I took my son to the Wild's development camp this year, hoping to get a new tee to replace that Devin Setoguchi giveaway from a few years back. None were forthcoming, but not to worry, I still have a car that needs polishing.
Having to make a family engagement, I had to leave after the first of two periods. But I had time to make a few observations:
Matt Dumba - Holy wow does this kid skate well. Fast and agile. I loved seeing him switch from forward to backward without losing speed, or transition through the neutral zone to get back on D. I could be biased because the book on him is that he isn't all that big, but the dude has some serious upper body size and not being very tall made him look like Kirby Puckett on skates.
Erik Haula - I liked watching him go into the corners - not typical of younger players unless they're big. He's not really big, but he was fearless. He also had a chance to show off his speed when he was the chaser on a penalty shot. He caught the shooter within a few strides. Creative playmaker, I could see him thinking the next step.
Zack Phillips - Phillips also caught my attention with his ability to see the game. Watching him on the ice, you can see him thinking three steps ahead as the play develops. However, he appeared content to float in the center of the ice and let other players go into the corners, and he seemed to shy away from contact.
Kurtis Gabriel - He seemed to me to be a man among men. He played a power forward style of game in the scrimmage; bulling his way through defenders and not shying away from physical play. He definitely has the size at this level to hang with the big boys. Assuming he continues to develop well, I can see him in a Wild sweater a few years on down the road.
Adam Gilmour - On the other end of the spectrum is Adam Gilmour, at least in terms of size. Gilmour seemed stick-thin even in pads. That said, I liked his speed and agility; he definitely has the skating skill you can't teach.
Johan Gustafsson - I sat in the end where the Green team scored thrice in the first period, all on Johan Gustafsson. I left unimpressed. There were a few good shots on goal, but I was hoping to see Johan make some spectacular saves, and I left still wanting.
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