2016 NHL Prospect Tournament: Day One Review

Day one of the NHL Prospect Tournament at Centre Ice Arena in Traverse City, Michigan kicked off today, Friday, September 16th.  This event is for many the start of their hockey season. Prospects from all over the league come to compete at this event.  Four games took place today, the first two I couldn’t watch entirely.

 Detroit Red Wings VS Columbus Blue Jackets (DET 6, CBJ 4):

This was the focus of my night. The Red Wings won 6-3 in a thrilling game. Both teams came out of the gate firing. There were three goals in the first 1:09 of the game, 26 seconds apart. The teams would end the period tied at three thanks to Mike Borkowski’s 2nd of the night and Blue Jackets goals from Sonny Milano and Justin Scott.

Here is the scoring for the game:

Period 1: Detroit Red Wings – Kyle Criscuolo (Tyler Bertuzzi) 0:43
Period 1: Columbus Blue Jackets – Kole Sherwood (Paul Bittner, Dante Salituro) 0:56
Period 1: Detroit Red Wings – Mike Borkowski (unassisted) 1:09
Period 1: Columbus Blue Jackets – Sonny Milano (Pierre-Luc Dubois) 12:55
Period 1: Columbus Blue Jackets – Justin Scott (Keegan Kolesar, Nick Moutrey) 15:28
Period 1: Detroit Red Wings – Mike Borkowski (unassisted) 16:24
Period 2: Detroit Red Wings – Evgeny Svechnikov (Kyle Criscuolo) 3:46
Period 3: Detroit Red Wings – Dylan Sadowy (unassisted) 1:24
Period 3: Detroit Red Wings – Tyler Bertuzzi (Kyle Criscuolo) 10:30
Period 3: Columbus Blue Jackets – Jordan Maletta (unassisted) 19:45

Kyle Criscuolo was one of tonight’s standout players. He sacrificed his body, contributed highly to the score sheet and looked like he was fighting for a job out there. If he can keep this up, the Wings have a steal on their hands. Criscuolo is currently signed with the Red Wings AHL affiliate in Grand Rapids.

Tyler Bertuzzi was flying out there tonight and had his skill on display. He was making nice passes and didn’t shy away from being his regular, physical self either. He should be in he fight to make the Red Wings come pre-season.

Having followed Evgeny Svechnikov all the way through the 2015-16 season up until now, I was happy with the game he played. He looked ready to play, completing solid passes, battling in the corners and getting a few shots off. One of them being a goal. He received praise from ESPN’s Corey Pronman:

Robbie Russo and Joe Hicketts get a paragraph together after the very, very impressive game they had as the first pairing on defense. Robbie Russo looked like he’s improved from his impressive rookie season. He kept the puck moving from the point, wasn’t afraid to stand people up and was responsible in his zone. Joe Hicketts had a monster of a hit in the first period. He’s physical, cerebral and offensively talented. Red Wings fans should expect a very good season from both defenseman in Grand Rapids.

Dylan Sadowy had a very solid two-way game, picking up right where he left off in Development Camp. Sadowy was solid on the penalty kill and picked up a goal. Sadowy will be fun to watch develop in Grand Rapids.

Zach Nastasiuk is a player that’s had a hard time finding a spot in Grand Rapids. He said he would work on his speed this offseason and oh, did he ever. Nastasiuk was flying out there. The next step for him would be to make Grand Rapids full time and produce. This will be an important season for his development.

Givani Smith disappointed after tearing up the Development Camp and BioSteel Camp.  He came to the prospect tournament from the OHL pre-season though. He’ll be one to watch as the tournament goes on. One shot he took it looked like he left a bit off it. Hopefully “Tank” -a nickname given to him by Wayne Simmonds- heats up against Chicago.

Mike Borkowski caught my eye tonight. He was signed by the Grand Rapids Griffins and he looks like he’s ready for the season to start. He had two goals and played in all situations. Grand Rapids will be pretty deep this season, but Borkowski should find himself right in the middle of the fight for a spot if he keeps this play up.


