Wild Developmental Camp 101 - Forwards

LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 26: Jason Zucker, drafted in the second round by the Minnesota Wild poses for a portrait during the 2010 NHL Entry Draft at Staples Center on June 26, 2010 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

Soon, prospects from around the world will be gathering in Minnesota for the Wild's Developmental Camp. For a whole week, the prospects will learn from the coaching staff what it will take to become a professional hockey player and what they need to improve individually. They will also undergo team-building exercises and will be introduced to the Wild organization as to become familiar with the team before signing their first professional contract.

Within that week, there will be two scrimmages, one open to only season ticket holders, and the other, open to everyone.

Now, have you ever walked into a hockey game and had no clue who was on the ice? I have, and I'm assuming you all have too. The upcoming prospect scrimmage is no different, as it includes prospects from around the world. So, to help you out, Hockey Wilderness will give the crash course on the Wild prospects and on the camp invitees!

Comments are a collection of quotes made by fans, players, coaches and management found through different sources.

 

Wild Prospects

Forwards


Comments:

Great conditioning ... impressive hockey sense ... possessing above average speed ... very versatile, able to play center or wing ... very hard-working ... underrated offensive skills ... plays a responsible two-way game ... first player in Kelowna Rocket history to lead the team in scoring as a seventeen year old ... won the Rocket's top scorer award (2007), most improved award (2007), scholastic player of the year award (2007), and the unsung hero award (2009) ... needs to work on consistency ... questions about his offensive upside.
Projection:
Almond is a very interesting prospect. While its safe to say that Almond is expected to become a solid bottom six forward in the NHL, he did showed some offensive flair when he went 7 goals and 10 assists in 23 games with the Houston Aeros (AHL). However, he would remain scoreless afterwards (and only scored 1 point before that hot run).



Comments:
plays an up-tempo, physical game ... excels at protecting the puck ... strong along the boards and in the corners ... good at playing through traffic ... good skater for his size ... good at faceoffs ... prefers to pass rather than shoot ... has an accurate, but not overly fast shot ... doesn't mind to fight ... three years ago, was only 5-6 ... won the Kelowna Rockets Most Improved Player Award (2010) ... lacks strength, even for juniors ... needs to improve hockey sense ... average speed ... needs to improve defensive play ... played only one full season of juniors, considered quite raw.
Projection:
What the Wild got with their 39th pick was a player on the rise with tons of upside but extremely raw. Bulmer grew from 5-6 to 6-3 in 3 years, and his father is 6-5, so it makes you wonder how much more growing he has left. In additon, Bulmer has done quite well in the juniors, despite the fact his game relies on his overall muscle strength, which he lacks for his size, so as he starts to fill out his frame, his game will only get better. It is really hart to project Bulmer because of how raw he is. He has the tools to become a top six foward, has the skills to be useful as a bottom six forward but he also has a good amount of bust potential to become nothing. It'll be interesting to see how he develops next season as he will most likely play alongside Shane McColgan, a potential top 5 pick in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft.



Comments:
possess terrific hands ... has decent NHL size ... has a very good shot ... is able to get into scoring areas ... good hockey sense ... quick stick ... deceptively fast and agile ... questionable work ethic ... needs to shoot more ... one-dimensional ... needs to improve defensive play and consistency
Projection:
Highly talented but terrible work habits. Sounds quite similar to the Wild's previous prospect, Benoit Pouliot. Has shown to be able to create offense when he wants to but the big question is, when does he want to? His play away from the puck is also something that he needs to work on as well. He has the skill to become a top six forward with his terrific offensive ability, but unless he improves his motivation and defesnsive play, he will become a bust as his play away from the puck will not be reliable enough for bottom six forward duties. Again, see Benoit Pouliot as a prime example.



Comments:
great skater and is very quick ... has a big body ... very good on the forecheck ... excellent work ethic and attitude ... won the Sasktoon Blade's Most Community Minded Player Award (2008) and the MVP Award (2008) ... posses average hands ... needs to improve his shot ... needs to refine his play around the net.
Projection:
A big bodied, high character kid. It is very hard not to like Gillies because of his friendly personality and positive attitude, but when's on the ice, he turns on that mean streak of his and tries to hit and forecheck with a combination of his size and very good skating. However, his offensive upside does not seem to be very high as he possess only average hands and does not have the shot to finish up plays. He is projected to be a very good 3rd liner, playing a similar role that John Madden and Samuel Pahlsson play on their respective teams.



Comments:
possesses good vision ... decent offensive abilities ... pass first mentality ... strong work ethic ... tied for the USHL Scholar-Athlete Award ... lacks strength ... needs to improve defensive play ... needs to become more physical ... can improve his stride and his quick start.
Projection:
Picked in the 7th round, Hamburg is extremely raw and does not have huge expectations from fans. Seems to be a very smart and likeable prospect but his on ice abilities still needs tons of improvement. He has decent offensive abilities but was stucked behind a stacked Omaha team so his skills are still relatively unknown. He likes to pass first and get his teammates involved. He will be heading to Colgate University where he will most likely use his full four years to develop. Projection? I could say Spezza, I could say ECHL. Doesn't make that much of a difference since Hamburg is too raw and too unknown to tell. We'll see in 4 years.



