ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Minnesota Wild forward prospect Brandon Duhaime showcased his progression when he stood out during his second development camp and was named Most Improved Player.
"It gives you a little bit of confidence knowing that the work you put in so far is recognized," said Duhaime, who was the Wild's fourth-round pick (No. 106) in the 2016 NHL Draft. "It's not done yet. I think having another month-and-a-half, or two months before the season, it's going to be even bigger than the first part."
Duhaime pointed to working the puck in the corners, skating and shooting skills that could be especially improved on in preparation for the next level. That work begins during his sophomore year at Providence College this fall. The 6-foot-1 forward finished his first season with 12 points (four goals, eight assists) in 35 games.
"I'd like to have more of an offensive year," said Duhaime, who had 42 points (15 goals, 27 assists) in 57 games between Chicago and Tri-City of the United States Hockey League in 2015-16. "Last year, I didn't really put up the numbers that I wanted to, so going into this year I want to keep the defensive side of the game good and go into next year with more offense."
Duhaime opened some eyes when he stickhandled through traffic into the slot and made a picture-perfect pass to defenseman Adam Plant in the Wild development camp's final scrimmage on July 13.
"He's a guy that looked like he put on eight to 10 pounds, so good weight," said Derek Lalonde, who coaches Iowa of the American Hockey League, the Wild's top affiliate. "He looked like a bigger athlete, a bigger man, and he was just much more assertive and that's what you like to see.
"To come back that second year, you like to see that growth, and he's a guy we saw that growth in. That's a positive for sure."
Duhaime is poised to continue his improvement with hopes of soon becoming NHL-ready. He fully realizes that will require more work on the little things that make any NHL player successful.
"[I'm going to focus on] just getting bigger, stronger, [and] listen to the coaching staff at Providence," Duhaime said. "I'm going [into this season] working on areas [Wild coaches] talked about … the corners, shooting, stuff like that. Now I just need to take everything they said and put that into the season.
"Each year, it's about improving. That's what I'm going to do."