(I would like to take a moment to thank Dan Chan of Hockey Wilderness for providing the most comprehensive information on the later round prospects I was able to find. I would not even be able to hope to write this article without him, especially because Louie Nanne stole the spotlight from the Strib. If you’re reading this and not his work, then shoot yourself. Or read his work. Whichever you find more palatable.)
After PWNing the world by taking Mathew “Matt Dumba the Awesome Hockey Player” Dumba, the Wild had six more picks to use to add talent to what is perhaps currently the best farm system in the NHL. Today the Wild weren’t exactly movers and shakers, staying pat for all six picks. Let’s take a quick look at Day 2 of the Wild’s draft:
*In the second round the Wild took left winger Raphael Bussieres from the Q’s Baie-Cormeau Drakkar. At first glimpse, he doesn’t appear to be too impressive. His .79 PPG in the Q isn’t going to garner a lot of attention. But he’s said to have very good tools, plays hard in both ends, is a guy with plenty of size and toughness. He seems to be exactly the type of player the Wild have been targeting in the second round, and after watching Larsson, Bulmer, and Zucker develop into guys who could crack a Top-6, I’m intrigued to see this one play out.
*The third round yielded John Draeger, a defensive defenseman who is committed to playing for Michigan State. He’s got a nice frame and good hockey sense, and he’s said to have had improvement in his offensive game, too. Doesn’t hurt to get a steady, defensive defenseman with size, especially in the middle to late rounds.
*Adam Gilmour, a high school centerman and Boston University recruit was the fourth draftee to don Iron Range Red this weekend, and the aforementioned Dan Chan is in love with the guy, saying via Twitter: “He’s a great player, great two-way player, large size, skates well, plays simple but has some hidden offensive potential”
*Usually having an air of mystery about something elevates it to another level of esteem in your mind. You have some information about a certain guy, enough to intrigue you, but not nearly enough to satisfy that intrigue. Shepherd Book from Firefly is one of the best examples of this phenomena, which also applies to defenseman Daniel Gunnarsson from the Swedish Elite League. I only know two things about him, but they are sure intriguing. He’s 6’4”, which is all kinds of excellent size for a defenseman, and he put up 7 points (3 G-4A) in 46 games. That’s not only the highest point total for a ’93 birth-year player, but tied for the lead in goals for all Junior-Elligible players in the Elitserien, a group that includes Jonas Brodin and Oscar Klefbom. We’re looking at numbers similar to Tim Erixon and David Rundblad in their draft years. If he can skate and defend, then much like Shepherd Book, there’ll be a lot of substance to the mystery. I’m excited to see it unravel. (UPDATE. Gunnarsson is an overeager, which changes the perspective slightly, but 7 points from the blueline as a Junior-age player is still fine. For perspective, Brodin had 8 points in three more games. I’m still interested, but that fact takes some excitement away.)
*Christoph Bertschy is a Swiss forward who is small but dynamic offensively. He’s said to lack the same type of effort in the defensive zone as he shows in the offensive, but if that can get straightened out, the Wild could hit on a late-round steal in the 6th round.
*Louie Nanne was the last pick the Wild had, but he was far from Mr. Irrelevant. The Edina native is the grandson of former North Stars GM and current guy who says things about Zach Parise, Lou Nanne, as well as the son of current Wild scout Marty Nanne. He’s a high character guy with a lot of speed and could develop into a decent defensive forward for the Minnesota Wild, and in the seventh round, we can all be happy about that, right?
From the outset of this, he’s been labeled as a token pick by the Wild, who apparently did this only because of his grandfather. To which I call bullshit. Lou Nanne was the general manager of the Minnesota North Stars, the same team that’s notable for not being the Wild. The Wild don’t owe Lou Nanne anything, the same way the Timberwolves wouldn’t owe George Mikan a favor. The North Stars mean much, much more to that subset of fans than they do the Wild brass. The Wild have every incentive to draft players that they think can make an impact on the team, and no incentive to kowtow to a former GM of a completely different franchise. Drafting Nanne as a PR move would be insulting to the fans and unproductive to the team, and it is similarly insulting to Nanne to insinuate he was picked strictly because he has a famous grandfather. /rant.
*One thing I’m extremely glad to see is that the Wild will have their second round pick next year. The last two years the Wild have given up their second round picks, only to watch Alexander Khohklachev (Bruins via the
super disgusting Chuck Kobasew trade), and Pontus Aberg (Nashville via San Jose via the much less disastrous Brent Burns trade). I get that second rounder was probably the price of admission for the 28th spot and thus Zack Phillips , but I’m excited that the Wild won’t be watching another team taking their second rounder this year.
The end of the 2012 NHL Draft is a cliffhanger for the Wild. Will Ryan Suter sign? Will the Wild offer 13 years, 130 mil to Parise? Did the Wild tamper with Justin Schultz in an evil plan to be the Cup Champs in 2015? Will Mikael Granlund avoid certain doom AND get the girl? Stay tuned to find out!