Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Jackets finish 8th in Traverse City

The Blue Jackets played their best game of the Traverse City Prospects tournament today, oh wait did I say game I meant period. This was the only the second time the Jackets went into the first intermission either tied or with the lead in the tournament. The game was a rough one but my dad and I could tell this was gonna be this way when Jackets enforcer Kyle Neuber and Blues tough guy Stefan Della Rovere were talking during warm-ups. A total of 26 penalties were called totaling 92 penalty minutes with Neuber and fellow OHL tough guy Dalton Smith getting 29 of those minutes. The game appeared to be a complete loss with the Jackets down 3-0 in the 3rd until former Portland teammates Ryan Johansen and Chris Francis scored back to back goals 46 seconds apart. Cody Goloubef assisted on both goals, the assist on Johansen's goal was a beautiful pass from about the blueline for a wrist shot from Johansen. How many times have we heard this in a Blue Jackets post game article, special teams KILLED the Jackets today with the Blues scoring 5 power play goals in the game. I can only think of two goals I wouldnt blame on starting goaltender Riley Gill one was either a second or third effort and the other was a blast from the top prospect in the NHL Alex Pietrangelo.

For the first time I can think of in this tournament you knew the 4th overall pick in the 2010 draft was out there, I talked about Ryan Johansen's goal but also today we saw the guy isnt afraid to throw his weight around with big hit in the first period. Petr Straka continued to showcase his skill but you caan tell he's probably used to playing with players with a bit more skill than his linemates up here. Anyone from Springfield who reads this should be happy to know that future Falcon Chris Francis led the team in scoring with 3 goals and 1 asssist.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Jackets blown away by Hurricanes

Sorry about the bad pun for a title folks but I had to, thats what this game looked like the eye of the storm was the first period. The Jackets were outshot 22 to 5 but they skated away trailing 1-0. The second and third period is when the Jackets got hit by everything including the kitchen sink getting outscored 7 to 1 over the final 40 minutes. Canes 2010 1st round pick Jeff Skinner scored 5 points on the Jackets including 1 of the few goals I wont blame on goaltender Jason Missiaen cause it was a laser and a half. Now the other night I wouldnt blame Riley Gill for the Minnesota game, tonight I cant say that I lost track of how many times I tweeted Canes score on a mishandled rebound. I dont know if it would of made much of a difference but the Jackets were without Ryan Johansen and Matt Calvert both as healthy scratches and David Savard was nursing a bruised foot.

Now so far in these I've mentioned players that impressed me but i'm scratching my head trying to think of anyone, the only ones I can think of are the Portland duo of Chris Francis and Oliver Gabriel. Francis for the second game was part of the Jacket's only goal scoring it after picking up an assist the other night.

Tomorrow is the final day of the tournament the Blue Jackets will be battling for 7th or 8th place tomorrow at 2pm against the Dallas Stars hopefully getting my first look at 2010 1st round pick Jack Campbell of the Stars(possibly the future of USA Hockey). The rest of the day looks like this the 5th place will between the Rangers and Blues at 2:30. The 3rd place game will be between the Hurricanes and Lightning and the host Red Wings taking on the Houston Aeros oh I mean the Minnesota Wild team of "prospects"

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Jackets fall to Wild

Just a warning Jackets fans this is going to be a very negative post.

The Blue Jackets will not win the Traverse City Prospect Tournament this year, now before you call for my head on a hockey stick hear me out. The Blue Jackets are the only team that brought a team of actual prospects, I say this because during the second intermission me and my Dad starting looking at the Wild's roster and where it said what league the player played in last season we saw NHL not once not twice but a whopping three times. That got us looking through the rest of the tournament's rosters, now the Wild is the only team we did the actual math for the Wild brought a team that played a combined 280 NHL,AHL or ECHL games last season. The Blue Jackets total in those leagues 4, 3 of those by today's starting goaltender Riley Gill with the ECHL's Kalamazoo Wings. Now I can't think of a good defintion of a player that qualifies them as a prospect but playing in a professional league has to change that status a little. Sorry for my ranting on to the actual game recap.

