CENTENNIAL, Colo.--For the Colorado Avalanche rookies, the 2018-19 hockey season has officially begun.
The young prospects took the ice at Family Sports Center on Friday morning and ran drills for about an hour and a half before heading to the airport to go to the 2018 Vegas Rookie Faceoff.
"Right off the bat I think the guys were a little nervous, just getting comfortable with everything, sort of feeling each other out," said forward Logan O'Connor. "A couple drills in, guys were really showcasing their skills and it got a little faster and the passes were a little more crisp throughout the practice. Leading into Vegas, I think that will be great for us."
O'Connor is one of the newest Avalanche prospects as he signed with Colorado after he attended the team's development camp earlier this summer.
"I think since development camp, we have all sort of been itching to play some real games against other competition," said O'Connor. "See what we have in the locker room here and for everyone to showcase themselves individually."
The Avs are joining the Vegas Golden Knights, Anaheim Ducks, Arizona Coyotes, Los Angeles Kings and San Jose Sharks in the tournament to showcase their prospects and other young players in exhibition games. The event will occur from Sept. 8-11 at City National Arena with each team playing three contests.
It is the third year in a row that Colorado has participated in a rookie tournament. The club hosted and won the inaugural Rookie Showcase in 2016 in Westminster and took part in the Sharks' Prospect Showcase in 2017.
"I think there's lots to look at [during the tournament]. I look for enthusiasm out of the players," said Avalanche assistant general manager Craig Billington. "Let's face it, it's a game of hockey. It's a great game and you want to see energy and you want to see the guys bring out what they do best. There is a real eclectic mix of players out there, there are a couple guys from Canadian universities, there is a couple 2000 birthdates after the first-year juniors and then you got existing draft picks and some pros in there.
"When you put it all together I think everyone has got something that's brought them here and different departments have highly recommended them coming so now it's a matter of getting on the ice and blending them together to compete against other organizations peer groups and see how they do."
One player on the rookie camp roster that was not on the ice for the practice was defenseman Conor Timmins, who is out with concussion-like symptoms. Click here for more information on the blueliner.
Colorado begins the tournament on Saturday against the host Golden Knights at 8 p.m. MT, and the contest will be streamed at ColoradoAvalanche.com.
Video: Avs Assistant GM Craig Billington talks Rookie Camp