Dallas Stars: Traverse City Prospects Tournament

Stars prospects lose to Wild, finish 6th

September, 14, 2011
9/14/11
4:48
PM CT
Dallas Stars prospects lost 4-1 to Minnesota Wednesday and finished in 6th place at the NHL Prospect Tournament in Traverse City, Michigan.

Matt Carter scored the lone goal for Dallas. Jack Campbell stopped 37 of 41 shots.

Wednesday's boxscore is here.

Matt Fraser (4 goals, 0 assists) and Brett Ritchie (0 goals, 4 assists) led the team in the scoring with 4 points each in the four-game tournament. Dallas player stats are here.
Dallas Stars prospects fell to 1-2-0 at the NHL Prospect Tournament in Traverse City, Michigan with a 6-1 loss to St. Louis on Tuesday.

Matt Tassone scored the lone goal for the Stars. Tyler Beskorowany got the start in goal and stopped 27 of 33 shots.

The Stars finished in third place in their division and will play Minnesota in the fifth place game Wednesday.

Tuesday’s boxscore is here.

Thoughts on Traverse City prospects

September, 12, 2011
9/12/11
6:11
PM CT
TRAVERSE CITY, Michigan -- Here are some thoughts after watching Dallas Stars prospects play two games at the NHL Prospect Tournament this weekend in Traverse City, Michigan.

First off, I don’t read too much into what I see at these games. I don’t think you can judge a player based on what you see at something like this. It’s just a snapshot. A better determination will come over the course of the long season, and beyond. I don’t read a heck of a lot into the results of the games either.

Still, it’s another chance to see them play against some quality competition. There is usually a small group of players that I am interested in seeing and I don’t look at them all the same way. I also like to see if anyone I wasn’t really planning on watching a lot catches my attention.

One of the guys on my list was forward Scott Glennie. First round pick (8th overall in 2009) and all. I always watch Glennie to compare him against how he looked the last time I saw him. I liked what I saw. He was more noticeable, more confident. There is no doubt he has some skill, but what I notice is that he is better at fighting through checks, winning puck battles. He’s trained hard and I think it’s paying some dividends. He was outstanding in the Carolina game and so-so in the loss to the New York Rangers. But a lot of guys were so-so in the New York game. And even in the NY game I saw a few glimpses of what I saw the day before with Glennie. I think he’s matured as a person. I enjoyed talking to him in Cedar Park last spring, development camp in July and in Traverse City. Sometimes I think we forget that when these guys get drafted they are just kids. Development takes place on several fronts. Overall, I think he’s made a lot of progress. It will be interesting to see how he does in his first full season of professional hockey.

Defenseman Brenden Dillon is a guy who impressed me when I went to watch the Texas Stars play in the Calder Cup Playoffs last season. Nothing’s changed. He still impresses me. I expected him to be among the better Dallas players and he has been. During Sunday’s game I was standing next to some NHL execs and they were talking about what a good prospect this kid is. He moves well, he’s solid defensively, he’s physical and he is pretty good about picking his spots and getting involved offensively. It will be interesting to see how he does at the Dallas training camp because he is a guy that should be pushing for NHL time. This kid could end up being a real nice free agent signing.

Another guy on my radar was left wing Matt Fraser. I liked Fraser when I watched him last season in the WHL playoffs and in the Memorial Cup. Smart player, good skater and he can shoot the puck. I thought he was quietly good. You didn’t really notice him at times, but he’d end up with some points. In talking to Stars scout Shane Churla, he pointed out that Fraser sort of flew under the radar because Kootenay played a very team oriented game. I think this weekend was an opportunity for Fraser to shine a little more as an individual and he did. He was a dominant player in the first game against Carolina – he looked like he was shot out of a cannon, and he popped in another goal against the Rangers. This will be his first professional season, so we’ll see how that goes. But he has a lot of upside and this could turn out to be a real nice free agent signing by the Stars.

