As the first big hockey event for the Wild of the 2015-16 season, the Traverse City prospect tournament provides Wild fans with our first big opportunity to get excited about hockey activities resuming. The prospects only tournament is a showcase of prospects who are close to turning pro in the next year or two. This year's tournament is being named in honor of Matthew Wuest, founder and creator of capgeek.com.
While most people will be understandably excited to see Gustav Olofsson after his year long injury, I’m also excited about defenseman Hunter Warner who is also coming off a season lost to injury. Before his shoulder surgery, Warner was impressive playing for the Prince Albert Raiders.
The Wild will also have a pair of Gophers donning sweaters for them in the tournament. Off-season free agent signing Mike Reilly will face the team that drafted him on Saturday, when the Wild play the Blue Jackets. Sam Warning is on a tryout after his stellar development camp performance.This tournament will also give us a chance to see Stephen Michalek before the beginning of training camp as a prelude to his season in Iowa.
The most recent draft picks on the Wild's squad are a trio of forwards from the 2014 draft: Chase Lang, Reid Duke, and Pavel Jenys; and they are joined by defenseman from the same draft, Tanner Faith. The two players in that group who I will be watching in particular are Pavel Jenys and Reid Duke. Reid Duke is coming off a particularly noticeable summer development camp and Pavel Jenys had a good season in spite of playing for a terrible team.