As Wild prospects take the ice Thursday at the 2013 NHL Prospects Tournament in Traverse City, Mich., Matt Dumba — 2012 1st round pick — will be among them for the first time.
In light of last year’s lockout, the tournament took a one-year hiatus, leaving Dumba and his fellow prospects with one less opportunity to impress the Wild coaches. This year, the defenseman is looking forward to the opportunity.
“It should be awesome,” Dumba said. “I’ve heard good things about the tournament. I’m just ready to get in and start playing some games, prepping myself for main camp.”
Dumba is only 19 years old and can continue to play juniors, but he’s hoping Traverse City is a solid step forward in claiming a roster spot in Minnesota.
“That’s my goal; to be here with the Wild, to earn a roster spot and just do whatever it takes to be on this team,” Dumba said. “That’s my goal. I’m really not thinking too much about juniors right now. Right now, this is where I want to be.
“I think this whole summer has been another step towards that. Traverse City is just another one of those.
Dumba will join other notable prospects including: F Brett Bulmer (2nd Round, 2010), F Raphael Bussieres (2nd Round, 2012), F Kurtis Gabriel (3rd Round, 2013), F Tyler Graovac (7th Round, 2011), F Erik Haula (7th Round, 2009), F Zack Phillips (1st Round, 2011), D Dylan Labbe (4th Round 2013), G Alexandre Belanger (7th Round, 2013) and G Johan Gustafsson (6th Round, 2010). Click here, for the full roster of players set to skate in Traverse City.
For Phillips — who skated with Houston last year in his first pro season and picked up eight goals and 27 points (8-19=27) — the tournament is a way to make a strong first impression with new Iowa Wild Head Coach Kurt Kleinendorst and the rest of the Wild organization.
“The chance to show the coaches what I can do a little bit before main camp starts,” Phillips said of the tournament. “We’ve got a new coach in Des Moines this year, so maybe make a good impression on him. It’s always good to get back after a long summer and see the boys, and get back to hanging out. It’s going to be fun.”
Phillips is also looking forward to getting the season going again and picking up where he left off last year, which included six goals and six assists over the last 20 games of the regular season. He had an exceptional April, raking up seven points (two goals, five assists) in six games, capped with a four-game point streak from April 11 to 20.
“I came on strong in the last 20 games,” Phillips said. “If I can come into the season, starting off like that I’d be happy.”
Kelinendorst and Iowa Wild Assistant Coach Steve Poapst will lead Phillips, Dumba and the rest of the prospects as they hope to pick up their first tournament title since the Wild went undefeated in 2010 — outscoring their opponents 15-7.
They will compete in the tournament’s Gordie Howe Division with the Dallas Stars, Detroit Red Wings and St. Louis Blues. The Buffalo Sabres, Carolina Hurricanes, Columbus Blue Jackets and New York Rangers will play in the tournament’s Ted Lindsay Division. Play starts Sept. 5, ending with the Championship game on Sept. 9.
Wild traverse City prospects tournament schedule
|tHU., sept 5||Detroit||Wild||6:30 PM|
|Fri., Sept 6||St. Louis||Wild||6:00 PM|
|SUN., Sept 8||Wild||Dallas||2:00 pm|
Championship Round Monday, Sept. 9
|7th place game||4th Howe||4th Lindsay||2:30 pm|
|5th place game||3rd howe||3rd Lindsay||3:00 pm|
|3rd place game||2nd Howe||2nd Lindsay||6:00 PM|
|championship||1st howe||1st lindsay||6:30 Pm|
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