I think it's a plus to basically have a defending Stanley Cup championship team return intact. There's a lot of character on the team, and even if that wasn't the case, Berube has shown he will keep them motivated. The team will miss Maroon's tenacity and physical play, plus his locker room and on-ice presence. But I think that means players such as Blais, Sanford, Fabbri and MacEachern have the opportunity for larger roles. And certainly Kyrou is expected to make a push for a roster spot.
Yes, I am going to Traverse City, although as is the case with my previous 2 years on the beat, I will be there for only a couple of games. Obviously, I will be looking at Kostin, Torpchenko, Reinke, Alexandrov, Tyler Tucker and goalies Hofer and Ellis. The Blues won't have the star power on the ice that they've had at recent Traverse City tournaments, so I don't know how much success they will have team-wise.