Prospects Ramblings: Traverse City NHL Prospect Tournament Preview

Kevin LeBlanc




On September 16th, eight NHL teams will send their selected prospect rosters to the 18th Annual NHL Prospect Tournament in Traverse City, Michigan. The tournament consists of two, four-team divisions named for NHL Hall of Famers Gordie Howe and Ted Lindsay. Each team will play a round-robin schedule within their division, with the division winners playing for the Matthew Wuest Memorial Cup in the Championship.

Gordie Howe Division                 Ted Lindsay Division
Columbus Blue Jackets                   Carolina Hurricanes
Chicago Blackhawks                   Minnesota Wild
St. Louis Blues                   Dallas Stars
Detroit Red Wings                   New York Rangers          


Traverse City By the Numbers

Total players on a Traverse City roster who were NHL draft picks: 112

Number of players drafted in 2016 playing in Traverse City: 25

Team with the most drafted players on their Traverse City roster: Carolina, 18

Highest drafted player playing in the tournament: Pierre-Luc Dubois – CBJ, 3rd Overall – 2016


Team Breakdowns:


Carolina Hurricanes

Forwards    Drafted      Defense    Drafted      Goaltenders    Drafted
Clark Bishop 2014,
7th Overall
    Jake Bean 2016,
13th Overall
    Callum Booth 2015,
93rd Overall
Hudson Elynuik 2016,
74th Overall
    Noah Carroll 2016,
164th Overall
    Jeremy Helvig 2016,
134th Overall
Mike Ferrantino Undrafted     Haydn Fleury 2014,
7th Overall
     Alex Nedeljkovic 2014,
37th Overall
Warren Foegele 2014,
67th Overall
    Ben Gleason Undrafted      
Julien Gauthier 2016,
21st Overall
    Roland McKeown 2014,
50th Overall
Janne Kuokkanen 2016,
43rd Overall
    Alex Peters Undrafted      
Steven Lorentz 2015,
186th Overall
    Josh Wesley 2014,
96th Overall
Andrew Poturalski Undrafted  
Nicolas Roy 2015,
96th Overall
Spencer Smallman 2015,
138th Overall
Sergey Tolchinsky Undrafted    
Lucas Wallmark 2014,
97th Overall
Valentin Zykov 2013,
37th Overall



The Canes enter the 2016 NHL Prospect Tournament with a stacked lineup consisting of 18 drafted players, 14 of which were drafted in the top-100 of their respective draft. A good mix of talented prospects and tournament veterans join first-round selections Haydn Fleury, Jake Bean and Julien Gauthier on the roster. Alex Nedeljkovic will likely carry the load in net, while players such as Valentin Zykov, Sergey Tolchinsky and Lucas Wallmark will look to impress prior to NHL training camp. This group could be even deeper were Aleksi Saarela not a late scratch due to injury. The Canes could be the tournament favorite given their depth.

Highest Drafted Player: Haydn Fleury, 7th Overall, 2014

Player To Watch: Tons of names here, but if I had to narrow it down to one, my choice would be Julien Gauthier. He showed glimpses of dominance in prospect camp this summer and will look to parlay a solid NHL Prospect Tournament into a stellar season in 2016-17.

Under the Radar: Lucas Wallmark. The 2014 fourth-rounder has been a bit overlooked, but could have a Victor Rask-like rise with a good showing.


Chicago Blackhawks

Forwards    Drafted      Defense    Drafted      Goaltenders    Drafted
Radovan Bondra 2015,
151st Overall
  Carl Dahlstrom 2013,
51st Overall
  Jake Hildebrand Undrafted
Bryn Chyzyk Undrafted   Gustav Forsling 2014,
126th Overall
  Brent Moran 2014, 115th Overall
John Dahlstrom 2015, 211th Overall   Jeff King Undrafted      
Alex DeBrincat 2016, 39th Overall   Justin Lemcke Undrafted      
Alexandre Fortin Undrafted   Robin Norell 2013, 111th Overall      
Luke Johnson 2013, 134th Overall   Dmitry Osipov Undrafted      
Graham Knott 2015, 54th Overall   Travis Walsh Undrafted      
Trevor Mingoia Undrafted    
Tyler Motte 2013, 121st Overall            
Ivan Nikolishin Undrafted    
Nathan Noel 2016, 113th Overall            
Roy Radke 2015, 164th Overall            
Nick Schmaltz 2014, 20th Overall            
Hayden Verbeek Undrafted    



Chicago’s entry into the NHL Prospect Tournament consists of a majority of mid-to-late round draft selections and undrafted prospects. Two dominant college hockey players making the jump to pro hockey this season in Nick Schmaltz and Tyler Motte highlight the Blackhawks group. Linköping teammates Carl Dahlström and Gustav Forsling are a pair to watch on the blueline.

