Bauer Motown Classic Brings Future NHL Talent To Detroit

© Joe Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports NHL: Preseason-Chicago Blackhawks at Columbus Blue Jackets

By Jacob Messing

The puck drops on the 2017 Bauer Motown Classic — streamed live right here on FloHockey — next weekend in Detroit. The tournament, presented by Legacy Global Hockey, has featured plenty of players who headed to the NHL, and you can bet this year will be no different.

Three of the top 11 picks in the 2015 NHL Draft  (No. 3 Dylan Strome, No. 8 Zach Werenski, and No. 11 Lawson Crouse) participated in the Bauer Motown Classic as youngsters.

The following year, five of the top 16 picks (No. 6 Matthew Tkachuk, No. 7 Clayton Keller, No. 14 Charlie McAvoy, No. 15 Luke Kunin, and No. 16 Jakub Chychrun) were all drafted and are alumni of the tournament.

Of those players, only Kunin has yet to play an NHL game, but each of the other seven has left a mark during his short NHL career. Below you’ll find a closer look at a handful of these budding stars.

Clayton Keller | 19 Years Old | Arizona Coyotes

NHL Stats: 6 GP, 1 G, 3 A, 4 Pts.

In his freshman year last season with Boston University, Keller finished 19th in NCAA scoring with 21 goals and 45 points in 31 games. The center trailed only behind Denis Smirnov (47 pts.) in freshman scoring.

The Missouri native joined the Coyotes following his season with the Terriers, adding two assists in three games. The undersized Keller has outplayed his 5-foot-10 frame everywhere on the ice and uses a keen hockey IQ to out-duel his opponents.

In Arizona’s season opener, Keller reaffirmed his NHL status by scoring his first goal and recording six shots on net in just under 20 minutes of ice time. He’s an important piece of Arizona’s offense moving forward on a team trending upwards.

Jakob Chychrun | 19 | Arizona Coyotes

NHL Stats: 68 GP, 7 G, 13 A, 20 Pts.

Chychrun was projected as a top-five pick ahead of the 2016 NHL Draft, but the defenseman slipped all the way to the Detroit Red Wings at No. 16, who flipped the pick to Arizona to unload Pavel Datsyuk’s deadweight cap space.

Chychrun stepped right into a full-time NHL role, fitting in with poise, albeit with some learning curves as a teenage blue liner on a bottom-dwelling team.



The Florida native went viral on hockey Twitter over the summer, appearing ready to take the next step among the game’s greatest players.

Chychrun was injured in offseason training and underwent knee surgery on August 4. His timeline is unknown, and while he has not yet begun skating again the organization stated last week that he is ahead of schedule.



Charlie McAvoy | 19 | Boston Bruins

NHL Stats: 2 GP, 1 G, 1 A, 2 Pts.

A teammate of Keller’s last season at BU, McAvoy has the potential to grow into a top-10 NHL defenseman. In 75 games over two years with the Terriers, McAvoy scored eight goals and 51 points alongside a plus-19 rating.

The New Yorker joined the Bruins’ AHL affiliate Providence at the end of last season, where he tallied two assists in four games before joining Boston for six playoff games, dishing three assists and averaging a whopping 26:12 of ice time.

McAvoy will be a top defenseman for Boston for years to come. He’s a defensive stalwart with offense in tow, proven by his regular season debut of a goal and assist.

Matthew Tkachuk | 19 | Calgary Flames

NHL Stats: 79 GP, 13 G, 37 A, 50 Pts.

Tkachuk had a solid rookie year with Calgary a season ago and showed his future in four words: like father, like son. The eldest son of hall of famer Keith Tkachuk, known for his balanced offense and tenacity, Matthew was a mirror image of his dad.

With 13 goals, 48 points and 105 PIM in 76 games as a rookie, the versatile left winger is just scratching the surface. Calgary’s youth of Tkachuk, Sean Monahan, Johnny Gaudreau, and others has pinned them as an up-and-coming team ready to fight the Pacific Division’s top spot.

