management program created by Josh Jones and James Bastien to enhance curriculum for Grade 6 students with the Thames Valley and London District school boards.

-- Students must work through questions featuring relevant London Knights statistics.

More info: Log on to www.londonknights.com


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