It may still be 6 months away, but the Red Wings have released the dates for the NHL Prospect Tournament in Traverse City. The dates are the same as usual, however I was surprised to learn that the Chicago Blackhawks will be participating in the tournament this year, and the Buffalo Sabres will not.
Here's the official press release:
2015 NHL PROSPECT TOURNAMENT RETURNS TO TRAVERSE CITY
... Blackhawks Added to Eight-Team Pool for Annual Tournament at Centre ICE Arena ...
DETROIT - Detroit Red Wings Executive Vice President and General Manager Ken Holland today announced that the Red Wings will host their annual NHL Prospect Tournament at Centre ICE Arena in Traverse City, Mich., from Sept. 11-15, 2015. The Chicago Blackhawks have been added to the eight-team tournament this fall, joining the Carolina Hurricanes, Columbus Blue Jackets, Dallas Stars, Minnesota Wild, New York Rangers, St. Louis Blues and Red Wings.
This marks the 17th season that Traverse City will host the tournament, boasting nearly 500 players who have skated in at least one NHL game. Twenty-four players who participated in the tournament in September 2014 have made at least one appearance in the NHL this season, while 16 prospects from the Red Wings' last three tournament rosters have played in at least one NHL game, including current roster players Joakim Andersson, Tomas Jurco, Alexey Marchenko, Petr Mrazek, Gustav Nyquist, Teemu Pulkkinen, Riley Sheahan and Brendan Smith. The Columbus Blue Jackets were tournament champions in 2014, winning the title for the third time in their history.
The tournament divides the eight-team field into two four-team divisions. Teams will play each team in their division during the round robin before a crossover on the final day of the tournament, capped off with the first-place finishers in each division meeting for the championship on Tuesday, Sept. 15. A complete tournament schedule and rosters for each team will be released at a later date.
I look forward to this tournament every year. It's great to watch some of the best prospects the participating teams have in their system before most people even know who they are. If you're able to come watch any of the tournament, I highly recommend it. I've never not had a blast, and the competition level is comparable to that of the AHL so you get your money's worth. It's a sneak peak at upcoming Red Wings and Griffins, and your chance to see them before everyone else.
We'll have more updates as Development Camp approaches with rosters, and of course keep everyone posted on summer schedules and tournament rosters as they're released.