The Fourth of July has come and gone and what a nice weekend it was here in the State of Hockey. Free agency and the NHL Draft preceded the holiday weekend and the Wild made some noise with the drafting of 6'3" Alex Tuch and the signing acquisition of one Thomas Vanek.
While we'll have to wait for training camp to open to witness Vanek in action with his new linemates, we won't have to wait long to see the newest group of future Minnesota Wild players on the ice. Yes, the annual Wild Prospect Development Camp will take place July 9-14 and capped with two open intra-squad scrimmages.
Normally, both Green vs White scrimmages were held at the Xcel Energy Center. However, this year they will be holding one of those scrimmages on Friday, July 11 at Edina's Braemar Arena. The final scrimmage will cap off the week on Monday, July 14 at the X starting at 6:30.
Both scrimmages are free and open to the public.
In past years, we were able to witness Mikael Granlund WOW fans with a dazzling shootout goal. We saw Matt Dumba last season make strides by showing off his hard slapper from the blue line. Fans saw Jonas Brodin before he was a staple on the blue line for Minnesota. Last year, I saw Erik Haula play at such a higher level above everyone that I thought it was too good to be true, but, alas, the former 7th round pick was impacting games in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
This year will be a new crop of young talent. Fans will get to see seven of the Wild's eight 2014 draft selections including Alex Tuch, Louis Belpedio, Kaapa Kahkonen, and Chase Lang. Not to mention the college and other undrafted free agents the Wild acquired late last season and into this offseason like Christian Folin, Guillaume Gelinas, and Michael Keranen. (It'll be fun to finally see what these kids are all about). Then you have Mario Lucia, who was drafted in 2011, looks to show how much he has improved during his time as a Notre Dame Fighting Irish. Gustav Olofsson will be on the ice as he vies for one of the final available defensive spots in St. Paul. the 2014 Mr. Hockey Award winner, Avery Peterson along with Carson Soucy will be in town. Then there's Ger Devine's favorite, Raphael Bussieres, or Magic Bus, shows up after his first season with the Iowa Wild.
I personally enjoy the mid-summer event as I look to get my hockey fix because, well, training camp won't start until mid-September. If you're going to be in the St. Paul or Edina areas this weekend and early next week, I highly recommend the Prospect Development Camp.