The Traverse City prospects tournament has always been a great way for a team to truly gauge the level of development and skill of its prospects, providing a strong tool for evaluation as the team takes on the top prospects from seven other teams from around the NHL. Here is the schedule for the tournament, which runs Sept. 5-9 up in Traverse City.
For the Dallas Stars, the tournament has always been a bit of a mixed bag. Most years (there was no tournament last year because of the lockout) the team has been a solid mix of some promising prospects and players not expected to ever sniff the NHL. This year is much different, as the Stars will likely be putting their best team of prospects ever on the ice when September rolls around.
Here is the full lineup, according to the release by the Stars:
This was how the Stars reported on the lines and grouping, but I'm guessing this is a very fluid lineup that will likely change as the tournament rolls around.
It's interesting to see Nichushkin on left wing on the top line, since everything we've been told is that the Stars plan to play him along the right wing this coming season. Yet Nichushkin is a natural left wing and versatile, and it's clear that the Stars are loaded up on the right wing with Chiasson, Ritchie and Stransky as the top three wingers. So, it makes sense to possibly have Nichushkin playing on the left and he's proven in his career capable of effectively playing on each wing.
Radek Faksa will also get a major opportunity to prove himself after a down year last season, most of which was out of his control, but there's concern that his level of playmaking creativity has fallen since he was drafted. With the potential linemates he'll have in this tournament, Faksa will be surrounded by plenty of talent and should be able to showcase the two-way abilities that had him drafted in the first round.
Keep an eye on Jason Dickinson as well, who is more skilled that Peters and Winther but isn't as experienced just yet. This is going to be a great way to see just how far the organizational depth at center has improved since last summer.
There is also a good balance between the skilled power forwards the Stars have been assembling and the gritty, hard-working players the team has also targeted in recent years. Cole Ully, Remi Elie, Cody Payne and Gemel Smith will all have a chance to show off the balanced game of skill and grit we've been told they possess.
For the defense, the only real surprise here is seeing John Klingberg on the list. Typically, college players and players that are going to be overseas don't appear in this tournament, and Klingberg will be in the SHL this next season. Nevertheless, it's great to see him on the roster as Stars fans will get a good chance to be exposed to a prospect that has flown under the radar the past year or so.
This will also be a chance for Oleksiak and Nemeth to really step up into leadership roles on defense, especially with both having a year of AHL experience under their belts and really coming on strong at the end of the year.
Jack Campbell will also be back in an environment in which he is exceptionally comfortable and has the tools and potential to carry the Stars through the tournament. It will be interesting to see how much Lagace or Desrosiers plays, especially in such a short tournament, but Campbell will be the one with all the focus on his shoulders. He was drafted just three years ago and still has a ways to go before he's ready for NHL action, but this will be a big test for one of the top prospects and one of the players that will come to define Joe Nieuwendyk's legacy in Dallas.
Per Jim Nill, the Dallas Stars will announce a captain prior to the start of the season -- which should happen after training camp has started. The early bet is that Jamie Benn will get the "C," but there's other possibilities as well to consider. [Stars Inside Edge]
The Dallas Stars announced on Tuesday that Bob Sturm and Dan MacDowell of BaDD Radio will not be doing the home post-game shows on the radio moving forward. Bruce LeVine, who has anchored road post-game shows, as well as intermission reports and pre-game shows, will be joined by Josh Bogorad, who most recently served as the play-by-play guy for the Alaska Aces of the ECHL. [Stars Inside Edge]
In case you missed it, Evgeni Malkin's father sparked a small controversy with his offhand comments about the Dallas Stars. The Penguins blog on SB Nation has a great take on the situation from their viewpoint. [Pensburgh]
Greg Wyshynski at Puck Daddy puts on the tin foil hat and goes fishing for a scandal. [Puck Daddy]
Finally, here's a great video from Canucks fans to Robert Luongo that is a take on "We Are The World"