Future stars? Perhaps sooner rather than later.
The Predators' 2018 Development Camp concluded on Friday evening with the much-anticipated Future Stars Game at Bridgestone Arena.
"We learned so much throughout the week and guys want to get out and play in game situations," defenseman Dante Fabbro said. "It was fun playing against kids you're practicing with all week… Overall it was just such a great week and I thought Nashville did an unbelievable job preparing us and making sure we have the right tools moving forward."
Reality hit some of these players who were experiencing a Development Camp for the first time, and camp invitee Zach Magwood had a career evening as he put three pucks into the back of the net, helping Team Gold to a 5-3 victory over Team Blue.
"To be honest, I just tried to go out and play my game," Magwood said. "I was fortunate enough to have good wingers playing around me. Hopefully the hat trick told the coaches only good things."
Video: Eeli Tolvanen scores as Team Gold wins 5-3
Team Gold jumped out to an early lead just under six minutes into the opening frame after a hard-earned puck ended up on the stick of Charlie Kelleher behind Team Blue's goal line. Quick thinking took full effect as the 22-year-old fired off a quick backhand pass to Tanner Jeannot, who put the puck behind goaltender Niclas Westerholm.
"You always want to have a good start and get your feet underneath you," Jeannot said. "I was in the right spot at the right time. When you get those chances, you want to put it in the back of the net."
Team Blue had the answer less than nine minutes later, as Pavel Koltygin took the puck down the left wing, made a nice move around a defender and tucked a shot between the wickets of goaltender Miroslav Svoboda. Team Blue got consecutive goals as Yakov Trenin found himself on a 2-on-1 with less than a minute remaining in the first. The 2015 second-rounder proceeded to snipe the puck low blocker to give Team Blue a 2-1 lead just before heading to the dressing room.
Video: Dante Fabbro, Mathieu Olivier recap Future Stars Game
Stellar goaltending stole the show for the first ten minutes of the middle frame, as both Milan Kloucek and Tomas Vomacka, a pair of Czech-born goalies, both made symmetrical cross-crease saves. It took more than 11 minutes before either team would find the mesh, and the goal drew the two teams even. Jake Jaremko and Magwood played their own game of give-and-go before Jaremko dished it onto the tape of Magwood, who fired home a wrister from the slot.
In the third, neither goalie, Karel Vejmelka nor Hayden Lavigne, wanted to budge as the two teams stayed dead even for more the majority of the third period. The prospects found their scoring touch late in the frame as an action-filled minute ensued. Magwood channeled his inner baseball player as he scooped the puck up to himself and batted it out of thin air, finding the back of the net.
Eeli Tolvanen extended the lead for Team Gold just seconds later for his lone tally of the evening, before Grant Mismash fired the puck home - pulling Team Blue within a single goal all within the same minute. But it was Magwood who completed his hat trick by depositing his third of the evening into an empty net with 12 seconds remaining in the game, giving Team Gold the win.
Video: Magwood, Moy and Tolvanen recap 5-3 victory
"Not many people can say that they had a night like this, but I'm just trying to roll with it right now," Magwood said.
The Future Stars Game was the final casting call for the prospects as camp concluded Friday evening, and as the participants each go their separate ways, there is plenty to take from the week that was.
"If I apply all those things we learned this week and really try to implement them into my life and my game, I think it'll go a long way," Fabbro said. "I know what we did during practices this week, I'm doing a lot of that back home in Vancouver, so I'm going continue that and keep working and pushing myself."