The Buffalo Sabres are preparing their prospects for the 2014 Traverse City Tournament. The Traverse City round robin tournament, hosted by the Detroit Red Wings is one of the more “prestigious” prospect tournaments that will happen during the summer months – but is not the only September tournament being played.
Buffalo Sabres prospects have won the tournament once, came in second, and didn’t play in one year because of the lockout.
If the Sabres were smart – this would be the last year of their participation in the Traverse City Tournament.
Why? Simple answer – host your own.
With the Harbor Center nearing completion, and will most likely be up and running in the near future, you know have enough rinks to support a prospect tournament right in downtown Buffalo – with hotel space to accommodate the teams you invite.
Create a trophy – name it after the French Connection, or Rick Martin in particular – and conduct a three to four day tournament.
Why? Simple answer – showcase the city more and more to younger players who will want to come here when they hit free agency. Sure its another gimmick scheme by an organization hard up for good press among pending free agents, but it can’t hurt right?
Part 2 Turn Prospect Tournaments into Summer League Hockey
Is there really a reason for NHL teams to shutdown the actual play of hockey from mid June when the Stanley Cup is awarded to the end of September when training camps roll into town?
Currently the NBA has two summer leagues, one held in Las Vegas, the other in Orlando. Samsung is the corporate sponsor, and last year was the first year that teams actually competed for “place” as before it was just a way for teams to get prospects, rookies, and trial players into a rotation.
Obviously a summer league is going to be void of star power – and not every team is going to want to participate every year.
Would NBC be interested in picking up a few of the summer league games to tease the fanbase? I know most of you just groaned thinking about how much Sidney Crosby could get talked about when Sidney Crosby isn’t playing – but the NHL has to do something to increase its reach to its fans as it risks fading away further from the other three big pro leagues.
I would vote for summer league NHL – but first and foremost, lets get Buffalo hosting a prospects tournament please.