The dreaded part of the hockey offseason is quickly exiting into the rearview mirror. But before the Dallas Stars open up training camp, some of their top prospects will compete in the annual Traverse City Tournament. And now that the roster has been released, let’s take a look at some of the biggest storylines.
Only 14 days separate the Dallas Stars from the beginning of their 2019 training camp session. That means that only two weeks separating the NHL from escaping the dog days of the offseason and trading them in for nearly nine months of hockey action.
In other words, the offseason is nearly over. And for the Stars, that’s exciting.
Since May 7, 2019 when Dallas was knocked out of the Stanley Cup Playoffs on a goal by the St. Louis Blues in double overtime of Game 7, there’s been a certain sense of potential flooding through the organization.
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Their postseason run seemed to end on an all-too-early note, and the door still seemed to be open for big things in the near future. The Stars had rebounded from an average and somewhat uninspiring start to the 2018-19 season and turned it into a playoff berth, a series win over the Nashville Predators, and a trip to the second round.
In that small sample size, Dallas proved that they could be a force when everything clicked. They proved that they truly were just a few tweaks away from being a potential contender. And with the valuable postseason experience and clear list of necessities in their back pocket, they seemed to be on the verge of achieving something truly special.
And as the 2019 offseason took effect, they continued building and feeding that potential. GM Jim Nill made some tough decisions, took the first day of the Free Agency signing period by storm, and arguably turned in the most efficient offseason of any NHL team.
Jim Montgomery will no longer be a rookie head coach behind the Dallas Stars bench and will be able to bring experience and a new energy to his coaching approach. The defense will be smarter, more experienced, and more well-rounded after an outstanding 2018-19 showing. The offense added a handful of scoring punches in the offseason that should help with putting the puck in the back of the net. And if Ben Bishop and Anton Khudobin can turn in a performance similar to the stellar one that they put together in 2018-19, the Stars just might be ready to take that next big step.
But before we dive into training camp action and begin to witness this potential in action, the Dallas Stars (more specifically, their prospects) have a weekend of action awaiting them in Traverse City, Michigan.
The 2019 Traverse City Tournament begins on Sep. 6 and will run through Sep. 10. It’s an annual prospect tournament that gives eight NHL franchises (Chicago, Columbus, Dallas, Detroit, Minnesota, New York Rangers, St. Louis, and Toronto) a chance to send a team of their best prospects to Michigan to compete against each other in a round-robin format. It’s not only a chance for prospects to impress their organization, but is also a chance for each organization to see how their farm system stacks up against other systems around the NHL.
The tournament has been particularly useful for a handful of Dallas Stars over the past few seasons. Roope Hintz, Radek Faksa, Jason Dickinson, Mattias Janmark, Stephen Johns, Esa Lindell, and Miro Heiskanen are just a handful of the now-NHL players that passed through the Traverse City Tournament with Dallas over the past four years. It can be a breeding ground for success and open the door for bigger roles, depending on how each prospect uses the opportunity.
And in this year’s edition of the tournament, the Dallas Stars will send one of their deepest and most talented rosters in recent memory.
The team announced its official roster on Friday morning, with 13 forwards, 7 defensemen, and two goaltenders making the cut. Here’s a look at the group.
Stars have released their 2019 Traverse City Tournament prospect roster.
— Josh Clark (@Josh_Clark02) August 30, 2019
After scanning the list, there’s a handful of names that jump out for a handful of different reasons. And when you consider just how valuable this tournament can be for prospects both leading into training camp and in the long run, let’s take a quick dive into some of the noteworthy stories as you get ready for the long weekend.