Bjugstad and Schmidt (right) bump fists before the 2012 West regional semifinal (Photo credit: Sherri LaRose-Chiglo/St. Paul Pioneer Press)

After the University of Minnesota Golden Gophers were upset by Yale during last spring’s regional semifinal, a few of Minnesota’s star players left the program to pursue professional careers.

Among them were defenseman Nate Schmidt, who signed with the Washington Capitals as an undrafted free agent, and Florida Panthers’ 2010 first-round pick center Nick Bjugstad. Both spent three years in college hockey, and both were all-stars in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association.

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Without hyperbole, best photo of the summer. (Photo credit: @Nail10_1993)

Before last season, Washington Capitals defenseman Steve Oleksy played for seven different minor league teams in five years. His label as a journeyman ended in early March when Mike Green suffered a groin injury. Needing a right-handed shot, General Manager George McPhee called up Oleksy after being impressed by the 27-year-old’s work for the Hershey Bears at the AHL Showcase. He did not get sent back down.

Oleksy may have gotten his big break, but that doesn’t mean he slacked off over the summer. The versatile defenseman has been a mainstay at 2SP, a giant 15,000 square-foot sports performance and training center located in Madison Heights, Michigan.

Oleksy also made a new Russian friend while training: 2012 first overall pick Nail Yakupov.

In fact, judging by their interactions on social media, they are the bro-siest of bros now.

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