By: Brandon Mileski
There’s nothing worse than making snap judgments on prospects practicing during the middle of July, but since I attended the first day of the Minnesota Wild Prospects Camp today at Xcel Energy Center, I will go ahead and do so. Here’s my Plus/Minus for today:
PLUS: Brett Bulmer—Bulmer played nine games for the Wild last season, and looked like he belonged, before being sent back to Canadian Juniors. The Wild have never had a true power forward in franchise history, but with Bulmer and Charlie Coyle, the team has two strong prospects that could develop into that kind of player. Bulmer showed a tenacious, north-south game last season when playing in the NHL. He thought the game well, but wasn’t necessarily the smoothest of skaters. After seeing him today, I think he has really improved his skating. He was in much more control with the puck than last year at this time, and his big frame is noticeable on the ice. I think Bulmer is the most underrated of all Wild prospects and I wouldn’t be surprised if he pushed for a roster spot in September.
PLUS: Johan Larsson—The Grumpy Swede showed a quickness that was unmatched by his Team White teammates today. He’s speedy but effortless. He has a great ability to cut and go ninety degrees in an instant. I also like that he’s incredibly fearless at taking the puck to the net for a guy his size.
PLUS: Mikael Granlund—It’s almost not even worth writing about him at Prospects Camp because it’s a foregone conclusion that he’ll make the Wild this season. He looks good with this current Prospects group, but I think he’ll look even better when he plays with more skilled players. His playmaking skills compare to Pierre-Marc Bouchard. He made a sweet pass between the legs of the defensemen to a line mate at the goalmouth today on a 2v1.
MINUS: Matt Dumba—After being drafted #7 overall by the Wild less than a month ago, Dumba stated that his goal was to make the Wild’s roster THIS season. Well, he definitely has a strong north-south game and can finish when trailing on the rush, but I’m afraid he will have to vastly improve is backward and lateral skating before playing in the NHL.
MINUS: Jonas Brodin—Other than Marco Scandella, who is way too polished to be participating in Prospects Camp, Brodin is head and shoulders the best skating defenseman in the Wild’s system. He’s a great lateral skater and has a quick first step. But I was not impressed with his ability to defend in 1v1 situations today. Now, it is July and some players may have gone awhile without skating. Maybe that’s the case with Brodin, and hopefully he’ll get better as the Camp progresses this week.
Brandon Mileski can be heard weekdays noon-3pm on FM 100.3 KFAN and can be followed on twitter @BMileskiKFAN