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Prospects Unlimited: Wild prospect Beckman takes different path to major junior success

The late-blooming left winger had a breakout season heading into his draft year, and it's Spokane's patience that has helped him develop into a prospect worth watching.
Larry Brunt

Larry Brunt

Adam Beckman's career went from zero to 60 last season. Or, to be more precise, 62. That’s how many points the left winger notched with WHL Spokane in his rookie campaign, which also happened to be his draft year.

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While most NHL prospects have already been in the WHL for a couple seasons before they’re drafted, Beckman played his 16-year-old season in major midget with the Saskatchewan-based Battleford Stars. It was a strategic move by Spokane. “He made the team at the beginning of the year,” said Chiefs GM Scott Carter. “We just felt he’d be getting platooned in and out on the fourth line, and that’s not his game.”

Indeed, Beckman’s game is all about offense. As a WHL freshman last season, he led the Chiefs with 32 goals. Playing a big role the year before in Battleford helped a lot. “I got a chance to play 25 to 30 minutes a night in every situation,” Beckman said. “Some guys lose their drive, but I never lost it, and I’m glad the decision worked out.”

A late-bloomer who was 5-foot-5 when Carter first saw him, Beckman is now 6-foot-1 and the Chiefs’ leading scorer. Oddly, he was piling up assists at the start of this season, but he’s known for his release and shooting acumen. “He wants to score goals, and his first instinct is to shoot,” Carter said. “A lot of kids like to hold onto the puck and try to make a cute play. His instinct is to bury it.”

Minnesota grabbed Beckman in the third round of the 2019 NHL draft, and the Wild could use his offensive prowess. But the youngster still needs to work on his 200-foot game, and Carter says this year with the Chiefs will allow Beckman to work on getting pucks out of the defensive zone and winning more 1-on-1 battles. At 174 pounds, he needs to get stronger, too. “That’s one of the biggest knocks on me, and I know that,” Beckman said. “The biggest thing is putting more weight on.”

Once he does, however, he’ll be hard to stop. The kid has already been on quite the ascent in his junior career. – Ryan Kennedy

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