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: The 10th overall pick in the 2011 NHL draft, Jonas Brodin is among the many talented young players the Wild have drafted out of Europe. (Photo courtesy of Vincent Muzik/Icon SMI)
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.
Mikael Granlund, C, HIFK (SM-Liiga)
Drafted 1st round, 9th overall, 2010