Traverse City…Traverse City Lights

I’m sure Traverse City is lovelier in the fall than I would guess or think, but it’s more fun to make fun of. Anyway, wouldn’t it be great if the NHL just combined all of these rookie tournaments somehow into one big one? Had their own Vegas Summer League thing? Probably makes too much sense.

Anyway, we’re only a week away, if you can believe it, from the 2019 Traverse City Tournament, which once again will feature the Hawks, as well as Columbus, Dallas, Detroit, Minnesota, the Rangers, and St. Louis. The Leafs are something of a new addition to this, thus making it THE MOST IMPORTANT PROSPECT TOURNAMENT EVER and definitely a harbinger of the four Cups in a row the Leafs are going to win in the next decade, minimum.

The Hawks announced their roster for it today, which is:

23 F Bignell, Luke***
54 F Coughlin, Liam*
77 F Dach, Kirby
55 F Element, Shawn***
58 F Entwistle, Mackenzie
38 F Hagel, Brandon
59 F Hakkarainen, Mikael
52 F Johnson, Reese
71 F Kurashev, Philipp
42 F McKay, Riley***
45 F McLaughlin, Dylan*
25 F Nurse, Isaac***
76 F Soderlund, Tim
53 F Teply, Michal
74 D Beaudin, Nicolas
27 D Boqvist, Adam
39 D Gilbert, Dennis
43 D Krys, Chad
62 D Moberg, Cole
85 D Ramsey, Jack*
75 D Ryczek, Jake
49 G Daws, Nico***
33 G Gravel, Alexis
80 G Marchand, Chase**

So, notes: Obviously, the names to watch here are Boqvist and Dach. The hope is that both completely dominate this thing (Boqvist should easily), and vault themselves into serious contention for roster spots in training camp. You get the feeling the last thing the Hawks want is for either or both of these players to make things tough on them and have to shelve a veteran (*cough* Seabrook *cough*) to put them on the ice. But it’s not like the Hawks haven’t been open to that in the past, as Alex DeBrincat just two years ago took a plus performance in Traverse City to training camp and essentially forced himself onto the Opening Night roster.

It feels like Dach has the much higher mountain to climb–imagine being so fixed on keeping Zack Smith on your team–but if he plays well enough, he’ll be harder to ignore. The floor for Boqvist seems to be he’ll end up in Rockford and just a phone call away, but either can start to change that next week.

-As you probably know, I’ll be keeping an eye on Philipp Kurashev. He’s not going to make the team out of camp but could be one of the first call-ups during the season with a couple steps. He’s got straight-ahead speed, which the Hawks still don’t have enough of even if they think they do.

-Feels like it could be a big tournament for Nicolas Beaudin. He doesn’t get mentioned like Boqvist or Ian Mitchell, but is still a first-round pick. He’s definitely headed for Rockford, and after playing in the Q his defensive game might need a total overhaul. And we’ve seen d-men start in Rockford and never get out alive. But still, if Boqvist blazes a path, Murphy and de Haan remain ouchy, Koekkoek continues to suck. and Gustafsson becomes deadline bait (which he should), there’s a way for him. Yeah, it’s a lot, and he’s got heads to turn, but it’s there.

-Entwhistle is another one who probably at least needs to make people notice a play or two. He’s not imminent of the big roster yet, but we know the Hawks love a big body (barf) and they don’t have too many who can actually play.

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