The NHL season is almost here. The Minnesota Wild open training camp on Friday with a roster of 60 players, including 21 young players who competed at the 2016 NHL Prospects Tournament and will be looking to crack the roster for the first time. Check out our breakdown of the team's most intriguing invites.
SAM ANAS, FORWARD
At just 5-foot-8, Anas would have been the smallest player on the Wild’s roster last season, but the former Quinnipiac University star compensates for his small frame with a wicked shot. A point-per-game player as a left wing in the NCAA, Anas spent three seasons at Quinnipiac, where he emerged as one of the country's most effective scorers, netting 69 goals in 121 career games for the Bobcats. Anas signed with the Wild as a free agent in April after battling through an injury during Quinnipiac's run to the national championship game.
GUSTAV BOURAMMAN, DEFENSEMAN
A seventh-round pick in 2015, Bouramman is an intriguing defender despite his draft position. An All-Rookie selection in the OHL following the 2014-15 season, Bouramman was one of the league's top offensive defensemen, racking up assists at a rate that far outpaces his draft stock. A smooth, quick skater, Bouramman was a key player on Sault Ste. Marie's blue line last season and ranked No. 7 among all OHL defensemen with 46 points.
JOEL ERIKSSON-EK, FORWARD
Eriksson impressed at Wild development camp earlier this year, and has spent the past two seasons in Sweden’s top professional league. The 6-foot-2 center was selected by the Wild in the first round of the 2015 draft, and registered 15 points in 41 games for Swedish club Farjestad last season, playing alongside senior skaters as a teenager. He picked up three points in four games for Sweden at the USA Hockey National Junior Evaluation Camp this summer.
Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY SportsSteve Mitchell
DMITRY SOKOLOV, FORWARD
Sokolov may be the prospect in the organization with the most upside, despite falling all the way to the seventh round of this year's draft. Originally pegged as a top-10 pick after dominating the Russian junior leagues, Sokolov was the third overall pick of the 2015 CHL Import Draft. His draft stock took a big hit during his first season in North America, as scouts and pundits questioned his effort and fitness during his first season with the Sudbury Wolves. Sokolov led all OHL rookies in scoring with 30 goals last season despite his supposed shortcomings, and could be a big steal for the Wild after his draft-day slide.
ALEX TUCH, FORWARD
A first-round pick of the Wild in 2014, Tuch spent two seasons at Boston College after spending two years with the U.S. National Team Development program, racking up 62 points in 77 games. He scored the game-winner in the Wild’s only win at the prospects tournament. Tuch signed with the Wild in April, forgoing his final two years of NCAA eligibility.
ADAM VAY, GOALIE
Finding tape on Vay is tough, while extrapolating on his performances for Hungarian clubs and marginal North American junior leagues is even harder, but his dominant performance at the 2016 IIHF World Championships was enough to earn the 22-year-old a contract. Vay made 48 saves in a loss to Finland and stopped another 35 shots in a loss to the U.S., posting a .911 save percentage through three appearances for a team the IIHF ranks just above Japan and South Korea. Vay had a .923 save percentage in the Western States Hockey League in 2014-15, his last season in North America, before posting a .927 save percentage in Hungary's top pro league. His numbers, coupled with his 6-foot-5 frame, make Vay an interesting dice roll.