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Todd Varga


blog-0744517001340845196.jpgWild Musings 6/27/2012: Draft Review

The Minnesota Wild are in the final days of preparation of what is perhaps the most anticipated free agency period in franchise history. The expectations of both the fan base and the organization are to bring elite talent to the State of Hockey, and to add them to a team that is seen as being a couple of pieces away from being something special. But before we get to all of that (I know- its exciting and fun to think about) let’s take a look at what the Wild and some other teams accomplished this past Friday at the Draft in Pittsburgh.

The Wild held the Seventh overall pick in the draft, and were able to draft Defenseman Matt Dumba of the Red Deer Rebels with it. This was definitely a solid pick for Chuck Fletcher and the Wild Brass. Before the draft started, I didn’t think Dumba would be available at 7. Even during the draft, I thought for sure the Ducks were going to take him at 6 (they took defenseman Hampus Lindholm- more on that later), and was shocked and happy to see him fall to the Wild at 7. Dumba is going to be a great piece on the Wild blue line. He is physical, he moves the puck, and he has a great shot. The guy has great leadership qualities, and will be more than capable of leading the Wild Power Play (and actually contributing to it). When the Wild are able to put the Matt Dumba-Jonas Brodin pairing on the ice, Brent Burns will seem like a very distant memory (Brodin may make the team this season- I don’t think Dumba will. We may see Dumba get the Brett Bulmer treatment, but I don’t believe he’ll be on the team for the full season). The other notable picks for the Wild were Winger Raphael Bussieres at 46, Defenseman John Draeger at 68, Center Adam Gilmour at 98, and Winger Louis Nanne (Yes THAT Nanne) at 188. Overall, I think this was a good draft for the Wild. They got some good talent, and a lot of young talent, which is good given the Wild’s situation. The Wild have their top 7 prospects all turning pro next season. It’s a good idea to draft developing talent that you don’t have to sign right away when you have what the Wild are going to have next season. These guys will get to develop, and hopefully have an impact in 2 to 3 years.

The draft itself was very entertaining. The Penguins pulled of a huge trade that I think really helps both teams, sending Jordan Stall to Carolina for Brandon Sutter, Brian Dumoulin, and the 8th overall pick. We saw prospects fall, prospects taken higher than believed, and a great crowd in Pittsburgh to provide a wonderful backdrop.

The Best Picks I saw at the Draft-

Washington- Filip Forsberg at 11 and Tom Wilson at 19. Forsberg fell well below where he should have gone. It may have been the best value for a pick in the Draft. This guy will more than likely be on the Caps roster next year, quickly making people forget about Alexander Semin. Tom Wilson reminds me of Mike Alstott (Former running back for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers) and I imagine that is what he’ll look like on the ice. He plays a physical and punishing game, and will add a lot of grit to the Caps lineup. Love this draft for the Caps.

Pittsburgh- Not only did they clear cap space, not only did they get two first round picks, but they got Olli Maatta at 22! Matta should have probably been a top 10-15 pick. It could be argued nobody did better at this draft than the Penguins (especially if their cap space yields what they hope it will).

New York Islanders- I loved the Griffin Reinhart pick. The Islanders have young forwards that can score, and by adding Reinhart, and Lubomir Visnovsky over the weekend through a trade with Anaheim, they have a good Defense Core that

should supplement that well. The Islanders are going to be vastly improved next season.

The Questionable Picks I saw at the Draft-

Anaheim- They took Hampus Lindholm with the 6th overall pick. I don’t have a problem with this player, I think Lindholm is going to be good, I just think they reached and took a guy they could have traded back to get. With Forsberg still on the board, and the offensively starved Wild picking behind them, I have to imagine that there were at least a couple of teams expressing interest. I know Lindholm was on the rise, and he was on a lot of team’s radars, but I still think they could have moved back and got him.

Tampa Bay- They had 2 first rounders, so they were able to be somewhat adventurous I suppose, but they took Andrei Vasilevski at 19 when Malcolm Subban was still on the board. I think Subban is a better prospect, granted with their acquisition of Anders Lindback they are not in desperate need of a goalie- but still, Subban was there, they should have taken him.

Calgary- They went completely off the grid when they took Mark Jankowski at 21. I didn’t think this guy would go until the mid to late 2nd round. If this was the guy they wanted, they should have traded back- Maatta was still on the board, everyone knew the Penguins would jump on him at 22, sell high and get your guy later. This was the only baffling pick of this draft for me.

I’ll be back later this week with a look at Free Agency for the Wild, which gets under way Sunday. It should be interesting.

Thanks for reading, check back for my free agency preview later in the week.

Todd Varga

On Twitter @Wild_Halo

And PLEASE check me out on The Box Score Podcast. We talk about what’s happening in the sporting world (and we always talk a good amount of Hockey). It’s getting good reviews, so please check us out on Itunes or at TheBoxScore.Libsyn.Com

And follow us on Twitter @TheBoxScore


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