For the second game in a row the Jackets got off to a fast start scoring within the first two minutes with Oliver Gabriel scoring off a Chris Francis shot to take a 1-0 lead. After the Wild tied it at 1-1 a few minutes later is when the rough stuff started, the referees called 7 penalties for either fighting or coincidental minors for roughing. Now the NHL must be using this tournament to try a new officiating system, the system will use 24 referees 20 were wearing red shirts that looked a lot like Minnesota Wild jerseys and 4 wearing the normal black and white striped shirt. The system appeared to work ok because everytime the refs in red shirts yelled out a penalty the refs in black would call it leading to the Wild having 6 power plays. Columbus's power play went 0 for 8 including at least a minute of 5 on 3(i forget how long sorry). I'm not putting all the blame on goalie Riley Gill, Gill stood on his head a few times and made some spectacular saves when the game was already out of reach.

This is a hard game to tell you who impressed me because you really only noticed the guys throwing there weight around. Dalton Prout and Michael Kantor continued to impress, but it wasnt for the passes like I commented about Kantor yesterday it was for his fists. But theres a negative Kantor was called for 3 minors and a 5 minute major for fighting. Prout was solid again in the losing effort, Petr Straka was the only non tough guy to impress in his tournament debut picking up an assist. Tomorrow is a practice only day with the tournament picking up on Wednesday with the Jackets(0-2) playing Carolina(1-1) at 6:30

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Jackets fall in tournamnet opener

The Blue Jackets team of prospects fell to the New York Ranger's prospects 5-4 with only 6.1 seconds remaining today at the Huntington Rink at The Centre Ice Arena in Traverse City, MI. The Jackets got 3 points from Tomas Kubalik and 2 assists from 2010 1st round pick Ryan Johansen. While the Rangers got 3 point games out of top prospect Derek Stephan and Ryan Bourque. The Jackets started 6'8 monster Jason Missanen while the Rangers countered with Scott Stajcer. Columbus started what i'm guessing is being called the team's first line made up of Kubalik, Johansen and Matt Calvert while the defense was John Moore and Theo Ruth. The game was a physical affair with the Rangers defenseman Jyri Niemi losing his helmet on a hit by Dalton Prout(I believe could be wrong sorry). I'll admit its hard to judge the ref with them being from either the AHL or the QMJHL but as usual with Jackets games a lot of what seemed like non-calls or at least things I thought deserved a penalty. The Jackets who were already a little shorthanded losing 3 players to either injury or not coming over from Europe might have lost another when Steven Delsile suffered a upper-body injury(never too early for playoff speak) in a second period fight with Rangers pick Randy McNaught. Every goal in this game was scored either off a rebound or from about the slot out so I wouldnt put much of the blame on Missiaen. I'll try and take better notes tomorrow when the Jackets travel to the David's Rink as the visiting team against the Minnesota Wild who defeated the Carolina Hurricanes today 2-1.

Some of the players that impressed me were Dalton Prout, the 2010 draft pick was noticeable all game long with big hits and strong defensive play. I tought Michael Kantor was a goon but he used those hands to make some nice passes out of the zone.

Friday, September 3, 2010

The Jackets Opponents in Traverse City

Now lets meet the teams the Blue Jackets prospects will be playing in Traverse City. Now these will be nothing like my preview of the Jackets these will be semi short just the highlight. I'm using the Hockey News Season Preview when mentioning the team's top 10 and including what it says about them.

The Hurricanes are the defending champions of the Traverse City Prospect tournament beating the Minnesota Wild's team 4-0 in the championship. Zac Dalpe left Ohio State after only his sophomore year to begin his pro career, picking up a hat trick in only his 4th career AHL game. Eric Staal's brother Jared will be on the Cane's team after being acquired in a trade.
Top 10 Prospects playing in Tournament
#2 Jeff Skinner-Accomplished skater has superb goal scoring instincts
#5 Zac Dalpe-Adept finisher almost doubled his production as a sophomore
#10 Riley Nash-A 2007 first-rounder, he has evolved into a two-way checker

