Vincent Muzik/Icon SMI)
Last summer, Jonas Brodin was one of the fast risers at the 2012 NHL Draft, ultimately being taken 10th overall by the Minnesota Wild. That draft ranking came on the strength of some regular SEL play for the Swedish champion Farjestad, as well as a top-flight performance at the 2011 U18 World Championship. This past season was yet another eventful one for the 18-year-old, most especially in light of his WJC gold medal performance.
The Wild commenced a 'soft' rebuild on the day Chuck Fletcher took over for Doug Risebrough. The majority of Risebrough's prospects have been flushed, and a steady eye for the future has been in evidence. It hasn't been a 'scorched earth' rebuild, whether out of honor or overconfidence, and the team should rebound soon from a season where injuries exposed a lack of elite talent. Free agents and reclamation projects can only bring a franchise so far, and Fletcher's regime has brought a concerted effort toward finding talent to the draft board. The Wild has been preparing for several of the young men playing in the U.S. college ranks and in Europe to form the team's core going forward.
Although Mikael Granlund remains the Wild's number one prospect, the depth for the Minnesota Wild continues to improve under Chuck Fletcher's watch. With the draft taking place on home turf, the Wild made a wise but somewhat surprising move to add another blue-chip defense prospect in Jonas Brodin. They then traded pending free agent Brent Burns for two prospects, Charlie Coyle and Zack Phillips, the latter selected with San Jose's first round pick. The addition of these players can only improve the long-term outlook of the franchise.
The Wild added considerable depth again this year, trading for a second pick in the first round as well as former first-rounder Charlie Coyle. The team also turned to United States high schools for three of its picks. The Wild displayed a good degree of confidence again at this draft, trading up for a hometown fan.
Jonas Brodin, D – Färjestad (SEL)
The Wild used its first round pick on Swedish defenseman Jonas Brodin. For the most part, draft watchers tend to favor eye-popping point totals first, and NHL frames second, of which Brodin brings neither. Brodin does however appear to be a master at the art of mistake-free, positionally astute defense.