The Other Games:


Dallas Stars VS Minnesota Wild (DAL 3, MIN 1):

This was one of the early games, it started at 3:30 PM EST. The Dallas Stars won 3-1. The standout for Dallas was Cole Ully who had two goals. 2015 first round pick Denis Gurianov had three shots for Dallas, Cole Ully finished with two goals and 6 shots. Ondrej Vala finished with 5 shots from the blue line for Dallas.  For Minnesota, Joel Eriksson Ek and Nolan Zajac led the way in shots. Eriksson Ek, Sam Anas, and Alex Tuch will be players to watch for Minnesota throughout the tournament.

The scoring is as follows:
Period 1: Minnesota Wild – Gustav Olofsson (Gustav Bouramman, Keegan Iverson) 10:23
Period 2: Dallas Stars – Cole Ully (Devin Shore) 6:20
Period 3: Dallas Stars – Samuel Laberge (Ethan Szypula) 2:17
Period 3: Dallas Stars – Cole Ully (empty net) (Niklas Hansson) 19:05

Carolina Hurricanes vs New York Rangers (CAR 4, NYR 3 OT): 

This game I did get to see some of very late. This game featured Jimmy Vesey and Pavel Buchnevich for New York, and notably Julien Gauthier, Jake Bean, Haydn Fleury and Alex Nedeljkovic for Carolina. ESPN’s Corey Pronman tweeted that Carolina’s 2016 2nd rounder Janne Kuokkanen had a solid game, and that appears to be a trend with him.

The standouts look to be goal-scorer Jimmy Vesey, Janne Kuokkanen, Brandon Halverson and Alex Nedeljkovic. Mike Morreale of NHL.com had this to say about Vesey:

He followed that up by saying Alex Nedeljkovic looked very sharp in that game. From what I saw, he did look on top of his game in the little I saw him.  Brandon Halverson of the Rangers received praise from ESPN’s Corey Pronman for his puck handling skills as a goalie.

The scoring is as follows:

Period 1: Carolina Hurricanes – Janne Kuokkanen (Noah Carroll) 8:40
Period 2: New York Rangers – Jimmy Vesey (Sergey Zborovskiy) 4:38
Period 2: Carolina Hurricanes – Clark Bishop (Haydn Fleury) 5:33
Period 2: New York Rangers – Robin Kovacs (Malte Stromwall) 13:25
Period 2: New York Rangers – Dylan Di Perna (unassisted) 13:55
Period 2: Carolina Hurricanes – Roland McKeown (unassisted) 15:52
Overtime: Carolina Hurricanes – Sergey Tolchinsky (Roland McKeown, Lucas Wallmark) 3:58
Here’s Jimmy Vesey’s goal:

Here’s the overtime goal:


St.Louis Blues VS Chicago Blackhawks (STL 3, CHI 2) 

This game was played in the 7 pm EST time slot. I didn’t get to watch this whole game, as the Red Wings were on. Tyler Motte, Gustav Forsling, Nick Schmaltz, and Alex DeBrincat stood out to me.  Motte had a goal, Schmaltz has good vision and DeBrincat was pretty speedy for the Hawks. Gustav Forsling looks like a candidate to make things hard for the Chicago Blackhawks come training camp with Trevor Van Riemsdyk, Michal Kempny, Forsling, Erik Gustafsson and veteran Michal Rozsival all fighting for the same three spots.

For the Blues, it has to be Jordan Schmaltz. He should be pushing for a spot in St. Louis soon. 2016 draft pick Jordan Kyrou got on the board with an assist. Highly touted goalie prospect Ville Husso made 31 saves out of 33 shots for the Blues.

The scoring is as follows:
Period 1: Chicago Blackhawks – Roy Radke (unassisted) 17:14
Period 2: St. Louis Blues – Adam Musil (Jordan Schmaltz, Vince Dunn) 9:10
Period 3: St. Louis Blues – Jordan Schmaltz (Jordan Kyrou, Mackenzie MacEachern) 14:10
Period 3: St. Louis Blues – Ivan Barbashev (Samuel Blais) 15:29
Period 3: Chicago Blackhawks – Tyler Motte (extra attacker) (Jeff King) 18:55






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