I’m not going to read a lot into Jack Campbell’s first game in goal here. I was hoping he would have a better result than the six goals against on Sunday because he had a rough first game a year ago. But the game was what it was. I thought the play was pretty sloppy in front of him at times. It’s one game at a tournament. I’ll be interested to see how he does in his second season with Windsor of the OHL. He finished strong with the Spitfires last season, helping carry them to the conference finals and you’d like to see him build on that strong finish. That’s what I’ll be watching. Then there is the World Junior Championship, where he has excelled the last two tournaments for Team USA. Can’t get too caught up in analyzing his performance in one game. He is still young, still learning.

The other goaltender at the tournament, Tyler Beskorowany, was solid in the Stars’ 8-2 win over Carolina on Saturday. He wasn’t very busy, but he made a couple of nice stops when Carolina finally got going in the second period. He’s a big kid who covers the bottom of the net well. He’s coming off an excellent first pro season, where he was excellent in the ECHL and played well in the AHL. This should be an interesting season for him to see if he can push Richard Bachman for playing time with the Texas Stars.

Jamie Oleksiak, the number one pick in this last draft, was obviously a player I wanted to see and he didn’t disappoint. The most impressive part of his performance was how well he did in his first performance here. You have to remember he’s just 18 and some of these players have more experience, including some pro experience. I would have been OK with it if he had been OK, but he was better than that. He was pretty good in the first game and I thought he was better in the second game even though the team lost 6-2. The size is evident and the positives that entails, and then there is how well he moves and can create some stuff in the offensive end. He’s still young and developing and he needs games, which he’ll get moving to the OHL this season. It will be fun to watch how he does in the OHL. But you take his showing at the development camp, Canada’s World Junior camp and Traverse City, and all signs point to optimism with the big guy.

Right wing Brett Ritchie, the second rounder from this summer’s draft, obviously was another player on the radar. Here’s another kid who did really well in his first appearance here. I haven’t seen a lot of him but have liked him each time I’ve seen him – at development camp, online at Canada’s World Junior development camp and then this weekend in Traverse City. He was outstanding in the first game and really clicked on a line with Fraser and Glennie. He’s got a nice mix of size and skill. He was slowed last season by a bout with mono, but he should be poised to have a real good season with Sarnia of the OHL this season. He looks like a real good prospect.

One guy who caught my eye was forward Matej Stransky, the sixth round pick from this summer’s draft. He wasn’t at development camp in July, so this was a first chance to get a good look at him. He stood out in the first game, scoring a goal and picking up two assists. He has some skill, nice hands and a pretty good shot. We’ll see how his season goes with Saskatoon (WHL), but he looks like he has some potential.

Jamie Oleksiak makes impression in Traverse City

September, 11, 2011
9/11/11
11:35
PM CT
TRAVERSE CITY, Michigan -- Dallas defense prospect Jamie Oleksiak has made an impression in his first two games at the NHL Prospect Tournament in Traverse City, Michigan.

“The big man looks pretty good out here,” Stars GM Joe Nieuwendyk said of the 6-7, 244 pound defenseman, the team’s first round pick (14th overall) in the 2011 NHL Draft.

The tournament is a good measuring stick for the 18-year-old.

“I’ve been looking forward to the opportunity ever since I was drafted by [the Stars],” said Oleksiak. “I am really going to take it as a learning experience, watching the guys that have had that opportunity to play professional hockey and see how I stack up against them. It should be a really great experience.”

He’s stacked up well the first two games. He scored a goal in game one, an 8-2 victory over Carolina. In the second game, a 6-2 loss to the New York Rangers, he helped set up Dallas’ first goal by forcing a turnover and then taking the puck to the net. Oleksiak has shown impressive mobility for a player with his size.

“I like the pace,” said Oleksiak. “As the week goes on I think I am getting more used to it and getting more accustomed to it.”

There will be more for Oleksiak to get accustomed to this season. This past summer he decided to make a change in the course of his hockey development. He left Northeastern University, where he played last season, and signed on to play with the Saginaw Spirit of the Ontario Hockey League.

“It was a decision I think he and his parents thought long and hard about. We didn’t influence that decision,” said Nieuwendyk. “Now that he is going to Saginaw it is an opportunity for him to play a lot of hockey and play against high level competition. It will be good growth for him”

Oleksiak already has had a little taste of the OHL. Before arriving in Traverse City he attended Saginaw’s training camp.

“It was really fast,” Oleksiak said of the Saginaw camp. “The guys are younger than college and some people argue that they are not as skilled, fast and as strong, but you go in there and there are a lot of great players, really strong guys.”

