The Malik Report
by George Malik on 09/03/13 at 12:33 PM ET
Updated at 3:25 PM with some Griffins news: This story isn't Red Wings-related per se, but NHL.com's Mike G. Morreale gave the Red Wings' prospect tournament quite set of plugs and praises, and given that the lockout
[T]here's a good chance fans in attendance might catch a glimpse of a future Calder Trophy winner as the NHL's rookie of the year. It happened in 2010 when Carolina Hurricanes forward Jeff Skinner, the No. 7 pick in that year's NHL Draft, connected for two goals and finished with seven points in four tournament games in Traverse City before erupting for 31 goals and 63 points in 82 games with the Hurricanes en route to winning the Calder Trophy.
It's hard to believe that 11 years ago a 22-year-old Swede named Henrik Zetterberg, the Detroit Red Wings' seventh-round draft pick in 1999, participated in the developmental tournament. Zetterberg has gone on to win the Conn Smythe Trophy as MVP of the Stanley Cup Playoffs after the Red Wings beat Pittsburgh in the 2008 Final and now serves as Detroit's captain.
The five-day tournament, which precedes Detroit's training camp at the same location on Sept. 12, expanded to eight teams in 2006 and has become an annual staple for coaches and general managers to evaluate their own prospects against their peers. While the work stoppage last fall forced the cancellation of the event, coaches and players are excited to return to the resort community on Michigan's
In 2009, the tournament featured 10 players who would play as least one NHL game for their respective NHL team that season, including forward Brandon Sutter and defenseman Jamie McBain of the tournament champion Hurricanes and defenseman Michael Del Zotto of the New York Rangers.
Defenseman Zach Bogosian of the Atlanta Thrashers (now the Winnipeg Jets), and forwards Jakub Voracek of the Columbus Blue Jackets, James Neal of the Dallas Stars, Cal Clutterbuck of the Minnesota Wild and Patrik Berglund and T.J. Oshie of the St. Louis Blues highlighted the 2008 tournament.
The host Red Wings will compete in the Gordie Howe Division with the Wild, Blues and Stars. The Ted Lindsay Division will feature the Hurricanes, Blue Jackets, Rangers and Buffalo Sabres, who won the event in 2011.
"Here, we get to evaluate our kids against their own age group," Stars general manager Jim Nill told NHL.com. "The thing we didn't realize was how high a level of play it would become and, looking at the alumni of players who have come out of this tournament … Zetterberg, [Dany] Heatley, [Pavel] Datsyuk, Skinner … the level of play at this tourney is so high for this time of year. When you think about putting a bunch of kids together, who never played together on the ice, you think, 'Oh boy, this isn't going to be that crisp of hockey', but the hockey is unbelievable."
Update: As an FYI, here's a Grand Rapids Griffins press release regarding their pariticipants in the tourney:
SEVERAL GRIFFINS TO TAKE PART IN NHL PROSPECTS TOURNAMENT
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – Three Calder Cup champions headline a contingent of current and future Grand Rapids Griffins who will participate in the Detroit Red Wings’ annual NHL Prospects Tournament this week in Traverse City, Mich.
The tournament, which also features prospects from the Buffalo Sabres, Carolina Hurricanes, Columbus Blue Jackets, Dallas Stars, Minnesota Wild, New York Rangers and St. Louis Blues, will start this Thursday, Sept. 5 at Centre Ice Arena and continue through Monday, Sept. 9.
Griffins forwards Tomas Jurco, Teemu Pulkkinen and Riley Sheahan will hit the ice under the watchful eyes of coach Jeff Blashill and his staff, fresh off capturing the AHL’s Calder Cup in June. Defensemen Max Nicastro and Ryan Sproul served as black aces throughout Grand Rapids’ playoff run, while forward Calle Jarnkrok made a nine-game North American debut with the Griffins at the end of the 2012-13 regular season.
Several others who could make an impact on the Griffins’ 2013-14 campaign are slated to take part in the tournament, including goalie Jared Coreau, forwards Martin Frk and Marek Tvrdon, and defensemen Alexey Marchenko, Richard Nedomlel and Xavier Ouellet.
The complete Red Wings roster, ticket information and practice/game schedules can be found at detroitredwings.com.
The 2013 Calder Cup champions will begin defense of their title on Fri. Oct. 4 in Rochester, the first of three straight road games to start the season. The Griffins will then raise their championship banner prior to hosting the Milwaukee Admirals on Fri., Oct. 18 at 7 p.m. at Van Andel Arena.
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The Malik Report is a destination for all things Red Wings-related. I offer biased, perhaps unprofessional-at-times and verbose coverage of my favorite team, their prospects and developmental affiliates. I've joined the Kukla's Korner family with five years of blogging under my belt, and I hope you'll find almost everything you need to follow your Red Wings at a place where all opinions are created equal and we're all friends, talking about hockey and the team we love to follow.