Traverse City Prospect Tourney Update

Ahhh, this is where it all began; the Traverse City Prospect Tournament. Since the Red Wings started this yearly tournament up in 1998, there has since been one set up in Penticton (with Edmonton, Vancouver, Calgary, San Jose and Anaheim) and in Toronto (with the Leafs, Chicago, Pittsburgh and Ottawa). These mini tournaments give teams the chance to take a closer look at their system of prospects before the main training camp opens up next week.

In Traverse City this year are Detroit, Minnesota, St. Louis, Tampa Bay, NYR, Dallas, Carolina and Columbus. Games started last Saturday with each team playing three games before advancing to mini playoffs. The tournament concludes today with games at 2pm, 2:30pm, 5:30pm and 6pm, with the 2-0-1 Wings facing off against the 3-0 Wild in the finals.

Here are some notes from the tournament thus far:

Red Wings

The Wings are headed to the finals looking to win it all for the first time since its’ inception in 1998. Brendan Smith, the top scoring defenseman in US college hockey and Hobey Baker candidate, leads the tournament in plus/minus with a +6. While he is in competition for the 7th defensive spot on the Wings’ roster, he is likely headed to Grand Rapids for at least a year. Jakub Kindl will finally get his shot at sticking with the big club this year and Smith would need an absolutely huge camp to take that away from him.

Through three games, Tomas Tatar leads the Wings with 3 goals and 1 assist. He bursted out of the gates last season, not only making the AHL squad as an 18 year old, but posting 21 points in his first 27 games. He slowed after the WJHC though, finishing with only 11 points in his final 31 contests. Tatar has worked over the summer to help fix that from happening again, adding 10lbs to his frame.

5′ 11″ winger Mitchell Callahan dropped the gloves with 6′ 5″ Cody Beach of the Blues yesterday. It has been a long time that the Wings have had a player with as much grit and toughness come through their system as Callahan does. He might spend another year with Kelowna before heading to Grand Rapids next year.


Last year’s 7th overall pick, Jeff Skinner, started off the tournament slow, but racked up five points in Carolina’s 8-1 win over Columbus yesterday. The Canes’ youth movement will continue this season, so the possibility of Skinner getting at least a nine game try out just went up with the performance. Jared Staal, youngest of the family, is also trying to make a push to see some time in the AHL this year. He has two assists in three games.

Blue Jackets

From the 7th pick to the 4th, Columbus’ Ryan Johansen will spend at least this season in the WHL with Portland, but the Jackets might be looking to expedite that process if Derrick Brassard can’t get his game together and become the number one centre that the team expected when they drafted him 6th overall. Johansen has two assists in two games. John Moore, the 21st pick in 2009, is probably the Blue Jackets best hope at finally having a legitimate powerplay quarterback, something that has alluded them since coming into the League. Kris Russell has not progressed as expected, and Anton Stralman is just interim until Moore is ready to go. What is with Columbus’ high picks not working out as expected? Maybe Doug Maclean is better on radio….


The Stars were the team that reached at the draft to grab Jack Campbell, the top goalie prospect, in round 1. Campbell has struggled in the tournament so far, going 0-2 and allowing nine goals. I’m sure Joe Nieuwendyk and co. aren’t too worried though, Campbell will spend this season playing for the Windsor Spitfires and will probably suit up for Team USA in their title defense at the WJHC.


Wild top pick, Mikael Granlund, is not even playing for the team and they only have one first round pick in the tournament, Tyler Cuma. I don’t like the Wild and find pretty much everything they do to be boring. Matt Hackett has been stellar in net, going 2-0 with a .927 sv%.


How is Alex Pietrangelo still playing in this tournament. I think this must be his third year in it, but we all know it will be his last. He is finally going to crack the Blues roster and should see some time on the (hopefully) rejuvanted Blues powerplay. Cody Beach, younger brother of Hawks winger Kyle Beach, has a whopping 37 PIM in three games. Blues’ goalie of the future, Jake Allen, has also put up some impressive numbers, allowing only four goals in two games. He has played four seasons in the Q, so could see some time in Peoria this year before taking over as started there next season.


Derek Stepan, leading scorer at the 2010 WJHC, and Evgeny Grachev are carrying the Rangers’ team on their back with four and three points respectively. After years of having limited skill come through their system, the Rangers finally look to have a good future ahead of them with these two. Throw in Del Zotto, Anisimov, Chris Kreider (19th in 09) and Ryan McDonaugh (acquired in the Gomez deal), and their future looks a lot brighter.  


James Wright is looking to add to the 48 games he played last season with the big club before being sent back to junior; he has five points in three games for the Lightning squad. There are some bottom six spots open in Tampa for Wright to take. Brett Connolly, the 6th pick last year, is one of the lone bright spots in the Lightning’ system. He has three points in three games.

2 Responses to “Traverse City Prospect Tourney Update”

  1. Sure, Dave… just ignore the other prospect tournaments going on

    – “I LOVE DETROIT, ITS ALL THAT I CARE ABOUT” a quote from David Poleck

  2. This is the best and the original 🙂

    And there are 8 teams in it…..

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