A big advantage going the junior hockey route is that Oleksiak will play in a league where the schedule mirrors what he’ll see at the pro level.

“The advantage is games,” said Stars Director of Scouting and Player Development Les Jackson. “It’s an NHL structured league. It’s the best place for him to learn the trade.”

OHL teams play 68 regular season games. Northeastern has 36 games on its schedule this season, not including the Hockey East Tournament.

“It’s a lot different than college, where you play 40 games maximum,” he said. “But it’s definitely going to be a good schedule. I think it is exactly what I need to hopefully play pro hockey one day. It should be a fun season. I think we have a good team. We should do well this year. I’m looking forward to it.

And there could be another new experience for Oleksiak this season. The Toronto native is in the running to play for Canada on the international stage, specifically the World Junior Championship. He had a strong showing at Canada’s National Junior Team Summer Development Camp, where he scored one goal and added an assist in the camp’s first intrasquad scrimmage.

“Canada always seems to have a great team and it’s a great program. You grow up looking up to those guys and learning from them,” Oleksiak said. “To put on that sweater and to be on the ice with those players is a huge opportunity for me. It looks like they should have a great team again and hopefully I’ll be able to contribute this December and January, but we’ll see what happens. Being there was a huge honor for me.”

But for now, Oleksiak has two more games in Traverse City and then another new experience is on the horizon – his first NHL training camp. After the prospect tournament wraps up he’ll head to Prince Edward Island for Dallas Stars training camp.

“That’s going to be another great thing for me. All I can do is do my best,” said Oleksiak. “It’s a huge honor for me to be out there playing with guys I grew up watching. I’m really excited about it. It will be another great learning experience for me going into next season and hopefully I can show Dallas I have a good game and we’ll see where it goes from there.”

Based on what he’s shown at the Stars’ development camp, Canada’s World Junior camp and in Traverse City, the “big guy” looks like he is on the right path.

Stars prospects fall 6-2

September, 11, 2011
9/11/11
5:59
PM CT
TRAVERSE CITY, Michigan -- Dallas Stars prospects fell to 1-1-0 at the NHL Prospect Tournament after a 6-2 loss to the New York Rangers Sunday.

Matt Fraser and Scott Oke scored for the Stars. Jack Campbell stopped 32 of 38 shots and took the loss in goal.

Quotable

"We weren't really ready for the pace and they came out on top on top us. We battled hard right to the end and it's a matter of putting the game behind us and moving on to the next game." - Dallas defenseman Jamie Oleksiak

First period

Dallas Stars prospects were down 3-1 after one period.

The New York Rangers scored 21 seconds into the game, cashing in on a scramble in front of the Dallas net. The Rangers tallied again at 13:52 to make it a 2-0 game.

The Stars got on the board at the 16:35 mark when defenseman Jamie Oleksiak carried the puck into the New York zone, put a puck on net and Scott Oke scored off the ensuing scramble.

The Rangers extended the lead to 3-1 with 1:00 remaining in the period, scoring off another scramble in front of Jack Campbell.

The Stars outshot the Rangers 15-12 over the first 20 minutes.

Second period

The only goal of the second period came with 17.8 seconds remaining when Matt Fraser scored on a shot from the right circle to cut the New York Rangers' lead to 3-2.

The were three fights in the period with Cole Grbavac, Oliver D'Aoust and Hubert Labrie dropping the gloves for Dallas.

The Stars outshot the Rangers 10-8 in the second and have a 25-20 advantage through 40 minutes.

Third period

The Rangers blew the game open in the third, outshooting the Stars 19-3 and outscoring them 3-0 to make it a 6-2 final.

The Stars do not play Monday. Their next game is Tuesday.

Stars lineup for Game 2 in Traverse City

September, 11, 2011
9/11/11
4:05
PM CT
TRAVERSE CITY, Michigan -- Here is Dallas Stars lineup for Sunday's game against the New York Rangers at the NHL Prospect Tournament. The game, which begins at 5 p.m. (CT), will be carried live on the NHL Network.

