The 10th annual NAHL Showcase tournament kicks off this morning in Blaine, Minnesota, and for the sixth consecutive year, I'll be there covering it.
This is always one of the best weeks of hockey the entire season, because no other tournament quite combines high level junior hockey with AAA youth hockey in the same way this tournament does. The NAHL, along with their prospects league sometimes doesn't get the credit or attention it deserves because it doesn't draw the same high-end talent of other leagues, but the league does a very important job of providing exposure to players from less traditional hockey markets, and has had some pretty good players come through their ranks.By my unofficial tally, here's a list of recent first and second round NHL draft picks that are alums of this tournament:
2012: Alex Galchenyuk, Jordan Schmaltz, Brady Skjei, Dylan Blujus, Jake McCabe, Anthony Stolarz
2011: JT Miller, Connor Murphy, Tyler Biggs, Rocco Grimaldi, Adam Clendening, John Gibson, Brandon Saad, Matt Nieto
2010: Jack Campbell, Jared Tinordi, Emerson Etem, Justin Faulk, Jon Merrill, Jason Zucker, Stephen Johns
There's a lot of hockey, and a lot of talent to be found. This year, instead of waiting for a few big posts at the end of the week, I'm going to try nightly reports on what I saw that day. It could be a bit of a mess, but we'll see how it goes.