Monday, June 28, 2010

Grading the Minnesota Wild 2010 NHL Draft

Minnesota Wild 1st Round Pick Mikael Granlund
The Minnesota Wild completed their 2010 NHL Draft over the weekend in Los Angeles. They collected 6 new picks, 5 of whom are forwards, which can only help the Minnesota Wild. With the #9 overall pick, Minnesota selected Finnish center Mikael Granlund. Only 18 years old, Granlund is said to possess strong skating and playmaking abilities. At 5'10 the Wild believe what he makes up for in size is his vision and high hockey IQ. He amassed 40 points (13 goals, 27 assists) while playing 43 games in one of Finland's most competitive leagues. The plan is believed to have Granlund stay another year in Finland before trying to jump into the NHL.

The Wild then selected three forwards in the 2nd round of the draft. With the #39 pick, Minnesota selected Canadian native Brett Bulmer of the Kelowna Rockets in the WHL. Claimed to be a bit of a project pick, Minnesota hopes that Bulmer is just on his way to reaching his potential. He plays right-wing and shot up mock drafts in the last few months. With the #56 pick, Minnesota drafted Johan Larsson, a left-wing from Sweden. He led Sweden to a Silver medal in the U-18 World Championships this year and scored 34 points in 40 games in his Swedish league. The final pick of the second round for Minnesota was left-wing Jason Zucker at #59. Zucker is from Las Vegas, Nevada and became the first Las Vegas native to ever be drafted. Jason Zucker played for the United States Under 18-NTDP Team and led the team with 29 goals last season. He's described as a fierce competitor, that plays with edge and a lot of passion.

Minnesota didn't have a pick until the 6th round when it selected Swedish goalie Johan Gustafsson, which was considered a quality draft pick, not necessarily a need position. Former Wild Assistant GM Tommy Thompson had Gustafsson at #44 overall in his rankings. He is considered a big and athletic goalie, with a ton of upside. The Minnesota Wild's final pick was Canadian Dylen McKinlay, drafted at #189 in the 7th round. He played last season for the WHL's Chilliwack Bruins, amassing 20 goals and 42 points in 72 games.

Overall, as a Minnesota Wild fan you have to be pleased. Recognizing the need for scoring, General Manager Chuck Fletcher selected five forwards with a lot of potential and possibly a steal in the 6th round with the Swedish goalie Gustafsson. If the five drafted can develop into NHL caliber players, then the Wild would help their goal scoring issues. Again, time will tell.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

about time the Wild drafted a forward again. Wish we could have had a Top 5 pick but hopefully Granlund can pan out. maybe even one of our 2nd round picks too