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Hurricanes Look to Defend Title at 2017 Traverse City Prospect Tournament

The Canes’ young guns head to Michigan to take on hockey’s best young talent.

Jamie Kellner

Starting tonight, Carolina’s youth has a chance to prove once again how good they are to the eyes of the NHL. The Hurricanes’ top prospects are headed to Traverse City, Michigan to compete in the 19th annual NHL Prospect Tournament and for a shot at the Matthew Wuest Memorial Cup. The Hurricanes won the tournament last year for the first time since 2009 by defeating the Detroit Red Wings 6-4 in the championship game.

This year, the tournament will be composed of eight teams: the Hurricanes, Chicago Blackhawks, Dallas Stars, Columbus Blue Jackets, New York Rangers, St. Louis Blues, Minnesota Wild and the host Detroit Red Wings. The teams will be divided into two divisions and will play each member of their division once, in a round-robin format. The championship will be held next Tuesday, September 12th.


Four first-round draft picks highlight the Hurricanes’ roster, including 2017 top pick Martin Necas. The tournament will be the first appearance for four players from the 2017 draft, and of the 23 players on the roster, 17 are Canes draftees.

The team will be coached by Charlotte Checkers head coach and Hurricanes assistant GM Mike Vellucci. Below is the Canes’ roster for the weekend:

Hurricanes 2017 Traverse City Tournament Roster

Number Player Position Acquired 16-17 Team League
Number Player Position Acquired 16-17 Team League
4 FLEURY, Haydn D Draft ’14 (1-7-1) Charlotte AHL
24 BEAN, Jake D Draft ’16 (1-13-1) Calgary WHL
29 POTURALSKI, Andrew F Free Agent (3/16) Carolina/Charlotte NHL/AHL
37 FOEGELE, Warren LW Draft ’14 (3-67-3) Kingston/Erie OHL
38 WESLEY, Josh D Draft ’14 (4-96-4) Charlotte/Florida AHL/ECHL
44 GAUTHIER, Julien RW Draft ’16 (2-21-1) Val d'Or/Saint John QMJHL
45 GEEKIE, Morgan C Draft ’17 (4-67-3) Tri-City WHL
51 MATTHEOS, Stelio RW Draft ’17 (6-73-3) Brandon WHL
52 ELYNUIK, Hudson C Draft ’16 (5-74-3) Spokane WHL
55 McKEOWN, Roland D Trade w/ LA (2/15) Charlotte AHL
58 ROY, Nicolas C Draft ’15 (4-96-4) Chicoutimi QMJHL
59 KUOKKANEN, Janne LW/C Draft ’16 (3-43-2) London OHL
62 DE JONG, Brendan D Draft ’17 (7-166-6) Portland WHL
75 SMALLMAN, Spencer RW Draft ‘15 (6-138-5) Saint John QMJHL
78 LORENTZ, Steven C/LW Draft ’15 (9-186-7) Peterborough OHL
81 SCHILKEY, Nick RW Camp Invitee Ohio State Big 10
82 CARROLL, Noah D Draft ’16 (9-164)-6) Guelph/Sault Ste. Marie OHL
84 HOLLOWELL, Mac D Camp Invitee Sault Ste. Marie OHL
85 BOKA, Luke RW Camp Invitee Windsor OHL
88 NECAS, Martin C Draft ’17 (1-12-1) Brno/Brno Jr. Czech.
91 THILANDER, Adam D Camp Invitee North Bay OHL
50 HELVIG, Jeremy G Draft ’16 (8-134-5) Kingston OHL
70 BOOTH, Callum G Draft ’15 (3-93-4) Quebec/Saint John QMJHL

How and When to Watch

For the first time this season, the Hurricanes’ games will be streamed live on the Canes’ own website as well as through the FOX Sports GO app. The Canes are in the Gordie Howe Division of the tournament with the Red Wings, Blackhawks and Rangers, and will face each team once over the next three days:

  • Friday, September 8: vs. Red Wings, 7:30 p.m.
  • Saturday, September 9: vs. Rangers, 3:30 p.m.
  • Monday, September 11: vs. Blackhawks, 6:30 p.m.

Then, on Tuesday, September 12, the division teams with the same position in the standings will play each other to determine the final positions of the tournament. The top team from one division will play the other top finisher to determine the tournament champion.

If you’re planning to attend any of the Hurricanes’ games, we’d love to hear from you! Feel free to leave comments with your observations throughout the tournament. We’ll update the Canes’ progress every morning in Storm Advisory. We also hope to have a wrap-up article from one of our commenters later next week who plans to attend the tournament in person.

