In the final few days leading up to the start of the 2021-22 season, the Wild had an incredibly tough decision on their hands. Which of their top prospects had done enough to make the team out of training camp?
Though young winger Adam Beckman showed flashes of brilliance during his push for a roster spot, general manager Bill Guerin decided at the time that he could benefit from some time in the minors. The plan was for Beckman to play big minutes for the Iowa Wild of the American Hockey League in the interim. He would build confidence in Des Moines and be ready to contribute in St. Paul in the near future.
Now, more than halfway through the 2023-24 season, Beckman is still trying to work his way onto the big-league club’s roster. He recently got called up from the minors for the first time this season, and while he’s hoping to leave a lasting impression, it’s unclear if he will even be in the lineup when the Wild play the Chicago Blackhawks on Wednesday night at the United Center.
“Just try to stay positive and have fun with it,” Beckman said. “I’m super excited and happy to be here.”
Asked if it’s been difficult to stay patient as other top prospects in organization have passed him by, Beckman avoided the question by looking at the bigger picture.
“You can’t rush development,” he said. “I think it’s important to take it day by day.”
The biggest thing the 22-year-old Beckman has been working on in the minors is playing a complete game. He was a prolific scorer as a teenager with the Spokane Chiefs of the Western Hockey League. He has been asked to be much more than that since turning pro and becoming a regular for the Iowa Wild.
“It’s a war every single night down there,” he said. “It’s about finding that consistency and trying to be a dominant player.”
Asked to explain why Beckman has stagnated during his rise up the ranks, Wild head coach John Hynes noted that sometimes training camps in the NHL can be misleading. There’s a good chance Beckman wasn’t as far along as he seemed at the time.
“You see a lot of guys come in and they’re on adrenaline and they play well,” Hynes said. “Then lots of times they wind up going down to the minors and reality sets in.”
The next step for Beckman is starting to produce at the highest level. He has only played 12 career games in the NHL. This might be his last stand with the Wild if he’s unable to carve out a niche for himself.
“He’s got a good shot, and he can play with speed,” Hynes said. “Those things have to be able to translate regularly in the NHL.”
Will they? That remains to be seen.
Chisholm will travel
Though the Wild claimed defenseman Declan Chisholm off waivers last week, they are still working through issues with a work visa. The plan is for him to to travel to Chicago on his own. As a result, he won’t play for the Wild against the Blackhawks.
When might he be ready to play?
“That’s a good question,” Hynes said. “I think a lot of it is going to depend on him and what he’s been doing with himself over the break and over these few days where he hasn’t been able to skate. Hopefully he’s been taking care of himself off the ice and conditioning himself the best he can. He’ll get on the ice and we’ll evaluate him.
Brodin still sick
The bad news? After missing practice on Monday due to an illness, defenseman Jonas Brodin also missed practice on Tuesday. The good news? He will travel to Chicago with his teammates and could be in the lineup for the game against the Blackhawks.
“He’s a little bit better today,” Hynes said. “He’s needs to get his energy back up, so we’ll reassess it tomorrow.”