Minnesota returns to the Traverse City prospects tournament after a one year work stoppage-induced hiatus with a 24 man roster evenly split between drafted players and invitees.
The tournament, hosted by Detroit, runs from September 5-9 with eight NHL teams participating. Besides the Wild and Red Wings, Buffalo, Carolina, Columbus, Dallas, New York Rangers and St. Louis will each send a team of prospects to the Center I.C.E. Arena in northern Michigan.
A pair of Wild first round picks in Zack Phillips (2011) and Mathew Dumba (2012) lead the way for Minnesota's roster. The two are joined by 2010 second round pick Brett Bulmer, 2012 second round pick Raphael Bussieres, 2013 3rd round pick Dylan Labbe and former University of Minnesota forward Erik Haula (2009 7th round pick).
They are also joined by a dozen invitees. One pitfall of the Traverse City tournament taking place in early September is that it is void of draftees who play college hockey. Since those players have to pay their own way as amateurs and are gearing up for the upcoming college season, they almost always stick with their own teams.* That means players like 2013 second round pick Gustav Olofsson (Colorado College), 2012 3rd round pick John Draeger (Michigan State) and 2011 second round pick Mario Lucia (Notre Dame) among others are not playing.
Instead, prospect development camp invitees like Cody Corbett (Edmonton Oil Kings/Lakeland, MN native), Carter Sandlak (Belleville - OHL) and Ben Walker (Victoria/Edina native) take advantage of Minnesota's recent draft shift and get another look in front of NHL scouts.
(There are a lot of NHL scouts. Dan covered the last Traverse City tournament in 2011 for First Round Bust and wrote about rubbing elbows with Guy Lapointe among other stories.)
The Wild play three games against each of the three teams in the Gordie Howe Division: Dallas, Detroit and St. Louis. Following round-robin play, they will play one last game depending on their spot.
2013 Wild Traverse City Game Times:This is the 15th year Traverse City has hosted a prospects tournament. Its success has spawned similar tournament in Penticton, BC (hosted by Vancouver). Minnesota won the 2010 edition of the tournament.
Thursday September 5 vs. Detroit (7:30 p.m. ET)
Friday September 6 vs. St. Louis (7:00 p.m. ET)
Sunday September 8 vs. Dallas (3:00 p.m. ET)
Monday September 9 - TBD
-Embedded in TC: Minnesota vs. Dallas (2011)
-Embedded in TC: Minnesota vs. Detroit (2011)
-Embedded in TC: Morning Skate Extravaganza (2011)
-2012 Traverse City Tournament Cancelled
Photo Credit: Dan Shrader/First Round Bust
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*Although Marshall Everson is listed as playing for Harvard last season, he signed a contract with Orlando after graduating college. His brother Max was one of multiple Crimson hockey players booted from the team in a university-wide cheating scandal. 2011 sixth round pick Steve Michalek is another.