This week the Wild have been holding their annual development camp for the team's prospects. Today, however, the Wild opened the doors of the camp for the general public, as the prospects split up into teams and began a 3 on 3 tournament that runs through Saturday.
Here are some thoughts from today's session:
- Matt Dumba is obviously the player to watch here, as he looks to make the NHL club this season. Today he showed he was a step above the rest. He had a bit of a rough start, but after a few minutes he got it going and looked incredible. He moves very well and sees the ice tremendously. Although, I did have to scratch my head a little bit when on one play he stick handled around the entire defense positioning himself for a shot out front of the net, but chose to pass to his teammate at the side of the net where the shot was easily stopped by Alexandre Belanger.
- Raphael Bussieres was impressive today. I was surprised by his stick handling abilities, as he deked around the opposition left and right. If you are going to any of the upcoming scrimmages, keep an eye on the Wild's 2012 2nd round pick.
- For you Gopher fans, Erik Haula was one of the better players on the ice today. He got so into the scrimmages he fired off a few slapshots for the fans, but none were able to hit the net.
- My favorite player of the day was the one I had never heard of until this afternoon. Defenseman Mike Boivin is a non roster invitee, but you would not think that with how he played. His skating ability was surprisingly good, he had great vision to create plays, and even flashed some brilliant stick handling abilities. He was able to fire off some good wrist shots, but they went high and wide (*cough* Clutterbuck). Watch Boivin if you are going tomorrow or Saturday.
- Goaltending wise, Stephen Michalek stood out as the best one of the four goalies in camp. He gave up no easy angles to shoot on and had great rebound control. It took a few incredible plays for him to get scored on. Meanwhile, top goalie prospect Johan Gustafsson was not as sharp, but I wouldn't lose any sleep over it.
- 2013 Draft picks: Kurtis Gabriel and Avery Peterson stood out today. Gabriel was everywhere this afternoon, giving the most effort from any of the prospects. However, his skills need much polishing as he missed a few open nets and had some trouble staying on his feet. Peterson kind of took on a power forward role in the scrimmages today, parking out front of the net most of the time. He made some nice plays when he got the puck, including a play where he got in behind the defense and just about undressed Johan Gustafsson with some magnificent dekes, giving him an empty net to shoot at (Gustafsson looked like Nik Backstrom in a shootout on that play). 2nd round pick Gustav Olofsson will not be playing in the scrimmages due to the team's request, for those wondering.