MINNEAPOLIS -- No matter what happens in the coming years, former Gophers star Jack Sadek will always have something other Wild prospects do not.
“I’ve been to five development camps now,” Sadek said with a smile. “I think that’s probably a world record.”
In that span, Sadek has developed from a wide-eyed kid out of Lakeville North High School into a 6-foot-1, 200-pound blue liner on the cusp of achieving his childhood dream.
“I was in awe of some of the guys the first time I was here,” Sadek said. “I remember it was my first shift during a scrimmage, and Kurtis Gabriel hammered me in the corner. He had probably 30 pounds on me, so I definitely felt that, and made sure to keep my head up a little more after that. It’s pretty funny looking back on it now. It just kind of shows how far I’ve come.”
That said, the 22-year-old Sadek wants to be known for a lot more than his extensive development camp resume. He recently graduated from the University of Minnesota, and now that his collegiate career is finished, he admitted he’s feeling a little more pressure to perform this time around.
“Now that I’m done with school, I know the stakes are a little higher for me,” Sadek said. “I wasn’t as worried a couple of years ago because I knew I had more time. I could go back to school and focus on the things they told me I needed to work on. I don’t really have that luxury anymore.”
In a perfect world, Sadek would sign an entry-level contract with the Wild at some point this summer, and report to the minors in the fall. He got a sneak peak at the professional lifestyle a few months ago, signing an amateur tryout deal with the Iowa Wild during their run through the Calder Cup playoffs, and he would love to build on that momentum.
Perhaps someone Sadek can look to for inspiration is current Wild fan favorite Nick Seeler. As a late-bloomer on the blue line, Seeler could be the poster child for how to keep grinding even when it looks like getting to the highest level might not be in the cards. He spent more than 100 games in the minors before finally getting his shot at the NHL, and once he got it, he hasn’t looked back.
“It’s definitely possible,” Sadek said. “I’ve just got to show them what I can do. I’m definitely trying to turn some heads here and prove to them that I’m someone that can contribute at the next level.”
That much has been evident at TRIA Rink this week as Sadek has consistently been the first person to go during certain drills, taking on a leadership role that comes with being a veteran, at least as far as development camp is concerned.
“You could call me that, I guess,” Sadek with a smile. “I’m just going to keep working at it and making sure I stay in shape, and hopefully I get my shot. I feel like I’m someone that could help this team moving forward.”