Photo: Minnesota Wild defenseman Marco Scandella is the organization's only 2008 pick to establish a role at the NHL level. (courtesy of Russell Lansford/Icon SMI)
The 2007-08 season had its positives for a franchise finally finding its legs, including a first divisional banner, but the subsequent crash and burn against the Avalanche in the playoffs is emblematic of the end of an era. The Minnesota Wild headed to Ottawa in June with its confidence shattered and certainly no closer to a coherent vision of how to build a winner. With picks jettisoned for ineffective role players, the team recklessly punted on what was to be the final draft of the Doug Risebrough era.
Photo: Matt Hackett has gradually over the past year to become one of the top goaltending prospects in all of hockey. (Photo courtesy of
Russell Lansford/Icon SMI)
Over the last several seasons the Minnesota Wild have filled their pipeline to the brim with highly regarded prospects; a strategy which is starting to pay early dividends at the NHL level. Below is the inaugural edition of the Wild's prospect awards.
Most Improved Prospect: Johan Gustafsson, G, Luleå HF (SEL)
Photo: Drafted 28th overall, Zack Phillips came to Minnesota as part of the return in the Brent Burns trade. (Photo courtesy of Ken McKenna/HF)
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.
1. (1) Mikael Granlund, C, 8.0B
Drafted 1st Round, 9th overall, 2010