Lockout Patience Will Pay Off For Wild

I just want my hockey.

We all just want our hockey.

It’s incredibly frustrating to see that, for the second time in eight years, we have to put up with this bullshit. The NHL is abusing the players and abusing the fans by exploiting every loophole to spend as much money as possible on contracts, only to cry poor and take that money away from the players, and hockey away from us. Fuck Gary Bettman. He’s the worst. If he spends eternity having his liver eaten daily by an eagle that constantly sings Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin'”, I will consider it a light punishment. At least Prometheus did something to benefit the Greek version of the 99%, while Bettman puts the manic, irrational whims of the gods above any benefit the hockey community might receive.

But, alas, wiser, better people than I have said “Fuck Gary Bettman, I’d like to put him in a giant paper shredder.” better than I. This isn’t really about that. This is about enduring. Patience. Concerning our prospect development, this lockout might end up being a blessing in disguise.

So, make the jump, fans, and endure.

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May 2012 Prospect Rankings 4 – 1

So, this is the moment you’ve all been waiting for. The top prospects in the Minnesota Wild system. Don’t let me stop you from these rankings, check em out after the jump.

4. Johan Larsson- Center/Left Winger- Brynas (Elitserien- SWE)

2012 WJC: 6 Games; 0 Goals; 6 Assists

2011-2012 Elitserien: 49 Games; 12 Goals; 24 Assists

2012 Elitserien Playoffs: 16 Games; 2 Goals; 8 Assists

2012 World Championsips: 7 Games; 0 Goals; 2 Assists

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May 2012 Prospect Rankings: Honorable Mention – 8

Yep, guys, I graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Superior Saturday (I’m the one that looks most like a bridge troll, the other two are my roommates, who got Cum Laude and Summa Cum Laude. I apparently just got cum.). As you might be able to imagine, a semester with three classes, two capstones, and a play doesn’t leave a lot of room for blogging. This is disappointing, because I was enjoying the process, enjoying putting out content, and enjoying the fact that there was some growth among the readership. Also, the Schultz, Zidlicky, Zanon trades, the end of a dreadful season, the merits of tanking, Zucker’s call-up, the beginnings of draft talk, and Anthony LaPanta making everyone angry were all really interesting topics that was worthy of discussion.

So, now that I’m back, we’re going to ramp up draft/free agency talk around here. So before we talk about the prospects we could get with the #7 pick, let’s take inventory of the prospects we already have. But first, let’s talk about the hot topic of the week, Granlund Watch.

It’s getting done. Granlund isn’t future Wild defenseman Justin Schultz. There’s nothing to be gained by this. He gets no money for re-entering the draft, and there’s not a desirable market he’d want to play in. Unless, of course, he wants to play in scenic Edmonton or Columbus.

So, for the first time since February, meet me after the jump. We’ll talk about some prospects.

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Previewing the Wild Junior Championships

NHL Prospect rankings are hard. Maybe harder than any other sport.

Obviously that’s might not be entirely true, there is a lot of trial and error when it comes to evaluating minor league talent, a lot of hits and misses with any sport, except maybe top two picks in the NBA. The difficulty in hockey talent evaluations is that you’re dealing with 17 year old kids when they’re drafted- the youngest of any sport. But even the NFL, which waits until the age of 20 to draft prospects, has a lot of trouble evaluating talent.

A huge reason for this is because you’re dealing with human beings, and with the slight exception of hockey experts calling the Wild boring, you can never really predict what human beings are going to do.

But that’s just drafting. At least baseball prospects are in the same minor leagues as everyone else, and football and basketball players make the leap to the highest levels right away. Hockey prospects are all over the world, playing all kinds of different talent levels. We can all figure out that Mikael Granlund’s 38 points in 32 SM-Liiga games are pretty damn valuable. But what’s more impressive? Zack Phillips’ 54 points in 32 games playing against kids his own age in Juniors, or Johan Larsson’s 23 points in 31 games in the Sweedish Elite League? It’s kind of hard to say.

And therein lies the beauty of the World Junior Championships. For a magical two weeks, all the top prospects are on a level playing field. Even in a small sample size, we can still glean quite a bit of information from this tournament. With the Wild sending six prospects to the WJCs next week, let’s break down the prospects participating, and what to expect from them. Continue reading