Wild pleased with results of development camp

Alex Tuch (shown here in a file photo) was one prospect who held his own this week at the Wild's development camp.

Bill Streicher/Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Brad Bombardir joked earlier this week that a few air conditioners must be broken around the Twin Cities, judging by the large crowd in St. Paul for the Minnesota Wild’s development camp scrimmage.

But, make no mistake: Fans weren’t in St. Paul simply to cool off. There was legitimate talent on display on the ice.

Bombardir, the Wild’s director of player development, seemed content late Tuesday, after the camp had concluded. After all, multiple Minnesota prospects had left him impressed.

"Overall, the camp, I thought, was just great," Bombardir told reporters. "I thought these guys came in and worked their butts off all week."

Hopefully, Bombardir noted, the young skaters "learned something, they can take it with them, and they’ll be better for it."

Bombardir, a 43-year-old former defenseman, knows what it takes to skate in the NHL. And, he tries to instill that in prospects during each Wild development camp.

"There’s a whole other level of work ethic there," he explained, "that has to be done if you want to play in the National Hockey League."

This week, the skill and speed of young center Reid Duke stood out. So did the overall skill of right wing Alex Tuch, and defenseman Mike Reilly.

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"I will give Tuchs a ton of credit for his off-ice work," Bombardir said. "He has gone home this summer and he has come in in great shape — incredible shape.

"He’s done a ton of work, and you can see it — that was a challenge to him, and I think he embraced it," the Wild official added of Tuch, a 6-foot-4, 213-pound 19-year-old whom the Wild drafted in the first round in 2014.

It’s been said that there’s no negotiation in the style of play Wild head coach Mike Yeo demands from his players. In large part, he wants tough skaters who play relentlessly, with extreme focus. The talented Reilly could be well on his way to playing under Yeo’s tutelage in the not-too-distant future, judging by the sound of things.

"Mike is a talented kid," Bombardir said of the recent Minnesota Gophers star. "He’s come in and tried his best to really blend in with the rest of the guys. You know, that’s what good leaders do, and he’s done that.

Brad Bombardir

"Quality, quality individual," Bombardir added of Reilly. "And I think his talent speaks for itself."

All things considered, it was a solid week of team building for the Wild’s young prospects.

"We just love the fact that these guys get to know one another," Bombardir noted, reflecting on the week. "A college kid, maybe playing with a major junior player . . . I think we build the foundation here, starting with these guys.

"Eventually you’ll start seeing some of these guys playing," Bombardir added. "Just remember that that relationship was built at these development camps, in the middle of the summer. . ."