The Traverse City tournament is one of the best prospect tournaments out there. The World Junior Championship is fun but the Traverse City tournament gives everyone a real life reference point for these players as they play together as a team. The mostly midwestern teams converge in Traverse City, Michigan to see who has the most dominant prospects. Naturally, some storylines are better than others. Which are the three most intriguing?
Where does Jimmy Vesey stack up?
The Jimmy Vesey sweepstakes was one of the goofiest storylines of this entire off-season. He is a good player by all intents and purposes, the hype surrounding him though was just a little much. He will be one of the oldest participants and will play on a mostly depleted Rangers’ squad.
It will be compelling stuff if he is able to carry this team to something outside of the group stage. One would expect him to dominate and be one of the better players at the tournament. What happens if he doesn’t perform though? He was a key off-season signing, does it change his status with the team at all?
Will the Blue Jackets three-peat?
As back-to-back champions of the Traverse City tournament, the Jackets have seen the dividends of this tournament as they won the Calder Cup this past year. They bring a couple of players from that squad to try and get a third straight title. That doesn’t even include players like Pierre-Luc Dubois and Vitaly Abramov, dynamic talents that will surely change the game on a whim.
They will be the team to beat and will be a fantastic measuring stick for the Wings as they try to restock their prospect pipeline. They once had one of the worst prospect groups in the league, now as they turn it around, it is up to the Wings to reclaim the throne.
Do any players step up to be the Wings’ patented diamond in the rough?
We all know that the Wings have been known to pick a solid player or two in the late rounds of the draft. Those players don’t just come in and become immediately successful, it takes development and patience for them to become these all-stars. The Wings only bring in a couple of players that have a bunch of experience like Tyler Bertuzzi and Robbie Russo, almost everyone else on the squad has minimal time in the pros.
Givani Smith is a player that hits like a mack truck and has a deft scoring touch. He is a second round pick so some expectations are there but he seems like a perfect candidate to break out and be a dynamic player in this tournament.
Evgeny Svechnikov has plenty of expectations and has yet to really impress in a tournament. This could be his opportunity to take over and be the player the Red Wings thought they drafted.
It is a lot of weight to put on a exhibition tournament, but this isn’t just any tournament. It is Traverse City.