2018 Upper Deck NHLPA Rookie Showcase Highlights – Upper Deck and the NHLPA held their annual Rookie Showcase at the Mastercard Centre. It’s a state-of-the-art training facility for the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Toronto Marlies, the team’s AHL affiliate. The collection of talent was impressive and many of them hope to play in the NHL this season.
Timothy Liljegren (Leafs 17th overall pick in 2017) is a very talented defenseman who has an outside shot of making the Leafs squad this year and he enjoyed taking part in the photo shoot on familiar ice.
“It feels good,” he stated. “I feel comfortable in this training facility. It’s nice to be in your home city. It was a fun experience to be here. I played against a lot of them. I haven’t really met them outside of hockey. It’s fun to see all the faces outside of your hockey gear. “
Players did arrive the day before and signed a lot of items off-ice. On the ice, it was pure fun. He won a Calder Cup championship with the Marlies last season and now he has new goals for the 2018-19 campaign.
“Win the Stanley Cup, “he laughed. “It was a great learning experience to be on a winning team last year. Trying to take the things I learned last year into this season and have a good training camp.”
This year’s crop had quite a few carryover players. Players who made their debut the season before and were inserted into 2018-19 Upper Deck MVP and the soon to be released Black Diamond set. Some of those players were at this event. Two of them, 2018 Hobey Baker winner and Vancouver Canucks center, Adam Gaudette (2015 5th rounder), and his Northeastern linemate, Dylan Sikura (2014 6th round pick), who played for the Chicago Blackhawks late last season.
“Give him a lot of credit for that, also Nolan Stevens,” Gaudette said, talking about winning the Hobey Baker Award. “It’s good to be here with all these guys. It’s just a fun weekend. You get to know them a little bit and have some fun on the ice. I feel like not a lot of guys have done stuff like this before so it’s a good experience.”
As busy as the Canucks prospect has been he does have some collecting memories.
“I had a shoebox full of cards. My brother had a few boxes too. When I get back home I’m going to check and see if we still have them. It was a fun hobby growing up.”
Flyers future #1 goalie, Carter Hart, has a goalie collection and Carey Price is the main focus of it.
“A little bit, yeah,” he admitted. “I think maybe the oldest goalie card I have would be a Tony Esposito.”
Jordan Greenway had an amazing year. He played for Boston University, then he played in the Olympics and he then signed and ended his season playing for the Minnesota Wild in the regular season and the playoffs.
“There are some pretty good players out here,” said Greenway. “I’ll get out here, have some fun, work on some things and make some hockey cards. The year went by pretty fast, starting out at BU and leaving in the middle of the season to play in the Olympics for Team USA, come back play in Hockey East, and eventually sign with Minnesota. It was a lot, but it was great. Every experience I had was well worth it. I’m very excited for what’s coming up next.”
Filip Zadina (Red Wings 6th overall), and Brady Tkachuk (Senators 4th overall) were out there as a few of the alumni of the 2018 NHL Draft class. A lot of these players were sharing stories and they genuinely bonded and that’s something collectors do as well.
2018 Upper Deck NHLPA Rookie Showcase Highlights – Video Recap
2018 Upper Deck NHLPA Rookie Showcase Highlights – Image Gallery
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