Each year, the Wild participate in the Traverse City prospect tournament along with a handful of other NHL teams. It's much like the Grapefruit League of hockey. Send the kids, let then stretch their legs against their fellow prospects, and possibly bring home some hardware and build some winning ways.
If you remember, last year the Wild prospects won the tourney for the first time, and three prospects were inked. Josh Caron, Colton Jobke, and Jared Spurgeon. While Jobke and Caron were sent back to their junior squads, Spurgeon went on to fast success with the Aeros and then the Wild.
Are there any further diamonds in the rough? Will there be another Jared Spurgeon among the tryouts signed for the tournament? Will this tournament EVER be broadcast for hockey fans to watch?
Make the jump for the roster, the schedule, and some discussion.Full Roster, via Glen Andresen at Wild.com:
|Minnesota Wild 2011 PROSPECTS TOURNAMENT ROSTER
|#||Position / Player||Birthday||2010-2011 Team||Hometown|
|73||F - Joel Broda||Nov. 24, 1989||Houston (AHL)/Bakersfield (ECHL)||Prince Albert, SK|
|54||F - Brett Bulmer||Apr. 26, 1992||Kelowna (WHL)||Prince George, BC|
|38||F - Nathan Burns||Jul. 15, 1993||Vancouver (whl)||Edmonton, AB|
|52||F - Justin Fontaine||Nov. 26, 1987||UMD (wcha)||Bonnyville,AB|
|72||F - Kristopher Foucalt||Dec. 12, 1990||Calgary (WHL)||Calgary, AB|
|53||F - Tyler Graovac||Apr. 27, 1993||Ottawa (OHL)||Brampton,ON|
|81||F - Mike Kramer||Aug. 28, 1987||Princeton (ECAC)||St. Paul,MN|
|75||F - Alex Belzile||Aug. 31, 1991||Rimouski (QMJHL)||St-Eloi,QC|
|57||F - Tyler Maxwell||Apr. 13, 1991||Everett (WHL)||Manhattan Beach,CA|
|34||F - David McIntyre||Feb. 4, 1987||Albany (AHL)||Pefferlaw, ON|
|83||F- Taylor Peters||Jan. 24, 1992||Portland (WHL)||Delta,BC|
|61||F - Zack Phillips||Oct. 28, 1992||Saint John (QMJHL)||Fredericton, NB
|80||F - Carter Sandlak||May 18, 1993||Belleville (OHL)||London, ON|
|82||F - Dylan Willick||Oct. 19, 1992||Kamloops (WHL)||Prince George, BC|
|56||D - Dylan Busenius||Jan. 30, 1993||Medicine Hat (WHL)||Sherwood Park, AB|
|68||D - Josh Caron||Feb. 10, 1991||Kamloops (WHL)||Campbell River,BC|
|26||D - Tyler Cuma||Jan. 19, 1990||Houston (AHL)||Toronto, ON|
|59||D - Kris Fredheim||Feb. 23, 1987||Houston (AHL)||Campbell River,BC|
|65||D - Chay Genoway||Dec. 20, 1986||North Dakota (WCHA)||Morden,MB|
|74||D - COLTON JOBKE||Apr. 20, 1992||Kelowna (WHL)||Delta, BC|
|62||D - Sam Lofquist||Mar. 15, 1990||Guelph (OHL)||Somerset,WI|
|67||D - Kyle Medvec||Jun. 16, 1988||Vermont (HE)||Burnsville,MN|
|31||G - Matthew Hackett||Mar. 7, 1990||Houston (AHL)||London,ON|
|35||G - Darcy Kuemper||May 5, 1990||Red Deer (WHL)||Saskatoon,SK|
Tryout players are in bold type.
Saturday, September 10
|2:30 PM||Minnesota Wild
|6:00 PM||NY Rangers
St. Louis Blues
Detroit Red Wings
Columbus Blue Jackets
Sunday, September 11
|2:00 PM||St. Louis
|5:00 PM||NY Rangers
Tuesday, September 13
|2:00 PM||Dallas||St. Louis
|2:30 PM||NY Rangers
Wednesday, September 14
|2:00 PM||4th Gretzky
|2:30 PM||3rd Gretzky
|5:30 PM||2nd Gretzky
|6:00 PM||1st Gretzky
The Traverse City tournament is something 99% of hockey fans could not care less about. It ranks up there with development camp in the importance to the average hockey fan. Caring about Traverse City is generally left for the hard core fans, those who care deeply about the prospects and understand what they mean to the future of the franchise. For that reason, we truly wish there was a way to get this tourney broadcast in the markets playing in the tournament.
Alas, the money must not make sense, for it has yet to grace my TV screen.
Looking at the roster, you will hopefully notice that most of the top tier prospects are not involved. Mikael Granlund, Jonas Brodin and others have already begun their seasons in Europe, and players like Charlie Coyle and Jason Zucker are prepping for their college programs. Thus, the influx of the tryouts.
The names of guys like Sam Lofquist, Kris Fredheim, Dylan Busenius, Dylan Willick, Carter Sandlack, Taylor Peters, Tyler Maxwell, Alex Belzile, Mike Kramer, and Nathan Burns may not mean anything to you right now, how many of you knew who Jared Spurgeon was at this point last year?
According to our contract page, the Wild have 45 contracts on the books. That leaves them five contracts to work with, should they find a player worthy of a deal. No GM wants to pin themselves in by hitting the cap, so don't expect a windfall, but if one of these players shines, maybe they get a chance. You may also see some of them sign deals to play in Houston.
While the tournament will take place mostly out of sight and out of mind, keep an eye out for signings, and hope for further success from the kids. The more success they have at the lower levels, the more success they will want to have at the top levels.
Stay tuned here for details as we get closer, and for updates as the tourney progresses.