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Prospects who stood out at the Traverse City tourney

Tuesday, 09.10.2013 / 4:00 PM / Prospects

Mike G. Morreale - Staff Writer

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. -- There's no question this year's Traverse City Prospects Tournament featured some of finest rosters ever assembled in the history of the event.

The eight participating teams had multiple first- and second-round draft picks in their lineups as well as featuring a handful of talented free agents and tryout players looking to earn invitations to training camps.

The Detroit Red Wings defeated the Buffalo Sabres 4-2 in the tournament final Monday to earn their first championship. The Red Wings had advanced to the finale one other time in tournament's 15-year history, but lost to the Minnesota Wild in 2010.

"We have a lot of kids who have a chance to play in the NHL out there," Red Wings general manager Ken Holland told "There's a process that has to go on, but there's certainly a lot of optimism for our organization out there."

Canucks' top prospects bond on and off ice

Monday, 09.09.2013 / 2:31 PM / Prospects

Ryan Dittrick - Correspondent

PENTICTON, British Columbia -- As the Young Stars Classic finished Monday, Bo Horvat couldn't help but look back on how he ended up playing here with the Vancouver Canucks.

Horvat was chosen by Vancouver with the ninth pick of the 2013 NHL Draft -- a selection that belonged to the New Jersey Devils until they sent it to the Canucks in a trade for starting goaltender Cory Schneider.

It was a moment he'll never forget.

"It was absolutely crazy," Horvat said. "I couldn't even really process what was happening. When you're sitting there hoping to hear your name called, playing the different scenarios in your mind, that's certainly one I didn't see coming. It was a huge shocker to all of us and to the hockey world.

Nichushkin tops list of Russian stars in Traverse City

Monday, 09.09.2013 / 9:07 AM / Prospects

Mike G. Morreale - Staff Writer

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. -- Valeri Nichushkin, a 2013 first-round pick of the Dallas Stars, is proving to be everything NHL scouts envisioned this weekend at the Traverse City Prospects Tournament.

The No. 10 selection has scored twice, including a highlight-reel goal in the tournament opener, shown responsibility with the puck and generated quality scoring chances for teammates in 5-on-5 and power-play situations.

Nichushkin oozes confidence. That's evident by the way he carries himself during warmups and team stretches. He has that same strong build, smile and demeanor that Alex Ovechkin and Ilya Kovalchuk had during their time in Traverse City for their respective teams.

Ex-Sea Dogs meet again as foes in Traverse City

Sunday, 09.08.2013 / 2:00 PM / Prospects

Mike G. Morreale - Staff Writer

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. -- Prospects Zack Phillips of the Minnesota Wild, Tomas Jurco of the Detroit Red Wings and Ryan Tesink of the St. Louis Blues may play for different teams, but will always share a common bond.

All three forwards were key members of the 2011 Memorial Cup champion Saint John Sea Dogs of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. It was a team that throttled opponents in the regular season and accomplished a feat that no other Saint John team had done when it became champions of the Canadian Hockey League.

"It was special team; a great group of people and staff in Saint John," Jurco told "It's always great to see those guys at any time. I played against Zack in the American Hockey League last year and we were hanging out before and after games."

Maple Leafs, Senators prospects to play as unbeatens

Saturday, 09.07.2013 / 11:32 PM / Prospects

The Toronto Maple Leafs and Ottawa Senators each remained unbeaten at the prospects tournament in London, Ontario with shootout wins Saturday.

The NHL rivals play each other Sunday.

"Everybody knows Ottawa and Toronto is always a battle, no matter if it's the actual Maple Leafs or the rookies here," Brad Ross told the Toronto website. "So we're going to take it very seriously."

Jets prospects Scheifele, Trouba aim to make team

Saturday, 09.07.2013 / 8:50 PM / Prospects

Ryan Dittrick - Correspondent

PENTICTON, British Columbia -- As far as Winnipeg Jets prospects Mark Scheifele and Jacob Trouba are concerned, this is their time to lay it all on the line.

Scheifele, in particular, knows the drill better than most.

As a veteran of the Young Stars Classic being held here this weekend, and about to attend his third Jets training camp, the 20-year-old center with 11 games of NHL experience is intent on graduating to full-time duty this season.

"Every year that I've been to camp I've gotten a little taste of what it's like to play in the NHL, but getting in some games last year was huge," Scheifele said. "Experiences like that are huge in building your confidence."

Hockey lifer Biggs helped Tyler's path to NHL

Saturday, 09.07.2013 / 7:00 PM / Prospects

Tal Pinchevsky - Staff Writer

If there was a picture next to "hockey lifer" in the dictionary, there's a good chance you'd see Don Biggs.

An eighth-round pick of the Minnesota North Stars in 1983, Biggs played 12 games in the NHL, 11 with a Philadelphia Flyers team that finished last in its division in the 1989-90 season. But thanks to his toughness, leadership and an innate ability to get under the skin of other players, Biggs carved out a 17-year pro hockey career spent mostly in the American Hockey League and International Hockey League.

The highlights include winning a Calder Cup with the Hershey Bears in 1988 and serving as captain of the Cincinnati Cyclones. Despite those successes, he's still asked often (maybe too often) about serving as Patrick Swayze's stunt double in the 1986 movie "Youngblood."

Jones impressive in Predators prospect game

Saturday, 09.07.2013 / 4:37 PM / Prospects

Alain Poupart - Correspondent

CORAL SPRINGS, Fla. -- Seth Jones may or may not have made the Florida Panthers regret not taking him with the second pick in the 2013 NHL Draft.

What is certain is that Friday night he didn't do anything to make the Nashville Predators regret taking him with the fourth pick.

Once touted as the potential first pick in the 2013 draft, the defenseman vowed to do his best to make the Colorado Avalanche, Panthers and Tampa Bay Lightning "regret not taking me."

In his first game wearing a Predators jersey, Jones showed off his smooth skating, deft stickhandling and big shot in an 8-4 victory against the Panthers at the prospect tournament at Florida's practice facility.

Patient path for Stars goalie prospect Campbell

Saturday, 09.07.2013 / 10:31 AM / Prospects

Mike G. Morreale - Staff Writer

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. -- It isn't easy playing the waiting game as a goalie with high expectations chosen in the first round of the NHL Draft.

It appears Dallas Stars prospect and 2010 first-round pick Jack Campbell has finally come to grips with his situation and is at peace with where he is and where he wants to be in his development within the organization. It's a recipe for success for any young goalie aspiring to one day reach the NHL.

"If you were to ask me when I was 18 and drafted [No. 11], when I thought I would be playing in the NHL, I would have thought I would have been able to make it by now for sure," Campbell told at the Traverse City Prospects Tournament being held this week.

Campbell isn't alone. The mindset he had is probably the same as a majority of young drafted goalies, but the 21-year-old has since changed his outlook for the better.

Murphy aims to play for Hurricanes this season

Friday, 09.06.2013 / 10:05 AM / Prospects

Mike G. Morreale - Staff Writer

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. -- Carolina Hurricanes prospect Ryan Murphy is a firm believer that the reward is a lot greater than the risk whenever he steps on the ice.

It's a mindset the defenseman will continue to have until the day he becomes a regular in the Hurricanes lineup. Defensemen always take a lot longer to mature and develop following their draft year, and Murphy is no exception.

"Everyone has to work on things and I'm a high-risk player, so if I could eliminate a bit of the risk from my game, I think that'll help me a lot. … I know I have to prove [I am] defensively responsible," Murphy told "I'm getting there. I'm going to work hard every day and hopefully prove to everyone that I can play at the next level."

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