Following last weekend's NHL Draft in Vancouver, Predators Assistant General Manager and Director of Scouting Jeff Kealty stated just how pleased his group was with the 2019 class they were able to snag.
One week later in Nashville, they didn't disappoint.
Four skaters taken by the Preds in the draft were in attendance for development camp, and every single one of them - Philip Tomasino, Egor Afanasyev, Alexander Campbell and Isak Walther - had at least a goal in Saturday's Future Stars Game presented by BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee at Ford Ice Center Antioch.
Walther and Tomasino each had a pair of scores to lead Team Blue to a victory to cap off the week, while Afanasyev's tally, a silky-smooth effort, showed why the Preds were thrilled to snag him in the second round at pick No. 45.
It was a satisfying conclusion to the week for everyone in attendance, especially those looking to make a positive first impression on the hometown crowd.
Video: Highlights from Future Stars Game
"It was a fun, and it was a lot louder than I expected as well," Tomasino said of the atmosphere at Ford Ice Center. "It amped the mood up a bit, and it was a fun game to play in. It was awesome, and it's a nice way to end the week."
"It's great to see the things we targeted about the player and kind of strategize to get them at certain points of the Draft," Kealty said. "You don't really know the player until you draft him, and you get him here and kind of see their skill sets in action in a Predators jersey. It's just the beginning, but that is a rewarding aspect of it, so it's certainly great to see that."
Not only did the news guys impress, the veterans did as well. Forwards Eeli Tolvanen and Rem Pitlick, plus defenseman Dante Fabbro, all of whom skated in at least one game for the Preds last season, helped to lead the group during the week on and off the ice.
"Those guys have experience as well," Kealty said. "You've seen the growth in those guys, and we need them to keep going. We need all those guys to keep going because they're the future of our team here."
Video: Jeff Kealty impressed with Preds prospects
Of those three with NHL experience, Fabbro figures to find himself on Nashville's roster come Opening Night in October, and development camp was just another boost confidence for all parties involved.
"Just being able to come to the rink every day and have a smile on my face, and be able to put on a Preds jersey and play for this organization is a great thing," Fabbro said. "It's just a lot of fun to be here and see everyone. It was a great week for everyone, and personally I had a ton of fun this week."
"We had Dante's exit meeting today, and I was saying to him in the meeting just how lean and how mature he looks physically now, and how far he's come in that regard," Kealty said. "Plus, the step that he's taken from year to year - he looks NHL ready out there."
Video: Tomasino, Fabbro conclude Preds Dev Camp
From here, all of the development camp participants will head their respective ways with most of them traveling back to their hometowns to continue training for the upcoming season. And whether they start the campaign in Nashville with the Preds, Canadian juniors or elsewhere, they are to reflect on the experiences gained in Tennessee over the past few days.
They may all be from different corners of the earth, but they all have the same goal - to one day slip on an NHL jersey. After this week, they're all one step closer.