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Traverse City Prospects Tournament

Mantha, Wennberg among Traverse City best

Wednesday, 09.17.2014 / 9:51 AM / Traverse City Prospects Tournament

Mike G. Morreale - NHL.com Staff Writer

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. -- Columbus Blue Jackets player development coach Chris Clark had a good feeling about the team the Blue Jackets had for the 2014 Traverse City Prospect Tournament.

The Blue Jackets had six players on the roster that were selected in the first or second round of recent NHL drafts. They lost forward Sonny Milano, a 2014 first-round pick (No. 16), to a fractured cheek and orbital bone in the second period of the opening game, but the Blue Jackets won their first tournament championship in eight years with a 3-2 overtime victory against the Dallas Stars on Tuesday.

"Looking at the rosters before we went into the tournament, I thought we had a good team and a good chance but you never know until you get on the ice," Clark said. "I thought our guys responded well; we trailed by at least one goal in every game, but [we] still responded."

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Stars executives experienced in building a winner

Tuesday, 09.16.2014 / 9:00 AM / Traverse City Prospects Tournament

Mike G. Morreale - NHL.com Staff Writer

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. -- Dallas Stars general manager Jim Nill and director of amateur scouting Joe McDonnell each know a little something about building the perfect beast.

It starts with the draft and continues with the development stage until that player is deemed capable of withstanding the rigors of an NHL regular season.

This is something Nill was accustomed to doing prior to joining the Stars after spending 19 seasons as a member of the Detroit Red Wings management team, where his responsibilities included directing the amateur scouting department, overseeing all selections at the NHL Draft and managing the development of the organization's prospects.

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Sabres' Murray keeping close watch on team's future

Monday, 09.15.2014 / 9:50 AM / Traverse City Prospects Tournament

Mike G. Morreale - NHL.com Staff Writer

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. -- It's easy to find Buffalo Sabres general manager Tim Murray among the few hundred spectators in the bleachers at Centre Ice Arena during the Traverse City Prospect Tournament.

Murray is the one standing on his bench in the last row, scribbling notes on a clipboard and every so often shaking his head and yelling to his players with the hope of gaining their attention.

Murray is a hands-on executive and he's determined to field a winner.

"They are being evaluated every shift, so I've got certain expectations for certain players; sometimes when they don't meet those you get a little perturbed at things and get excited when good things happen," Murray said. "We're trying to assert expectation and to play a certain way. When we don't play a certain way it bothers me."

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Bright days in store for Blue Jackets prospect Milano

Sunday, 09.14.2014 / 10:47 AM / Traverse City Prospects Tournament

Mike G. Morreale - NHL.com Staff Writer

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. -- There will be better times ahead for Columbus Blue Jackets prospect Sonny Milano.

It just won't be on the ice representing his team at the Traverse City Prospect Tournament.

The 6-foot, 183-pound left wing, who sustained facial injuries in the second period of a 6-4 victory against the Minnesota Wild on Friday, was forced to sit out Saturday and told he would be a spectator the remainder of the tournament.

Blue Jackets president of hockey operations John Davidson said Milano, a first-round pick (No. 16) in the 2014 NHL Draft, would not require surgery and that he would return to Columbus at the conclusion of the tournament. Blue Jackets general manager Jarmo Kekalainen added recovery could take as long as two weeks.

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Rangers prospect Halverson at home in Traverse City

Friday, 09.12.2014 / 3:00 AM / Traverse City Prospects Tournament

Mike G. Morreale - NHL.com Staff Writer

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. -- Not only will goalie Brandon Halverson have a chance to wear a New York Rangers jersey and represent the organization that drafted him when the 16th annual Traverse City Prospect tournament is held this week, he'll do so in front of a very large fan base.

Halverson, who was born in Traverse City in 1996, is a mere 10-minute drive from Centre Ice Arena where the eight-team event is held each year.

"He's always been able to watch this tournament, and now here he is, participating in it," said Paul Halverson, Brandon's father. "I'm almost in a dream state right now because I'm saying to myself, 'Is this really happening?'"

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Traverse City tournament a hotbed for future stars

Thursday, 09.11.2014 / 3:00 AM / Traverse City Prospects Tournament

Mike G. Morreale - NHL.com Staff Writer

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. -- It was four years ago that Carolina Hurricanes forward Jeff Skinner provided fans a glimpse of what his future would hold when he played in the Traverse City Prospects Tournament at Centre ICE Arena in Traverse City, Mich.

Just three months after the Hurricanes made him the No. 7 pick in the 2010 NHL Draft, Skinner helped lead his team to a third-place finish at the eight-team event behind a tournament-leading seven points (two goals) in four games.