Since I forgot in my earlier blogs here's the CBJ's Top 10 Prospects that are playing.
#2 Ryan Johansen-Plays Eric Staal style, but needs to bulk up, play stronger
#3 John Moore-Late 1990 birth date means no more junior; NHL or AHL this year
#7 Theo Ruth-Low risk stay at home needs a healthy senior season. (playing in Springfield)
#8 Cody Goloubef-Spent three years in Madison protecting the home front
#9 Dalton Smith-Gritty winger doesn't hesitate to get his nose dirty

The Dallas Stars have an easy way to get on there Traverse City team, be a player on the Star's brother. Jamie Benn's brother Jordie and the newest Jackets nemesis James Neal's brother Michael will be on the team. Matt Calvert's linemate Scott Glennie is the Star's top prospect. This will be Luke Gazdic's 4th year in the tournament picking up 27 penalty minutes.
Top 10 prospects playing in tournament
#1 Scott Glennie-Smooth-skating scorer had monster offensive season after recovering from injuries, but didn't light it up in the playoffs. He'll never play a power, physical game, but he does need to add grit at the next level.
#2 Jack Campbell-Mentally sound and solid under pressure; Bound for Windsor
#3 Tyler Beskorowany-Got a ton of work last season and earmarked for Texas(AHL)
#4 Philip Larsen-Plays with skill, calm and top-notch hockey sense
#7 Colton Sceviour-Grinding style winger well suited for energy line
#9 Tomas Vincour-Found scoring touch after trade from Edmonton to Vancouver

Darren Archibald's name might seem familiar to hardcore Blue Jackets because if you went to the opening day training camp last year might remember when two players dropped the gloves Archibald was one of those players.

Sorry for the break, anyway the Red Wings feature Ray Ferraro's son Landon a second round pick of the team in 09. Top prospect Brendan Smith is another defenseman leaving Wisconsin early to begin his pro career
Top 10 prospects playing in tournament
#1 Brendan Smith-Improvement has been impressive and steady in three college seasons. A fabulous skater who loves to rush the puck, Smith has little to prove in a fourth season an would do well with a year in the AHL
#2 Tomas Tatar-Speedy Winger has good instincts, needs defensive refinement
#5 Tomas McCollum-Big, Square goalie had challenging introduction to pro level
#7 Landon Ferraro-Production dropped drastically, but improved two-way game

As I said earlier the Wild lost last year's tournament in the championship game. The Wild is the only team with only one first round pick on it's team every other team has at least 2. Wild forward Casey Wellman is one of the few players in the tournament to play in the NHL getting into 12 games last year, making his debut against the Blue Jackets. The Wild have the smallest defenseman in the tournament 5'8" Jared Spurgeon. Defenseman Bjorn Krupp is the son of the only German to win a Stanley Cup Uwe Krupp.
Top 10 Prospects playing in tournament
#2 Marco Scandella-Late bloomer plays with terrific poise, strength and smarts
#3 Matt Hackett-Tall skinny stopper posts great numbers, but must get stronger (Jeff's Nephew)
#4 Tyler Cuma-Development slower than expected, pro seasoning required
#5 Brett Buler-Undersized but competitive winger a draft-day chart mover
#8 Cody Almond-Junior scoring whiz struggled during pro indoctrination

Rangers 2010 1st round pick Dylan McIlrath was named top fighter by The Hockey News in their draft preview edition. I feel bad for Wisconsin fans next year they lost a ton of talent after losing the National Championship game, Ranger's top prospect Derek Stephan is leaving after two seasons. Continuing with the famous father theme Ray Bourque's son Ryan was a third round pick of the Rangers.
Top 10 prospects playing in tournament
#1 Derek Stephan-The captain and leading scorer for the U.S. junior team is turning pro after just two seasons in Wisconsin. His maturity and skill with the puck will pay rewards at the pro level. He's a quick and creative thinker on the ice.
#2 Evgeny Grachev-Big-time junior sniper struggled to find mark as a rookie pro
#4 Dylan McIlrath-Known as 'The Undertaker' for his imposing, tough style
#7 Ethan Werek-Offensive number flatlined, so OHL breakout imperative
#8 Christian Thomas-Junior scoring phenom was a late riser up the 2010 draft charts.
#9 Scott Stajcer-Was a workhorse for a defensively weak OHL team

