This past weekend saw a ton of NHL Prospect Tournament action. As mentioned in my previous article, this year saw 5 prospect showcase events around the country. All of them were streamed in one capacity or another, but only a few archived their streams for later viewing. Those are the three events that I will be covering.
Last time, I covered the Buffalo Prospect Showcase Series. This installment will cover the Showcase Series hosted in Minnesota. Prospects from the Minnesota Wild and Chicago Blackhawks faced off in two games that featured some fun hockey and heavy hits. Though only two teams participated in this showcase, it featured some big names and touted prospects. I’ll be highlighting a few players that stood out to me from each team.
Matt Boldy, Minnesota Wild
Boldy was noticeable from the moment the puck dropped. He had that look about him that top players have in games like these. It was obvious that Boldy was seeing the game at a different level than everyone else. He made high-IQ plays at both ends of the ice. Boldy was able to make plays under pressure, even with defenders draped on top of him. At 6’2”, Boldy has the frame to play with the big boys. Do not be surprised if Boldy ends up with a roster spot out of camp. He was also able to establish good chemistry with Marco Rossi, which will excite Wild fans.
Hunter Jones, Minnesota Wild
Jones played in the first game against the Hawks, but he showed really well. He showed great patience in net, staying with dekes and not falling for fakes. Jones also tracked the puck well through traffic and made some nice saves off deflections. He will play this season for the AHL’s Iowa Wild, but Jones could provide nice goaltending depth in the future.
Adam Beckman, Minnesota Wild
Beckman featured on a line with Boldy and Rossi, and stood out given that opportunity. He was able to generate offense through smart positioning and a lightning-quick shot. Beckman also showcased impressive skating ability. He showed good speed on the rush, as well as excellent edgework to remain elusive. Playing this season in the AHL should give him time to fine-tune his game.
Lukas Reichel, Chicago Blackhawks
Reichel was another one of those players that seemed to be operating at a different level. Reichel consistently made smart plays at all ends of the ice. He made smart reads with the puck under pressure, and found seams on the powerplay that others in this event would miss. There could be room at the bottom of the roster for Reichel. But as of this writing, he is slated to play in Germany for Eisbaren Berlin.
Marco Rossi, Minnesota Wild
Rossi, the highly touted 9th overall pick in 2020, stood out in several ways. It was immediately apparent he had great chemistry with fellow top prospect Matt Boldy. The two were simply on the same page. More than that, Rossi’s full toolkit was on display. Despite standing at a diminutive 5’9, Rossi was not afraid to mix it up and battle for the puck. He showed great skating, which he used to find openings for Boldy’s accurate passes. Despite having to take most of this past year off due to complications from Covid-19, Rossi’s hockey sense did not suffer. He always seemed to be in the right place at both ends of the ice. Rossi will be at Minnesota’s camp. However, another year of development will do him good before making the jump to the NHL.
Colton Dach, Chicago Blackhawks
Colton Dach, brother to current Hawks center Kirby, showed well in two games. Despite being a recent draft pick, Dach played on the Blackhawks top line and top power-play unit. Dach did not stand out as a skater, but he was still able to get to where he needed to be. He showed off a dangerous shot. It was hard and accurate, and it made him a consistent scoring threat. Dach is still a ways off from joining the big club, but he had a nice showing nonetheless.
Alec Regula, Chicago Blackhawks
Regula was Chicago’s top defenseman in the two games against the Wild’s prospects. He jump started the attack with smart break out passes. Further, Regula also quarterbacked the top power play unit. Regula also provided a physical presence, delivering big hits and even dropping the gloves in the second game. There is space for Regula on the main roster should he have a good camp. But even if he starts with AHL’s Rockford, Regula will be one of the first call-ups.
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