Photo: After a strong training camp, Zack Phillips returns to the QMJHL for the 2011-12 season where he and the rest of the Saint John Seadogs will try to win another Memorial Cup. (Photo courtesy of Ken McKenna/HF)
Although the team fell short of its goal, losing in game six of the Calder Cup finals to the Binghamton Senators, the Aeros overachieved past most expectations in 2010-11. Personnel changes in the AHL are inevitable, however, and success often means changes as thorough-going as any rebuilding franchise experiences. Case in point: Mike Yeo's work in Houston won him the opportunity to take over the Wild. However, the core players have the playoff experience now, and will look to build on their improbable run to within two wins of the league's highest prize.
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
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)
1st round, 10th overall
Height: 6'1, Weight: 170 lbs
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.
Photo: One of the top ranked European players for the 2011 draft, Joel Armia's natural goal-scoring ability would be a nice fit for a Minnesota Wild team that has struggled offensively. (Photo courtesy of Holly GunningHF)
Top 10 prospects
1. Mikael Granlund, C
2. Marco Scandella, D
3. Matt Hackett, G
4. Jason Zucker, LW
5. Tyler Cuma, D
6. Erik Haula, LW
7. Colton Gillies, LW
8. Cody Almond, C
9. Brett Bulmer, RW
10. Johan Larsson, LW
With needs in every department the Wild drafted what they thought was the best player available to them.
Minnesota in possession of the 3rd overall pick selected Slovakian winger Marian Gaborik. Trades changed the draft picture for Wild, but here are the players chosen:
3. Marian Gaborik, LW from Dukla Trencin (Slovakia)
6-1, 183…born Feb. 14 1982…25 goals in 50 games for Trencin last season.
Comments: Minnesota might have taken Rick Dipietro had he been around. A possible superstar…blessed with dynamic speed and soft hands, much like Slovakian compatriots Miroslav Satan and Zigmund Palffy. Had a “sub-par” WJC, but lead a struggling Slovakia in scoring. He did score 25 goals in a “man’s” league and will be more ready for NHL-play than most 18-year-olds.
33. Nick Schultz, D from Prince Albert (WHL)
6-0, 187…born aAAlbert.
Comments: If Schultz can develop his positional and physical play he will be a great asset to the Wild.
99. Marc Cavosie, LW from RPI (ECAC)
Cavosie, 18 (8/6/81), was named to the ECAC All-Rookie Team this year after compiling 30 points (12 goals, 18 assists) in 33 games for Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI). The 6-foot, 173-pound native of Albany, New York, played at RPI with current Minnesota Wild teammate Pete Gardiner.
132. Maxim Souchinsky, RW from Omsk (Russia) Read more»