2008 1st round pick Alex Pietrangelo is almost a point per game in the OHL. The defenseman has played in at least eight games for the Blues since being selected 4th overall before being sent back to juniors. Blues Defenseman Brett Ponich is the biggest skater in the tournament, Ponich is a teammate of Ryan Johansen and the other Portland Winterhawks
Top 10 Prospects playing in tournament
#1 Alex Pietrangelo-A big two way defenseman with mentall prowess and the ability to make the right decision at the right time. Has an offensive upside and uses his big frame to his advantage. Just needs to ramp up his intensity
#3 Jake Allen-Calm netminder with great rebound control and puck playing ability
#5 Ian Cole-Bulky D-man clears space around the net; turned pro early
#6 Brett Ponich-Giant stay at home blueliner has long learning curve
#10 Philip McRae-Power forward roughs it up, but production has levelled off

The Lightning return to Traverse City after skipping last year's tournament and it might have been a good thing going 0-3-1 in the 2008. The Lightning have two players with famous fathers, Carter Ashton's dad was a journeyman that played for eight franchise. Brock Beukeboom is a teammate of the Jacket's Brandon Archibald and from the sound of it he plays the same physical game his father Jeff was famous for. Now most of us know a junior player can play nine or less NHL games and there NHL contract won't kick in and you can send them back to juniors, well Tampa let center James Wright play 48 games before being sent back to Vancouver of the WHL.(i dont know why they did this seems like a stupid move to me)
Top 10 prospects playing in tournament
#1 Brett Connolly=A premier goal-scorer with exceptional skills and on-ice intelligence. Connolly would have challenged for first pick overall if not for hip flexor injuries. He's a goal scoring threat whenever he touches the puck
#2 Carter Ashton-Power forward with size and skill; scoring total levelled off
#4 Richard Panik- Skilled and powerful winger takes on big d-men and gets to the net.
#5 Dustin Koharski-Technically sound goalie makes up for small size with quickness
#6 Alex Hutchings-Pure scorer is small and must maximize physical strength
#7 Jaroslav Janus-Smallish goalie makes up for size with Hasek like acrobatics
#8 Brock Beukeboom-Two-Way defender takes care of his own zone, can dish out pain
#10 Dana Tyrell-Workhorse forward plays the game with intensity and heart

There you have it folks a little preview about the teams the Jackets will be facing off against next week in Traverse City.

Traverse City the Blue Jacket's Defenseman and Goalies

The CBJ are bringing nine defensemen to Traverse City and all nine are Jackets property. Why the team did this is because five of these nine will be making there pro debuts this season. Columbus is one of two teams in the tournament bringing all draft picks for a position, Tampa being the other bringing only six defenseman. Now in my post about the forwards I mentioned the size of the Columbus team and the defense is no different Columbus and New York are the only teams that every Dman is over 6'1". Now we know the Jackets have needed a right handed shot on defense, the only two to play the majority of the season in Columbus last season were the offensive dynamos Anton Stralman and Mike Commodore(wait a minute). Well the rookie team is the opposite of that with only two players shooting left.

Brandon Archibald seems to be a defenseman that can play either a offensive or shutdown role for the team. Archibal scored 33 points last season on a Sault Ste. Marie team that made a 35 point inporvement from 08-09. Archibald played on the Greyhounds top defensive pairing, his defensive partner Jacob Muzzin actually led the Greyhounds in scoring. I can't write much about Anton Blomqvist because finding info on European players is a little rough. Blomqvist is a 6'5" defenseman who could actuaally be playing against the Jackets when they get to Sweden as he plays in the Malmo organization. I liked this take on Blomqvist from "
Blomqvist has become an important part of Malmö’s blue line in a league dominated by older players. He had been labelled as somewhat inconsistent while playing in the junior ranks, but has been able to step up considerably upon being promoted to the men’s team – a great sign when evaluating young players
". Steven Delisle is the biggest defenseman in camp at 6'6" but he doesnt use that size to crush opponents but more for defensive play. Delisle was the captain of the Gatineau Olympiques before being traded to Rouyn-Noranda. While not being suited to a offensive role he is seen as a complement to a offensive defenseman like the Jurcina-Russell D pairing last season.

