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Wild's 2017 Development Camp Comes to Productive Conclusion

Bombardir discusses who and what he liked about this year's prospect gathering

by Dan Myers @1DanMyers /

ST. PAUL -- Perhaps it's a bit cliche, but the Minnesota Wild got exactly what it wanted from its 2017 Development Camp this week at Xcel Energy Center. 

The camp concluded with a scrimmage on Thursday, and now, all 43 players invited will go their own way for the remainder of summer. 

Some will head back to the city where they play collegiately or in juniors ranks, others to their hometowns. Some will prepare to play for the Wild in the Traverse City Prospects Tournament in September while a few will get ready for training camp or school.

The hope now is, wherever they are headed, they use what they learned this week to improve over the final weeks of the summer before hockey season begins again in the fall. 

Video: Development Camp Scrimmage No. 2 Highlights

"We throw a lot at them, both on the ice and off the ice, and part of that is by design, where we can mentally push them a little bit," said Wild Director of Player Development Brad Bombardir. "But it's also by design that they have to understand what it takes to be a pro. Hopefully, they've learned a little bit of that. The off-ice sessions, I thought, were very good. I would like to say they all got a little better this week, which is the goal of the camp."

Bombardir said there were few surprises associated with this week's camp. The players he wanted to come in and lead -- Luke Kunin, Jordan Greenway, Sam Anas and Carson Soucy, among others -- did exactly that. The number of invitees, of which there were many, brought quality competition and showed well for themselves. Meanwhile, the club's most recent draft picks made good first impressions.

The club was especially impressed with Kunin, Soucy and Anas, each of whom is expected to compete for a roster spot with the big club in September. 

"I think they did very well, all of them," Bombardir said. "Kunin is in phenomenal shape; of course, he's a pretty driven kid, so it was nice to see him be in that great of shape. A little different mindset than he had last year, because you're coming in your first year, and it [was a] little nerve wracking for him. But he was really good. 

"Carson Soucy just continues to improve and get better every development camp, and this was his fifth development camp. He continues to be one of the most improved, year in and year out, so I was happy with him.

"And Sam Anas is ahead of where he was last year. At the end of [the college] season last year, he had to have some work done on his shoulder, so he's in better shape than he was last year. He continues to work on his strength and get better. He's a confident kid now too, having played in the American [Hockey] League all year."

For those three, especially, the message moving forward is rather simple: Come back in even better shape and continue to work on the little things. And while it's hard not to ignore those that are closer to the NHL level, it's advice Bombardir said he gave to everyone.

"Some of the things we did on-ice, by design, was stuff they can do on their own when they're gone, so over the next six, seven weeks, however long it is, we hope they come back and they're better for it," Bombardir said. "To come back in as great a shape as they can, that's one of the variables you can actually control in this game; there are a million you can't and that's one of them you can ... just to make sure that their fitness level is better than it is right now."

Tweet from @mnwild: Until next year, Wild prospects. #IntoTheWild

Forward Mason Shaw, Minnesota's fourth-round pick in this year's draft, was named the camp's Hardest Worker. And forward Brandon Duhaime earned Most Improved Player honors.

The Wild selected Duhaime in the fourth round of the 2016 draft.

One of the invitees that impressed Bombardir the most was Denver University senior-to-be Adam Plant, a 5-foot-10, 170-pound defenseman from Penticton, British Columbia.

Plant was the co-winner of the Keith Magnuson Award last season, awarded to DU's best defensive player. The Pioneers won the national championship 4-3 over the University of Minnesota Duluth.

Plant scored a goal late in regulation of Thursday's scrimmage off a fantastic display of stick handling by Duhaime.

"He's not an overly big guy, but he's smart and so smooth of a skater, moves the puck well and understands how to defend," Bombardir said. "And at that size, you have to be able to do that, especially at the next level. He's a highly intelligent player."

Video: Development Camp Reaction

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