Detroit — Hockey season is about to begin.
Not in weeks, but this weekend, actually, as the Red Wings and seven other teams compete in the NHL Prospect Tournament in Traverse City.
The Red Wings’ roster of young talent will play the Chicago Blackhawks’ roster 7 p.m. Friday at Centre Ice Arena.
Along with the Red Wings, top prospects from Chicago, St. Louis, Toronto, Columbus, Dallas, Minnesota and the New York Rangers will compete.
This is the 20th year of the tournament.
For Wings fans interested about the future, this year’s roster in this tournament is as intriguing as it has been in recent memory.
The Wings’ roster is highlighted by three recent first-round draft picks: forwards Filip Zadina and Joe Veleno (both 2018), and defenseman Moritz Seider (2019).
Zadina finished sixth overall in points last season for Grand Rapids, while spending the majority of the season with the AHL Griffins (the Wings’ minor league affiliate).
Zadina added three points (one goal, two assists) in nine games with the Wings.
Much will depend on Zadina’s performance in the prospects tournament and exhibition season as to whether he will begin the NHL season with the Wings, or return to Grand Rapids for more seasoning.
Veleno dominated his final year in junior hockey, with 104 points (42 goals, 62 assists) in 59 games for Drummondville in the Quebec junior league.
Veleno is penciled to begin this season in Grand Rapids.
Seider was the Wings’ surprise first-round pick, sixth overall, in June’s draft. But where Seider will begin this season is unclear.
Because it’s doubtful Seider can make the jump from German hockey to the NHL, there has been speculation about the Wings returning Sedier to Germany — where Seider was the Deutsch Eishockey Liga Rookie of the Year — to possibly placing Seider in junior hockey or playing for Grand Rapids.
Also on the Wings’ roster are college undrafted free agents Taro Hirose and Ryan Kuffner, both of whom made their NHL debuts upon signing with the Wings last March.
Forwards Chase Pearson, Givani Smith and Elmer Soderblom, defensemen Gustav Lindstrom and Gustav Berglund and goaltenders Kaden Fulcher and Filip Larsson also are on the roster.
Twenty-three players who skated for the Red Wings during the 2018-19 season previously participated in the tournament, while 639 total players have played in the tournament and moved on to skate in at least one NHL game during its 20-year history.
Teams are divided into two divisions and will play each team within their division once during the round robin before a crossover on the final day of the tournament, with the first-place finishers in each division meeting for the championship Tuesday.
NHL Prospect Tournament
► When: Friday-Tuesday, Centre ICE Arena, Traverse City.
► Teams: Detroit, Toronto, Chicago, Columbus, Dallas, Minnesota, N.Y. Rangers, St. Louis.
► Format: Teams are split into two divisions, with first-place teams meeting for the championship Tuesday.
► Tickets: $10 per day