Josh Dunne, Stanislav Svozil, and James Malatesta Impress In Traverse City

By Jacob Nitzberg on September 21, 2021 at 9:20 am
Apr 15, 2021; Dallas, Texas, USA; Columbus Blue Jackets rookie center Josh Dunne (21) skates in his first NHL game during the second period against the Dallas Stars at the American Airlines Center.
Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

The Blue Jackets had a good time in Traverse City.

They finished with a perfect 4-0 record and got contributions from everywhere in the lineup. Yegor Chinakhov and Cole Sillinger were excellent, but first-rounders should impress in Traverse City.  Whether they will make the Blue Jackets' roster out of training camp is yet to be seen, but they're certainly coming into camp with some momentum.

Sillinger and Chinakhov got most of the attention during the tournament, but there were several other players who deserve their share of the spotlight. Here are three prospects who also played well in Traverse City.

Josh Dunne (Undrafted free agent, signed through next season)

The big, bruising center was the tournament's leading scorer, finishing with 3-4-7 in the Blue Jackets' four games. He notched the game-winning goal in overtime in their first game and added a big goal in the finale.

Dunne, 22, has some work to do to make the Blue Jackets' roster out of camp. It's likely that he'll begin the season in AHL Cleveland, but he'll likely see some games with the NHL squad this season. He notched six games with the Blue Jackets last season after signing a contract with the club that runs through the 2021-22 season. Dunne will be a restricted free agent when that contract expires.

Stanislav Svozil (Third-round pick, 2021 NHL Draft)

Svozil was impressive with the puck on his stick, and his skating was top-notch all tournament long. One of the moments that illustrated his skills was in the Blue Jackets' final game against the Maple Leafs. With the teams playing 4-on-4, Svozil beat his man easily and got the puck on net. Tyler Angle was there to clean up the rebound and get the Blue Jackets on the board.

Svozil signed his entry-level contract earlier this year. The 18-year-old defenseman plans to play the 2021-22 season with the Regina Pats of the WHL, where he'll team up with phenom Connor Bedard. Although it's still very early, Svozil is definitely one to keep your eyes on.

James Malatesta (Fifth-round pick, 2021 NHL Draft)

Malatesta started the tournament rather quietly, but that wouldn't be the case for long. He notched an assist in the club's first game, then went scoreless in the second. In the third game against the Detroit Red Wings, he made a hit on Jared McIsaac that caused the Red Wings defenseman to need a stretcher and a trip to the hospital. It seems at this point that McIsaac escaped serious injury, but Malatesta was still very shaken up about it.

"Things happen so fast at game speed on the ice," said Malatesta after the game. "It wasn’t my intention to hurt anyone out there. To see that, it’s definitely hard and I’m kind of mad at myself. I just hope he’s OK."

The next day, the Blue Jackets played their fourth and final game in the tournament. Malatesta notched a hat trick as the Blue Jackets won a wild, back-and-forth affair over the Toronto Maple Leafs in overtime, 7-6. He finished a shorthanded chance in the second period, tallied another goal before the period ended, and then registered a hat trick when he tipped home a shot from the point in the third period.