A team comprised of mostly non-drafted Columbus Blue Jackets prospects won the Traverse City Prospect tournament on Tuesday.
For the fifth time in franchise history, the Columbus Blue Jackets are champions.
Of the Traverse City prospect tournament. The squad of future NHLers defeated the Detroit Red Wings prospects on Tuesday in the tournament championship. The Jackets finished the round robin portion undefeated and headed to the championship game against the host Wings who finished 2-1-0 in their three games.
Kevin Stenlund continued his dominating tournament performance by opening the scoring in the middle of the first period. Two minutes later the Red Wings drew even with a goal on the power play.
Stenlund potted another goal in the second while on the power play. The goal, his fifth of the tournament, tied him for the most of any player in Traverse City.
Columbus Blue Jackets
The Jackets fell behind 3-2 early in the third period but then poured it on the Red Wings. Five straight goals by the Jackets secured the franchises fifth tournament title. Third period goals came from Eric Robinson, Sam Vigneault, Trey Fix-Wolansky, Garret Cockerill, and Kole Sherwood.
Although this team was characterized by a high number of free agent invites, the drafted prospects and players with contracts led this team. Cockerill was the only player without a contract with the squad to score in the final game. The team was led by Stenlund, Vigneault, and Fix-Wolansky in scoring for the tournament – all players the Jackets either drafted or have signed to a contract.
That’s not to say that certain free agent invitees didn’t impress. Defensive prospect Jordan Sambrook played well all tournament long and was able to show the Detroit Red Wings, the team that drafted him in 2016 and didn’t sign him, what they missed out on in the championship. Nikita Korostelev also impressed. I wouldn’t be surprised if these two had an AHL contract from a team soon.
With training camp opening on Thursday, these prospects will look to continue their solid play in Columbus and impress the organization. Only a few will have a chance to make the NHL roster. Stenlund is among those as well as Jonathan Davidsson and Eric Robinson.
The fifth Traverse City title is the most of any team in the tournaments 17 year history. It’s a great start to the season and continues building upon a winning culture that the organization is slowly, but surely, building from the ground up.