The Chicago Blackhawks prospects tourney in Traverse City, Michigan begins this Friday, September 6th. The tournament features the up and coming prospects for the Blackhawks and seven other teams in a round-robin schedule. We are going to give you a breakdown of the Blackhawks prospects tournament featuring the schedule, the prospects involved, and who to watch that may be ready to take the next step to the NHL.
In 2017, this same tournament was won by the Blackhawks prospects who were led by tournament MVP Alex DeBrincat. “The Cat” was able to use his tournament MVP efforts, along with a strong preseason, to make the opening night roster of the 2017-18 season. Several of the current Blackhawks prospects will be trying to follow the Blackhawk sniper into the NHL this fall.
Chicago Blackhawks Prospect Tourney Breakdown
The eight teams are set to start the round-robin games this Friday and will play each team in their division once before being re-seeded into the finals on September 10th. Listed below are the two divisions named after Detroit Red Wing icons Gordie Howe and Ted Lindsay.
Gordie Howe Division:
Ted Lindsay Division:
The Blackhawks play the Red Wings on September 6th. Next up are games against the Maple Leafs on September 7th and the St. Louis Blues on September 9th. The tournament championship will be held on Tuesday, September 10th. For the complete schedule of games, click on the Traverse City Prospects Tournament link.
Blackhawks Prospects Roster
Listed below are the prospects currently on the roster for the tourney. We will list their names, height, weight, home town, and date of birth. We are also going to add links to some of the forward’s names from Last Word’s prospect guru Ben Kerr and his Top Shelf Prospects series. If Ben’s player review is not available, we will link to the player’s profile on EliteProspects.com so you can get some background on each.
- 23 – Luke Bignell L 6’1” 163lbs Kitchener, Ontario 11/3/2000 (18)
- 54 – Liam Coughlin L 6’2” 201lbs South Boston, Massachusetts 9/19/1994 (24)
- 77 – Kirby Dach R 6’3” 195lbs St. Albert, Alberta 1/21/2001 (18)
- 58 – Mackenzie Entwistle R 6’3” 193lbs Georgetown, Ontario 7/14/1999 (20)
- 38 – Brandon Hagel L 6’1” 179lbs Morinville, Alberta 8/27/1998 (21)
- 59 – Mikael Hakkarainen L 6’0” 193lbs Helsinki, Finland 1/26/1998 (21)
- 52 – Reese Johnson R 6’1” 201lbs Saskatoon, Saskatchewan 7/10/1998 (21)
- 71 – Philipp Kurashev L 5’11” 195lbs Münsingen, Switzerland 10/12/1999 (19)
- 42 – Riley McKay L 6’0” 203lbs Swan River, Manitoba 3/7/1999 (20)
- 45 – Dylan McLaughlin L 5’11” 187lbs Lancaster, New York 6/5/1995 (24)
- 25 – Isaac Nurse R 5’11” 185lbs Hamilton, Ontario 3/16/1999 (20)
- 76 – Tim Soderlund L 5’9” 163lbs Skellefteå, Sweden 1/23/1998 (21)
- 53 – Michal Teply R 6’2” 187lbs Havlickuv Brod, Czech Republic 5/27/2001 (18)
- 74 – Nicolas Beaudin L 5’10” 178lbs Chateauguay, Quebec 10/7/1999 (19)
- 27 – Adam Boqvist R 6’0” 186lbs Falun, Sweden 8/15/2000 (19)
- 39 – Dennis Gilbert L 6’2” 198lbs Buffalo, New York 10/30/1996 (22)
- 43 – Chad Krys L 5’11” 180lbs Ridgefield, Connecticut 4/10/1998 (21)
- 62 – Cole Moberg R 6’4” 190lbs Vancouver, British Columbia 10/17/2000 (18)
- 85 – Jack Ramsey R 6’3″ 185lbs Chanhassen, Minnesota 11/2/1995 (23)
- 75 – Jake Ryczek R 5’10” 178lbs Springfield, Massachusetts 3/19/1998 (21)
- 49 – Nico Daws L 6’5″ 223lbs Burlington, Ontario 12/22/2000 (18)
- 33 – Alexis Gravel R 6’2” 230lbs Berlin, Germany 3/21/2000 (19)
- 80 – Chase Marchand L 6’0” 172lbs Halifax, Nova Scotia 12/17/1995 (23)
Players To Watch In The Prospects Tourney
Without a doubt, all eyes are going to be on Blackhawks 2019 NHL Draft third-overall pick Kirby Dach. The pressure was instantaneous on the young centre following the Draft. General manager Stan Bowman bypassed the best-rated defenceman in the draft, Bowen Byram, in order to draft Dach. As he strode to the stage to don his new jersey, he had no idea the uproar that ensued with the Blackhawks faithful who expected Bryam to be drafted. Luckily that settled down as the facts about the Blackhawks first-round draft pick came to light. The kid has the size and potential to be a fan favorite in Chicago in the very near future.
The Blackhawks prospect tourney gives Dach the opportunity to showcase his skills against fellow prospects before training camp opens. He has a lot to prove after being drafted number three overall and this tourney is his first step. A great tournament performance is just what he needs for his confidence before training camp opens. During training camp, the preseason games will be another good measure of his ability to play in the NHL.
The Blackhawks still have only 10 forwards signed for the upcoming season which means there are forward spots up for grabs. In addition, Brendan Perlini‘s refusal to accept the Blackhawks qualifying offer in June leaves another roster spot available. The door is wide open and the table is set for Dach to make the opening night roster.
The trade of top defence prospect Henri Jokiharju leaves Adam Boqvist and Nicolas Beaudin as the undeniable top two prospects. Unfortunately, they are facing the same fate as Jokiharju. The Blackhawks defence has been stocked by Stan Bowman with trades, leaving eight defenders signed on one-way contracts. Sending one of these eight to Rockford would expose them to being a waiver pickup by another team.
Boqvist’s performance in the prospects tourney will also be watched very closely to see where he is at in his development. It appears he will certainly get his chance in training camp and preseason games to prove he belongs in the NHL. The only question is whether he can defend well against bigger forwards and survive physically. He was listed under 170lbs when he was drafted, but the current listing on the prospect’s roster says 186lbs. He will need to add more muscle and also bring a Herculean effort for him to force Bowman to waive one of the eight regulars. Behind Boqvist are Dennis Gilbert, Nicolas Beaudin, and Chad Krys. These three young defenders are also looking to make their mark in Traverse City.
The Blackhawks goaltender to watch is Alexis Gravel. He was drafted in the sixth round in the 2018 NHL Draft and is currently unsigned. A solid performance in the tourney could earn him another look in training camp this year or soon down the road. While the Blackhawk’s goaltending situation next season appears set with Corey Crawford and Robin Lehner, the future is uncertain. Currently, only Collin Delia is signed past the 2019-20 NHL season. A lot can happen between now and the end of the upcoming season.
2019 Prospects Tourney
The Traverse City, Michigan prospects tourney is great exposure for future stars of the NHL. While most will not make an NHL opening night roster, there will be at least a few that turn enough heads and get noticed. Alex DeBrincat’s performance in 2017 was a testament to his drive to succeed despite being called undersized most of his career. Earning MVP honors spoke volumes about his ability to play larger than his size on the ice. Will Kirby Dach be that player this year? The Blackhawks faithful are sure hoping that he is the real deal and luckily will know a lot more about their first-round pick very soon.