So the Xcel Energy Center looked quite filled this year, maybe because we finally have a group of youngsters to showcase. It wasn't so entertaining when your camp's highlights would be James Sheppard and Colton Gillies. No offense to those two, but they aren't exactly goal-scoring machines.
Now we have Mikael Granlund, Charlie Coyle, Johan Larsson and so on and so forth.
It doesn't hurt when you also signed the two biggest free agents this season to help feed the hype machine, one of them being the best thing the Red Wings never had (had too...).
There was no official boxscore and my crappy internet connection ruined alot of it, but from what I can tell, the regular time ended with 4-4 tie. The shootout decided the game, with Team White winning it. Please correct me if I'm mistaken.
But keep in mind, alot of these players aren't putting their 100% effort in the physicality department, which is a skill that many shine in, like Charlie Coyle and Matt Dumba. Going for an open-ice hit isn't exactly the best way to meet some new friends, look at Miracle! There only one with the guts to be annoying little bugger and piss his own teammates is Brett Bulmer when he got Nick Schultz riled up last year.
Here are some of my thoughts (of what I could gather with a jerky internet connection).
*As I writing that last line, realized how poor my choice of words were...but I'll leave it cause its great...
#64 C Mikael Granlund
As always, amazing. He appeared to have eyes on the back of his head, always knowing where to pass to, when to pass to, and never having to need to stop and look for the play. He makes the play, that is our Finnish Baby Jesus for yah! Obviously, he still has alot to prove, that he can take the NHL physical rigors, but he's most definitely at the best position any young forward can possibly be in.
#16 LW Jason Zucker
We always knew Zucker was fast and we always knew had a good shot, but this is the first time we managed to see him absolutely dominate his competition. Granted, I never saw him in college, but in his few games with the Wild, he was fast but played a minor role as a 4th line forward. He absolutely took control of the game with his speed, shot, and from what I can tell, he got alot stronger allowing to control the puck longer.
#61 C Zack Phillips
This kid has hands! I could argue his hands are as talented as Granlund's. Too bad his skating is still quite average, but this kid is very creative and has a good package of offensive talents. Could he be a more dynamic version of Andrew Brunette?
#70 LW Louis Nanne
Not much to say but he didn't stand out, which in my opinion, is great news! The Wild management took alot of heat from fans calling him a "promotional" pick or something by those means, in other words, a waste. From what I could tell, I saw good speed and just a solid kid. Obviously, you want more, but after hearing so much kicking and screaming, its nice to see him not fall flat on his face.
#41 D John Draeger
Solid defenseman, pinch in nicely in the offensive zones, but really played a simple game. Didn't stand out much, but thats something you want to see in a defenseman like him. His style consists of simple plays, solid mobility, and solid overall package. I liked what I saw.
#42 D Daniel Gunnarsson
Big guy, skilled. Not much to say but I think I was pleasantly surprised considering no one knew who he was.
#60 D Cody Corbett
Solid player, did simple things, but at the same time, I understand why many teams would consider NOT drafting him. He's a solid kid in all aspects of his game, but he seems just solid. He already filled out his frame, so its not like adding 20lbs to his body will make a huge difference. There wasn't anything that you would think he had a potential of dominating. But then again, its one scrimmage.
#47 C Johan Larsson
Absolutely loved him in the WJC, and will continue loving him. I would argue he was the #2 best player of the ice, after Granlund. He is just so strong, very good in all areas, and smart too. Also knowing he oozes leadership also skews my opinion of him. He is going to be a very good player in the near future.
#63 RW Charlie Coyle
I think many of us got our expectations a tad high after his great season in the QMJHL. Coyle looked similar to when I viewed him in Boston: very strong, solid skater, great board and zone type of player, but he isn't going to be a dynamic goal scorer or pile through three guys. He played well this game, but he didn't dominate like many thought he would. I still think he has a great future, but suggest maybe we be patient with him rather than throwing him straight into the NHL.
#53 C Tyler Graovac
Played very solid, huge kid. For a 7th round pick, he surprised many. The consensus opinion on Graovac is that he can develop into a solid bottom six player, which I think is a reasonable projection. Keep an eye on him during the next scrimmage
#40 D Jonas Brodin
Smooth criminal. Yes, I went with a very corny line, but wow! Simply amazed the way this kid moves, the way he sees the ice, and the way he moves the puck. Last year, we were impressed. This year, he seemed stronger, more confident in the offensive zone, and wasn't scared of shooting the puck, over and over again. Is he NHL ready? I don't think he is ready for a regular Top 4 position, I really don't because he still needs to add some muscle, but is he a few months of steak and pasta pounding away? Maybe.
#23 D Steven Kampfer
For an supposed offensive puckmoving defenseman, he played quite well defensively, using his body and mobility. He still needs work to do, but I think we may have gotten a great return for Greg Zanon.
#67 D Kyle Medvec
Huge kid, played well shutting down Mikael Granlund, although there were times I questioned his play. He is purely a defensive forward that uses his size and reach to stop players, but there were a few instances those failed him, and which made ineffective, because that is only tools he can rely on.