The Minnesota Wild have a pretty crowded pool of Defensive prospects, and Carson Lambos certainly ranks near the top. He played for the Winnipeg Ice over the past year, a team that bragged high-powered offense – Lambos is definitely more of a defenseman’s defenseman but he wasn’t uninvolved in their offensive numbers and what they’ve done to prevent goals has been worthy of note as well. And Lambos was absolutely a part of that. He engages in all parts of play, he’s disruptive defensively, and has some play-making ability. Lambos skates well, effectively evades forecheckers and plays physically in the corners to defend well in the zone. He also put up the numbers he did this past year without being on the powerplay.
He was unfortunately squeezed out of playing in the World Juniors in August, due to an especially lousy play. It was a bummer that we didn’t have an opportunity to watch his ability to compete at a high level, but players make mistakes and he’s got a chance to redeem that particular hiccup very soon.
Corey Pronman and Scott Wheeler of The Athletic are still projecting him as a second-pairing defenseman for the NHL, he’s still so young yet and had some development hampered by injuries and Covid. There’s every likelihood we’ll get to see some great play from Carson Lambos this year in Winnipeg.
Lambos did well for himself last season. He scored 10 goals and 47 points in 51 WHL games and finished 11th in points and points-per-game among WHL defensemen.
Roll the Tape
This clip shows off a pretty deadly shot from Lambos.
In this highlight, we get to see Lambos effectively keep the puck on his stick, turn in a pinch, and make an effective pass across the ice. Seriously so fun.
Carson Lambos registered his 8th assist of the WHL Playoffs last night as Winnipeg eliminated Moose Jaw in game 5 of the second round. Heads up, perfectly weighted stretch pass after catching MJW making a bad change. He's been a beast, averaging over 25 minutes TOI #mnwild pic.twitter.com/khTFEnxJJF— Spoked Z (@SpokedZ) May 14, 2022
Here Lambos takes advantage of a lousy change from Moose Jaw, and makes a huge cross-ice stretch pass. The OP notes in this tweet, that Lambos was averaging 25 minutes TOI during the WHL playoffs – that is a lot of time and a lot of hockey.
What he becomes for the Wild, however, is yet to be decided. The Wild are deep on defensemen that skate well, Lambos boasts a lethal combo of size (6’1″) and talent. The place the Wild find themselves in with the upcoming cap-strapped years means that young prospects will likely get their shot, because they will need some cheap playing. Billy Guerin has made it clear that he won’t rush players, so Lambos will need to be ready if he ends up being one of the guys they turn to. Furthermore, he’s not alone in this category, he has to distinguish himself from players like Ryan O’Rourke and Daemon Hunt (not to mention Calen Addison and Brock Faber, who are arguably closer.)
Listen, I’m a Jared Spurgeon, Jonas Brodin, and Matt Dumba diehard. I ride so so so hard for the Wild’s current defensive core, but Dumba’s looking at the end of his contract and Jared Spurgeon and Jonas Brodin are 32 and 29 respectively. This isn’t a young group, so even if Lambos does take some time and he doesn’t come knocking over these cap years upcoming, he’s young enough that there’s every likelihood there will be some room for him a few years down the line. He’s just got to compete hard against his peers in the prospect pool.
Hockey Wilderness 2022 Top 25 Under 25
25. Mason Shaw, C/LW
24. Sam Hentges, C/LW
23. Simon Johansson, D
22. Hunter Haight, C
21. Nikita Nesternenko, C
20. Marshall Warren, D
19. Filip Gustavsson, G
18. Mikey Milne, LW
17. Mitchell Chaffee, RW
16. Pavel Novak, RW
15. Ryan O’Rourke, D
14. Daemon Hunt, D
13. Jack Peart, D
12. Tyson Jost, C
11. Adam Beckman, LW
10. Connor Dewar, C, LW
9. Danila Yurov, RW
8. Carson Lambos, D