Prospects at the Wild training camp

Claus Andersen

We’ll take a look at prospects and three invitees who were at the Traverse City tournament and main camp.

Let's start with the forwards, then the defensemen and we'll finish with the goaltenders.

Forwards

Brett Bulmer: Bulmer was supposed to participate in Traverse City, but a knee injury prevented him from that.

From all accounts, he's had a terrible season in Houston last year. Hopefully he'll bounce back this season.

Raphael Bussieres: From the reports, he did well there. Bussieres scored 2 goals, including 1 on the power play, and had 6 shots on goal in 4 games. He finished the tourney with -1.

Bussieres is not only a skilled player, but he's also an agitating forward. You can watch some of his 2012 highlights here.

He'll make his professional debut in Iowa this season. Bussieres should be able to earn a top 6 spot, but we'll see.

Josh Caron: Caron played 3 games and got 11 PIM, including 1 fight, and -2. He's an interesting case since he can either play RW or D like John Scott, for instance.

The big 6'4'' man is expected to play in Iowa. If he isn't, the Orlando Solar Bears should be another option just like last season.

Kurtis Gabriel: Gabriel played the 4 games of the tourney and got 1 assist, 14 PIM, including 2 fights, 2 shots on goal and -1. Here's a video of his fight against the Red Wings.

The camp is pretty important for him since it'll determinate his future. Either he goes back to Owen Sound or signs to an entry level contract and makes his professional debut in Iowa. The final decision will be up to the staff after what they have seen from the camp.

One thing for sure, he doesn't hesitate to drop the gloves when it comes in defending a teammate which is a big plus to have on a team.

Tyler Graovac: He scored a pretty goal (1:20:18 mark) from Kurtis Gabriel and invitee Olivier Archambault. That was his lone goal of the tournament, but he got 1 assist and 11 shots on goal as well.

He's a talented player and racked up 73 points in 60 games with the Ottawa 67's and the Belleville Bulls where he was traded in January. Like Bussieres, Graovac will make his professional debut in Iowa this season.

Erik Haula: Haula played 4 games collecting 1 assist, 14 shots on goal, 2 PIM and -6. He's still learning the process and only played 6 AHL games last season.

It's been mentioned that he has a shot to make the big team this upcoming season. It's going to be interesting to see what will be the final decision on him. Otherwise, Haula will play in Iowa and should be a decent contributor to the team.

It's safe to say that it'll depend on how the other youngsters like Charlie Coyle, Mikael Granlund, Nino Niederreiter and Jason Zucker are going to perform.

Zack Phillips: Despite not appearing on the game sheet a single time in 4 games, Phillips did find a way to get noticed with a whopping 20 shots on goal. He finished first in that category. That's one more than his former teammate, Tomas Jurco.

There's no doubt that Zack is a very skilled player and has all the tools to succeed. He's had a slow season start, but ended it on a better note. His skating is not as bad as some may pretend. Actually, it looks better in the AHL than when he was playing in Saint John.

Phillips should play a major role in Iowa getting top 6 minutes and power play time. Patience is the key. He'll be fine. Just be patient, people.

Carter Sandlak (invitee): Sandlak, scored 1 goal and had some fights. He got 23 points and 98 PIM in 60 games with the Belleville Bulls (OHL) last season.

Sandlak was traded to the Plymouth Whalers this summer so he'll play with a new team this season.

Defensemen

Corbin Baldwin (invitee): Baldwin played 3 games. He had 11 PIM, including 1 fight, and 1 shot on goal. He's a big physical guy (6'5'', 215 lbs). According to the Wild assistant general manager Brent Flahr, he's physical with the puck as well.

Fun fact: Baldwin and Caron once fought against and they're now in the same organization.

Cody Corbett (invitee): He didn't get a point, but had 5 shots on goal and 2 PIM. He ended up with -6.

Corbett got 42 points in 71 games with the Edmonton Oil Kings (WHL) last season.

Mathew Dumba: He played 3 games collecting 1 assist, 7 shots on goal and -3. Stats don't really mean a lot and keep in mind that we couldn't even see him play. According to Flahr, he was the most impressive player on the ice over the weekend in Traverse City for the Minnesota Wild.

Link - "Dumba really stood out in every game he's played in," Flahr said. "His mobility, poise and his ability to move the puck, to deke and shoot, it is what it is. He clearly came here with a mindset and wanted to make a positive impression. He did that."

Dumba is a physical defenseman who likes to throw big open ice hits. Plus, he's right handed which is something the Wild might lack. It'll be interesting to see how he does during pre-season games.

If he doesn't make the team, Dumba will have to return to Red Deer for another year since he is not AHL eligible. Although, Dumba can play up to 9 NHL regular season games without burning a year from his entry level contract to get an extended look.

Colton Jobke : He played 3 games and ended up with -4. He didn't get a point or a shot on goal during the tournament. He's a gritty player.

Jobke is expected to play in Iowa this season. He's likely projected to be a bottom pairing defenseman.

Dylan Labbe: Labbe played 4 games collecting 1 shot on goal. He finished with -1.

The Shawinigan Cataractes (QMJHL) relied on him a lot playing on the first pairing last season. That's great for his development as he learned to play couple of different roles.

Although, the team was pretty mediocre, or even brutal (15-46-7). He'll still play there this season hoping his team to have a much better season overall.

Goaltenders

Johan Gustafsson: He performed really good despite not getting a single win. Gustafsson recorded 92 saves in 3 games and allowed 7 goals.

He has a good size (6'2'', 203 lbs) and reads the play rather well. He'll make his Wild debut in Iowa this season. A Gustafsson/Kuemper duet is going to be pretty sweet to watch, that's for sure.

Alexandre Belanger: He only played the final game of the tourney against the Rangers. Belanger made 19 saves and allowed 4 goals.

He originally was the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies (QMJHL) backup goalie last season, but their number one was injured at some point. He's had to unexpectedly step up in his first complete Q season.

He led his team to the semis and lost in 4 games to Nathan MacKinnon and the Halifax Mooseheads.

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