ST. PAUL -- To say Adam Beckman's game has grown over his formative years is an understatement.
Because, quite literally, he has grown.
Drafted into the Western Hockey League by the Spokane Chiefs at 14 years old, just four years ago, Beckman was listed as a 5-foot-8, 139-pound forward.
When the Wild traded a 2020 third round draft pick to Nashville in order to move up and snag Beckman in the third round (75th overall) of last month's NHL Draft, he came in at 6-foot-1 and 168 pounds.
"Yeah, I was pretty small a couple of years ago," Beckman said. "I think there's still some weight that I need to put on to make it to that next level, but that's an easier thing to ask I think.
"When you grow and add size, people start to notice you a bit more now. You're bigger, and you have a higher chance of making it to that next level rather than when you're smaller. I'm happy to have bumped that size up a bit."
Video: Get to Know Adam Beckman
Despite being undersized, Beckman's offensive skill has always set him apart. In two years of midget hockey with the Battlefords Stars he racked up 59 goals and 60 assists through 85 games.
The question surrounding Beckman before he entered the WHL for his rookie year in 2018-19 was, could he beef up? Not only did Beckman hit his growth spurt in time to join Spokane, he proved that his scoring -- always touted as his strong suit -- grew, too.
Beckman led Spokane with 32 goals, second among all WHL rookies, and tacked on an additional 30 assists for a 62-point season. He was the first rookie to lead the team in goals since 1998-99. Beckman continued to showcase his scoring prowess, aiding the Chiefs in postseason play with an additional eight goals and four assists through 15 games.
So when the projected second-rounder was still available in Vancouver at this year's entry draft, Wild general manager Paul Fenton made his move to secure the offensive threat.
"The entire draft was kind of nerve-wracking," Beckman said. "But once my name got called, it was an instant relief. And to find out I was going to the Wild was even better. I'm just really excited to be here."
The 18-year-old played the majority of his career at center but moved to left wing to begin his junior career. Coaches and scoutes note his hockey sense and an innate instinct that only assists his elite scoring abilities.
Still, Beckman knows, there's plenty of room and time to grow. He goal was to use development camp as a springboard for that improvement as he continues to work toward the next level.
"I know my strengths are in the offensive zone. That's my strong suit. But I know that I can still even improve there," said Beckman, who will return to Spokane for the 2019-20 season. "But still, overall, I know I need to add strength and put on more weight, that's really the biggest thing I have to work on. It's the biggest knock on my game. I just have to keep working out, eating healthier and building my muscle mass so I can make and take that next step.
"I'm thrilled to be a part of the Wild organization, and I want to do everything in my power to be ready for when the time comes to be a potential NHL player. That's my goal, and I've still got some time to grow and make that happen."
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