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Top 10 Rookie Tournament Players to Watch

NHL prospect tourneys start soon and we've got the big names you need to know.
Quinton Byfield

Quinton Byfield

Next week, we're going to see a number of prospect tournaments take place across the continent, from San Jose to Raleigh and all points in between. While these tourneys don't feature every top prospect in an NHL's team library (NCAA players don't come due to eligibility issues and many Europeans are already playing back home with club teams), they do tend to bring out some of the biggest names and it's always fun to see who dominates. I can still remember standout performances by the likes of Colton Parayko and, more recently, Moritz Seider at the Traverse City gathering in Michigan.

Not all the rosters are out yet, but from those that are, I've pinpointed some of the most interesting names to watch. Here's my top 10.

Quinton Byfield, C, Los Angeles Kings: The second overall pick in 2020 is intriguing here because he played 40 NHL games last season for the Kings. He should be a leader and a powerful force up front for the Kings kids, who will also have Alex Turcotte in the lineup. Expectations should be high for both players.

David Jiricek, D, Columbus Blue Jackets: This one is interesting because Jiricek is a European star who was just drafted this summer (sixth overall). He played at the world juniors in August and now sticks around North America for more duty. Jiricek is a physical defenseman with a great shot, so he could really plant a flag in Traverse City. Perhaps this will give the Jackets a sense of whether he should head back to Czechia or play in the AHL (or NHL) this year.

Mason McTavish, C, Anaheim Ducks: After dominating the world juniors (and pulling off the greatest defensive save in tournament history), McTavish will line up for the Baby Ducks in San Jose and expectations should be quite high. Sure, the kid seemingly never rests, but McTavish has shown that he is at the top of his peer group and with Anaheim rebuilding, there's a great opportunity for him to be an impact player with the Ducks this season.

Yaroslav Askarov, G, Nashville Predators: It feels like it's been years waiting on Askarov to come to North America, but in truth that's probably just because he came onto the radar when he was 16. But the time is nigh and now the elite goalie prospect gets to strut his stuff with the Preds kids as they travel to North Carolina to do battle.

Simon Edvinsson, D, Detroit Red Wings: Reviews for Edvinsson's performance at the world juniors were mixed, but I thought he played very well and showed off that great combination of skating and size that make him such an intriguing prospect on the back end. Now Edvinsson gets to prove himself in front of a Red Wings-friendly crowd in Traverse City, the latest in a string of hot prospects to play there before cracking the big club.

Mavrik Bourque, C, Dallas Stars: The Stars' pipeline looks absolutely wild right now thanks to Bourque (QMJHL playoff MVP), Logan Stankoven (CHL and WHL MVP) and Wyatt Johnston (OHL MVP). All three will be in Traverse City and it's going to be a battle to stand out ahead of Dallas' main camp. Bourque, a playmaking center, has wicked hockey sense and does have some AHL experience already.

Ben Meyers, C, Colorado Avalanche: Coming out of the University of Minnesota as the top NCAA free agent on the market, Meyers picked the Avs and got into five regular-season games before Colorado went on their Stanley Cup run. With the Avs losing some talent over the summer, Meyers could find his way into the lineup this season and his two-way game means he can play up and down a lineup.

Benjamin Gaudreau, G, San Jose Sharks: We've seen the high end for Gaudreau, when he was Canada's golden goalie at the world under-18s two years ago, but the local stats have been rougher. Playing for an OHL Sarnia team that hasn't had a winning record during his tenure will do that, which is why it will be intriguing to see what the netminder can do in San Jose, as the Sharks host the Pacific-centric rookie tournament this year.

Dylan Guenther, RW, Arizona Coyotes: Needless to say, the present is wide-open is Arizona, particularly since Phil Kessel officially left to join Vegas. For Guenther, one of the Coyotes' top prospects, a good showing in San Jose would be a great omen for a youngster with so much potential as a scorer who could maybe even help Arizona right away.

Brendan Brisson, C, Vegas Golden Knights: The versatile Brisson (who also plays on the wing) put up eight points in seven games with AHL Henderson after completing his sophomore season with NCAA Michigan last year, which is a pretty nice omen. The kid has a wicked one-timer and knows where the scoring areas are. Perhaps more importantly for cap-strapped Vegas, he's on an entry-level deal. Could a solid performance in San Jose slingshot his chances at Vegas' main camp?



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