The NHL Prospect Tournament is a mere two weeks away, and the excitement is building. The tournament will be September 12th -16th, and the participating teams have begun to release their rosters. The Red Wings released theirs yesterday, and the following players will be defending their 2013 championship.
I'm a little fuzzy on what exactly the criteria is for being eligible to play in the tournament, but I think a player is ineligible after he's played a certain number of pro games. Based on that understanding, most of the Griffins are ineligible (last year the only Griffins who played in the tournament were Jurco, Sheahan, and Nicastro). I think Marchenko is still eligible, but his absence suggests to me that his ankle isn't healed enough, which is disappointing, but not necessarily unexpected. He had surgery and pins put into his ankle in late February after being injured in a game. He skated a little bit on his own in development camp in early July, but that was the first time he had skated after having the pins removed, and the hope was that he's be ready be training camp. Also, no Xavier Ouellet gives me a sad.
The NCAA players had to pay their own way to development camp, per NCAA rules, but none of them can play in the tournament because, I believe, the NHL teams are required to pay the way for the players for both the tournament and training camp. This sucks a big one, because it would be great to see how guy like Mike McKee, James deHaas, Dylan Larkin, Ben Marshall, and Chase Perry would do playing in the tournament.
The Dallas Stars, Minnesota Wild, Carrolina Hurricanes, and New York Rangers have posted their rosters as well, and I'm compiling a spreadsheet with the rosters as they come out. You can find the document here and I'll keep updating as the Columbus Blue Jackets, St. Louis Blues, and Buffalo Sabres release their rosters.
Sarah Lindenau of The Left Wing Lock has the full schedule available here.
The Wings play the Blues at 7:30 on Friday the 12th, the Blue Jackets at 7:30 on Saturday the 13th, the Wild at 7:00 on Monday the 15th, and the final round of games will take place on Tuesday the 16th, with the match-ups to be determined by the standings.
Last year I was able to record some of the games and post them, this year I will be recording all the Wings games, and posting them as well. My tentative plan is to post them by period in order to reduce the upload time. I'll also have media credentials again this year, so if there are any questions you have for the prospects, or suggestions for what kind of coverage or content you'd like to see, speak up or forever hold your peace. During the tournament I'll post updates here periodically, but I'll also post live updates on twitter during the games.
I get geeked up about this tournament every year because the quality of competition it on par with the AHL, and each prospect is either trying to earn a contract with their prospective NHL team, show they've got what it takes to make it to the big club in training camp, or make their team's AHL roster. These kids have a lot to prove and their intensity, passions, and commitment is incredible. I have more fun at this tournament than I do in the Red Wings training camp. If you have the ability to attend an of the games, I absolutely recommend doing so.