Highest Drafted Player: Nick Schmaltz, 20th Overall, 2014

Player To Watch: Alex DeBrincat. It will be interesting to see the super-talented, diminutive forward compete against players of this caliber. He has the talent to shine.  

Under the Radar: John Dahlström. The 2015 seventh-round selection was close to a point-per-game performer for the Frölunda U20’s last season. He will play in the WHL for Medicine Hat in the fall.


Columbus Blue Jackets

Forwards    Drafted      Defense    Drafted      Goaltenders    Drafted
Vitaly Abramov 2016,
65th Overall
  Stephen Gibson Undrafted   Jeremy Brodeur Undrafted
Francis Beauvillier 2012,
174th Overall
  Jacob Graves Undrafted   Lucas Peressini Undrafted
Paul Bittner 2015,
38th Overall
  Dillon Heatherington 2013,
50th Overall
Pierre-Luc Dubois 2016,
3rd Overall
  Frank Hora Undrafted      
Keegan Kolesar 2015,
69th Overall
  Markus Nutivaara 2015,
189th Overall
Darby Llewellyn Undrafted   Sam Ruopp 2015,
129th Overall
Jordan Maletta Undrafted   Blake Siebenaler 2014,
77th Overall
Sonny Milano 2014,
16th Overall
  Zach Werenski 2015,
8th Overall
Nick Moutrey 2013,
105th Overall
Dante Salituro Undrafted    
Justin Scott Undrafted    
Kole Sherwood Undrafted    
Calvin Thurkauf 2016,
185th Overall



The Blue Jackets enter the 2016 NHL Prospect Tournaments as back-to-back champions. Their roster includes high-end talent in Pierre-Luc Dubois, Sonny Milano and Zach Werenski, all former first round picks drafted in the top-20. Undrafted OHL veterans Lucas Peressini and Jeremy Brodeur set the tone between the pipes. If Columbus is going to repeat for the third time in a row in Traverse City, it will need a strong performance from its stars.

Highest Drafted Player: Pierre-Luc Dubois, 3rd Overall, 2016

Player To Watch: Vitaly Abramov. His fall down draft boards to the third round in 2016 was due to his size, not his ability. Abramov has game-breaking offensive talent and should fit in well in Columbus’s prospect group.

Under the Radar: Keegan Kolesar. The Seattle Thunderbirds (WHL) power-forward had a breakout season in 2015-16 with 30 goals, 61 points and 107 penalty minutes. He is a fun player to watch, with a motor that never stops running.


Dallas Stars

Forwards    Drafted      Defense    Drafted      Goaltenders    Drafted
Nick Caamano 2016,
146th Overall
  Brandon Anselmini Undrafted   Landon Bow Undrafted
Connor Chatham 2014,
71st Overall
  Gordie Ballhorn Undrafted   Philippe Desrosiers 2013,
54th Overall
Remi Elie 2013,
40th Overall
  Ludwig Bystrom 2012,
43rd Overall
  Henri Kivaiho 2012,
144th Overall
Austin Glover Undrafted   Niklas Hansson 2013,
68th Overall
Denis Guryanov 2015,
12th Overall
  Miro Karjalainen 2014,
135th Overall
Cordell James Undrafted   Chris Martenet 2015,
103rd Overall
Samuel Laberge Undrafted   Ondrej Vala    
Mike McMurtry Undrafted    
Grayson Pawlenchuk Undrafted            
Devin Shore 2012,
61st Overall
Ethan Szypula Undrafted    
Jordan Topping Undrafted    
Cole Ully 2013,
131st Overall



Dallas has done a good job in recent years of integrating their prospect group onto their NHL roster and surrounding them with veteran talent. The Stars have a good amount of free agent invites on their Traverse City roster due to many of their prospects being college players. Devin Shore has a chance to impress and show Stars management that he is ready to make the jump to the NHL in 2016-17.

