Prior to the Vancouver Canucks Veteran camp in Penticton, the NHL's youngest and most notable up-and-comers will be on display September 12-16, 2010.
Jordan Schroeder, Vancouver's first selection (22nd overall) in the 2009 Entry Draft in Montreal
The Young Stars tournament will be an 8 game round robin tournament, featuring some blue chip talent from the Vancouver Canucks, Calgary Flames, San Jose Sharks, Anaheim Ducks and Edmonton Oilers. Dan Ashton, Mayor of Penticton, spoke to the upcoming event. "When we built our events centre, part of our vision was to have the Canucks come and utilize it as a training facility... now to have five NHL teams come to Penticton for five days... this is a tremendous opportunity for us to showcase our facility and community."
Vancouver's premier prospect is listed by www.hockeysfuture.com as the third best prospect in the NHL (all photos courtesy of Yardbarker.com)
At this time, the details of which prospects will be playing has yet to be announced, but it figures to be an important proving grounds. With the possibility that some of the prospects looking for regular NHL jobs this fall will be involved, there is the potential for several nigh-household names. Jordan Eberle, Taylor Hall, Mikael Backlund, Nick Petrecki, Luca Sbisa, Jake Gardiner - all prospects that might be involved in the tournament.
Will Taylor Hall, the first overall selection in the 2010 Entry Draft, be on display in Penticton Sept. 12-16 ?
From a Canucks fan point of view, the real draw will be witnessing the unfolding storyline between Prior Lake, Minnesotan Jordan Schroeder and Markham, Ontario's Cody Hodgson. The two centers will look to make an early impression on Canucks' brass, meanwhile competing for what should essentially be the 4th line center position with the club. With Manny Malholtra's tenacious, time-proven checking track record, it appears that's the slot available. One has to factor in, though, Hodgson's $1.6 M cap hit into the equation, which might be enough, provided he has a solid camp, to make him the incumbent fourth line center.
Calgary's Mikael Backlund is by far and away their best prospect, and should earn a regular roster spot this fall
Canucks President and General Manager Mike Gillis commented on the Young Stars tournament that precedes the Veteran camp (which starts Sept. 18). "Penticton has a deep hockey history and we look forward in continuing to celebrate that legacy with our NHL players and prospects this fall." A tournament package, which starts at $66 plus applicable taxes (www.valleyfirstTIX.com), receives a ticket to each of the eight games, and the first 1000 fans to purchase tickets also receive an exclusive pass to the Canucks Veteran's Training Camp, providing reserved seating and priority access to the Veteran's Camp.
With Scott Neidermeyer's retirement, Luca Sbisa should be a regular fixture on Anaheim's blueline this season
To be frank, though I'm very interested in how things shake down during Veteran's Camp, I'm salivating to see how the neophytes perform during the Young Stars tournament. Of course, I'm wary of another Sergei Shirokov-esque performance: One of the prospects performs very well, has a great pre-season, and then fades shortly after. But make no mistake about it, there are a couple of jobs up for grabs, and with Michael Grabner being shipped to Florida, the door is open. The only remaining question: Who will walk through?
San Jose's Nick Petrecki is already a monster defenseman (6'3, 220 lbs); the New York native is only 21 years old
With files from Canucks.com, Yardbarker and Hockeys Future, I'm Larenzo Jensen
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