In years past, I have shared my recap of the Wild Prospect Development Camp Scrimmage with my friends on Facebook. This year, I decided to share my thought with the Wilderness. This year was different. It was missing some of the Grade A prospects of years past like Jason Zucker, Mikael Granlund, and Charlie Coyle, but that didn’t mean that this year’s scrimmage was any less exciting. Here it goes:
Tyler Graovac, 6’4", 191 lbs. from Brampton, Ontario
Last season this former 7th round pick (191st Overall) in the 2011 entry draft has been a pleasant surprise to Wild scouting department. Graovac potted 38 goals while racking up 73 points in 60 games for Ottawa/Belleville of the OHL. Today, Graovac played like a guy that likes the offensive zone. When his line was on the ice, they seemed to spend most of their shift on the attack. It was almost like he had a ten foot leash and was chained to the net because he was always able to be found wreaking havoc for goalies. Graovac scored the lone goal for the White Team when he slipped a shot by on the short side after following his pass to the front of the net. I know the Wild are pleased with this kid, and us fans should be excited in at least 2-3 years.
Carson Soucy, 6’4", 191 lbs. from Viking, Alberta
The 5th rounder bound for University of Minnesota-Duluth has some real size. Coming in at 6’4", Soucy has the height advantage on almost everyone on the ice today. However, he needs to put on weight and some muscle because I did see him get pushed around a few times. He is not afraid to shoot from the blue line and keeps his head up. His skating just flat-out needs to get better. By that, I mean, he needs to keep skating and get better in transition. He will need to learn fast as the WCHA will not be kind to him with the speed and talent in that league. He is just shy of his 19th birthday, so he has time to develop. The good thing is, he is going to play division 1 hockey and Duluth has a really top-notch program.
Zack Phillips, 6’1", 187 lbs. from Fredericton, New Brunswick
Zack Phillips was drafted by the Wild in 2011 in the first round (28th Overall). If you remember, he was the pick that came over in the Burns trade to San Jose along with Charlie Coyle and Devin Setoguchi. I said last year that I liked the where he was positioned on the ice because he liked to camp in front of the net, he just needed to put on weight. Apparently he needs to learn how to skate too. His first couple strides are nothing short of awful. Phillips made a really nice read at the opposing blue line to create a turnover and get a spectacular chance on net. The kid has great hands. He showed some real nice stick handling in the shootout with a dazzler. If he can get better in his own zone and improve his skating, this kid just may turn out to be a decent 3rd liner. That will remain to be seen.
Mathew Dumba, 6’0", 185 lbs. from Regina, Saskatchewan
The first round selection, 7th overall, in the 2012 entry draft still has a solid NHL caliber shot. His skating and defensive zone work has improved. However, he is very high-risk, high-reward in that he likes to go for the big hip check in the neutral zone rather than play his position. Yeah, that actually happened today; the swing and miss led to an odd-man rush going the other way. Dumba made a nice play by pinching down into the zone from the blue line and got a real quality chance on goal. He is still young and very inconsistent. Most of us in attendance today felt there were many times when he seemed to disappear. He needs another year of Red Deer and time in Iowa. If Dumba is on the big club when they break camp, the Wild will have some serious defensive woes. The kid has skill, it just needs some refining.
Erik Haula, 5’11", 189 lbs. from Pori, Finland
Well, Gopher fans, this kid lived up to his billing. He was one of the top 3-4 best players on a very good University of Minnesota team. Erik Haula plays a very cerebral game. He is smart, plays with his head up, and is always around the puck in both ends. This comes as no surprise because a 3 year division 1 college player should play as good as he did against much younger talent. He has good speed and a great shot that he displayed in his goals. The first he streaked down the right side and beat his defender 1-on-1 and roofed the puck over the tender’s left shoulder. The other goals game in the shootout. One was a spin-o-rama that brought crowd to life, even though the move is now or close to being illegal in the League, and the other in the shootout was an absolute snipe in to the upper left-hand corner. I see him being a solid two-way 3rd line center on a 3rd line that scores a bunch in the NHL.
Mike Boivin, 6’1", 190 lbs. from Delta, British Columbia
This Colorado College graduate was a camp invitee. All week people have been raving about this kid. Unfortunately, he is not property of the Wild. He, like Haula, played as good as a 3-4 year division college player should play. Boivin, listed as a defenseman played multiple positions today, showing off his versatility. He scored his lone goal from the right point with a seeing-eye wrister. He was moved to left side on defense then eventually played the wing, along side Haula in the 2nd. He looked strong in the defensive zone, and is a decent skater. He was all over the place and looked pretty good doing it.
The Green Team ended up winning 5-1 in regulation. While this year’s scrimmage lacked the overall upper echelon talent that last year’s did, it made up for it with physical play. These kids were working hard for their futures. With a lot of these kids playing their home games just 3 hours to the south in Des Moines, it should be fun watching the guys grow, mature, and hone their skills to become the next NHL stars.