The Minnesota Wild inked 19-year-old defenseman Gustav Bouramman to his entry-level deal on Friday. He’ll get the standard three years, with a $713,333 cap hit according to General Fanager, but there are still significant questions as to where he will play this season.
The defender, though he’s among the younger prospects on the team, impressed at July’s development camp, looking like he could battle any player on the ice for a roster spot down the line. The only defenseman who was significantly better than him during the team’s scrimmages was former University of Minnesota defender Nick Seeler.
Bouramman had a very good season with the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds in the OHL last year, but it’s not clear that he’s returning. Contacted two weeks ago, the Greyhounds said they had “no info” on Bouramman’s status with the team. The other option for Bouramman is, after two seasons in the OHL, to return to his native Sweden and play in the SHL with Lulea Hockey.
There has been a lot of speculation about the move, with some reporting that it’s a done deal. However, Lulea told The Hockey Writers on Aug. 16 that the team did not at that moment have a transfer in place for Bouramman to join the team. However, when Lulea opened Champions Hockey League play last week Bouramman was listed on their roster. He has not played for the team, but is still listed on their roster.
— Minnesota Wild (@mnwild) August 26, 2016
The Star Tribune’s Michael Russo reports that the Wild would like Bouramman to stay in North America even though there is a deal waiting for him with Lulea. Now that the team has signed him, they will exercise more control over the situation, meaning that the contract may have increased the odds that he’s back with the Greyhounds this fall.
It might seem odd for an NHL team to put so much effort into a 7th round pick from the 2015 draft, but there’s no doubt that Bouramman has a lot of talent and might wind up being a good find for a 7th round selection.
Where He Will Be
At the moment, the team knows he will be at training camp trying to make his mark. With a log-jam of defenders, he’s not likely to be making headway toward a spot on the roster. But the team believes in his talent. Being at training camp will be good for his development, even if there’s no chance that the decision of where he plays has him lacing up in the MidWest.
In addition to OHL or SHL time, Bouramman is likely to lace up for Team Sweden at the 2017 World Junior Championship, set to take place in Toronto and Montreal. He missed the team last year after getting an invite to camp, but he projects to be a part of that roster this season.
Minnesota Wild prospect Gustav Bouramman shoots through the heavy screen and scores. pic.twitter.com/PjSKl1azjS
— Adam Herman (@AdamZHerman) July 31, 2016
He was good for Team Sweden at July’s National Junior Evaluation Camp in Plymouth, Michigan. He certainly wasn’t the team’s best defenseman — that honor might go to Jacob Larsson or Gabriel Carlsson — but Bouramman is a good skater and though he’s a bit prone to defensive zone mistakes, he’s offensively gifted. He’s dangerous from the point in the offensive zone and paces a breakout well from the neutral zone.
While Wild fans won’t see him donning a Wild sweater outside of a scrimmage for a while, he has the potential to get a pipeline of good defenseman going for the Wild.