Traverse City Prospects Tournament: Day Five

Alexander Monaghan sums up day four with a preview of day five.

Day four has come and gone with the two teams squaring off for the victory.  Those two teams will be the Detroit Red Wings and the undefeated Minnesota Wild– whose prospects have both surprised and simply wanted it more.  Once again the tournament proved to be an exciting one with the season’s first opportunity to showcase some of the NHL’s young talent.

Results from day four:

Tampa Bay Lightning 3 – Dallas Stars 1
Minnesota Wild 5 – New York Rangers 4
Carolina Hurricanes 8 – Columbus Blue Jackets 1
Detroit Red Wings 2 – St. Louis Blues 1

Now on to day 5.
TRAVERSE CITY, MI - SEPTEMBER 11: Alex Pietrangelo  of the St. Louis Blues skates up ice during the NHL Prospects Tournament on September 11, 2010 at Centre Ice Arena in Traverse City, Michigan. (Photo by Dave Reginek/Getty Images)

Columbus Blue Jackets vs. St. Louis Blues

The Blue Jackets will look to rebound from an embarrassing defeat at the hands of the Hurricanes.  Most of their lack of success can be attributed to their big guns not translating to the box score.  Ryan Johansen, John Moore, Matt Calvert, Cody Goloubef all failed to put a puck across the line while an unknown like Chris Francis actually leads the team in scoring. Give some of these kids some time, they still have room to grow.  Moore especially should be a fine player down the road and this tournament simple serves as a playing ground for him and the rest of the kids to hone their skills. Alex Pietrangelo similarly withstood the pressure of being a first round pick and highly touted prospect.  His team did not perform to expectations when considering the plethora of talent but the better prospects showed up.  Brett Sonne, Jake Allen, Ian Cole and Phil McRae all showed glimpses of their potential as they look to join a young Blues core.  Pietrangelo did not exhibit the dominating ability he was touted with when drafted but certainly did not seem out of place.  Bob McKenzie actually praised his play during the first game of the tourney.  Pretty good sign despite their record.

Tampa Bay Lightning vs. Carolina Hurricanes

Lots of bright spots in the Tampa Bay lineup with top prospect Brett Conolly showing other teams he is certainly healthy and as talented as touted.  The Blue Jackets were just one team who passed over this kid, in a draft dominated by forwards.  Carter Ashton, Richard Panik, Marc-Oliver Vachon and James Wright all had good tournaments as well while the two solid netminding prospects Dustin Tokarski and Jaroslav Janus took turns between the pipes.  With all the news surrounding Steve Yzerman’s decisions, the pipeline seems to be very underrated here after two lottery picks. The Canes brought offensive firepower in the form of their top selection Jeff Skinner.  We love this kid and he showed exactly why he has a chance at making the team this year with five points in three games.  A supporting cast of the surprising Matt Kennedy and top collegiates Zac Dalpe and Riley Nash also helped the team dominate at points– although they have no chance at winning the title for the second straight season.  Lots of positive signs for their young forwards, the offensive core looks incredibly strong going forward.

Dallas Stars vs. New York Rangers

Jack Campbell lost both games he played in, although not by such a high margin the second time.  His first stint in a Dallas jersey certainly was not the best way to start off his young professional career but he still has plenty of time to develop.  After committing to the Windsor Spitfires and forgoing NCAA eligibility, Campbell will get a full year of winning and can will probably play in the NHL a bit sooner than the college route.  Top pick Scott Glennie also posted goose eggs during the tournament with lesser-known prospect Tristin King leading the team in scoring. The Rangers played a solid game against the undefeated Wild team, rallying back at the brink of defeat with help from the top line and Evgeni Grachev.  His excellent play on the ice really helps raise his stick above his forgettable season in the AHL.  Derek Stepan and Ryan Bourque also played well while the team showcased their better defensive defensemen in Dylan McIlrath and Ryan McDonagh.  Walkon Kelsey Tessier must have also impressed the team’s brass with his solid play, scoring more than any non-top prospect. TRAVERSE CITY, MI - SEPTEMBER 11: Tomas Tatar  of the Detroit Red Wings controlls the puck during NHL Prospects Tournament on Saturday, September 11, 2010 at Centre Ice Arena in Traverse City, Michigan. (Photo by Dave Reginek/Getty Images)

Detroit Red Wings vs. Minnesota Wild

Scoring depth has gotten the Red Wings this far in the tourney.  Without a single first round forward on the roster, several players potted multiple points over the three game span.  Tomas Tatar leads the team with four points after showing why he pushed his way on to the Grand Rapids Griffins last season. The heroes from last night include Brent Raedeke and Brooks Macek, the latter of which setup Tatar for the game winner– effectively putting the team into the finals.

It seems pretty hard to pinpoint one player as the reason for the Wild’s success, so many lesser known players have helped their team succeed. Casey Wellman continues to lead the young squad and show some of his former NCAA success with a team leading four points.  Other mentionable players include Nate Prosser, Cody Almond and Joel Broda.  All of the aforementioned players except for Broda actually finished last season on the Wild’s roster, although none of the players were really expected to produce.

Should be an excellent matchup tonight, starting at 2 PM and continuing to 2:30, 5:30 and 6:00.  Perhaps the most exciting part of this tournament is counting the minutes to training camp.  Until next time, happy prospecting and may the best kids win!

Alexander Monaghan
NHLHS Founder
amonaghan@nhlhotstove.com
@NHLHotStove