The NHLPA held its annual Rookie Showcase in Toronto this weekend, with Capitals prospects Andre Burakovsky and Evgeny Kuznetsov among this year's 33 invitees.
Now in its sixth year, the event brings together some of the game's top prospects in one setting where they learn about life in the big leagues and the marketing and promotional opportunities that come with being an NHL star.
As part of the weekend itinerary- which the NHLPA organized in conjunction with Upper Deck and EA Sports - players signed memorabilia and were photographed for their official NHL rookie cards. There was also a group dinner, a tour of the Hockey Hall of Fame and an EA Sports NHL '15 tournament.
In addition to Burakovsky and Kuznetsov, other NHL prospects in attendance included Florida Panthers defenseman Aaron Ekblad, the No.1 overall pick in the 2014 NHL Draft, as well Sam Reinhart of the Buffalo Sabres, Sam Bennett of the Calgary Flames, Anthony Matha of the Detroit Red Wings and Teuvo Teravainen of the Chicago Blackhawks.
The NHL '15 tournament was among the highlights for the participating players, with San Jose Sharks prospect Chris Tierney beating Ottawa Senators prospect Curtis Lazar in the finals.
Tom Wilson won the tournament last year, but the title [and accompanying bragging rights] couldn't stay with the Capitals as Burakovsky and Kuznetsov both lost early in this year's bracket.
With plenty of laughs and good times shared among the NHL hopefuls, the weekend also provided one final chance for the prospects to enjoy some lightheartedness among their peers before starting the rigors of their professional careers.
Capitals rookie camp begins Sept.11 from the Kettler Capitals Iceplex, with the main camp opening Sept. 18.
The Caps' eight-game preseason slate begins Sept.21 at Verizon Center against the Buffalo Sabres.
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