Top 25 Minnesota Wild players 25-years-old or younger; No. 17 Grayson Downing


Grayson Downing turned a 21-goal, 36-point season as a senior at the University of New Hampshire into a professional contract with the Minnesota Wild. After a knee injury forced him miss the first 17 games of the season, he finished second on Iowa in goals, assists and points.

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found a diamond-in-the-rough scoring center in college free agency when they signed forward

Grayson Downing


He was a star at the team’s development camp in July of 2015. After that, there was a chance he could make the NHL roster out of training camp. However, a knee injury in camp forced him to start the season on injured reserve.

The Abbotsford, British Columbia native returned in early November for the Wild’s AHL affiliate in Iowa. He started scoring right away with a goal and an assist in his first two games and finished the month with five goals and five assists in 11 games. He was held off the scoresheet in just three of those games.

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Putting up points has never been a problem for Downing. Before joining the University of New Hampshire, he recorded 129 points in 132 games in the BCHL. Then in four years for the Wildcats, he posted 112 points in 144 games. In 61 professional games over a year-plus, he 44 points.

Dobber Prospects has high expectations for him. They say that his “terrific sniping as well as admirable toughness gives one reason to believe that this guy may well have his best hockey still to come.”

Hockey’s Future says he has “scoring ability and willingness to take punishment to create chances suggests he has some offensive potential at the NHL level.” They also say he has a “hard, accurate shot” and that “he plays with a feistiness to his game.”

Next: Top 25 Minnesota Wild players 25-years-old or younger; No. 18 Zack Mitchell

There are a lot of things to like about Downing. He showed his very good shot, physicality, size and versatility at the development camp and training camp before getting hurt. The 23-year-old is listed at 6-feet, 192-pounds on the Wild’s official website, but looks bigger. He can play many different roles and positions.

It is difficult to predict what his future is going to be because of his versatility. He could be a top-six power forward, or secondary scorer on one of the top three lines or a grinder on the fourth line. Within those roles, he could play any of the three forward positions.

It would be surprising if Downing does not make his NHL debut during the 2016-17 season. He should begin the season in Iowa and then get called up when the NHL squad needs a replacement for an injured player or when the team needs a boost.