Behind the scenes of the 2022 NHLPA Rookie Showcase featuring Owen Power, Juraj Slafkovsky, and Shane Wright

The NHLPA and card maker Upper Deck held their annual Rookie Showcase event at the Medstar Capitals Iceplexy. On Tuesday, 29 of the league’s top rookies came together for a series of photo and media opportunities, helping Upper Deck create this season’s trading cards. They also acquired signatures for these card games.

Players dressed in full team gear toured various stations throughout the day, striking poses for Upper Deck photographers, doing social media interviews, signing hundreds of autographs, speaking to the media and taking phone calls from the NHLPA.

When approached by journalists, Hendrix Lapierre discussed gaining weight and muscle in the offseason and how sharing the ice with Alex Ovechkin was “literally a dream come true” last season.

Young stars signed Upper Deck sticker sheets to use on future card releases and some rookies carried over from last season, including Lapierre, signed card boxes.

Other merchandise is used for giveaways and marketing for UD. The jerseys from the event will be cut out and used in souvenir cards worn by the event during this year’s card product line.

Most notably, two total first picks were present at the event. The best selection of this year, Juraj Slafkovskyrepresented Montreal and talked about who he models his game.

When asked if he watched Ovechkin and perhaps learned from Ovechkin as a player, Slafkovsky said: “I watched his highlights, but I don’t think I’m the type of player It is. Of course, he can shoot the puck really well. I just try to get some things out of his shooting, but I used to look at a different type of player.

While Slafkovsky is six-foot-four, an inch taller than Ovechkin, he is more of a close-range scorer and excellent forward checker than a long-range shot. Fellow countryman Marian Hossa was the first name he shared when asked about his favorite players and those he watched the most growing up.

Last year’s first overall pick, the Sabers defenseman Owen Powerjoined his teammate Jack Quinn to represent the Sabers and their bright future.

Power played last year at the University of Michigan and managed to play eight games with Buffalo before the end of the season. Staying the year in Michigan, “really helped me a lot,” Power said. “Not just as a player but as a person. I think it was the right decision.

Power led arguably the best team in college hockey last year to the NCAA semifinals. The Michigan roster sported Matty Beniers, Brendan Brissonand Thomas Bordeau, all of whom were also present on Tuesday. Power, who will spend the entire season at Buffalo, is leading a tremendous influx of young talent to the Sabers, including 2020 eighth overall pick Jack Quinn; German striker and world junior champion JJ Peterka; and goaltender Devon Levi who represented Canada at the WJC and the Olympics at age 20.

Shane Wright who was expected to be drafted first overall this year by many, will be looking to make his debut this year for the Seattle Kraken. He had a camera crew following him throughout the day, capturing every step of the pitching process.

Wright shared her excitement for getting her own trading cards.

“When I was a kid, I collected a lot of cards,” Wright said. “I was really into that stuff. Kind of like playing against your idols, seeing yourself on a hockey card after collecting them all your life is pretty cool. It’s almost like bringing out the kid in me.

He also revealed to Upper Deck that the player he most wanted to collect was Sidney Crosby. In the video, Lapierre cast Pavel Datsyuk.

Upper Deck staff were hard at work taking photos at five different locations at the Capitals’ practice facility, using both rinks, one near black for a perfectly dark backdrop.

Upper Deck posted sample photos on their Instagram page.

Players also choreographed many of the specific poses needed for certain cards, like the Upper Deck’s first overall draft pick buyout card in their MVP product, which is releasing this week.

At 3 p.m., the players took to the ice for a four-on-four scrimmage to end the day. It was an informal game in brilliant style with Lukas Dostal and Yaroslav Askarov between the posts. Hendrix Lapierre scored a goal against Askarov and witnessed an unlikely 4-0 breakaway for his team.

The scrimmage was a fun way to end the day for the players and was mostly relaxed as Minnesota Wild’s top prospect Matt Boldy lightly shouldered Seattle’s Shane Wright at center to an audible reaction from the benches before a possible conclusion. of the day.

This event was also the first time we’ve seen NHL jersey ads, as Lapierre ran the Ceasars Sportsbook ad on the Capitals jersey and other players like Vegas’ Brendan Brisson ran a Circa Sports ad. , another sports betting provider.


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