Tkachuk’s ability to beat opponents on the scoresheet or toe to toe is a seemingly dying art in pro hockey, which makes him a fascinating player to watch.

Zach Werenski | 20 | Columbus Blue Jackets

NHL Stats: 81 GP, 12 G, 36 A, 48 Pts.

After just 81 NHL games, Werenski has shown he is a future Norris Trophy winner. The Michigan native scored a combined 20 goals and 61 points in 71 games during his two years at the University of Michigan.

The defenseman played with future NHL players including Dylan Larkin, Zach Hyman, and others, where they mutually benefitted from each others’ strong play. Werenski placed third in 2017 Calder Trophy voting, behind only Auston Matthews and Patrik Laine.

Currently partnered with Seth Jones on the Blue Jackets’ top pair, the two former top-10 draft picks have the ability to grow into the game’s best tandem for a Columbus team finally putting the pieces together.

FloHockey will live-stream the Bauer Motown Classic, which kicks off on October 20 at 8 AM EST and runs through October 22; the final game is scheduled for 4:30 PM.

The hockey extravaganza is made up of nine divisions, split up between U18, U16, and U15, as well as six more for skaters born in each year between 2003-08.


Have a question or a comment for Jacob Messing? You can find him on Twitter @JMessing23.

FloHockey’s Western Conference All-Star Rosters

© James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports NHL: St. Louis Blues at Carolina Hurricanes

Welcome back for the Western Conference installment of FloHockey’s NHL All-Star lineup predictions.

Catch up on the Eastern Conference selections right here.The NHL is opting for a third year of the three-on-three format. Each division has a team of 11 players — six forwards, three defensemen, and two goalies — with at least one representative from each team.

FloHockey’s Eastern Conference All-Star Rosters

© Robert Mayer-USA TODAY Sports NHL: San Jose Sharks at Florida Panthers

By Jacob Messing

While there may be not NHL players participating in Pyeongchang for the Winter Olympics this February, fans at least get the fun-filled All-Star weekend.

Detroit's Darren Helm On Both Sides Of A Big Hit

© Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports NHL: Detroit Red Wings at Tampa Bay Lightning

By Jacob Messing

With another week of hockey in the books, FloHockey has compiled some of the biggest body checks from the past seven days.

High And Wide: Barbashev, Blues, And A Bounce-Back In L.A.

© Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports NHL: Calgary Flames at Montreal Canadiens

By Jacob Messing

St. Louis Blues forward Jaden Schwartz is out for six weeks, Auston Matthews is hurt again, and the Ottawa Senators have just one win in their past seven games.

No. 6 Minnesota, Grace Zumwinkle Still Searching For Home Formula

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By Jacob Messing

The No. 6 Minnesota Golden Gophers are perfect on the road this season, but have lacked the “advantage” part of home-ice advantage.

No. 18 Penn State Seeks Keystone State Dominance vs Robert Morris

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By Jacob Messing

Home-State Battle: Rivals Michigan, Michigan State Set To Clash

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By Jacob Messing

No matter what the sport, the state of Michigan enjoys watching the Wolverines and Spartans go head-to-head.

Top 5 Minnesota Golden Gophers In The NHL

© Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports NHL: Winnipeg Jets at Minnesota Wild

By Jacob Messing

Last week, FloHockey took a look at the top five Big Ten alumni in the NHL, but given the Minnesota’s plethora of professional talent we decided to follow up with the best Golden Gophers in hockey today.

Strength And Pain: The Hardest Hits Of The Week

© Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports NHL: Pittsburgh Penguins at Nashville Predators

By Jacob Messing

Another weekly dose of strength and pain coming together as FloHockey compiles the best hits from around the world right here.

High And Wide: Wheeler, Winnipeg, And We’ll Call It Upper-Body

© Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports NHL: Preseason-San Jose Sharks at Vegas Golden Knights

By Jacob Messing

The Philadelphia Flyers have lost 10 straight games, the Metropolitan is demolishing the Eastern Conference, and the two types of injuries are flaring up.