Comments:
makes hard, accurate passess ... great vision and poise ... able to find the scoring areas ... possess a hard, quick shot ... likes to play a high-tempo game ... forechecks well ... very agile ... very good skater, smooth and fast ... plays in all situations (PP, PK, even) ... has solid muscle mass ... one of the best USHL forwards during 2009-10 season ... a little undersized.
Projection:
From the comments above, it may make me seem like a homer but I honestly could not find any weaknesses besides his size, which really isn't that small. He possesses good all-round game, while excelling in the offensive area with his great vision and playmaking skills. I still don't understand why he fell to the 7th round but the Wild were lucky to be able to pick him. He is projected to be a top six forward in the NHL. He has mentioned multiple times that one of his favorite players is Valtteri Filppula, which is probably a suitable projection for Haula.



Comments:
possesses quick speed and decent skating ... good offensive skills ... good size ... plays a physical game ... has shown to he can produce points ... needs to improve his play away from the puck ... needs to improve his discipline ... takes bad penatlies.
Projection:
When we acquired Kalus for Fernandez, many fans were extremely excited to get an offensive forward that scored 3 goals on his first three NHL shots. However, when he finally reached Minnesota, he only became another disappointment in a chain of disappointing prospects. His first season with the Aeros were filled with undsicipline play, something that ex-head coach Constantine would not stand for. The following season, Kalus left to the KHL where his discipline did not seem to improbe (106 PIM in 17 games). He finally came back this season but while he seemed to be more mature than previously, he was not overly impressive, espicially in his 2 games with the Wild, in which fans felt underwhelmed by his non-existent play. By now, fans can only hope for a energitic 4th line grinder if Kalus does not decide to move back to the KHL.



Comments:
energetic goal scorer ... works hard in corners ... does not shy from physical play ... good two-way game ... can play in all situations ... started on checking line for Chilliwack Bruins, now a top six forward ... average skating ... quite skinny.
Projection:
McKinlay sounds like a good 7th round pick. A skinny forward that can play the two-way game and score goals. If he puts on more muscle, he can become a more effective hockey player. He has the tools to become a top nine forward but has long way to even becoming an NHLer, let alone the top three lines. He will need to gain some strength and some consistency in the juniors.



Comments:
very good defensively ... good hockey sense and on-ice vision ... doesn't shy physically ... good penalty killer ... works well along the boards ... physically solid ... hard-working intelligent player ... only recently started to show explosive offensive ability ... Swedish captain at the World U-18 Tournament ... average skater ... needs to develop consistency.
Projection:
One of the hottest draft prospects nearing the draft, the Wild picked Larsson up hoping his offensive outburst was just the beginning. Before, Larsson was seen as a dependable, hardworking forward, possible a good bottom six forward, nothing that would warrant a top 60 pick, but when he started to light up the World U-18 Tournament, scouts are wondering whether Larsson can develop into a top six, two-way forward in the NHL. But either way, it seems like a good pick because if Larsson's offensive game does not develop, he can still become a good, versatile 3rd line forward.



Comments:
good penalty killer ... not afraid to be physical ... very good skater ... solid defensively ... skilled on the forecheck ... not strong offensively...
Projection:
Fourth line forward. With the new system of three scoring lines and one energy line that GMCF is trying to instill, McMillan's offensive upside is lacking to be considered a top nine forward. However, if he refines his forechecking and defensive game, he can find hismelf being useful on the 4th line and on the PK, creating turnovers with forechecks or shutting down opposing forwards.



Comments:
great puck control ... has a good shot ... talented passer ... skilled along the boards ... understands the game very well ... very good on the penalty kill ... likes to control the play ... very mature ... great leader ... first team All-CCHA selection (2010) ... could improve accelereation.
Projection:
Its hard to think what an undrafted player will become, but from the sound of things, he's going to turn out to be a very reliable NHLer. He doesn't seem to have many flaws but seems to excel in the character department. Top nine forward would be my projection, either developing into a 1st or 2nd line two-way forward similar to Patrick Sharp or he could turn out to be a reliable 3rd liner that can play on the penatly kill and chip in that goal now and then. He will probably need a few years to adapt to the professional game.



Comments:
natural goal scorer ... great hockey sense ... quick accurate shot ... hustles on the ice ... soft spoken, got good leader ... excellent at faceoffs ... USHL Rookie of the Year Award (2005) ... second team All-America honors (2008) ... first team All-WCHA selection (2008) ... Colorado College Hockey's M.P Hooper Award (2008) ... not physical enough ... average skater ... first couple of steps needs improvement.
Projection:
Like many others, its hard to gauge. Rau has those abilities to make him a dangerous forward but also has some glaring flaws, such as skating and physicallity. He had a succesful rookie year with the Aeros but I find it hard to see Rau anywhere in the NHL besides the fourth line, providing some two-way play and using those faceoff skills. But if he improves in those areas previously mentioned, perhaps there might be a future for Rau with the Wild as he does possess offensive skills that make him a dangerous opponent.