Cody Goloubef is one of two college players leaving school a year early to get started on their professional careers. Goloubef was a member of a Wisconsin defensive group that all but two players were either a first or second round draft pick. Cody scored 14 points last year while also being a +13. Austin Madaisky scored 27 points last season splitting the season with Calgary and Kamloops of the WHL. One of Madaisky's strengths is his defensive positioning and skating ability, plus everything i've read makes it sound like the kids a gym rat. The only defenseman heading to Michigan with a shot at making the NHL out of training camp this year is 2009 1st round draft pick John Moore. Moore picked up 47 points last year in 61 games last year including 11 multi-point games. Six of Moore's 10 goals were scored on the power play, Moore's only multi-goal game came in his OHL debut.

2009-10 was a breakout season for 2010 6th round pick Dalton Prout. Prout exploded for 21 points, this coming from a guy who'd never scored more than 6 in his previous 3 seasons. But the extra offense is a bonus with Prout who's not afraid to throw his weight around and drop the gloves. Prout could turn pro this year or play one more year in the OHL. I always have to bring it up but Theo Ruth is the player the Jackets got for Sergei Fedorov and it's finally time the CBJ faithful get to see what we got for the future hall of famer. Ruth is a shutdown defenseman with underrated offensive skills and the few websites I checked rave about him having a hard and accurate shot from the point. David Savard is another Blue Jackets prospect to pick up multiple awards in the QMJHL last year winning both the Emile Bouchard Trophy as Defenseman of the Year and the Kevin Lowe Trophy for Best Defensive Defenseman. Savard last season was the first defenseman ever to lead the QMJHL in assists with 64.

On to the Goalies the Jackets are bringing to Traverse City, the Jackets are bringing the two biggest goaltenders in the tournament. The Jackets scouting staff must have been looking around Canadian National Basketball team when searching for goaltenders. Columbus is bringing 6'8" Jason Missiaen, 6'6" Mathieu Corbeil and the little guy of the group 6'1" Riley Gill.

Mathieu Corbeil is the only Jackets draft pick that will be playing goal for the Jackets. Now when you look at his stats please note Corbeil has been playing on a brutally bad Halifax Mooseheads team a team that has won only 32 games over the last two seasons. Most sites believe Corbeil is a bit of a project but the kid is seen to have a lot of potential. If it wasn't for free agent invite Riley Gill Western Michigan University might not of won any games over the last 4 years. Over the last four seasons the Broncos have only won 48 games and Gill won 39 of those. In fact over the last two seasons Gill won every game but one for the team.

The biggest player in the tournament is Jason Missiaen, at 6'8' Missiaen will probably the biggest players ever to don a Blue Jackets jersey even if it is only Traverse City or preseason. He was orginally a 4th round pick of the Montreal Canadiens in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft. Missiaen was another goalie to pick up almost all of his team wins, winning 27 out of 29.

This is an old picture but it gets my point across

There you have it folks with my first post about the forwards this is the team the Jackets will take to Traverse City this year. Now I was looking at the pictures my Dad took from last year's tournament the team didn't have a captain but a few players did wear A's on their jerseys during games. I think the players who should have an A are John Moore, Matt Calvert, after those two im not sure would deserve an A if they use three which is normal when no captain is playing.

As I've said before follow @CBJProspects and @En4cer45 for live in game updates and hopefully on this blog I will able to post game recaps at the end of the day.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Traverse City Prospects Tournament Preview/Forwards Preview

My last post was a prediction of who I thought would be playing for the Jackets in the Traverse City Prospect Tournament. Now with the team announcing it's roster, let's see how I did. Overall 20 out of the 22 I named will be in camp while also giving myself a half point of extra credit for guessing correctly the team wouldn't add any defensemen. The two players that won't be on the team that I guessed were center Tyler Murovich and goaltender Gustaf Wesslau.

