Over the past five days the Wild Prospects outscored their opponents by a combined total of 15-7 in four games, and went undefeated on their way to the Traverse City Tournament championship. More important than the results of the games and the glitzy trophy was that front office had the opportunity to evaluate many of the organization’s top prospects in game situations after a productive offseason.
“We always battled. Every time we gave up a goal we came back right away,” stated Assistant GM Brent Flahr. “The guys showed a lot of character, a lot of effort. They battled, and that work ethic was their greatest asset.”
The Wild Prospects took second in the Tournament last year, but Flahr is especially enthused about the group he just watched for five days.
“We feel very positive about our young group of players,” said Flahr. “From the net out, Matt Hackett
performed very well… our back end appears to be in good shape going forward as well. Our forwards were led by Casey Wellman and Cody Almond
and both players appear close to challenging for a spot on the big team.”
More help should be on the way in the coming years with 2010 first round pick Mikael Granlund
, and second round picks Johan Larsson
and Jason Zucker
, all who were absent from the Wild roster in Traverse City, the future looks bright. Before we look too far into the future, let's look back, break out the champagne and join Flahr as he toasts our Traverse City Tournament champions. Wild MVP:
– The guys played really well in front of him, but any time we were on our heels or under fire, he kept us in it. He played three out of the four games and was really solid. His 1.68 GAA and .942 save percentage ranked second in the tournament among goalies that played more than one game.Best Offensive Player:
– The center tallied five points (2-3=5) and a +4 rating in Traverse City, using his speed to generate a lot of offense. He was a dangerous player every game.Best Defensive Player:
Tyler Cuma / Nate Prosser
- You can’t separate the defensive pairing of Cuma and Prosser. They were matched up against the other team’s top line every game. The worked hard, and were very effective.Try-out Player of the Tournament:
– He did a great job. He’s a smaller, undersized defenseman, but he quarterbacked the power play, played solid defense, and really contributed.Unsung Hero:
– He stepped up for his teammates in every situation, got into three big fights, and was a good leader. He’s got a lot of character and kept the guys loose. I’m sure all his teammates would agree.Biggest Surprise:
The improvement of Chad Rau
and Jarod Palmer
– These guys have put a lot of work in and gotten a lot stronger. They’re older than a lot of the other prospects, but even from development camp until now, they’ve made big gains. Palmer co-led the team in points with five (3-2=5) while Rau turned in an assist to go along with a +1 rating.Biggest Moment:
In the championship game against Detroit we looked tired for two periods. We had a lot of chances, but nothing was going our way. Cody Almond
made a great move on the defenseman and his goal gave us life. Obviously, we scored two more after that, but that got us going.
With the added confidence of a tournament title, this is just the beginning for 16 members of the Traverse City roster that have been invited to the main Wild training camp that begins on Saturday, Sept. 18.
Those making the roster at forward are: Cody Almond
, Brandon Buck (TRYOUT), Brett Bulmer
, Joel Broda
, Carson McMillan
, Jarod Palmer
, Chad Rau
and Casey Wellman.
The defensemen are: Josh Caron
(TRYOUT), Tyler Cuma
, Colton Jobke
(TRYOUT), Nate Prosser
, Marco Scandella
and Jared Spurgeon
Both Traverse City goalies, Matt Hackett
and Darcy Kuemper
, will join the camp as well.