The annual Traverse City Tournament is a big deal for all the prospects who take part. Many of them eventually plan on fighting for roster spots on their teams, so the tournament is a really good way for them to show off their skills against the best prospects in the NHL.
For New York Rangers prospect Thomas Spelling, this is a much needed moment. After getting drafted in the fifth round two years ago, Spelling left Denmark to play in the SEL (now the SHL). And while he only played in seven SHL games, he was pretty dominant in the SuperElit (think of it as Sweden's AHL) putting up 49 points (19 goals) in 36 games. And while many expected him to sign in the SHL again this year -- and fight for time in the SHL and not the junior league -- he didn't. Instead he signed in Denmark (a notably weaker league) citing a need to start over.
Now, it hasn't been confirmed yet that Spelling will be taking part in Traverse City, but all signs point that he will.
Alex Nunn @aj_ranger30 Aug
I assume Spelling may play at Traverse City then. #NYR
- Alex Nunn @aj_ranger30 Aug
Thomas Spelling departs for NYC on Tuesday. He will spend a week w/ the Rangers. Spelling's SønderjyskE play Hannover Scorpions today. #NYR
If Spelling does come to Traverse City this is a big deal for him. A lot of people aren't thrilled Spelling went back to Denmark. And while he's having a remarkable year there (three goals and five assists for eight points in three games) the numbers aren't as impressive because it's not in a stronger hockey league.
Numbers put up in Traverse City, however, will be exactly what Spelling might need to open up some eyes here. His numbers in Denmark in the past were fantastic, his SuperElit numbers last season were fantastic as well, but him going back to Denmark was disappointing.
This tournament will provide him with an opportunity to show that this Denmark hiatus is just that, an opportunity for him to start over.
Otherwise it might be looked at as a mistake.