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Players to watch at Traverse City

Schmaltz, Husso, Dunn among notable prospects participating

by Dan O'Neill / St. Louis Blues

The Traverse City Prospects Tournament will take place from Sept. 16-20 in Traverse City, Michigan. The Blues' division also includes Chicago, Columbus and Detroit - it's a round-robin format with the winners of each division facing off in the championship game on Sept. 20.

For many of these players, it will be the first time they have played in front of so many NHL scouts and executives, and it's a big chance for them to make a good first impression.

Here's a list of who to watch:

Jordan Schmaltz - Defenseman
Schmaltz, a North Dakota alum, is the lone first round draft pick on the team (2012). Schmaltz was one of the leaders of last year's Traverse team and led the Chicago Wolves defense with 36 points in his first pro season in 2015-16. Schmaltz will be facing off against his brother, Nick, who was the Blackhawks' first round pick in 2014.

Ivan Barbashev - Forward
Barbashev was taken with the 2nd round draft pick that the Blues originally acquired when they traded David Perron to Edmonton for Magnus Paajarvi. Now the trade has come full circle. Barbashev had 10 goals and 28 points in his first pro season with the Chicago Wolves last season and should be on the short list for AHL call-ups once the regular season begins. He will be one of the team's major scoring threats going into the tournament.

Ville Husso - Goaltender
Husso, a native of Finland, was the #1 rated European goaltender in 2014 and the Blues managed to steal him in the 4th round. He has spent the past two seasons in the Finnish elite league, including 2015-16, when he posted a 25-8-6 record with a .927 save percentage. Husso is considered a candidate to play a major role in the Blues' net in the future. Last year, In-Goal Magazine named him the 7th best goaltending prospect (under 25) in the NHL.

Conner Bleackley - Forward
Bleackley was originally drafted by Colorado in the first round of the 2014 Entry Draft. After his rights were dealt to Arizona, the Coyotes declined to give him an entry-level deal citing his past injuries. Bleackley was re-signed to re-enter the draft this past year and the Blues scooped him up in the 5th round. And, we have since signed him to his first entry-level contract. For him, Traverse City and his contract with the Blues serves as his second chance.

Jordan Kyrou - Forward
Kyrou was one of our two second round picks this year and the result of the Brian Elliott to Calgary deal. He was a 2016 CHL Top Prospect and a Gold medalist for Canada at the 2015 Ivan Hlinka memorial tournament.

Samuel Blais - Forward
Blais could make a name for himself at camp this year. He has featured one of the best trajectories of all the Blues' prospects, posting back-to-back 82-point seasons in the Quebec Junior League after logging only 14 points in 25 games during his rookie year. He was a 6th round pick in 2014.

Vince Dunn - Defenseman
Dunn ranked 10th amongst OHL defensemen last season with 43 points in 52 games. Dunn was our 2015 2nd round pick and may be one of the best skaters in Blues Training Camp this season.

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