The NHL Prospects Tournament in Traverse City wrapped up this week with the Carolina Hurricanes finishing off an undefeated tournament with a win over the Detroit Red Wings 6-4 to win the Matthew Wuest Memorial Cup. Carolina trailed just once during the tournament in their first contest against the New York Rangers that was eventually won in overtime.
Tournament Record – 4-0 (First Place)
Carolina brought balanced scoring to the table, with 18 players recording at least one point. The Canes put together an impressive four-game undefeated stretch, scoring 20 goals and recording 128 shots on goal, both of which were tournament highs. Even more impressive is that they did it without three of their top prospects. Haydn Fleury was injured during the Canes first game of the tournament on a freak play, missing the remainder of the tournament, and Sebastian Aho (World Cup – Finland) and Aleksi Saarela (injury) were both unavailable.
Honestly, there weren’t too many Canes who weren’t impressive in Traverse City, but their big guns performed up to their potential. Sergei Tolchinsky, Valentin Zykov, Nicolas Roy, Julien Gauthier and Andrew Poturalski did an impressive job in the Canes possession game, generating shots and finding open teammates. Jake Bean, Roland McKeown and Noah Carroll were rock solid on the back-end.
Steven Lorentz had a great tournament, and will return to Peterborough for his overage season after Canes training camp. Noah Carroll was also a pleasant surprise, showing growth in all three zones.
Detroit Red Wings
Tournament Record – 2-2 (Second Place)
The hometown Red Wings finished in second place, battling back from 5-1 down in the third period of the championship game to keep the score-line close. Detroit’s forwards performed well, scoring 11 of the teams 12 goals.
Tyler Bertuzzi was one of the tournaments best players, finishing in the top-five in goals (4), points (5) and shots (17). Filip Hronek paced the Wings from the back-end with three points in four games. The 53rd overall pick in this years entry draft will spend the 2016-17 season in North America for the first time, after the OHL’s Saginaw Spirit took him with the 14th overall pick in the 2016 CHL Import Draft.
I personally expected Joe Hicketts to dominate this tournament, but he finished with just one assist and a minus-3 rating in four games. Former Harvard captain Kyle Criscuolo was impressive, with four scoring points and 13 shots over the duration of the tournament. He was signed by the Red Wings to an entry-level contract following his senior season with the Crimson, and played four games for Grand Rapids (AHL) at the end of last year.
Columbus Blue Jackets
Tournament Record – 3-1 (Third Place)
The second highest scoring team in the tournament put together a strong showing over four games, with a 6-4 loss to Detroit in the tournaments first game as their only hiccup. After their game one loss, they outscored their opponents 13-7 over the teams final three games.
2013 fourth-round selection Nick Moutrey finished tied with Jimmy Vesey for the tournament lead in points, and former Barrie Colt Justin Scott added four goals. As far as the Jackets top prospects were concerned, they played well. Both Sonny Milano and Pierre-Luc Duboi