The Columbus Blue Jackets didn't just exceed (what may have been low) expectations in winning the annual Traverse City Prospects Tournament. They shattered them.
The Blue Jackets, who rostered a staggeringly-high 14 free-agent invites, dispatched the Detroit Red Wings in the championship game by a 7-3 final score to win the challenge for a tournament-high fifth time.
Detroit, by comparison, iced a team loaded with drafted talent, with 16 players property of the winged wheel. Four of them were first-round picks, while Liam Foudy was the lone first-rounder from the Blue Jackets.
The Blue Jackets trailed for just 2:48 of the 240 minutes of game play through their four game cruise through the tournament. The lone deficit came after the Blue Jackets allowed two quick goals within the first 95 seconds of the third period in the championship game. The 3-2 deficit was short-lived, and Columbus responded with five straight goals in the remaining 18:25 to blow the game open.
Kevin Stenlund, who we have ranked as the club's 13th best prospect, was especially impressive in the tournament. He scored in each of the games, posting five goals and two assists in four games, which led the team and tied him for second in the tournament. He also led the tournament with a +6 rating and tallied 2-1-3 in the championship game alone.
Matiss Kivlenieks came up huge for the Blue Jackets in net, stopping a flurry of shots early on in the game, and he stopped 20 of 23 shots faced. He went 3-0-0 in the tournament with a .885 save percentage.
Captain Sam Vigneault stood out in the game and the tournament. He scored the game-tying goal to make it 3-3 in the 3rd period, and he scored four goals in four games in the tournament. Eric Robinson, Trey Fix-Wolansky, Garret Cockerill (empty net), and New Albany's Kole Sherwood also tallied in the third period for the Blue Jackets.
All of the 2018-drafted players, as well as seven of the 14 free agent Traverse City invitees are invited to partake in training camp, which begins its on-ice segment on Friday.