Photo: Minnesota Wild defenseman Jonas Brodin had just seven points in the regular season but three in the playoffs, showing the skill level that has been too often muted in his young career (courtesy of David Berding/Icon Sportswire)
The 2011 NHL Draft was held in the Minnesota Wild’s own yard, which put a little bit of pressure on the scouts and managers not to fumble things. It remains to this day an open question whether Chuck Fletcher took that opportunity to put his mark on the Wild in a positive or negative way. His tenure as General Manager had already gotten off to a rocky start when he sent the Wild’s 2009 first-rounder Nick Leddy off to Chicago in exchange for Cam Barker, who put up five points in 52 games in the 2010-11 season for the Wild and was out of the NHL soon thereafter. Read more»
Photo: First-year pro Erik Haula, who has four points in five AHL games this season, represents the depth of talent that the Wild have at the pro level (courtesy of Jason Mowry/Icon SMI)
The Minnesota Wild has taken an aggressive approach in free agency and trade at the NHL level, adding a franchise defenseman in Ryan Suter, and bolstering its forward corps with legitimate NHL stars in Zach Parise and Jason Pominville and a solid defensive presence in Matt Cooke. The confidence to make these moves was in part due to a group of prospects who seemed ready to come in and provide support during their cheaper entry-level contract years.
Photo: Valeri Nichushkin, Dallas’ 10th overall selection in 2013, is one of seven top-10 picks to break camp with their NHL team in 2013-14 (courtesy of Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
The Fall edition of the Hockey's Future ranking of the Top 50 NHL prospects continues with the prospects ranked 11-20. NHL success is at a premium as we break into the top 20 with a group made up mostly of players primed for an NHL breakout.
Photo: The Wild have many top prospects competing for roster spots in the NHL this season, even 19-year-old defenseman Matt Dumba is still in the mix (courtesy of Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
Over the last few draft classes, Chuck Fletcher and company have shown Wild fans evidence of a new developmental approach. With a good cluster of young guys already in place, there has been a shift toward drafting players who will take an extra year or two to arrive as viable prospects.
Photo: Jonas Brodin led all NHL rookies with over 23 minutes of ice time per game during the abbreviated 2012-13 season (courtesy of Bruce Kluckhohn/NHLI via Getty Images)
Given a full NHL season in 2012-13, the Wild's Top 20 would not look quite as deep. Jonas Brodin and Nino Niederreiter would have graduated barring injury, and Jason Zucker, Charlie Coyle, and Mikael Granlund would have been close as well.