If we re-sign Brodziak, Almond will be lucky to be a steady 4th line center for us.
I think he'd actually be great there, but he's going to have a boatload of competition. Really unfortunate that he got hurt so early this year, this may have been his best chance at getting a shot with us...
Haven't seen much of him, but he's a grinder type. Can skate and play two way hockey but might not have enough patience/hands to produce at the NHL level. Might get lost in the shuffle with all the higher skilled prospects ahead of him.
But if you've got Coyle, Larsson, Granlund, Zucker, Haula, Phillips, and Bulmer who all project to be better NHL'ers, along with Koivu, Bouchard, Heatley, Setoguchi, Clutterbuck, Latendresse, and Gillies, where does Almond fit? Short term, maybe a fourth liner for a year or two? And that's not even counting the obligatory "tough guy" that every team seems to need.
My thoughts are that our top six should be pretty skilled when the prospects develop. Our third line should have plenty of skill and forechecking ability as well. The fourth line should be guys like Bulmer, Clutterbuck, Gillies, etc who we like but shouldn't be getting more then 7-8 minutes ES time because there are far better options.
This is based on my own viewings of Almon the past few seasons...
I think he will find a role in the NHL as a bottom 6 player. I think he will be a responsible player who provides grit and scores 20-30 points. However, I am not so sure if it will be with the Wild. From what I have seen, he is great along the boards and in the cycle but lacks speed to get in on the forecheck. A guy like McMillan or McIntyre provide a similar game but are better N/S guys imo.
I guess it could depend on chemistry. I think Almond has better puck control than McMillan and more offensive potential but we have seen how well our third line has done and I see McIntyre and McMillan fitting that mold better.
Seems like you guys have a lot of depth for physical 2nd or 3rd liner (Clutter, Gillies, Brodz, Powe, etc.) but I'm mostly interested at what you thnik of Cody Almond?
Is he in the mold of a Brendan Dubinsky type of player or more of a Paul Gaustad?
Could you give your opinion about where he'll fit in your team's puzzle in 2 years?
Dubinsky would be closer but in reality Almond's nowhere near that good. I do think Almond's got the tools to be a solid depth forward(C/LW, 3rd/4th line). He's a quality forward for Houston, last year being the only forward to see significant ice time both on the PP and PK, while also centering the top line. With his call-up last year I felt Todd Richards failed to communicate his role and Almond failed to impress because he was trying to do too much.
I expected him to make the Wild out of camp but unfortunately he was injured. However, if Latendresse doesn't return soon and we want to keep Powe on the wing, I could see Almond getting a call to replace Peters soon, though Peters hasn't really done anything to lose his spot(both would be key players in Houston as well).
Almond's window is running out though as Larsson/Granlund/Coyle/Phillips join the NHL/AHL ranks. While McMillan/McIntyre are chomping at the bit for 4th line opportunity as well.