The NHL Players' Association Rookie Showcase in Toronto in August featured the top professional prospects hoping to make an impact in the League this year. In the fifth of a five-part series, NHL.com polled nine attending players on a variety of questions. Today, they discuss the player they model their game after.
When nine prospects were asked at the NHLPA Rookie Showcase in Toronto who they model their game after, it's not surprising they came up with eight different players as answers.
The only player who was named twice was Dallas Stars forward Jamie Benn.
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"I've always tried to model my game after him ever since I was playing for Sioux Falls (United States Hockey League)," New York Islanders forward Kieffer Bellows (No. 19, 2016 NHL Draft) said. "He's not afraid to get in the dirty areas, he plays a physical game but he loves to shoot the puck. He's got a wicked wrist shot and he's kind of a quiet leader. The way he plays really shows what kind of leader he is."
Ottawa Senators forward Brady Tkachuk (No. 4, 2018 NHL Draft) also chose Benn.
"He's offensively gifted but plays a full 200-foot game," Tkachuk said. "He's a hard worker, he's got skill but he also plays that power forward game and is such a good teammate. He's the captain for a reason. He's someone to look up to on and off the ice."
Buffalo Sabres center Rasmus Asplund (No. 33, 2016 draft) selected his Swedish countryman, Detroit Red Wings center Henrik Zetterberg.
"The way he plays the game in both ends, that's the kind of guy I try to be too," Asplund said.
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Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman Timothy Liljegren (No. 17, 2017 NHL Draft) also chose someone who's from his country (Sweden) and plays his position: Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman.
"Just someone who is an offensive defenseman with good breakout passes," he said. "A guy who can join the rush but someone you can rely on defensively as well."
Sabres center Casey Mittelstadt (No. 8, 2017 draft) couldn't choose just one player.
"If I got asked this at the [NHL Scouting] Combine, I would say a little bit of (Chicago Blackhawks forward) Patrick Kane and a little bit of (Calgary Flames forward) Johnny Gaudreau," he said. "I use my hands and my backhand a lot like they do, but then they do some things that I don't see in myself."
Blackhawks forward Dylan Sikura (No. 178, 2014 NHL Draft) chose Maple Leafs forward Mitchell Marner; Edmonton Oilers defenseman Evan Bouchard (No. 10, 2018 draft) picked Washington Capitals defenseman John Carlson; Dallas Stars defenseman Miro Heiskanen (No. 3, 2017 draft) chose Blackhawks defenseman Duncan Keith.
Florida Panthers forward Henrik Borgstrom (No. 23, 2016 draft) said he couldn't pick one player.
Benn (2); Zetterberg (1); Keith (1); Kane (1); Gaudreau (1); Marner (1); Hedman (1); Carlson (1)
NHL.com correspondent Dave McCarthy contributed to this report