With the expansion draft complete, Western-based NHL teams have only 24 hours to select two representatives from the Atlantic Coast Conference and one from the Big Ten Conference.
The Washington Capitals today announced they have selected Florida Panthers goaltender and Georgetown product Kevin Poulin as a member of the team’s new “Panthers Elite” Prospects Club. Capitals Vice President and GM George McPhee selected the Duke University forward Matt Hendricks and Massachusetts-Lowell defenseman and former Wheaton College standout Sean Collins as two representatives from the ACC, while Colorado Avalanche assistant GM Brian Burke selected University of North Dakota forward and WEC’s top overall selection Henrik Borgstrom and Ohio State forward Brian Gibbons from the Big Ten.
“We want to give them an opportunity to shine for us and hopefully help them get that first contract,” said McPhee, who selected Poulin with the 9th overall pick in last year’s draft. “Over the last few years there’s been a real influx of college-educated players into the NHL and you want to help showcase them.”
The Panthers Elite Club makes its debut today at Columbus Ice Zone at 7 p.m. to show and talk with fans about the new members of the club. Three players each from the ACC and Big Ten will make the trip to this winter’s NHL All-Star Weekend in Columbus, Ohio.
At Washington Capitals Training Camp, the Panthers Elite Club will feature Capitals director of amateur scouting Craig Button and McPhee, as well as Capitals director of player personnel Brian Campbell, former Panthers assistant GM and Vice President of Operations Jacques Demers, Capitals head coach Barry Trotz and fellow assistant coaches Adam Oates and Todd Reirden.
Tickets are available online at centralskings.com and at the Synergy, Colonial and Fredericksburg outlets.