Now I did a history lesson about the tournament last time so this time I'll explain how the tournament works. The tournament will take place September 10th through the 15th. The eight teams will be split into two divisions each named after a NHL Legend. The Blue Jackets will compete in the Gretzky division which also includes the Minnesota Wild, New York Rangers and Carolina Hurricanes. While the Howe Division will feature the Detroit Red Wings, Tampa Bay Lightning, St. Louis Blues and the Dallas Stars. Each day at the tournament includes a morning practice and then a game in the afternoon/night except Monday which is only a practice day. Saturday through Tuesday each team will play the other three teams in its division. Then on Wednesday the teams will play each other based on standings, 4th place vs 4th place, 3rd vs 3rd etc. The two first place teams will play at 6pm for the championship.

Now in my last piece I said it looked like the Jackets were sending a BIG team and boy was I right. The teams average height is 6'2", that number is the same with or without the team's two ogre goaltenders but more on them later. The team is made up of 16 of the team's draft picks, 12 invitees and a prospect the team traded for. 23 of the 29 players played last year in the Canadian Hockey League while four played college hockey. Defenseman Anton Blomqvist is the only player coming over from a european league to play for the Jackets.(still wearing Adam Foote's number though, poor guy) Now I can't say for sure but I believe the minor league coaching staff normally serve as the coaches for the tournament. Now to the position breakdowns, now I'll admit I've written a lot about some of these guys but I'll try not to repeat myself and hopefully include some new stuff.

The Blue Jackets will take 17 forwards to Traverse City and of the 17 only three are under 6'0" one of those three is 5'11" Matt Calvert. This will be Calvert's third Traverse City camp including tying for the lead in goals and points in last years tournament. Calvert led the entire Columbus organization in goals last season picking up 47 while serving as a co-captain for his hometown Brandon Wheat Kings. Calvert is a threat on special teams with 19 of his goals being on either a power play or short-handed goal. In fact during last year's WHL playoffs Calvert scored a natural short-handed hat trick in a 6:47 span. The biggest forward in camp will be Nick Czinder. The 6'6" Czinder is a Michigan native that played for the Youngstown Phantoms of the USHL last season and has signed on with the Windsor Spitfires of the Ontario Hockey League. Justin Feser is the smallest guy on the team at 5 foot 9 181 pounds.

Feser just completed his second season with the Tri-City Americans of the Western Hockey League and what a season it was. Feser's production went up 45 points up from 28 to 73 including a 24 goal increase. The last player under 6'0" is 5'9" Chris Francis. Francis is a teammate of Columbus first round pick Ryan Johansen with the Portland Winterhawks. Francis is a playmaker picking up 102 assists over the last 2 seasons. Francis has been signed by the Springfield Falcons, a bit off topic but here's an article about Francis from early last season from The Oregonian. Oliver Gabriel is another Winterhawk the Blue Jackets are taking to Traverse City, Gabriel has put up 35 points in 91 WHL games.

Marek Hrivik finished 4th in rookie scoring in the QMJHL putting up 26 goals and 29 assists as a teammate of Blue Jackets defensive prospect David Savard with the Moncton Wildcats. Ryan Johansen was the Blue Jackets 1st round pick in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft going 4th overall. Johansen will be the highest draft pick in the tournament along with St. Louis's Alex Pietrangelo (4th overall in 08). 10 of Johansen 25 goals were on special teams with 9 being on the power play and 1 being short handed. You have to like the names Johansen is being compared to Joe Thornton was the name thrown around by most people at the draft and The Hockey News has Ryan as the Jackets 2nd best prospect while saying he plays a Eric Staal type game. Michael Kantor is one of the many heavy hitters on this Columbus roster he picked up 108 penalty minutes in 24 NAHL games then signing with the Saginaw Spirit picking up 71 in 29 games while also scoring 12 points with the Spirit.