Here’s the full schedule for the entire tournament:

2017 Traverse City Schedule

Date Time Home Visitor
Date Time Home Visitor
Friday, September 8 3:30 PM Columbus Blue Jackets Dallas Stars
Friday, September 8 4:00 PM St. Louis Blues Minnesota Wild
Friday, September 8 7:00 PM Chicago Blackhawks New York Rangers
Friday, September 8 7:30 PM Detroit Red Wings Carolina Hurricanes
Saturday, September 9 3:30 PM Carolina Hurricanes New York Rangers
Saturday, September 9 4:00 PM Chicago Blackhawks Detroit Red Wings
Saturday, September 9 7:00 PM Dallas Stars St. Louis Blues
Saturday, September 9 7:30 PM Minnesota Wild Columbus Blue Jackets
Monday, September 11 3:00 PM St. Louis Blues Columbus Blue Jackets
Monday, September 11 3:30 PM Dallas Stars Minnesota Wild
Monday, September 11 6:30 PM Carolina Hurricanes Chicago Blackhawks
Monday, September 11 7:00 PM New York Rangers Detroit Red Wings
Tuesday, September 12 3:00pm - 7th Place Game 4th Lindsay Division 4th Howe Division
Tuesday, September 12 3:30pm - 5th Place Game 3rd Howe Division 3rd Lindsay Division
Tuesday, September 12 6:30pm - 3rd Place Game 2nd Lindsay Division 2nd Howe Division
Tuesday, September 12 7:00pm - Championship Game 1st Howe Division 1st Lindsay Division

Who To Watch

Each year, teams are able to showcase their top talent. This year is no different with some top young talent expected to play. Here are some players to watch heading into the tournament:

Carolina Hurricanes: Martin Necas

Canes fans will be eager to get a look at Necas at the tournament. 2017’s 12th overall pick will be one of four draftees seeing game action for the first time in a Canes sweater. Necas is projected as a top-six player for the Hurricanes sometime in the near future and may provide strength down the middle. Chip Alexander of the News & Observer reported that Ron Francis said Necas is “leaning strongly” towards playing in the Czech Republic this season.

Chicago Blackhawks: Alex DeBrincat

DeBrincat may be small but he can pack a punch. The 5’7” winger is a sniper that has lit up the Ontario Hockey League for the Erie Otters. DeBrincat scored a whopping 127 points (65 goals, 62 assists) in 63 games last season for Erie and added 38 points (13 goals, 25 assists) in 22 playoff games. DeBrincat may need some time in Rockford before heading to Chicago, but think Tyler Johnson, but smaller.

Columbus Blue Jackets: Pierre-Luc Dubois

Dubois was selected 3rd overall in the 2016 NHL Draft with high hopes. Dubois is a two-way forward who is expected to be “the man in the middle” for the Jackets moving forward. He may spend some games in the NHL this season but he looks to be taking the right steps towards developing into a valid top-six player. Dubois split time between Cape Breton and Blainville-Boisbriand of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League last season.

Dallas Stars: Jason Robertson

Robertson flew under the radar in the 2017 draft class but was drafted in the second round by Dallas. He had a strong showing in the Stars development camp and looks to build on that. Robertson had 81 points in 68 games for the Kingston Frontenacs.

Detroit Red Wings: Michael Rasmussen

The big 6’5” center was selected 9th overall in this year’s draft and will have high expectations moving forward. Detroit has been in need of a prospect revival and Rasmussen may pave the way for young forwards as Detroit continuously leans on veterans. He scored 55 points in 50 games for the Tri-City Americans of the Western Hockey League.

Minnesota Wild: Luke Kunin

Kunin was drafted 15th overall by the Wild in the 2016 Draft and has begun to develop well. He has a great set of hands and has built on his offensive production by year. He had 38 points in 35 games for the University of Wisconsin before getting to spend some time with Iowa Wild for 12 games.

New York Rangers: Lias Andersson

Andersson is an unlikely prospect for the Rangers. He was drafted 7th overall after the Rangers traded Derek Stepan to the Arizona Coyotes for the pick. Stepan was the center of the present for the Rangers, but Andersson is expected to be the center of the future for the Blueshirts moving forward. Andersson will most likely continue to develop with Frolunda in Sweden next year.

St. Louis Blues: Tage Thompson

Thompson is a large human being, plain and simple. The 6’5” center was selected 26th overall in the 2016 Draft and has begun to develop nicely. At his height, he will likely look like a man among boys at the tournament. He registered 19 goals and 13 assists for the University of Connecticut last season.