Today was to be the day when the proverbial fat cap was to be peeled off the training camp roast; a large collection of bodies were pared off and either sent to Houston or put on waivers with the intention to be sent to Houston. You get the point; a lot of bus tickets doled out to players today.
As it stood, the usual suspects remain, along with a few injured players, and Brett Bulmer.
photo courtesy of The Scouting Report
Mike Russo categorized it as a bit of a "surprise"; and to a certain extent it is. By and large the crop of junior-eligible prospects in the system were jettisoned last week, after being rewarded for their play in Traverse City. Kris Foucault and Zack Phillips, Bulmer's linemates in TC, were sent packing this weekend. The three were Minnesota's top line in the Prospect Tournament, and saw time in some exhibition games as well. The formula was pretty simple; Phillips was the playmaker, Foucault the shooter, and Bulmer was the space maker.
And physical presence.
That's not to say he's got jack squat on the offensive side of the coin; he's tough with the puck along the walls, he's got a great shot, and not only able to keep up with Foucault and Phillips, but also complement them in a scoring line capacity.
That being said, he is being given every chance to succeed by the Brass. He went to Houston on an Amateur Tryout after his season in Kelowna, and immediately was a part of The Aeros playoff run until a knee injury forced him out. He was supposed to be on a line with Mikael Granlund and Johan Larsson for the Prospect Development Camp Scrimmages, and I just mentioned his role in TC. It plays into this "hands on" development policy The Wild have going on with Bulmer, and the growing of his game. His game is still pretty raw, but its in Minnesota's best interest that they do what they can to accelerate the development curve.
For now it seems that the numbers game is in his favor because of the injuries in Camp to Cody Almond, Matt Kassian, and Casey Wellman, but the key to how long Bulmer stays in Minnesota could be the suspension to Brad Staubitz- Darren Dreger of TSN tweeted that he's done for the rest of the preseason plus some of the regular season. If that is true, and coming from Dreger it likely is, then that would open up a roster spot for a couple of games into the regular season, which conceivably could be an opportunity for Bulmer to stay with the big club and see NHL action. Remember, He can play up to nine games and be returned to Kelowna (where he impressed at Rockets Training Camp) without burning a year of his Entry Level Contract, and be returned up til 40 without starting his free agency clock.
But considering the route this regime took with Colton Gillies, essentially banishing him to Houston in order to grow after a year with Minnesota while he was still junior-eligible, one has to wonder why Minnesota would take that route with Bulmer, who is still raw and physically immature, even if he is gritty and willing to take the body on the ice.