Welcome to this year’s Top 25 Under 25 series. If you’re unfamiliar, we’re going player-by-player in a ranking of the top 25 Minnesota Wild players that are under the age of 25. It’s fairly simple. Enjoy!
Adam Beckman has carved out his own space in the Wild’s prospect pool. While the 2019 third-round pick was never considered one of the top prospects — as Matt Boldy and Marco Rossi make their way through — he has steadily grown to be one of the best secondary forward prospects you could really dream of.
Every time someone sees Beckman for the first time, they come away with their expectations raised. He has steadily progressed through junior hockey, becoming one of the best players in the country, and turned pro last season, making his AHL and NHL debut in the same campaign.
Maybe it was us just expecting more from Beckman during his rookie pro season, or the fact that the Wild injected their prospect pool with even more top-end talent, that caused him to drop a couple spots in the rankings. Last year he was comfortably in the No. 8 spot, but has now slipped down three spots. Others might have just stepped up more.
Beckman’s stats are a story of progression. We all know that he led the WHL in goals, points, and shots during his final year of eligibility, earning himself the Player of the Year title, so we had decently high expectations of the player during his rookie season. Unfortunately, players don’t just keep on scoring no matter where they play unless they are way ahead in their development or are generational talents. Beckman just simply did what a lot of other players do in their first professional season: Score one point every other game.
And that total is perfectly respectable. Among the 107 skaters under the age of 21 in the AHL last season, Beckman’s 34 points has him ranked 13th in that category. Above some other highly regarded prospects like Jamieson Rees, Connor Zary, and Jean-Luc Foudy. He’s still on the same line of development as so many top-line players in the past.
Roll the Tape
Through this series, we’ve been privy to primarily highlights of the profiled player scoring a goal. Typically, it’s not all that the young skater can do — or even is good at — but with Beckman, his shot is the thing we should be focusing on. He even showed us a little sneak peek of his season during an overtime game-winner in a preseason game last year.
And even if he scored just 11 goals during his AHL season, he certainly got his typical shot off.
Beckman thrives in the mid-range. Unlike a lot of other shooters, who prefer to get angled shots off, or get in-tight, Beckman loves to fire off well-placed rockets from 20 feet from the goaltender. It will be his bread and butter and what he can survive on.
Beckman’s absence from the NHL will grow more and more noticeable, I am sure. Barring any injuries or some otherworldly performance at training camp, the 21-year-old will start this season in the AHL, but for how long will be up to him and the Wild. If proven in the minors, he can provide a nice offensive boost in a top-nine forward group that might need to step up and attempt to replace Kevin Fiala. So, we should at least see him hang around the bubble.
But for the long-term, Beckman might just prove to be the headliner in the second wave of prospects and play a large enough role in the NHL to warrant some other departures necessary. It does feel good to have a player of his caliber available, eventually.
Hockey Wilderness 2022 Top 25 Under 25
25. Mason Shaw, C/LW
24. Sam Hentges, C/LW
23. Simon Johansson, D
22. Hunter Haight, C
21. Nikita Nesternenko, C
20. Marshall Warren, D
19. Filip Gustavsson, G
18. Mikey Milne, LW
17. Mitchell Chaffee, RW
16. Pavel Novak, RW
15. Ryan O’Rourke, D
14. Daemon Hunt, D
13. Jack Peart, D
12. Tyson Jost, C
11. Adam Beckman, LW