With the announcement of this schedule, we know one thing’s for certain: Hockey is getting close! This annual tournament that brings top prospect and hockey fans together at Centre Ice Arena in Traverse City, starts on Friday, September 16th and runs through Tuesday, September 20th.
The eight teams making up this tournament will be the Red Wings, Carolina Hurricanes, Chicago Blackhawks, Columbus Blue Jackets, Dallas Stars, Minnesota Wild, St. Louis Blues and the New York Rangers. In its 18 year history, the tournament has had 522 players move on to play in the NHL, 24 of them skated for the Red Wings in the 2015-16 season. Those 24 are as follows: Justin Abdelkader, Joakim Andersson, Andreas Athanasiou, Pavel Datsyuk, Jonathan Ericsson, Landon Ferraro, Darren Helm, Jimmy Howard, Tomas Jurco, Jakub Kindl, Niklas Kronwall, Dylan Larkin, Anthony Mantha, Alexey Marchenko, Petr Mrazek, Tomas Nosek, Gustav Nyquist, Xavier Ouellet, Teemu Pulkkinen, Kyle Quincey, Riley Sheahan, Brendan Smith, Tomas Tatar and Henrik Zetterberg.
There are two divisions of four for the tournament. The Gordie Howe Division houses Chicago, Columbus, Detroit and St. Louis while the Ted Lindsay Division houses Carolina, Dallas, Minnesota and the New York Rangers. The tournament features a round-robin format, the ultimate goal to win the Matthew Wuest Memorial Cup. Matthew Wuest is known for his work on the website CapGeek.com and his exclusive coverage of the NHL Prospect Tournament on RedWingsCentral.com starting in 1998. He passed away in March of 2015 after a hard fought battle with colon cancer.
Columbus is going to be looking for a third straight championship at this tournament and they have a good shot too. They’ll be led by 2016’s third overall draft pick Pierre-Luc Dubois and 2015 first rounder Zach Werenski, who is likely NHL ready.Chicago has promising talents Nick Schmaltz and Tyler Motte leading their squad, both have a shot at making the Chicago roster right out of college. Minnesota will be led by 2015 first rounder Joel Eriksson Ek. Dallas, St. Louis, and Detroit have yet to release their rosters. Carolina will have a very talented roster, with 2015 first round pick Haydn Fleury, 2016 first round picks Jake Bean and Julien Gauthier, and 2015 2nd round pick Alex Nedeljkovic leading the way. The New York Rangers have highly sought after free agent signing Jimmy Vesey on their team as well as prospect Pavel Buchnevich, who is coming over from the Kontinental Hockey League.
Photo credit: http://redwings.nhl.com/club/news.htm?id=891958