NHL Prospect Tournament 2009 Preview – Part 3

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This years NHL Prospects Tournament is hosted (as usual) by the Detroit Red Wings in Traverse City, Mi, home of the Wings training camp. It will take place from September 6-10, the week prior to all of the NHL training camps kicking off, and will include eight teams Detroit, Atlanta, Columbus, St. Louis, Dallas, New York Rangers, Minnesota, and Carolina.

In the first part of my Tournament preview I talked about Atlanta, Carolina, Dallas and Minnesota. The 2nd Part of my preview I covered 3 of the remaining 4 teams the New York Rangers, Columbus, and St. Louis.

Today I will cover the Red Wings prospect roster with a little more depth. I have picked three players that I am excited to see Thomas McCollum, Tomas Tatar and Landon Ferraro on Wednesday and Thursday when I am in Traverse City this week to catch the last 2 days of the tournament.

Thomas McCollum

Since Jim Devellano, Jim Nill and Ken Holland have been in the front office of the Red Wings, it would be hard to find a team that has been more successful in scouting and then drafting. The only apparent flaw in that time period is that the Wings have been unable to successfully develop a goaltender other than Chris Osgood. With the 30th pick in the 2008 NHL Draft the Red Wings selected Thomas McCollum, his selection marked the first time since 1992 that the Red Wings didn’t use a first-round pick on a defenseman. McCollum enters this years tournament as a veteran having played in the tournament last year where along with goalie mate Daniel Larson lead the Wings prospects to a shootout loss in the Championship game. McCollum has one more season of OHL eligibility left. But because of his late birthdate, he is also eligible to play in the American Hockey League — and that’s where he is expected to be assigned.

“I think it’s time for him to move on,” said Red Wings director of scouting Joe McDonnell, who oversees the Ontario region. “Of course, it’s how he (performs) at camp and things like how he’s adjusting to the pro life, but we definitely have a plan for him to be in the American League next year.”

Tomas Tatar

Until the World Junior championships in December, Thomas Tatar was a relative unknown, when he tied for fourth in the tournament with seven goals among 11 points in seven games, leading Slovakia to a surprising fourth-place finish. His breakout performance a the WJC was relatively unexpected because he only had 15 points the entire season for Zvolen of the Slovak ExtraLiga. After the tournament a lot of scouts believed that he was a one hit wonder but now on the Wings radar they decided to dig in and keep an eye on him. “He came a little bit out of the blue and we said after the world juniors, ‘We have to follow this guy to find out if he was a one-week miracle or not,'” said Hakan Andersson, the Red Wings’ director of European scouting. “And as we kept watching him, he was good, everywhere he went.” “He’s one of those guys the puck just follows.  He’s got the offensive instincts, the head and the hands.” Jim Nill says. The Wings who had Tatar ranked in the middle of the first round heading into Saturday’s NHL draft, were thrilled after landing the Slovak left-winger at the end of the second round (60th overall).

Landon Ferraro

A scouting report on Ray Ferraro once read, “his skating won’t win any medals … He has a choppy stride and lacks rink-long speed.” but that didn’t stop Ray “Chicken Parm” Ferraro from having a borderline Hall of Fame career. Landon Ferraro, the Detroit Red Wings’ top pick, 32nd overall, will never be confused with his father, at least with his skating ability, he can flat-out fly. He won the fastest skater competition in the Canadian Hockey League top prospects game last season in a blistering 14.009 seconds.   “That boy can skate,” one scout told Red Wings Central. Aside from speed, Landon has a lot of his dad’s trademark skills.  Ray’s scouting report also read “hungry around the net and can bury the puck from the bottom of the circles in” and “willing to go into traffic to score and make plays.” You don’t have to change a word of that to write Landon’s report. The 6-foot, 170-pound center finished ninth in Western Hockey League goal-scoring last season, finding the net 37 times among 55 points in 68 games, even though he played for one of the most offensively-challenged clubs in Canada.

I will be tweeting live from the Tournament on Wednesday and Thursday!

My name is David Swartzlander check me out on Twitter @octopusthrower
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