Skinner went on to earn a spot on Carolina's roster out of training camp, had 31 goals and 63 points in 82 regular-season games, was an injury replacement at the NHL All-Star Game and won the 2011 Calder Memorial Trophy as the NHL rookie of the year.

"Going into the tournament, you realize it is one of the first times that management sees you at the next level where you are playing against older guys," Skinner said. "I went into it knowing that it was going to be competitive and a lot of fun. I just tried to relax and work my hardest."

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Almond's outing one of many standout performances

Thursday, 09.16.2010 / 11:33 AM / Traverse City Prospects Tournament

Mike G. Morreale - NHL.com Staff Writer

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. -- Minnesota Wild prospect Cody Almond refused to allow another golden opportunity to slip away.
 
It was just last year that Almond, a fifth-round pick (No. 140) in 2007, suffered a torn knee ligament the day before the opening faceoff of the Traverse City NHL Prospects Tournament. As if learning he'd be out a month wasn't painful enough, the Wild dropped a 4-1 decision to the Carolina Hurricanes in the championship game of the tournament five days later.
 
Fortunately for Almond, opportunity came knocking again.
 
Not only was the 21-year-old center named captain of the Wild's team for this year's event, but he helped rally the Minnesota prospects to a 3-1 victory against the Detroit Red Wings' hopefuls in the tournament final Thursday at Center Ice Arena. The Wild, who finished 4-0 in the five-day event while outscoring the opposition 15-7, connected for three goals in a span of 7:28 in the third period to help the Wild overcome a one-goal deficit.
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Alex Pietrangelo Traverse City Tournament blog

Wednesday, 09.15.2010 / 5:53 PM / Traverse City Prospects Tournament

NHL.com

Alex Pietrangelo, a defenseman who was chosen No. 4 in the first round of the 2008 Entry Draft by the St. Louis Blues, is one of 24 players within the organization attending the NHL Prospects Tournament this week in Traverse City, Mich. Pietrangelo has agreed to give an inside look at the tournament both on and off the ice. Return to NHL.com for more of Alex Pietrangelo's Traverse City blog throughout the week.

Leaving Traverse City on a positive note
09.15.2010 / 5:51 p.m. (ET)

Well, it was our final day in Traverse City and we really wanted to finish on a positive note against the Blue Jackets … that was the big thing for us. The other thing is guys are still playing for jobs. It's wasn't a nothing game, everyone is still trying to earn a spot. We knew both teams would come out flying since we both had tough losses. You want to go into camp on a positive note and that's certainly what we did.

There were some fights and it was certainly was an entertaining game to be a part of (a 5-2 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets in the seventh-place game) and we scored all five goals (on eight attempts) on the power-play. It would have been nice if the game were for first place instead of seventh place, but it is what it is.
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Tatar has showed scoring touch everywhere

Wednesday, 09.15.2010 / 9:43 AM / Traverse City Prospects Tournament

Mike G. Morreale - NHL.com Staff Writer

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. -- Tomas Tatar was quite the world traveler last season -- and in the end, he was one exhausted blue-chip prospect.
 
A 2009 second-round draft pick (No. 60) of the Detroit Red Wings, Tatar played 70 games in three countries during the 2009-10 season.
 
He endured his first season in North America, totaling 32 points in 58 games with Detroit's American Hockey League affiliate, the Grand Rapids Griffins. He had 5 points in six games for Slovakia at the 2010 World Junior Championship in Saskatoon, Sask., and represented his country again in the World Championships in Germany, where he scored 2 goals in six games.
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Rangers' trio opening eyes at Traverse City

Tuesday, 09.14.2010 / 11:02 AM / Traverse City Prospects Tournament

Mike G. Morreale - NHL.com Staff Writer

"It's awesome when you're playing with guys like that … they make it easy for you."
-- Ryan Bourque on playing with Derek Stepan and Evgeny Grachev

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. -- If you think the New York Rangers' hierarchy hasn't been paying close attention to the young players at the Traverse City NHL Prospects Tournament this week, think again.
 
In addition to Director of Player Personnel Gordie Clark and assistant coach Benoit Allaire, the Rangers' on-site evaluators include Adam Graves (Hockey and Business Operations), Mark Messier (Special Assistant to the President), Jim Schoenfeld (Assistant General Manager) and Glen Sather (President and General Manager).
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I remember the first time at Wrigley Field all of us had the long johns, the turtlenecks and the extra equipment because we were afraid of being cold. Halfway through the first period everybody's ripping everything off and we just ended up wearing what we would normally wear for a game at the United Center.

— Chicago Blackhawks forward Patrick Sharp on the 2009 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic