The Columbus Blue Jackets begin preparations for the 2019-20 National Hockey League season at the Annual NHL Prospect Tournament to be held from September 6-10 at the Centre Ice Arena in Traverse City, Michigan. The 23 participating players will undergo physicals prior to taking part in an on-ice practice session at the OhioHealth Ice Haus, the club's official practice facility at Nationwide Arena, from 10:30-11:30 a.m. on Thursday, September 5.
The on-ice session is free and open to the public. Media availability with the players will be held immediately following practice before the team departs for Traverse City.
This year will mark Columbus' 18th-straight appearance at the tournament. The Blue Jackets became the first team to capture five tournament titles after winning the Matthew Wuest Memorial Cup last year. The club has also won the tournament in 2005, 2006, 2014 and 2015. This year's participating clubs will be divided into the following: GORDIE HOWE DIVISION - Chicago Blackhawks, Detroit Red Wings, St. Louis Blues and Toronto Maple Leafs; and TED LINDSAY DIVISION - Columbus, Dallas Stars, Minnesota Wild and New York Rangers.
Practice sessions and tournament games will be held on the facility's two sheets of ice - David's Rink and West Rink - located at 1600 Chartwell Drive, Traverse City, Michigan, 49686.
The Blue Jackets' schedule includes:
Friday, Sept. 6
9:30 to 10:15 a.m. Practice (West Rink)
3:30 p.m. at NEW YORK RANGERS (West Rink)
Saturday, Sept. 7
10:30 a.m. to 11:15 a.m. Practice (West Rink)
6:30 p.m. vs. MINNESOTA WILD (David's Rink)
Sunday, Sept. 8
12 to 1 p.m. Practice (West Rink)
Monday, Sept. 9
8:30 to 9 a.m. Practice (West Rink)
2 p.m. at DALLAS STARS (David's Rink)
Tuesday, Sept. 10
Game - Opponent, Time and Rink TBD
The Blue Jackets' rookie camp roster features 23 players, including nine who were selected by the club via the NHL Draft. Leading the group of prospects will be three of the club's top picks from the most recent drafts - 2018 first round pick Liam Foudy (18th overall), 2017 second round selection Alexandre Texier (45th overall) and 2016 second round pick Andrew Peeke (34th overall). Other drafted players scheduled to participate in the tournament include: 2019 - Eric Hjorth, Tyler Angle; 2018 - Tim Berni, Veini Vehvilainen, Trey Fix-Wolansky; 2014 - Elvis Merzlikins. The roster also features three players who signed entry level contracts with the club: 2019 - Jakob Lilja; 2018 - Michael Prapavessis; 2017 - Maxime Fortier. Forward Emil Bemstrom, who was scheduled to participate, will miss the tournament due to a facial injury. He is expected to be cleared for full participation when the Blue Jackets open training camp on September 12.
The Blue Jackets rookies will be coached in Traverse City by Mike Eaves, head coach of the Cleveland Monsters, the club's American Hockey League affiliate. He will be assisted by Monsters Assistant Coaches Steve McCarthy and Trent Vogelhuber, along with Blue Jackets Development Coaches Gregory Campbell and Jarkko Ruutu.
Blue Jackets veterans and rookies will open the club's 19th training camp with medicals and fitness testing on Thursday, September 12 with the first day of on-ice testing scheduled for the following day. The Blue Jackets open preseason play on Tuesday, September 17 when they host the Buffalo Sabres at 7 p.m. at Nationwide Arena. The club will open the regular season on Friday, October 4 vs. the Toronto Maple Leafs at Nationwide Arena.