It’s been a busy few weeks for Dalton Thrower.
The potential NHL first-round draft pick graduated from high school, attended the draft combine in Toronto and was interviewed by 20 big league clubs.
“The experience was amazing,” he said of the combine. “I was a little nervous at first but went in there with an open mind and just had fun with it.”
Thrower’s nerves might have thrown him off a little when he took part in his first interview of the day with the Edmonton Oilers.
“I almost ended up walking right into Steve Tambellini [Oilers general manager] and I had to sit at the end of a big table and they were videotaping it,” he said. “I was nervous but after that you get comfortable and I got into the groove of things.”
He told The Chief he wasn’t interviewed by the Vancouver Canucks but said he had a nice meeting with the Philadelphia Flyers.
“I think the Flyers went the best for me,” he said. “They had a lot of nice things to say about me but they pick 20th overall and I have no idea if I’ll go that high.”
Thrower said scouts have been projecting him to go anywhere from 20th to 50th in the draft, but he said it doesn’t matter where he’s taken or to which team.
“Just getting drafted is the first priority right now,” he said. “It doesn’t matter which team and the draft is really just a foot in the door. To me, being drafted in the first round isn’t important. My job is to prove that the teams who didn’t take me made the wrong choice.”
Aside from the interviews and meetings with professional teams, Thrower took part in the physically challenging combine, which tests the fitness and endurance of draft-eligible players in a variety of exercises. As with several of his fellow draftees, Thrower lost his lunch during the intense training but thought he fared pretty well.
“I felt like I did pretty good,” he said of the combine, which took place in Toronto on June 1. “I didn’t get the top of the charts in anything but I went in there and worked hard.”
After the interviews and the combine, Thrower then spent time with the New Jersey Devils and Toronto Maple Leafs, who invited him to their facilities to work him out individually. Later that day, he also met with the Buffalo Sabres.
“There’s a lot of talk out there but I have no idea where I’m going to end up,” he said. “Whatever happens, happens. I just kind of want it to all be over with so I can focus on the upcoming camp.”
Thrower plans to return to his junior team, the Saskatoon Blades, but said his future is completely up to the team that drafts him.
“It’s up to the team where I go but it takes a few years for defenceman to play in the NHL,” he said. “My goal is definitely to be playing in the NHL as a 20-year-old. But I have a lot of work to do on my game and I need to get bigger and stronger.”
The first round of the draft takes place on June 22, with subsequent rounds taking place the next day. Thrower said he and his family will make the trip to Pittsburgh to hear his name announced.
For more information on the draft, visit www.nhl.com/draft.