Penticton: Young Stars Tournament

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 during the 2009 Entry Draft, being selected by the Vancouver Canucks in the first round

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.”

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.

Cody Hodgson: Vancouver's number one prospect (all photos courtesy of Yardbarker.com)

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.

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.

Jordan Eberle should be in the hunt for a roster spot with the talent-strapped Oilers

The hockey world is Mikael Backlund's oyster... he's the Flames equivalent of Hodgson

Nick Petrecki (6'3, 220 lbs) has a heavy shot, and hits even harder, could crack the Sharks' lineup this year

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?

Topics: Cody Hodgson, Jordan Eberle, Jordan Schroeder, Luca Sbisa, Mikael Backlund, Nick Petrecki, San Jose Sharks, Taylor Hall

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