Highest Drafted Player: Denis Guryanov, 12th Overall, 2015

Player To Watch: Has to be Guryanov. Taken with the 12th overall selection in the 2015 draft, the young Russian has had a turbulent start to his career. Two unsuccessful seasons for Lada Togliatti (KHL) have brought up questions about his development moving forward. The Stars have to be relieved they will have Guryanov on North American soil to more closely monitor him this fall.  

Under the Radar: Cole Ully. The former Kamloops Blazer showcased his offensive upside in the WHL averaging over a point-per-game in his final three seasons of junior. He split time between the AHL and ECHL last season.


Detroit Red Wings

Forwards    Drafted      Defense    Drafted      Goaltenders    Drafted
Tyler Bertuzzi 2013,
58th Overall
  Matthew Caito Undrafted   Jake Paterson 2012,
80th Overall
Mike Borkowski Undrafted   Dylan Coghlan Undrafted   Stephen Dhillon Undrafted
Justin Brazeau Undrafted   Joe Hicketts Undrafted   Connor Hicks Undrafted
Luke Coleman Undrafted   Filip Hronek 2016,
53rd Overall
Kyle Criscuolo Undrafted   Dan Renouf Undrafted      
Jeff De Wit Undrafted   Robbie Russo 2011,
95th Overall
Luke Kirwin Undrafted   Jordan Sambrook 2016,
137th Overall
Adam Marsh 2015,
200th Overall
Zach Nastasiuk 2013,
48th Overall
Dylan Sadowy 2014,
81st Overall
Mathew Santos Undrafted    
Givani Smith 2016,
46th Overall
Evgeny Svechnikov 2015,
19th Overall
Dominic Turgeon 2014,
63rd Overall



The Red Wings bring a talented group, with nine of their 11 drafted prospects selected in the top-100 of their respective draft.  Their forward group is deeply talented with players such as Evgeny Svechnikov, Dylan Sadowy, Zach Nastasiuk and Dominic Turgeon leading the way.

Highest Drafted Player: Evgeny Svechnikov, 19th Overall, 2015

Player To Watch: Joe Hicketts. After earning an entry-level contract with his play at this tournament in 2014, Hicketts returns to Traverse City for the third time fresh off an all-star season for Victoria (WHL).

Under the Radar: Jake Paterson. He will be an integral part of the Red Wings team in net, and a strong showing should propel him towards starts for Grand Rapids after spending 2015-16 in the ECHL.


Minnesota Wild

Forwards    Drafted      Defense    Drafted      Goaltenders    Drafted
Sam Anas Undrafted   Gustav Bouramman 2015,
201st Overall
  Stephen Michalek 2011,
161st Overall
Christoph Bertschy 2012,
158th Overall
  Braydyn Chizen 2016,
204th Overall
  Adam Vay Undrafted
Parker Bowles Undrafted   Blake Heinrich 2013,
144th Overall
Cody Bradley Undrafted   Gustav Olofsson 2013,
46th Overall
Joel Eriksson Ek 2015,
20th Overall
  Nick Seeler 2011,
131st Overall
Adam Gilmour 2012,
98th Overall
  Hunter Warner Undrafted      
Keegan Iverson 2014,
85th Overall
  Nolan Zajac Undrafted      
Tanner Jeannot Undrafted    
Pavel Jenys 2014,
199th Overall
Chase Lang 2014,
167th Overall
Mario Lucia 2011,
60th Overall
Alex Petan Undrafted    
Nick Saracino Undrafted    
Dmitry Sokolov 2016,
196th Overall
Alex Tuch 2014,
18th Overall



Alex Tuch and Joel Eriksson Ek headline the Wild’s roster in Traverse City. They are joined by a handful of prospects fresh off their final years in college hockey in Mario Lucia, Adam Gilmour, Nick Seeler and Sam Anas. Gustav Olofsson and Blake Heinrich will pitch in from the back-end.

Highest Drafted Player: Alex Tuch, 18th Overall, 2014

Player To Watch: Joel Eriksson Ek. This tournament is a great way to get a glimpse at European players who are coming to play in North America. Eriksson Ek will have the opportunity to showcase the talent that got him selected as a top-20 pick in 2015.  

Under the Radar: Sam Anas. After completing a stellar career at Quinnipiac University, Anas was one of the most sought after undrafted college free agents this summer. He will be one to watch to see how his offense translates from the college game, where posted over a point-per-game all three seasons.