Fraser-Glennie-Ritchie
Tassone-Roman-Stransky
D'Aoust-King-Schultz
Oke-Layton-Grbavac

Dillon-Crombeen
Oleksiak-Coyle
Labrie-Vance

Campbell
Beskorowany

Traverse City practice update

September, 11, 2011
9/11/11
11:25
AM CT
TRAVERSE CITY, Michigan -- Texas Stars coach Jeff Pyle ran Dallas Stars prospects through another brisk practice this morning in Traverse City, Michigan.

The Stars play the New York Rangers today (5 p.m. Central Time) and the game will be carried live on the NHL Network. The Rangers defeated St. Louis 5-2 yesterday.

Based on this morning’s practice it looks like the Stars will go with basically the same line up as yesterday, although with a couple changes.

The top line of Matt Fraser, Scott Glennie and Brett Ritchie, which had an impressive showing in Saturday’s 8-2 win over Carolina, skated together again this morning. Fraser had three goals and Ritchie and Glennie each had three assists in Saturday’s game.

“It was good,” said Glennie. “I found some chemistry with my linemates pretty early. I think last night got our confidence up. We played well and it was a fun game. It was definitely a good start to the tournament.”

I haven’t seen the official lineup for tonight but here’s what the Stars ran at practice this morning.

Fraser-Glennie-Ritchie
Tassone-Roman-Stransky
D’Aoust-King-Schultz
Carter-Layton-Grbavac

Dillon-Crombeen
Oleksiak-Coyle
Labrie-Vance

Campbell
Beskorowany

Some video of the today’s practice is here.

Back to the television broadcasts on NHL Network. Not only will the game be carried live, but there will be tape delayed coverage on NHLN both in the United States and Canada. Here’s the schedule of when the game will run on both networks.

Line shines as Stars prospects win

September, 10, 2011
9/10/11
7:30
PM CT
TRAVERSE CITY, Michigan -- Dallas Stars prospects rolled on day one of the NHL Prospect Tournament and leading the way was the line of Matt Fraser, Scott Glennie and Brett Ritchie.

Fraser scored three goals and Glennie and Ritchie each chipped in three assists as the Stars routed Carolina 8-2 Saturday afternoon at Centre Ice Arena in Traverse City, Michigan.

"We felt good and we talked before the game about stuff we wanted to do, the players that we are and what we have to do to be successful,” said Fraser. “We played to our strengths and dictated the play when we were on the ice and that's what the game plan was going in."

“They showed good leadership in all phases,” Texas Stars coach Jeff Pyle, who is coaching the Dallas prospects, said of the Fraser-Glennie-Ritchie line. “Just calming the game down, doing all the little things well, the things that got them to where they are and will give them the opportunity to move up.”

The Stars struck just 30 seconds into the game and never looked back. After Glennie forced a neutral zone turnover, Ritchie set up Fraser and the big left wing drove the net and scored off a backhand shot.

"Matt Fraser gave us a nice goal on the first shift which gave a nice atmosphere and everybody just fed off it,” said Pyle. “It was a great effort by the guys. “

The Stars scored three more goals in the first, including Fraser’s second of the game, to build a 4-0 lead. His third of the game made it a 7-1 game in the third period.

“It’s nice to get a couple of goals out of the way,” said Fraser, . “They were getting pucks to the nets and I was the benefactor of it all. You’ve got to give them a lot of credit.”

Fraser, a 6-2, 207 pound left wing, is a free agent signing out of the juniors. He put his name on a contract last November and then put together an outstanding final junior season with the Kootenay Ice of the Western Hockey League. He led the WHL in goal scoring and was tied for the goal scoring lead at the Memorial Cup.

“He has a collection of attributes that you are looking for,” said Stars scout Shane Churla. “He has size, he skates and he has an NHL shot. He was a guy that continued to evolve throughout his career and get better every year. As hardworking a player he is on the ice, he is that good a person off the ice. He’s involved in charities. He’s just a strong human being.”

But Fraser and his linemates weren’t the only ones with strong performances Saturday. Forward Matej Stransky, Dallas’ 6th round pick (165th overall) in the 2011, had a strong game as well. The skilled Czech forward, who plays for Saskatoon of the WHL, had one goal and two assists.

Defense prospect Brenden Dillon, another WHL free agent signing, picked up two assists in the game.

