2013 Traverse City Prospects Tournament - Jackets Preview

The Jackets are participating in the annual Traverse City Prospects Tournament again this year, and are looking for their first tournament championship since 2007.

The Jackets are once again participating in the annual Traverse City Prospects Tournament. Last year's event was cancelled due to the uncertainty with the NHL and whether or not a season was going to take place, but this year's edition is a go, with eight teams participating.

The teams are split into two divisions- the Gordie Howe Division and the Ted Lindsay Division. The host Red Wings are in the Howe, along with the Wild, Stars and Blues. Joining the Jackets in the Lindsay Division are the Sabres and a pair of new Metropolitan Division foes- the Hurricanes and Rangers.

Tournament Schedule and Roster

3:30pm Rangers Hurricanes
4:00pm Sabres Blue Jackets
7:00pm Blues Stars
7:30pm Red Wings Wild
3:30pm Blue Jackets Hurricanes
4:00pm Sabres Rangers
7:00pm Blues Wild
7:30pm Stars Red Wings
3:00pm Wild Stars
3:30pm Hurricanes Sabres
6:30pm Blue Jackets Rangers
7:00pm Red Wings Blues
3:30pm 4th Howe 4th Lindsay
4:00pm 3rd Howe 3rd Lindsay
7:00pm 2nd Howe 2nd Lindsay
7:30pm 1st Howe 1st Lindsay

The Jackets' team will be coached by the Falcons coaching staff, while the roster is made up of North American-based prospects from the CHL, AHL and ECHL. College prospects don't participate due to having to finance their own trip, while European prospects tend to stay overseas as their camps and season start earlier. Typically, the rosters for each team are sprinkled with free agent invites- these are players passed over in the NHL draft who are looking to make an impression, which could lead to an invite to a team's main training camp, and then maybe an NHL contract. The Jackets have added eight invitees this year:

Alex Aleardi - Undersized scorer, took part in Jackets' development camp last year, and received an invite to main camp, which of course was cancelled because of the lockout. Signed to an AHL-only deal by the Falcons.

Matej Beran - BIG forward, checking in at 6-5, 210ish. He was passed over in the 2012 NHL Draft, but had a strong season last year, aside from an early season injury. He played on a line with overage league-leading snipers Josh Currie and Ben Duffy, and played for the Czechs at the World Juniors. I'm very interested to see how he fares at Traverse City.

Erik Bradford - Bradford is known as a defense-first, shutdown center. He's a faceoff whiz to go along with his defensive prowess, but he's got no offensive game to speak of. He's a responsible player but unless he wows the organization I think he's looking more like a career AHLer.

Jeremy Langlois - Langlois was at Devo Camp, he recently completed a very successful career with Quinnipiac and has signed an AHL deal with Springfield. He's a natural scorer and a kid to keep an eye on at this tournament, and throughout the season.

Alex Gosselin - I'll admit, I know nothing of this kid. He plays in Halifax's division, but last year was his rookie season and if you were watching the Titan, you had your eyes on their exciting forwards, not a ho-hum defender. There's obviously something there to warrant his invite, but I'll plead ignorance until I hear more about him.

Luke Mercer - Mercer was passed over in last year's draft, but has some tools to make it as a pro. He's got offensive talent, though he's better categorized as a two-way blueliner. He went to Dallas' development camp last year, but is still looking for an NHL deal. A good showing in Traverse City will help speed up the process.

Dakota Mermis - Mermis is an interesting story. He bailed on the University of Denver midway through last season, jumping ship to the London Knights of the OHL. He was passed over in last year's NHL draft, and he was probably right to think he'd have better exposure playing for the OHL's top team. They'll be hosting the Memorial Cup this year, meaning they are a lock to play for junior hockey's biggest prize. On the ice, Mermis is a tad undersized, has a dose of offense in his game, and will be worth tracking in this tourny, and with a good showing, in main camp.

Jordan Dekort - Dekort was in a tough situation going into last year. It was his NHL draft season, and he was the backup goaltender on a poor Windsor team. He was ranked 18th by Central Scouting, but went undrafted in June. Earlier in the summer he attended Montreal's prospect camp (who the hell didn't?) but will be looking to the Jackets for an NHL deal.

The remainder of the roster is comprised of Jackets prospects. Here's the full roster:

Alex Aleardi C Windsor/Plymouth (OHL) / Springfield (AHL)
Josh Anderson RW London Knights (OHL)
Matej Beran C Charlottetown Islanders (QMJHL)
Oliver Bjorkstrand LW Portland Winterhawks (WHL)
Erik Bradford C Barrie Colts (OHL)
Michael Chaput C Springfield Falcons (AHL)
Oliver Gabriel LW Evansville Icemen (ECHL)
Jake Hansen C Springfield Falcons (AHL)
Boone Jenner C Oshawa (OHL) / Springfield (AHL)
Jeremy Langlois RW Quinnipiac (NCAA)
Nick Moutrey RW Saginaw Spirit (OHL)
Kerby Rychel LW Windsor Spitfires (OHL)
Lukas Sedlak C/RW Chicoutimi Sagueneens (QMJHL)
Dalton Smith LW Springfield Falcons (AHL)
Gianluca Curcuruto D Plymouth Whalers (OHL)
Alex Gosselin D Acadie-Bathurst TItan (QMJHL)
Dillon Heatherington D Swift Current Broncos (WHL)
Thomas Larkin D Colgate (NCAA) / Springfield (AHL)
Austin Madaisky D Evansville (ECHL) / Springfield (AHL)
Luke Mercer D Niagara IceDogs (OHL)
Dakota Mermis D Denver (NCAA) / London (OHL)
Ryan Murray D Everett Silvertips (WHL)
Oscar Dansk G Erie Otters (OHL)
Jordan Dekort G Windsor Spitfires (OHL)

By the Numbers

2 - Number of first round picks on the Columbus roster. (Ryan Murray and Kerby Rychel)

4 - Number of players from this year's draft class. (Rychel, Oliver Bjorkstrand, Nick Moutrey and Dillon Heatherington)

8 - Players with professional experience in the AHL or ECHL. (Boone Jenner, Michael Chaput, Jake Hansen, Dalton Smith, Alex Aleardi, Oliver Gabriel, Thomas Larkin and Austin Madaisky)

10 - Number of CBJ prospects not taking part in this tournament. (Six Euros-Alex Wennberg, Marko Dano, Anton Forsberg, Joonas Korpisalo, Markus Soberg and Daniel Zaar; Four NCAA- T.J. Tynan, Mike Reilly, Peter Quenneville and Martin Ouellette)

24 - Oldest player on the CBJ roster- Jake Hansen.

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