Yesterday was the annual Rookie Showcase in Toronto at the Mattamy Athletic Centre (the old Maple Leaf Gardens) and invited were a number of the leagues top prospects, including Pierre-Luc Dubois, this year’s third overall pick. The showcase is mainly for press and memorabilia, but Mike G. Morreale of NHL.com wrote about various things that took place during the day in his latest column:
- New Jersey Devils’ prospect Pavel Zacha is completely recovered from his hip-pointer which caused him to miss rookie camp earlier this summer. The sixth-overall pick from the 2015 draft made his NHL debut last season after finishing in Sarnia, playing one game for the Devils and recording two assists. Zacha will fight to break camp with the NHL team this fall, but has tough competition on the left side after the team acquired Taylor Hall this offseason, pushing Mike Cammalleri down the depth chart.
- One of the best goaltenders in recent NCAA history (and owner of a fantastic name) Thatcher Demko feels ready to start his professional career after a sparkling final season at Boston College. The 20-year old went 27-8-4 with a 1.88 GAA and .935 save percentage last year, breaking the team record in shutouts with 10; the record was previously held by Cory Schneider, a former Canuck. “I feel like I’m ready to go. I feel ready for a pro season” said the second-round pick when asked about the upcoming year. He’ll head to the AHL to lead the Utica Comets this year.
- Zach Werenski will have every chance to prove himself this fall and break camp with the Columbus Blue Jackets at the tender age of 19 after an amazing Calder Cup run last season. The University of Michigan product followed up his sophomore season (11 goals and 25 assists) by scoring 14 points in the Lake Erie Monsters’ 17 playoff games. Former teammate Kyle Connor, a Winnipeg forward prospect and Michigan alum who was also at the showcase is very impressed by Werenski: “He’s very competitive in everything he does; he loves to win. I think he’ll definitely be an impact in the NHL. You can see it in the way he plays the game. He’s so dynamic and plays at a high level.”