New York Rangers

Forwards    Drafted      Defense    Drafted      Goaltenders    Drafted
Nick Betz Undrafted   Calle Andersson 2012,
119th Overall
  Brandon Halverson 2014,
59th Overall
Pavel Buchnevich 2013,
75th Overall
  Colton Bobyk Undrafted   Joseph Raaymakers Undrafted
Adam Chapie Undrafted   Sean Day 2016,
81st Overall
Reid Duke 2014,
169th Overall
  Dylan Di Perna Undrafted      
Steven Fogarty 2011,
72nd Overall
  John Gilmour 2013,
198th Overall
Tim Gettinger 2016,
141st Overall
  Zachary Malatesta Undrafted      
Ryan Gropp 2015,
41st Overall
  Turner Ottenbreit Undrafted      
Michael Joly Undrafted   Sergey Zborovskiy 2015,
79th Overall
Robin Kovacs 2015,
62nd Overall
Brad Morrison 2015,
113th Overall
Cristoval Nieves 2012,
59th Overall
Ty Ronning 2016,
201st Overall
Malte Stromwall Undrafted    
Jimmy Vesey 2012,
66th Overall
Zachary Zborosky Undrafted    



Despite not having a first round-pick on their Traverse City roster, the Rangers bring an impressive 15 drafted prospects to the tournament. Although Pavel Buchnevich and Jimmy Vesey are the headliners, New York has depth at forward, a talented group of defenseman and a strong goaltender in Brandon Halverson. That formula makes them one of the tournaments favorites.

Highest Drafted Player: Ryan Gropp, 41th Overall, 2015

Player To Watch: Pavel Buchnevich. Although Vesey will likely grab the headlines, Buchnevich is the player I’m most interested to see. Both players will battle for a top-nine role with the Rangers this year.  

Under the Radar: Robin Kovacs. After a solid year in Sweden’s second division, Kovacs signed his entry-level deal with the Rangers. He has the potential to be a multi-category winger in the future.


St. Louis Blues

Forwards    Drafted      Defense    Drafted      Goaltenders    Drafted
Ivan Barbashev 2014,
33rd Overall
  Sean Allen Undrafted   Evan Fitzpatrick 2016,
59th Overall
Samuel Blais 2014,
176th Overall
  Santino Centorame Undrafted   Ville Husso 2014,
94th Overall
Conner Bleackley 2016,
144th Overall
  Vince Dunn 2015,
56th Overall
Liam Dunda 2015,
176th Overall
  Aiden Jamieson Undrafted      
Everett Clark Undrafted   Jordan Schmaltz 2012,
25th Overall
Glenn Gawdin 2015,
116th Overall
  Dmitrii Sergeev Undrafted      
Filip Helt 2016,
211th Overall
  Kevin Tansey Undrafted      
Jake Henderson Undrafted   Thomas Vannelli 2013,
47th Overall
Tanner Kaspick 2016,
119th Overall
Jordan Kyrou 2016,
35th Overall
Igor Leonenko Undrafted    
Owen McDonald Undrafted    
Mackenzie MacEachern 2012,
67th Overall
Adam Musil 2015,
94th Overall
Justin Selman Undrafted    



St. Louis enters the tournament with high-level prospects in net and on the blueline. Ville Husso and Evan Fitzpatrick make up the tandem in goal with Vince Dunn, Jordan Schmaltz and Thomas Vannelli manning the blueline. With Ivan Barbashev, Jordan Kyrou, Conner Bleakley and Mackenzie MacEachern up front, the Blues should be fun to watch.

Highest Drafted Player: Jordan Schmaltz, 25th Overall, 2012

Player To Watch: Ville Husso. Regarded as one of the best goalie prospects on the planet, the former fourth-round pick could steal the show in Traverse City. Husso is a star in the making.

Under the Radar: Glenn Gawdin. The Swift Current Broncos center has developed nicely since being selected in the fourth round in 2015. He is a two-way player who tends to defer to making plays in the offensive zone rather than creating offense for himself. 


For more information on the NHL Prospect Tournament, head over to their website at



Give Kevin a follow @kleblanchockey for NHL prospect talk and happenings.





Name Fantasy Upside NHL Certainty
Colby Barlow 8.0 9.5
Ville Heinola 6.5 8.5
Dylan Coghlan 4.5 7.5
Oskar Magnusson 6.5 4.0
Patrick Guay 7.0 5.0
Brandon Lisowsky 6.5 5.5
Nick Malik 4.5 1.0
Kyle Jackson 6.0 5.0
Viktor Persson 6.0 2.0
Jeremy Langlois 6 5.5