By Stephen Laroche | Beckett Hockey Editor
In recent years, the National Hockey League Players’ Association has held an annual event that shows off the game’s young stars that are expected to make an impact during the upcoming season.
The 2014 NHLPA Rookie Showcase is set to take place on August 23 at the Mattamy Athletic Centre in Toronto and the participants will donning their NHL uniforms for this special occasion. They are hitting the ice at the same site as the former Maple Leaf Gardens and this event gives Upper Deck an exclusive opportunity to get shots of many players that are expected to make their debut in official trading card products in the near future.
The announced roster of 33 players features several elite prospects along with some that have already made the NHL debuts and still qualify as rookies. Not every player may end up hitting the ice in 2014-15, but hopes are high among scouts and fans that they will become stars.
Some of the more recognizable names that will be taking to the ice include 2014 first overall pick, Aaron Ekblad of the Florida Panthers, second overall choice Sam Reinhart of the Buffalo Sabres and fourth selection Sam Bennett of the Calgary Flames.
The other prospects expected to be in attendance are:
Laurent Brossoit, Edmonton Oilers
Andre Burakovsky, Washington Capitals
Anthony Camara, Boston Bruins
Nick Cousins, Philadelphia Flyers
Jacob de la Rose, Montreal Canadiens
Max Domi, Arizona Coyotes
Haydn Fleury, Carolina Hurricanes
Derek Forbort, Los Angeles Kings
John Gaudreau, Calgary Flames
Joey Hishon, Colorado Avalanche
Charles Hudon, Montreal Canadiens
Alexander Khokhlachev, Boston Bruins
Evgeny Kuznetsov, Washington Capitals
Curtis Lazar, Ottawa Senators
Brendan Leipsic, Nashville Predators
Anthony Mantha, Detroit Red Wings
Brock McGinn, Carolina Hurricanes
Greg McKegg, Toronto Maple Leafs
Mirco Mueller, San Jose Sharks
Vladislav Namestnikov, Tampa Bay Lightning
Darnell Nurse, Edmonton Oilers
Brett Ritchie, Dallas Stars
Kerby Rychel, Columbus Blue Jackets
Hunter Shinkaruk, Vancouver Canucks
Colton Sissons, Nashville Predators
Ryan Sproul, Detroit Red Wings
Teuvo Teravainen, Chicago Blackhawks
Chris Tierney, San Jose Sharks
Andrei Vasilevskii, Tampa Bay Lightning
Alexander Wennberg, Columbus Blue Jackets
While many of these players have regional or prospect cards already available on the secondary market, some (Teravainen, Kuznetsov, McKegg and Namestnikov) have already seen their first NHL cards in 2014-15 Upper Deck MVP.
Beckett Media plans to be in attendance and will be offering extensive coverage of the event and the players involved both online and in future issues of Beckett Hockey.
Stephen Laroche is the editor of Beckett Hockey and Beckett Basketball magazines. Have a comment, question or idea? Send an e-mail to him at SLaroche@beckett.com. Follow him on Twitter @Stephen_Laroche.