The NHL’s leading goal-scorer and legend Wayne Gretzky once said, “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.” However, that also seems to be the philosophy driving Minnesota Wild prospect Adam Beckman.
Beckman led the Iowa Wild with 190 shots. Those high shot numbers were good enough to put him into the AHL’s top 20. Beckman had a solid season for Iowa during his age-21 season, as the Saskatoon native was second on the team in goals with 24 in 53 games.
The Wild drafted Beckman at 75th overall in 2019. They traded a 2020 third-round pick to the Nashville Predators to move into the third round to take Spokane Chiefs winger Adam Beckman. The Predators then traded that third-rounder back in a package for Luke Kunin. Ultimately, it's essentially as if the Wild got Beckman for free.
Beckman immediately went on to lead the WHL in scoring by seven points during the 2019-20 season. It was huge progress for Beckman's Draft+1 season, and the former third-rounder looked primed to break out even further the next season.
Due to the pandemic, the 6’2” winger split his time between the WHL and the AHL, despite being too young to normally make the American League under the CHL's transfer agreement with the NHL. A year later, Beckman showed out in the preseason with four goals, including a huge overtime winner.
But despite arguably deserving to make the team out of camp, Beckman only played in three NHL games. He recorded one assist in a cup of coffee before Minnesota sent him down to develop in the AHL. Beckman had to adjust to the AHL for a little bit, but he had a solid season. The winger recorded 11 goals and 23 assists in 63 games.
Last year, the former third-rounder traveled up and down I-94 a few times. He almost notched his first NHL goal on Feb. 21st against the Los Angeles Kings. However, the officials reviewed the play and called the goal off. Ultimately, opponents held Beckman was held scoreless in nine NHL contests last year.
NHL teams desire players with Beckman’s skillset. He’s a big, speedy, shoot-first winger who can also play a responsible two-way game. Beckman was scoring at a 12% clip last season in the AHL. The scoring touch he’s shown in lower leagues has not yet translated to the NHL. But if you look at his history, he may just need time. It took him a year to adjust to the game before he had a big breakout in the AHL. The same could be the case for Beckman in the NHL.
The question is. Will Beckman have that opportunity?
Currently, the Wild have an NHL roster with 11 of the 12 forward spots locked down. The expectation is that Marco Rossi makes the team and will play in the bottom-six to start. After they added Pat Maroon and re-signed Brandon Duhaime, Marcus Johansson, and Freddy Gaudreau, Spots are limited in Minnesota's forward corps. The chemistry between Mats Zuccarello and Kirill Kaprizov and Matt Boldy and Johansson make them locks to be the wingers on the first and second lines. Joel Eriksson Ek and Ryan Hartman will be the top-six centers.
While Beckman will most likely start the year with the Iowa Wild, he will be one of the first call-ups along with Sammy Walker. Beckman can certainly continue his development in the AHL. Another season would not be bad for him. But Beckman also deserves a chance to see if his wicked shot and aggressive mentality can translate to points in the NHL.
Beckman will have to really show out in training camp and the preseason to show he’s substantially better than someone like Maroon or Connor Dewar. There’s just not enough room on the NHL roster for him otherwise.
However, he could be a valuable trade chip for the Wild. Plenty of NHL teams could use a player with Beckman’s skillset. I’d like to believe the Canadian could fetch at least a second-round pick. If a disgruntled Jack McBain could fetch a second-rounder, then Beckman should also carry that value.
The Wild could use Beckman in a trade, but he holds value for another reason. The sniper's contract is cost-controlled. As a young player with limited NHL experience, the Wild can retain him on team-friendly deals going forward. Beckman is under contract for $894,167 and will be an RFA at the end of this season. An asset like Beckman is pretty valuable for these next two years of cap penalties.
Beckman can play up and down the lineup for the Wild and be effective. The former WHL scoring leader’s shot, combined with the effort and work effort he displays, is exactly what the Wild need. However, the roster is full. Beckman must outwork and outplay an already-established NHL veteran to earn a spot on the team.
All stats via AHL.com, HockeyDB, CapFriendly, and Elite Prospects.