Carson Lambos is ready to break into the NHL and should benefit from a good support system. The 20-year-old defenseman from Winnipeg could soon help balance the load on the left side for Jonas Brodin and Jacob Middleton.
Some people have labeled rookie sensation Brock Faber as Brodin’s replacement. But Faber is really Jared Spurgeon’s heir apparent because he’s a right-shot defenseman. Lambos is emerging as the team’s best left-shot defenseman prospect, meaning he’d naturally step in behind Brodin on the depth chart.
The 6-foot-1, 196 lbs. Lambos shares the same physical traits as Brodin (6-foot-1, 196 lbs.), showing a level of physical maturity that provides a solid foundation for further development. Lambos shows he can add even more bulk and muscle with his build, embracing his physical presence on the ice. His Brodin-like size indicates he’s ready for challenging assignments.
In discussing his first year as a professional hockey player, Lambos reflected on the significance of his composure in driving his performance. Despite facing numerous challenges, he remains calm, consistently showcasing the qualities that initially caught the Wild’s eye during the draft process.
His commitment to his strengths has allowed him to navigate developmental hurdles and continue to reassure the team's confidence in his abilities. Lambos has demonstrated his resilience and potential by staying true to the attributes that led the Wild to take him, setting a solid foundation for his career in professional hockey.
If he secures a spot on the team, Lambos should start his NHL career on the Wild's second defensive pairing, falling between Brodin and Middleton on the depth chart. Placing Lambos on the second pairing is a strategic move that injects youth and talent into the team’s defensive core. Middleton's role on the bottom pairing is vital. It strengthens Minnesota’s defense and elevates the overall team performance by pushing Jon Merrill from the lineup, giving the defensive depth zero weak links on the left side.
Adding Daemon Hunt or Ryan O’Rourke alongside Middleton further improves the team's blueline, creating a more stable and effective defensive unit. Adding Hunt or O’Rourke enhances the Wild’s defensive capabilities and allows them to develop promising young talent. Furthermore, Spurgeon’s mentorship of Lambos represents a generational change where experience meets potential. That should ensure a smooth transition and a promising future for the team's defensive lineup, much like Brodin to Faber.
Lambos won’t solely have a defensive role once he makes the team. He should also take on a significant role alongside Khusnutdinov on the second power-play unit. Having Lambos quarterback the second power-play unit adds offensive potential and positions the Wild as a threat. Meanwhile, deploying Brodin and Middleton on both penalty kill units creates a balanced defensive strategy, further solidifying the team's performance in crucial game situations.
While he’s a player in the Brodin mold, the Wild should encourage him to leverage his offensive game, adding a new dimension to the team's play. Defensemen have typically developed more slowly than forwards, but Faber shows that blueliners can make an immediate impact.
Hailed as one of the best two-way defensemen in the 2021 draft, we shouldn’t underestimate Lambos’ capabilities. Considering Faber and Lambos’ trajectories, it's easy to believe they could form a dynamic defensive pairing, serving as a go-to pair for the Wild's future success. Their combined skill sets and potential could pave the way for a new era of defensive prowess, setting the stage for an exciting and impactful journey ahead for the Wild.
I’m introducing a new series called “Who’s Got Game?” to include Wild prospects who could be part of a high-end roster. Lambos and Marat Khusnutdinov both qualify for 2024-25. Read my Kusnutdinov profile here.
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