CBJ Traverse City Tournament Preview

The Jackets are looking to defend their title in the annual prospect tournament in Traverse City, Michigan

The annual Traverse City Prospect Tournament begins today, with the Jackets entering play as the defending champions. They sent a loaded team last year, and while this year's entry doesn't feature the star power of a year ago, this team is chock full of talent, grit and experience.

A few days ago we showed you the roster and gave some info on the non-roster invites. Earlier today however it was announced that Anton Forsberg would not be attending:

We don't know why yet, but my initial thought when the roster was announced was that it was a bit odd for a professional like himself- who was one of the top goalies in the AHL last season-to be participating in this tournament.

His replacement, Morgan Clark, just finished four years here in Nova Scotia playing for St. FX. Clark is a former seventh-rounder of the Vancouver Canucks.

There are eight teams participating in the tournament, split into two divisions:

Ted Lindsay Division: Jackets / Wild / Rangers / Blues

Gordie Howe Division: Hurricanes / Blackhawks / Stars / Red Wings

The Jackets will play the three teams in their division once, on the following dates:

11 September: 4:00pm vs. Blues
12 September: 7:00pm vs. Wild
14 September: 3:30pm vs. Rangers

The top teams from each division will meet in the final on 15 September, with the winner taking home the newly-created Matthew Wuest Memorial Cup. The trophy honors Wuest, the visionary behind CapGeek, who passed away after a battle with colon cancer earlier this year. More on Wuest here.

Players to Watch:

Sonny Milano: he had his face smashed-in at the beginning of this tournament last year, delaying the start of his season. This year he'll be looking to get off to a strong start as he pushes for a roster spot in Columbus.

Oliver Bjorkstrand: Bjorkstrand has hero status among CBJ fans, which is lofty praise for a player who has yet to turn pro. He'll be the go-to offensive threat for the Jackets at this tournament.

Kerby Rychel: One of the three 2013 first rounders, he's the last one to yet make the NHL as a regular, and is looking to take a big step forward. Traverse City is a terrific starting point.

T.J. Tynan: The "old man" up front, Tynan should take a leadership role and anchor the top line.

Peter Quenneville: It's a bit of a mystery where he'll be playing this upcoming season, so it's crucial for him to cement himself - somewhere. A good showing at this tournament will go a a long way to determining where he'll play.

Daniel Zaar: It's time for him to prove what he can do as a full-time North American player. His wrister alone makes him a lethal offensive player.

Mike Paliotta: Part of the Saad trade, Paliotta has jumped to the top of the Jackets' defensive prospect chart. He'll be pushing for a spot on the CBJ roster.

Veeti Vainio: I think we're all excited to see what this kid can do. #vainio

Joonas Korpisalo: The Korpedo is penciled-in as the Monsters' backup goalie, but this is his first full-time gig in North America. He's the go-to 'tender for the Jackets in Traverse City with Forsberg backing out. In a short tourny, elite goaltending can win it all.

We'll wrap things up at the end of the tournament, best of luck to the kids heading North. REPEAT!

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