On Sunday, MedStar Capitals Iceplex played host to 27 of the NHL’s top rookies and prospects for the eleventh annual NHLPA Rookie Showcase. It made for a strange scene, with future Pittsburgh Penguins and New York Rangers players skating on the Capitals practice rink alongside Capitals prospect Alex Alexeyev.
The future stars, which included 2019 first-overall draft pick Jack Hughes, spent the day shooting promotional photos, videos, and interviews. Trading card company Upper Deck uses the event to take the photos for the players’ collectible rookie cards.
“It’s fun, actually, I’m really happy,” Alexeyev said of the jam-packed day and the impressive caliber of his fellow prospects at the event. “There’s all these players, some I played with, some against. One Russian guy [Rangers’ Igor Shesterkin], he played in KHL already and won a Gagarin Cup. It’s amazing to be here.”
One side of MedStar Capitals Iceplex was used to film some dramatic footage of a dark rink.
— Julie Robenhymer (@JulieRobenhymer) August 26, 2019
The prospects also had their faces scanned by EA to be added to the NHL-series of video games.
Islanders prospect Oliver Wahlstrom getting scanned for EA video games pic.twitter.com/8WDVYYiCko
— Adam Kimelman (@NHLAdamK) August 25, 2019
At the conclusion of the day, the group split into two groups to play a brief 4-on-4 scrimmage. Alexeyev played on Team White along with both Jack Hughes and his older brother, Vancouver Canucks rookie Quinn Hughes. Alexeyev, a defenseman, flexed his offensive talents and scored two goals.
Alexeyev showed no signs of being hampered by the knee injury which ended his season early back in March. Alexeyev told the media that his knee is at 100% and he is playing with no limitations on it.
“I said the goal is for me to make [the Capitals] team,” Alexeyev said. “But if that doesn’t happen and I go to Hershey, I want to be the best there.”
When asked if he feels if he belongs on the ice with elite NHL players–whether they be his fellow rookies or the Capitals players he has been informally practicing with this summer, Alexeyev had a simple reply.
“Yeah,” Alexeyev said bashfully before continuing. “But they’re a lot smarter on the ice and all the moves they’re doing, it’s crazy. But every practice I’m getting better.”
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The next generation of NHL stars visited @medstarcapitalsiceplex last weekend for the NHLPA Rookie Showcase. Capitals’ @alex_alexeyev04 spoke about learning from the talent around him. The 27 top prospects, including 2019 first-overall draft pick Jack Hughes, took photos for their @upperdecksports rookie trading cards. (📷: @lisseyk)
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Headline photo: Elizabeth Kong
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