The annual Traverse City prospect tournament returned last night after a covid hiatus and will be, for most teams’ fans, the best shot that they have at seeing their prospects in action. Every year, the host Detroit Red Wings, the Blues, the Dallas Stars, the Columbus Blue Jackets, and the Toronto Maple Leafs get together for a long weekend of hockey that doubles as an evaluative period for the teams and their coaching staffs. Most of the players will be returning to their minor league or college clubs after the tournament, but there are a few who more than likely will be sticking around through at least training camp.
The Blues are clearly placing a lot of hopes on star defensive forward Scott Perunovich. Jeremy Rutherford over at The Athletic (subscription required) has a great write-up on how much faith the team is putting into his development this season, and how he may actually have the opportunity to crack the top six at some point this year. To his credit, Perunovich knows what’s at stake for him, especially after being sidelined by a shoulder surgery:
“(The practices) showed me how good these guys were,” Perunovich said. “It was definitely a big jump and made me think, ‘If you ever think you’re good enough, you’re definitely not.’ It’s a completely different league — the top guys in the world — and it definitely showed.
“I’ll just have to play my game, give it 100 percent, be confident, and hopefully everything takes care of itself. There’s definitely a lot of good defensemen on the team, and it’ll be hard to get it.”
Other familiar faces include Dakota Joshua, who impressed as a member of the taxi squad during last year’s covid-shortened season. Former first round draft picks Jake Neighbours and recently signed and also injured forward Zack Bolduc will be participating, but with the C on his chest, all eyes will be on Perunovich.
The Blues’ action begins this afternoon against the Toronto Maple Leafs at 2 PM, and continues against former rivals Detroit tomorrow night at 6 and concludes on Sunday against the Dallas Stars at 11 AM. All games will be available to stream on the Blues’ official YouTube channel.
Forwards: Nikita Alexandrov (59), Zack Bolduc (76)**, Daniel D’Amico (79)*, Tanner Dickinson (78), Riley Ginnell (88)*, Deni Goure (81)*, Brayden Guy (67)*, Dakota Joshua (54), Mathias Laferriere (58), Hugh McGing (56), Landon McCallum (82)*, Jake Neighbours (63), Alexei Toropchenko (65), Keean Washkurak (40).
Defense: Tyson Galloway (71), Cole Larkin (68)*, Griffin Luce (62)*, Sam McGinley (84)*, Andrew Perrott (64)*, Scott Perunovich (48), Nate Staios (74)*, Tyler Tucker (75).
Goalies: Will Cranley (85), Colten Ellis (45), Joel Hofer (1).
* indicates tryout player