Comments:
high energy game ... plays with alot of grit ... good skater .. plays well in traffic ... already suffered numerous injuries ... reckless style make him susceptible to injuries.
Projection:
Not much is known about Sallinen as he was injuried during his draft year and during this years WJC, but acquring a good skating, gritty hockey player sounds promising for a 6th round pick. He will not be expected to put up offensive numbers but to provide some hits, contribute on the forecheck and possibly get the other team riled up. He is projected to be a 3rd-4th line NHLer but injuries have hampered his development, so his future remains unclear.



Comments:
possesses quick feet ... has a quick, solid release ... superb vision ... has soft hands ... willing to drive, go into the corners and contribute on the forecheck ... Hockey East Honorable Mention Team (2010) ... Hockey East All-Rookie Team (2009) ... Hockey East All-Academic Team (2009) ... UMass Hockey's Rookie of the Year (2009) ... defensive play is still raw ... needs to add more strength
Projection:
The one player that most of us will be familiar with. Wellman played 12 games with the Wild and did not disappoint. He flashed speed and offensive skill, something not many expected from a 22 year old, undrafted free agent. But he did not look out of place with the Wild and showed willingness to make it on the pro roster by contributing on the forecheck and even fighting Dan Carcillo, one of the most feared fighters in the NHL. However, he would need some muscle if he wants to contribute offensively as it was evident that he was getting pushed off the puck too easily by the bigger, more experienced players. Wellman is projected to be a top six forward, providing speed and a goal scorer's shot, and an offseason should do wonders to his muscle mass.



Comments:
defensively responsible ... positionally sound ... very good on the forecheck ... uses his stick effectively ... very versatile ... good penalty skiller ... doesn't shy from physical play ... contributes on the backcheck ... good skater ... decent offensive instincts ... good shot ... high character ... three gold medals for USA in one year (2010) ... needs to get stronger ... lacks explosive speed
Projection:
Three gold medals in one year as a 17-year old is very impressive. He strives on the forecheck and in the defensive zone and while not slow, he isn't extremely fast either. He relies on his hockey smarts to put him in the right place at the right time. He also possesses some solid offensive abilities, such as his shot. Most likely, he will become a very good bottom six forward who will provide very good two-way play and chip in offensively. In the future, perhaps he could play between Gillies and Clutterbuck (wouldn't that be something...)

 

Invitees


Comments:
good speed ... decent hockey sense ... has good size ... likes to protect the puck and drive to the net ... could work on his shot.
Projection:
I am unsure about the rules on signing undrafted prospects from the CHL (always thought you would have to be an overager, but we signed Krupp last year so I don't know) but nothing that I've read makes Barnett stand out. He will have this once chance to get the Wild scouts interested.



Comments
fast skater ... quick hands ... has good size ... possesses a good shot ... ECHL All-Star (2010)
Projection:
Last year, he was injured for both the Wild and Aeros training camp so he did not get an oppurtunity to impress any of the coaching staff present. However, after an impressive year with the Florida Everblades, he'll get another chance. Because he plays for the Everblades, Buck already has the inside track into the Wild organization as the Wild organization has ties with the Everblades. Buck is one guy to keep an eye out for during developmental camp.



Comments
plays an energitic game ... plays physical ... takes the puck to the net ... willing to drop the gloves
Projection:
Doesn't seem to have much offensive upside but Dziurynski has that energetic game that GM Chuck Fletcher is trying to instill into the Wild roster. With that said, I don't see Dziurysnki making it into the Wild organiztion, or at the very least, the pro roster.



Comments
great hands ... finishing ability ... skilled at play around the net ... doesn't shy away from playing into traffic ... good hockey sense ... named All-WCHA second team (2009, 2010) ... named U.of Minnesota Duluth Hockey's Rookie of the Year (2008)
Projection
A very intersting invitee. Fontaine is a current college free agent, and with the recent influx of college signings (Rau, Wellman, Prosser, Palmer), the Wild staff will definately give one of the top college free agents a good look.



Comments
extremely fast ... solid shot ... very good two-way game ... played the USA WJC U-18 team (2009,2010) ... quite undersized
Projection:
While skilled enough to play for team USA twice, his size is quite evident and he does not excel in any areas of his game. However, he was a teammate of Jason Zucker, and the Wild might give a look to see if the mix of Johnson's speed and two-way game can develop into something more, but at the moment, I doubt he will leave a lasting impression with the team.



Comments
Academic All-CHA (2009) ... First-Team All-CHA (2009) ... CHA All-Tournament Team (2009) ... CHA Tournament Most Outstanding Player (2009) ... NCAA Midwest Regional All-Tournament Team (2009) ... CHA All-Rookie Team (2008) ... CHA Rookie of the Year (2008)
Projection:
I can not find alot on Matt Read but apparently, he is getting alot of interest from other NHL teams, which he decided to decline because he wanted to finish off his college degree. His resume seems quite impressive and with Read attending the Wild's developmental camp, they'll get the first chance to impress Read in order to increase their chances in signing him later in the year.

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