After a long and grueling off-season, laces are being tied and sticks are being taped. The annual prospect tournament in Traverse City, MI begins today as the Columbus Blue Jackets, Toronto Maple Leafs, Dallas Stars, St. Louis Blues, and host Detroit Red Wings compete to determine who has the best group of prospects.
The Blue Jackets’ tournament roster is loaded and several players are looking to make some noise and propel themselves into training camp next week. Kent Johnson and Kirill Marchenko are the headliners of the forward group, while others like Mikael Pyyhtia, Luca Del Bel Belluz, and Jordan Dumais are out to prove they belong in the top tier of Columbus prospects. Meanwhile, the defensive group is essentially an AHL lineup. Among them, David Jiricek would like to bounce back from his lackluster World Junior appearance and Samuel Knazko would like to show that he is ready to play in the AHL.
Performance in the tournament does not guarantee future results, but these games give the team a great look at the prospects heading into the upcoming season. Players get to show off what they have been working on over the summer and that is no small thing. Cole Sillinger and Yegor Chinakhov dominated this tournament last year and their performance ran over into training camp. Many will be trying to do the same over the next four days.
The first game is today at 3:00pm ET as the Jackets take on the Blues. The games will be streamed at bluejackets.com. This article will also serve as the tournament open thread, so join the conversation below. Buckle up, folks. Hockey is back.
9/15 3:00pm — Blue Jackets at Blues
9/16 3:00pm — Red Wings at Blue Jackets
9/18 2:00pm — Blue Jackets at Maple Leafs