Defenseman Jamie Oleksiak, the Stars first round pick (14th overall) in 2011, had a solid debut game at the tournament and scored a goal off a wrist shot from the left point.

Other goal scorers were Matt Tassone, Matt Carter and Stephen Schultz.

Tyler Beskorowany got the start in goal and stopped 16 of 18 shots.

“I thought Besko played the puck really well tonight,” said Pyle. “He made some big saves when we needed them and kept them from getting close in the second, when had a couple of good shots and could have turned it around.”

Jack Campbell is expected to get the start in goal Sunday against the New York Rangers. That game will be carried live on the NHL Network beginning at 5 p.m. (CT).

Saturday's boxscore is here.

Stars prospects defeat Carolina 8-2

September, 10, 2011
9/10/11
3:44
PM CT
TRAVERSE CITY, Michigan -- The Dallas Stars prospects defeated Carolina 8-2 to open the NHL Prospect Tournament in Traverse City Michigan. Matt Fraser led the Stars with three goals. Fraser's linemates - Scott Glennie and Brett Ritchie - each chipped in three assists. Matej Stransky had one goal and two assists. Tyler Beskorowany stopped 16 of 18 shots to get the win in goal.

Quotable

"Matt Fraser gave us a nice goal on the first shift which gave a nice atmosphere and everybody just fed off it. It was a great effort by the guys. We just stood back there and kind of rolled them." - Texas Stars coach Jeff Pyle, who is coaching the Dallas prospects

"We felt good and we talked before the game about stuff we wanted to do, the players that we are and what we have to do to be successful. We played to our strengths and dictated the play when we were on the ice and that's what the game plan was going in." - Stars left wing Matt Fraser on his line, which included center Scott Glennie and right wing Brett Ritchie

First period

The Stars scored early and often in building a 4-0 lead in the first period against Carolina.

Forward Matt Fraser scored two goals, including the first of the game at the 30 second mark to give Dallas the early lead.

After Scott Glennie forced a neutral zone turnover, he slipped the puck to Scott Ritchie and Ritchie set up Fraser, who drove the net and scored off a backhand shot.

The Fraser-Glennie-Ritchie line was superb in the first period for the Stars.

Also scoring goals for Dallas were Matt Tassone and Stephen Schultz.

The Stars outshot the Hurricanes 13-2 in the first period.

Second period

Matej Stransky, Jamie Oleksiak and Matt Fraser scored in the second. Fraser's goal was his third of the game.

The Stars outshot the Hurricanes 13-7 in the second and now have a 26-9 shots advantage through the first 40 minutes.

Third period

Matt Carter scored the lone goal for the Stars, who outshot Carolina 11-9 in the third and ended the game with a 37-18 advantage.

Dallas lineup for Game 1 in Traverse City

September, 10, 2011
9/10/11
2:32
PM CT
TRAVERSE CITY, MICHIGAN -- Here is the lineup the Dallas Stars are expected to use in their game against the Carolina Hurricanes at the NHL Prospect Tournament. The game begins at 3 p.m. (CT).

Fraser-Glennie-Ritchie
Tassone-Roman-Stransky
Carter-King-Schultz
Oke-Layton-Grbavac

Dillon-Theriau
Oleksiak-Coyle
Labrie-Vance

Beskorowany
Campbell

Stars prospects get ready for first game

September, 10, 2011
9/10/11
11:39
AM CT
TRAVERSE CITY, Michigan -- Dallas Stars prospects practiced for just under an hour this morning in preparation for their first game at the NHL Prospect Tournament.

It was a fast paced session under the guidance of Texas Stars head coach Jeff Pyle and Texas assistant Jeff Truitt.

Among those watching the practice were Dallas Stars GM Joe Nieuwendyk, Director of Scouting and Player Development Les Jackson and some of the teams scouts.

The Stars play Carolina today at 3 p.m. (CT). It will be the first of four games at the tournament for Dallas prospects.

Defenseman Jamie Oleksiak, the team’s first round pick (14th overall) in the 2011 NHL Draft, will be playing in the tournament for the first time.

