The Minnesota Wild announced after Tuesday's 2-1 shootout victory against the New York Islanders that they've come to terms with college free agent, Grayson Downing. Downing, from British Columbia, played four seasons with the University of New Hampshire Wildcats. Downing will start his two-year entry-level deal next season and is expected to report to the Iowa Wild for the remainder of Iowa's season per an Amateur tryout agreement according to the team.
Downing was born April 18, 1992, in Abbottsford British Columbia. He played for the Westside Warriors of the British Columbia Hockey League (BCHL) at the age of 16. Downing played three seasons in the BCHL and was considered a top scorer in the league. He was ranked 144th by NHL Central Scouting Service for the 2010 draft year.
Michael Remmerde, formerly of the Red Line Report, and became a scout for the New York Islanders had this to say about Downing prior to the draft:
Grayson Downing / C / Westside: Good overall hockey sense, good defensively, and has decent puck skill, but seems to play the game on cruise all the time. He doesn't do anything to bring you out of your seat. I like his hockey sense, but lack of high end skill means he's a late pick at best.
He had 34 goals and 36 assists in 2010, his draft year, for the Warriors.
At UNH, Downing had 56 career goals, 56 career assists for 112 point in 144 games for the Wildcats. In his senior year, he amasses 21 goals and 36 points. Downing, now 22 years old, is listed at 6 feet tall, 200 pounds. He had been invited to the Chicago Blackhawks prospect development camp after his sophomore season at UNH and the Calgary Flames development camp this past offseason.
Here are some other mumblings about the new Wild forward:
Evan Sporer, NHL.com: "A talented offensive player, Downing can play at each end of the ice. He's been a consistent performer for the Wildcats, scoring at least 10 goals in each of his four seasons. This year he's up to 21, including an overtime-winner Friday in Game 1 of New Hampshire's Hockey East Quarterfinal series against Providence. He knows how to finish around the goal and has an NHL-caliber shot."
Brad Meltzer, NHL.com: "The 22-year-old senior forward has been a consistent offensive performer throughout his collegiate career and has peaked at the right time in his senior season. Downing has a quick shot release and can draw the defense toward him and dish to an open teammate for scoring chances."