Photo: A leg injury will delay Mario Lucia's debut at Notre Dame, but the big winger has the potential to make an instant impact when he rejoins the team mid-season. (courtesy of Vincent Muzik/Icon SMI)
The Wild by design has its top prospects all scheduled to play professional hockey this season. Though obviously dependent on the quick resolution of labor strife at the NHL level, Mikael Granlund should be playing with the Wild while an excellent group of young players in Matt Hackett, Jonas Brodin, Charlie Coyle, Zack Phillips, Johan Larsson, Jason Zucker, and Brett Bulmer are presumably going to be playing with the AHL's Houston Aeros. The AHL as a whole will be be fun to watch this year. For Wild fans it is a glimpse of a promising future.
Mikael Granlund will make his North American debut in 2012-13 following another year of international success and a top-ten finish in the SM-liiga scoring race. (courtesy of Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images)
The Wild's system was bolstered again at the 2012 NHL Draft, with Red Deer defenseman Matt Dumba immediately jumping into the top five. While the team did not graduate many players last season, the team willingly parted ways with a few prospects that did not look to be part of the program going forward. None of the 2012 draftees are very close to cracking an NHL roster, but several have enough upside to be included here.
Photo: Winger Raphaël Bussières was drafted in the second round for his blend of skill and sandpaper. Bussières has drawn comparisons to current Wild forward Cal Clutterbuck. (Ken McKenna/HF)
Shortly after the 2012 NHL Draft, the Minnesota Wild greatly accelerated their rebuild by adding prized free agents Zach Parise and Ryan Suter, filling two major organizational holes. With a crop of good prospects ready to compete for important jobs this year and next, the Wild took the long view with their 2012 draft class.
Photo: The Minnesota Wild continued adding young, talented players to their organization with the selection of Matt Dumba at the 2012 NHL Draft (courtesy of Ken McKenna/HF)
The parade of defensemen chosen in the top 10 of the 2012 NHL Draft's first round continued with the selection of Red Deer Rebels defender Matt Dumba by the Minnesota Wild with the seventh pick overall.
Photo: Acquired in a 2011 Draft day trade, forward Charlie Coyle is one of the top prospects for the Minnesota Wild and a key part of their future. (Vincent Muzik/Icon SMI)
The Minnesota Wild finished with a 35-36-11 record in 2011-12, well out of reach of the eighth and final playoff berth. Like in years past, the team struggled to produce goals at the NHL level and experienced various injuries to key players.