“To finally put on that Dallas Stars sweater is a real honor for me,” Oleksiak said after this morning’s skate. “I’ve been looking forward to the opportunity ever since I was drafted by them. It’s a huge honor. All I can do is leave everything on the ice and try to do good by the sweater.”

Right wing Brett Ritchie, the Stars’ second round pick (44th overall) in 2011, also will be making his tournament debut this year.

“It’s exciting. This is sort of the first step towards the NHL,” said Ritchie. “It’s the first time wearing that pro jersey. I think it is going to be a great experience.”

A couple of links worth noting:

A live scoreboard for the tournament is here.

Also, Oleksiak is blogging for NHL.com. You can follow his thoughts on the tournament here.

Here is some video from this morning’s practice.

Stars Traverse City Roster

July, 28, 2011
7/28/11
2:02
PM CT
Here is the Dallas Stars roster for the NHL Prospects Tournament, which will take place in Traverse City, Michigan September 10-14.

Forwards: Matt Carter, Oliver D'Aoust, Matt Fraser, Scott Glennie, Cole Grbavac, Tristan King, Nick Layton, Scott Oke, Brett Ritchie, Ondrej Roman, Stephen Schultz, Matej Stransky, Matt Tassone

Defensemen: Jace Coyle, Curtis Crombeen, Brenden Dillon, Hubert Labrie, Jamie Oleksiak, Alex Theriau, Troy Vance

Goaltenders: Tyler Beskorowany, Jack Campbell

Texas Stars head coach Jeff Pyle and Texas assistant Jeff Truitt will coach the squad.

Prospects from Buffalo Sabres, Carolina Hurricanes, Columbus Blue Jackets, Detroit Red Wings, Minnesota Wild, New York Rangers, and St. Louis Blues will also participate in the tournament.

The Stars schedule:

Saturday September 10: vs. Carolina
Sunday September 11: vs. NY Rangers
Tuesday September 13: vs. St. Louis Blues
Wednesday September 14: TBA

Stars prospects ready for Traverse City

September, 10, 2010
9/10/10
7:03
PM CT
Dallas Stars training camp is a week away, but some of the team’s top prospects will get an early jump on things when they hit the ice at the NHL Prospects Tournament in Traverse City, Mich., this weekend.

“It’s a great way to kick start the year. It gets you in shape because it’s a fast pace,” said forward Luke Gazdic, who will be playing at the tournament for the fourth time. “Everyone wants to play well and it’s such a fun environment. All the prospects are there and it’s a good way to get everything going.”

Prospects from the Stars and seven other NHL teams will take part in the tournament, which runs Saturday through Wednesday.

The Stars’ two most recent first round picks - forward Scott Glennie (eighth overall in 2009) and goaltender Jack Campbell (11th overall in 2010) -- will suit up for the Stars. Both players have been at training camp with their junior teams.

Several others who will play at the tournament had been working out in Frisco before depart for Michigan. Many of those players are under contract this season and will be embarking on their professional careers.

Goaltender Tyler Beskorowany, a second-round pick in 2008 and highly regarded by the organization, had a strong showing at last year’s tournament and is looking at this year’s event as a good way to make an early impression as he battles for a spot within the organization this season.

“It’s a stage I get to play on, perform in front of the scouts and put on a show,” Beskorowany said. “I just want to show them what I can do and how hard I’ve been working this summer. I want to do well there, come back here for camp and end up either here or in Austin. The NHL is my ultimate goal. I am going to take it one step at a time and it all starts at Traverse City.”

Right wing Tomas Vincour, a fifth-round pick in 2009, is another player who put on a strong showing at last year’s tournament and is now considered one of the team’s top prospects.

“It’s very important for me to show the guys I can play hockey and then fighting for a spot on the Dallas roster,” said Vincour. “Any time you put on the Dallas jersey and step on the ice, it’s very important for you.”

Stars GM Joe Nieuwendyk noted he’s interested in seeing forward Ondrej Roman play at the tournament. Roman, a fifth-round pick in 2007, didn’t play in North America last season. He was stuck in Czech Republic due to a contract issue. In fact, Roman hasn’t played in game since late January/early February, and he’s looking forward to getting in some game action.

“It’s been a long time,” Roman said. “It was like back in February or January and it was a game in a Czech junior league, so that doesn’t really count. I'm pretty excited.”