As I said earlier I've written about some of these a lot and Tomas Kubalik is no exception. So here's's take on the big Czech "Kubalik is a chippy forward, always in the middle of scrums. He plays with a bit of an edge, but also brings skill. He is not afraid to go to the net and score dirty goals. Kubalik must continue to work on his skating. He owns a good shot. He needs to continue to develop his physical game, and must increase his strength to compete with bigger stronger players." Kubalik played in last year's tournament picking up a goal and an assist, while not lighting up the scoreboard his play did earn him some good reviews according to a post on Puck-Rakers. Jordan Messier has a last name that is famous throughout hockey and before you ask I'll tell you he is Mark Messier's....cousin's son(sorry I had to). Messier is another Tri-City player that had a major increase in point production including a 14 goal increase going from 9 to 23.

Now as I said this team has some big boys and some very tough customers and no one is probably tougher than Kyle Neuber. Neuber will never be known for lighting up the scoreboard other than where they put the penalty clock, Neuber put up 526 penalty minutes in four years in the OHL including 188 last year finishing 2nd in the OHL and lead the Blue Jackets organization in that category. Now I joked earlier about Jordan Messier's hockey heritage, but I can't do that with 2010 2nd round pick Dalton Smith. Dalton's dad is Derrick Smith and his uncles are the Primeau brothers, Keith and Wayne. Together those 3 have combined to play more than 2200 games and earned more than 2700 penalty minutes. It appears the apple hasn't fallen far from the tree as he picked up 129 penalty minutes in 62 games while scoring 44 points and being a +20. Dalton not only used his size to help him be a 21 goal scorer but he also uses it to create space for his highly skilled linemates who both scored more than 35 goals and nearly 80 points.

Ted Stephens was the first player eve from the Yukon to play in the QMJHL when he started playing for the Moncton Wildcats. Why that is a big deal needs a small explanation, the CHL is made up of three leagues (OHL, QMJHL, WHL) and each can only sign players from certain parts of Canada and the United States. Now somehow a player from an WHL area can sign with a QMJHL team but I don't know what has to happen to make this possible. Now the Yukon is deep in WHL territory how deep it share a border with Alaska while the Province Moncton is in shares a border with Maine. Stephens appears to be a consistent 40 point scorer picking up 39 points last year and 41 the year before.

Petr Straka won two out of the three rookie of the year awards a player can win in the QMJHL last year. Straka is the 3rd player the Jackets have drafted to win both the RDS Cup and Michel Bergeron Trophy as league and offensive rookie of the year in the same year(05-Brassard, 07-Voracek). Straka led all Q rookies in scoring putting up 64 points in 62 games. At 23 Nick Sucharski is the elder statesman of the Jackets forwards. Sucharski is one of only 5 players left from the 2006 NHL entry draft and the only never to even sign a contract. Sucharski was part of the 2007 National Championship team including scoring the game winning goal to put the Spartans in the Championship game. This is probably the last chance for Sucharski's last chance if he wants to make a living as a hockey player instead of what he went to school for, a lawyer.

Scott Tanski is the only free agent invitee back from last year's Traverse City team and he was also the only invitee to play in all four games last year. Tanski has scored 80 points over the last two seasons playing with the Brampton Battalion of the OHL. As a nine year old Tanski was a teammate of John Tavares on a GTHL championship team. Brampton was the lowest goal scoring team in the OHL and it shows with Tanski being third on the team with only 34 points. But the team made up for not scoring goals by having the 2nd fewest goals against in the league. Stephon Thorne is a teammate of Tanski's with the Battalion was 5th on the team in goal scoring with 13 in fact those were the only 5 players to score more than 10 goals. Now when i do these i scour the internet to find anything on these guys and found a whole lot of nothing. But with the help of the great and mighty youtube i found two videos and learned somthing about Thorne he's not afraid to take on anyone.

I give you exhibit B (Even though a seems a little too close to Brassard Vs Neal)

Well they're you have it folks these are the forwards who will play for the Jackets in Traverse City next week. I'm gonna admit I was gonna do this a one big post but I changed my mind and decided ill do the defense and goalies in my next post and will take a look at some of the other prospects at the camp.