Dallas Stars training camp is a week away, but some of the team’s top prospects will get an early jump on things when they hit the ice at the NHL Prospects Tournament in Traverse City, Mich., this weekend.
“It’s a great way to kick start the year. It gets you in shape because it’s a fast pace,” said forward Luke Gazdic, who will be playing at the tournament for the fourth time. “Everyone wants to play well and it’s such a fun environment. All the prospects are there and it’s a good way to get everything going.”
Prospects from the Stars and seven other NHL teams will take part in the tournament, which runs Saturday through Wednesday.
The Stars’ two most recent first round picks - forward Scott Glennie (eighth overall in 2009) and goaltender Jack Campbell (11th overall in 2010) -- will suit up for the Stars. Both players have been at training camp with their junior teams.
Several others who will play at the tournament had been working out in Frisco before depart for Michigan. Many of those players are under contract this season and will be embarking on their professional careers.
Goaltender Tyler Beskorowany, a second-round pick in 2008 and highly regarded by the organization, had a strong showing at last year’s tournament and is looking at this year’s event as a good way to make an early impression as he battles for a spot within the organization this season.
“It’s a stage I get to play on, perform in front of the scouts and put on a show,” Beskorowany said. “I just want to show them what I can do and how hard I’ve been working this summer. I want to do well there, come back here for camp and end up either here or in Austin. The NHL is my ultimate goal. I am going to take it one step at a time and it all starts at Traverse City.”
Right wing Tomas Vincour, a fifth-round pick in 2009, is another player who put on a strong showing at last year’s tournament and is now considered one of the team’s top prospects.
“It’s very important for me to show the guys I can play hockey and then fighting for a spot on the Dallas roster,” said Vincour. “Any time you put on the Dallas jersey and step on the ice, it’s very important for you.”
Stars GM Joe Nieuwendyk noted he’s interested in seeing forward Ondrej Roman play at the tournament. Roman, a fifth-round pick in 2007, didn’t play in North America last season. He was stuck in Czech Republic due to a contract issue. In fact, Roman hasn’t played in game since late January/early February, and he’s looking forward to getting in some game action.
“It’s been a long time,” Roman said. “It was like back in February or January and it was a game in a Czech junior league, so that doesn’t really count. I'm pretty excited.”
Defenseman Philip Larsen, a fifth-round pick in 2008, is considered the Stars’ top prospect on the blue line. Larsen hasn’t played a lot of games in North America and he’s looking at Traverse City as an opportunity to get more acclimated to the North American game.
“I haven’t played too many games on the small rink here in America,” Larsen said. “I think it’s important for me to get in some games and get into the game again and feel comfortable on the small ice.”
There will seven other teams at Traverse City, which is considered the premier prospects tournament of the preseason.
The Stars will play in the “Howe Division” with Detroit, St. Louis and Tampa Bay. The “Gretzky Division” will be made up of Minnesota, Columbus, Carolina and the New York Rangers.
The teams will play each team within their division once and then there will be a playoff game with the winner of each division playing for the tournament championship, the second place teams playing for third place, the third place teams playing for fifth and the fourth place teams playing for seventh.
NHL Prospects Tournament Schedule
The Stars' schedule for the NHL Prospects Tournament in Traverse City, Michigan.
Times are Central.
Dallas Stars Traverse City Roster
The Dallas Stars roster for the NHL Prospects Tournament in Traverse City, Michigan from Sept. 11-15