Wild 2009-10 NCAA prospects update

By Shane Goudie

The Minnesota Wild has a trio of defensemen polishing their game at the NCAA level this season. They range from first rounder Nick Leddy to long shot prospects Kyle Medvec and Sean Lorenz

Kyle Medvec, D, 1988-06-16

Now in his third season at the University of Vermont, Medvec is currently playing the best hockey of his NCAA career. The business administration major is on pace to set personal highs in goals and assists. He currently has 10 points through his first 20 games of the season. Notably, Medvec put up three points in a January 16th rout of rival Northwestern. He was an impressive +5 during that game and the mini outburst helped him retake the scoring lead among Catamounts defensemen. More important than his offensive output has been Medvec’s solid defensive play this season. He has been reliable and is learning to use his dominating size to shut down opponents. Although Medvec remains a long-term project for the Minnesota Wild, the progress he has shown this season is a very positive sign and shows that the Minnesota native is on the right track.

Sean Lorenz, D, 1990-03-10

University of Notre Dame defenseman Sean Lorenz’s play so far this season appears to a mirroring of his teams as a whole. He has been inconsistent and uncharacteristically unsteady thus far. Some of Lorenz’s struggles this season can be chalked up the absence of Washington Capitals prospect Teddy Ruth, who was out of action with an injury for several weeks. The injury forced Lorenz into playing heavy minutes for the Irish, something he may not be ready for in his sophomore season at the NCAA level. He has also been battling a leg injury which forced him out of the lineup in December. Lorenz still has several seasons of hockey to improve upon his game before turning pro.

Nick Leddy, D, 1991-03-20

After being drafted by the Wild 16th overall in the summer, the start of the 2009-10 season marked a new step in the Eden Prairie product’s career. So far in his rookie season with the University of Minnesota, Leddy has not fully adapted to the NCAA level.

One of the biggest differences that Leddy is dealing with this season is ice time. Unlike playing high school hockey where he was often the best player on the ice, he finds himself behind several key Gopher veterans, David Fischer perhaps being the most notable. As a consequence, Leddy’s offensive output has been limited. He has one goal and two assists through 15 games this season. Another factor in his lack of scoring this season was a broken jaw and concussion sustained early November as a result of a questionable hit from the University of Alaska-Anchorage forward Jade Portwood. The injury kept Leddy out of the lineup for a month and although wasn’t overly serious, it was a momentum killer for the rookie. The injury also threw a wrench into his hopes to participate in this year’s World Junior Tournament in which his USA countrymen took home a gold medal.

Leddy hasn’t let his lack of scoring hold back his defensive game, however. His decision-making hasn’t been an issue this season and actually has been one of the more steady blueliners on the Gophers team.

All things considered, there is much to be optimistic about Leddy. He will continue to develop with the University of Minnesota for the next few years and should eventually be an important part of future Wild teams.