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Will we be back here again next year?

Thursday, 08.18.2011 / 4:23 PM

By Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer / The Research Project

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The Research Project
Will we be back here again next year?
Brendan Shanahan stopped short of calling the Research, Development and Orientation Camp an annual event, but the value of it for the League, the clubs, players and attending media has grown in leaps and bounds from last year to this year that it'd be strange to think of not having this event next year as well.

"We're still talking about it," Shanahan said. "We've done it two years in a row and we'll take a step back to see if we do it annually. I know there would be some disappointed 17 year olds if we didn't do it next year, so we'll see."

That's just the thing about this camp, the orientation aspect for the top draft-eligible prospects has become such an important element. Testing potential rule changes and technological innovations is certainly important for the NHL, but getting to know the top prospects that could be coming into the League soon should not be undervalued.

"We are doing research and development at a time when our game has never been better, and what we've stumbled upon is a great event for the best 17 year olds in North America," Shanahan said. "It's good for us to get to know them a bit, for them to get to know the NHL a little bit and to learn a few things about what to expect in their draft year. It was a fun event."

Shanahan even came away with a favorite rule change that was tested, one he wouldn't mind seeing one day soon in the NHL.

"I think in overtime to change ends and do the second period line change, the far line change really made a difference," he said. "I think 4-on-4 and 3-on-3 were both really exciting."

Follow Dan Rosen on Twitter at: @drosennhl
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Just the feel for the direction they were headed and what they're trying to do, it just felt that this is a really good thing for this organization. They've got the pieces. We can put something together and go on a run or two and be together for a while, and I'm really excited about that opportunity. The team we have here has an opportunity to win, and that's the most attractive thing.

— Washington defenseman Matt Niskanen on why he decided to sign with the Capitals