Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Nothing puzzling about Lightning goalie prospect Adam Wilcox's development

University of Minnesota goalie Adam Wilcox claims he can solve a Rubik's Cube puzzle in "about a minute."

Yeah, right, said laughing Gophers goaltenders coach Justin Johnson. "Maybe if he was doing just one side."

No, really, Wilcox said, "It's just kind of learning patterns. You have to take it step by step."

And that is exactly how Wilcox has turned himself into one of the nation's top freshman goalies and one of the Lightning's most interesting and promising prospects.

Drafted 178th overall in 2011, the South St. Paul, Minn., native decided to play for Minnesota rather than stay in juniors, a stepping-stone approach to his career he believes is the best way to prepare for subsequent levels.

"I like to take each step of the process to make sure I'm ready to play," Wilcox said. "Get a good base, good experience, get the confidence at each level and keep building."

So far the plan is paying off.

Wilcox, 20, is 10-2-3 in 16 games for No. 3 Minnesota with 944 minutes, 23 seconds of ice time that is fifth in Division I. His 1.78 goals-against average is eighth — and third among freshmen — and he has two shutouts.

"Tremendous athletic ability," Johnson said. "Even when he misreads a play, he's able to react back to the puck."

"And he makes big saves, timely saves," Lightning goaltenders coach Frantz Jean said. "That's the X factor everybody is looking for."

At 6 feet, 186 pounds, Wilcox is not big, especially for the size-obsessed NHL. But Jean said he compensates with "really good" foot movement and positioning.

And a "tremendous glove," Johnson said.

Wilcox, though, was quick to note the contributions of his teammates.

"Our forwards are stacked, and we have the best (defense)," he said. "That gave me a lot of confidence coming in, knowing that even if I did give up one or two (goals), they have my back for the rest of the game."

But let's get back to this Rubik's Cube thing.

A friend showed Wilcox the puzzle in ninth grade, the goalie said, and after about three hours he had it licked.

Wilcox's mother, Christy, isn't surprised.

"He's a perfectionist and likes everything in order, so it fits him he'd take a Rubik's Cube and put it in order," she said. "I don't think I've ever cleaned his room or organized his room. I never had to worry about that.

"Even when he was younger, he always had his toys in one area and dinosaurs in one area. He was a really organized kid."

Wilcox said there is an argument that learning to solve Rubik's Cube helps him on the ice.

"With doing that, you see ahead to the next move you have to make," he said. "I can kind of see what's going to happen ahead. I can see a guy coming in, if it's going to be to the back door. I can make the move before it happens."

"The same with school and stuff," Wilcox added about majoring in sports management. "I like looking ahead and planning."

Step by step.

Damian Cristodero can be reached at cristodero@tampabay.com.

Nothing puzzling about Lightning goalie prospect Adam Wilcox's development 12/14/12 [Last modified: Saturday, December 15, 2012 12:12am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Rays late-night bullpen shuffle: Alvarado, Pruitt down; Kolarek up

    Blogs

    The Rays shuffled their bullpen again after Tuesday's game, sending down struggling LHP Jose Alvarado along with RHP Austin Pruitt to Triple-A Durham, and turning next to LHP Adam Kolarek, who will make his major-league debut at age 28,

  2. Rays journal: Alex Cobb brilliant, Alex Colome worrying in 10-inning victory (w/video)

    The Heater

    PITTSBURGH — RHP Alex Cobb couldn't have been much better for the Rays on Tuesday, taking a no-hitter into the seventh inning while working eight solid. And Alex Colome couldn't have been much worse, blowing a two-run ninth-inning lead.

    Rays starter Alex Cobb carries a no-hitter into the seventh and pitches eight shutout innings in his best outing of the season.
  3. Marc Topkin's takeaways from Tuesday's Rays-Pirates game

    The Heater

    RHP Alex Cobb continues to look better and better, which could make the decision whether to trade him tougher. Cobb had a no-hitter through six and threw his biggest pitch with a 1-0 lead in the seventh, getting Josh Bell to roll into a double play.

  4. For good of the Rays, Tim Beckham should embrace move to second

    The Heater

    PITTSBURGH — The acquisition of slick-fielding shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria said a lot of things, most notably that the Rays are serious about making in-season moves to bolster their chances to make the playoffs, with a reliever, or two, next on the shopping list.

    PITTSBURGH, PA - JUNE 27:  Tim Beckham #1 of the Tampa Bay Rays celebrates with teammates after scoring during the eighth inning against the Pittsburgh Pirates at PNC Park on June 27, 2017 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images) 700011399
  5. Rays at Pirates, 7:05 p.m. Wednesday, Pittsburgh

    The Heater

    Tonight: at Pirates

    7:05, PNC Park, Pittsburgh

    TV/radio: Fox Sports Sun; 620-AM, 680-AM (Spanish)

    PORT CHARLOTTE, FL - FEBRUARY 18:  Blake Snell #4 of the Tampa Bay Rays poses for a portrait during the Tampa Bay Rays photo day on February 18, 2017 at Charlotte Sports Park in Port Charlotte, Floida.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)