On Friday, the St. Louis Blues announced their line up for the mid-September Traverse City Prospect Tournament. The team includes all the 2011 North American draft picks as well as players who spent some time with the Peoria Rivermen.
The Traverse City Tournament is held annually in Traverse City, Michigan and is a 5 day event that features 8 teams divided into 2 divisions. A three game round robin tournament is played before the championship game between the two division winners on September 14th.
The Blues fair very well at this tournament and has produced many young players on the current squad, including Alex Pietrangelo, TJ Oshie and Patrik Berglund.
This years team is highlighted by forward prospect Ty Rattie, who is coming off of a solid season with the Portland Winterhawks. In 67 regular season games, Rattie netted 28 goals and 58 assists and then turned it up a notch in the playoffs with 22 points in 21 playoff games.
Another forward to look at will be Chace Polacek from R.P.I. In 38 games this past season, Polacek recorded 21 goals and 27 assists before moving on to play a few games with the Rivermen. Polacek will be a depth guy for the Rivermen but a strong showing in Traverse City could put him in the minds of Blues management as a call up or possible trade chip.
On defense the Blues boast a very solid defensive group who lack a little in the scoring department. With that in mind, there are a few guys who still can put up big numbers on the back end. Draft pick Joel Edmundson had 18 assists in 71 games with the Moose Jaw Warriors yet still managed to finish the year at +3.
David Shields looks like he will be the leader for the defense as he not oonly has offensive potential but can back it up on the defensive side as well. With Erie this season, Shields was a +29 but also managed 6 goals and 21 assists in 61 games. The Blues have some pretty powerful offensive defensemen on the big club but it will be nice to develop a few strong defensive minded players to complement them.
Finally in goal, the Blues have maybe one of the brightest duos in the tournament. Jake Allen, with a year of Peoria play under his belt, will come into the season as the Rivermen’s clear cut starter and he could possibly be the top goalie in the tournament. In 47 games, Allen had a 25-19-3 record with a 2.52 goals against average while splitting time with Ben Bishop.
Another draft pick from this year, Jordan Binnington, will also get a chance to shine in the tournament. With the Owen Sound Attack, Binnington was 27-12-5 with a deceiving 3.05 goals against and .899 save percentage. While his regular season wasn’t spectacular it was his solid playoff run that really took to the Blues liking. In two elimination games, Binnington stopped 66 shots in games 6 and 7 to lead his team back from the brink of elimination.
The Blues will open the tournament on September 10th against the New York Rangers and will follow with games on the 11th against Carolina and the 13th against Dallas. With the talent on the team, look for the Blues prospects to be playing in the Championship Game in the September 14th.