Defenseman Philip Larsen, a fifth-round pick in 2008, is considered the Stars’ top prospect on the blue line. Larsen hasn’t played a lot of games in North America and he’s looking at Traverse City as an opportunity to get more acclimated to the North American game.

“I haven’t played too many games on the small rink here in America,” Larsen said. “I think it’s important for me to get in some games and get into the game again and feel comfortable on the small ice.”

There will seven other teams at Traverse City, which is considered the premier prospects tournament of the preseason.

The Stars will play in the “Howe Division” with Detroit, St. Louis and Tampa Bay. The “Gretzky Division” will be made up of Minnesota, Columbus, Carolina and the New York Rangers.

The teams will play each team within their division once and then there will be a playoff game with the winner of each division playing for the tournament championship, the second place teams playing for third place, the third place teams playing for fifth and the fourth place teams playing for seventh.

Tournament schedule:


Tournament Roster

Matt Tassone looks for fresh start

September, 6, 2010
9/06/10
11:54
PM CT
Matt Tassone is looking at this season as a fresh start. He could use one, especially when you consider what he’s been through the past two seasons.

His 2008-09 season with the Swift Current Broncos of the Western Hockey League was cut short due to shoulder problems. That led to offseason surgery on both shoulders. An infection meant another surgery and more recovery time, which caused him to the first half of last season. And then he was sidelined late in the season with a neck injury.

“It was tough,” said Tassone. “But what can you? This season is a new start, a fresh start for me. … I’m good to go.”

Tassone, who turns 21 later this month, is scheduled to play for the Stars at the NHL Prospects Tournament, which gets underway later this week in Traverse City, Michigan. It’s an opportunity to show that he’s back on track after the injuries and it's a chance to make an impression on Dallas GM Joe Nieuwendyk as well.

“It’s going to be big for me,” he said. “Joe hasn’t seen me play yet, so I have to showcase myself there. That’s where I am going to have to get myself noticed to make my big jump. I just have to outplay everybody and be a leader on that team.”

The Stars selected Tassone, a forward, in the sixth round of the 2008 draft, but because of Tassone’s injury situation the Stars decided not to sign him to an NHL entry-level contract this summer. That didn’t mean the Stars were giving up on him.

The Stars helped him through the injuries, invited him to the team’s development camp in July and included him on the roster for the Traverse City Tournament.

“They’ve been great,” Tassone said of the Stars. “I know there are those cases where players do get injured and the teams that they’re with don’t sign them or give them a chance. Fortunately, Dallas sees something in me. They’ve been there for me and helped me with my shoulders and neck injuries. They’re giving me a chance to showcase myself, and that’s all I want.”

Tassone’s contract situation is still unclear. He could end up signing a contract with the Stars’ AHL affiliate in Cedar Park. His ultimate goal is getting the kind of contract he didn’t get in June.

“One of my goals is to get an NHL contract,” he said. “There are guys here that are my age that have an NHL contract. I've got to prove myself, show that I'm here, I'm good and my injuries aren't a problem and won't affect how I play. I've just got to go out there, play my game and I should be good."

Tassone, who is listed at 6-2, 200 pounds, has a nice mix of skill and grit. He plays a physical style and has shown a scoring touch in juniors as well, scoring 36 goals in 52 games for Swift Current in 2008-09. But his calling card is that hard-nosed style and he vowed the recent injuries won’t deter him from returning to what he does best.

“[The injuries] change nothing. They feel better than ever, they feel stronger. I am not too worried about that,” he said. “I am not going to change my game just because of the injuries I had in the past.”

Traverse City roster change

September, 2, 2010
9/02/10
1:06
PM CT
The Dallas Stars have made a roster change for the NHL Prospects Tournament in Traverse City, which runs Sept. 11-15. Defenseman Hubert Labrie, who injured a knee at his junior team's training camp, has been taken off the roster.

Added to the roster is forward Cole Grbavac, a gritty, physical right wing who is currently with the Medicine Hat Tigers of the Western Hockey League. Grbavac played under Stars associate coach Willie Desjardins last season. Grbavac's career WHL stats are here.

As for Labrie, he has been in Frisco the past few days getting checked out by the team's medical staff.

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