America's premier bug-themed trophy has a new owner in 2019.
After Blue Jackets development coach Greg Campbell threatened to turn the annual 3-on-3 prospects tournament into his own personal dynasty with wins the past two seasons, "Soupy" saw his reign end Friday in the OhioHealth Ice Haus.
Jared Boll's squad of six forwards, four defensemen and a goalie in Gray CBJ unis upset Campbell's Blue-clad team with a 4-2 win in the championship game.
Afterward, the Boll team led by Blue Jackets forward Alexandre Texier was presented the trophy -- which features a plush Stinger doll -- by the mascot himself at center ice, capping the annual Columbus prospects camp.
The thirty-six players in Columbus over the past four days were split into three teams for the tournament, staged in front of a packed house (well, Haus) of CBJ fans. The team coached by European development coach Jarkko Ruutu finished third in the tournament.
Here's how it all went down in the four 3-on-3 games that were each 12 minutes long.
Game 1: Campbell 5, Ruutu 2
Two goals by free-agent invitee Ryan McGregor helped break a 2-2 tie in the last three minutes as Team Campbell got off to a good start. Campbell's team never trailed as 2018 first-round draft pick Liam Foudy scored twice to make it 1-0 and 2-1, but Ruutu's squad answered each time with goals by FA Brayden Guy and Miami (Ohio) defenseman Derek Daschke past Russian prospect Daniil Tarasov. McGregor then buried a rebound past North Dakota goalie Peter Thome with 2:53 to play to make it 3-2. Derek Barach, who finished the season with AHL Cleveland after four years with Mercyhurst, added another tally before McGregot, who spent last year with Sarnia of the OHL, iced the game.
Game 2: Campbell 1, Boll 0 (Shootout)
In stark contrast to the first game, there were no goals in the 12 minutes this time around thanks to standout goaltending by Tarasov (a third-round pick in 2017) and FA invitee Jet Greaves (Barrie of the OHL) of Team Boll. Tarasov had big stops on Greg Moro (Clarkson) and Matt Brassard (OHL Oshawa, Niagara), while Greaves made a nice stop on Foudy's breakaway try for his best save. Boll's Austin Rueschhoff also was awarded a penalty shot in the game but couldn't get a clean look on Tarasov. That necessitated a three-skater shootout, and 2019 fourth-round pick Eric Hjorth won it with a clean shot past Greaves for Team Campbell.
Game 3: Boll 2, Ruutu 0
Boll's squad took a 1-0 lead early as Devin Brosseau (Clarkson) scored with a five-hole shot past Thome. That was pretty much it for offense, as Greaves kept Team Boll in the lead with a breakaway stop on youngster Jake Veri before Trey Fix-Wolansky (Ruutu) and Texier (Boll) traded shots off the post. Then, in the final minute, Brosseau's long cleaning attempt found the empty net and Team Boll was on to the final
Championship Game: Boll 4, Campbell 2
Things started with a five-skater shootout, with the winner to be staked to a 1-0 lead in the game. That was Team Campbell, as Foudy and Hjorth scored in the shootout against just one goal for Team Boll (Swiss defenseman and 2018 draft pick Tim Berni). That didn't matter in the end, though, as Michigan State forward Patrick Khodorenko tied the score and Brosseau gave Team Boll the lead by scoring past Tarasov. McGregor tied things with his third goal of the tournament with 6:55 to play for Team Campbell, but the winner was scored with 3:27 to go. Tarasov made a sprawling play to try to deny a wraparound on a breakout by Team Boll, but he couldn't get reset before Reuschhoff (Western Michigan) stuffed one past him. Markus Karlberg (2018 third-round pick) scored the empty-netter with 12.9 to play to clinch the win for Team Boll.
Some quick observations
Hjorth showed an excellent shot with his two shootout goals, which each beat Greaves clean, and earned praise from director of player personnel Chris Clark afterward. The big Swedish defenseman was chosen 104th overall by the Blue Jackets in the recently concluded NHL draft.
Fix-Wolansky couldn't buy a goal despite some great chances, but the spirited forward who lit up the WHL last year had a solid showing and is more than capable of creating offense. He was a standout in a short cameo at AHL Cleveland at the end of the year and will be a pro player next year who could be in Columbus sooner rather than later.
It's hard not to like Andrew Peeke's game, as the former Notre Dame defenseman and 2016 second-round pick is set to embark on a pro career this upcoming season after ending last year with the Jackets. Peeke is big, uses his size well and has smarts, and he showed his puck skills by creating a turnover at the blue line and setting up a goal in Game 1.
Karlberg also had a good showing, as the 2018 third-round pick is sometimes a forgotten man -- at least among fans -- because he spent last year in Sweden's second division. Just 19, he has good skill and found himself in the right place at the right time in the tournament.
Greaves might have had the best day of any of the goaltenders in leading Team Boll to the top, as the 18-year-old OHL player and free agent invitee was solid and battled, denying a handful of odd-man rush attempts. Tarasov also used his 6-foot-4 frame well, with Clark saying afterward that he plays a calm, composed game. Thome made some big stops as well but it just wasn't enough.
Among the FA invitees, McGregor and Brosseau also impressed with their big goal-scoring days (three apiece). Brosseau returns to Clarkson for his senior year as the team captain, while McGregor made his AHL debut last year with Toronto but was not signed by the Maple Leafs and has become a free agent. He had 77 points in 61 games last year with Sarnia.
Development camp is now over, and most Blue Jackets players and prospects are off enjoying summer until coming back to Columbus in August to work out. Stay tuned to BlueJackets.com for news from the opening of the free agency period as well as the ongoing Battalion Breakdown series and some feature stories to come.