2012 NHL Entry Draft: Options for the Minnesota Wild

The Minnesota Wild have the seventh overall pick in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft.

For the first part of the 2011-12 season, the Minnesota Wild looked as though they were going to be one of the best teams in the NHL.  Thanks mostly to a team record 11 wins in November, the team found themselves on top of the league standings by December and it seemed as though they were finally going to end a postseason drought that last saw them in the playoffs in 2008. Unfortunately, for the team and their fans, injuries befell the Wild, with the walking wounded including Pierre-Marc Bouchard, Guillaume Latendresse and Matt Cullen.  The mounting injuries caused Minnesota to plummet to fourth in the Northwest Division and twelfth in the Western Conference, a substantial collapse from the top of the heap they had been.  They finished with a record of 35-36-11 for 81 points, missing the playoffs for a fourth straight season, and yet another top-10 pick in the NHL Entry Draft.

Minnesota has the seventh overall pick and, remarkably, it is the seventh time in franchise history that the team has had a pick in the top ten, the most recent being 2011 when they picked Jonas Brodin tenth overall.  Nine of their ten first-round picks in the NHL Entry Draft from 2000 to 2009 played at least one NHL game in 2011-12 (Tyler Cuma made his NHL début this past April) but only three actually suited up for the Wild.  That being said, one thing that Minnesota may look at in their first-round pick is a player who may be with them for the long haul, joining top prospects such as Cuma, Brodin, Mikael Granlund, Charlie Coyle and Zack Phillips.

Judging on the patience of Chuck Fletcher and his staff, the 2012 first-round pick of the Minnesota Wild could be a player who the organization will have to wait for or expect to be ready immediately.  Past history indicates that the Wild generally prefer players who can be ready in one to three years.  Regardless, the Wild will have the opportunity to grab a player with incredible potential no matter how quick or otherwise it takes for him to be ready for the NHL.

Zemgus Girgensons, Filip Forsberg and Radek Faksa are three viable options for the seventh overall pick, depending on the patience of Minnesota Wild staff. (Jim Naprstek/EliteProspects/OHL Images)

Based on this length of time allotted for a player to show whether or not he is ready for the NHL, there are three players — all of whom are European forwards — who can be suitable first-round options for the Minnesota Wild and can be available by the time they are expected to make their decision.

The first option is Zemgus Girgensons.  Originally from Riga, Latvia, Girgensons has had an incredibly successful two-year stint in the USHL with the expansion Dubuque Fighting Saints. He helped the team win the Clark Cup as league champions in 2011 and, this past season, he was the team’s captain.  He was, however, sidelined with a broken jaw for the latter part of the 2011-12 campaign but his draft status was never affected.  Girgensons will be attending the University of Vermont in September, the same school as Stanley Cup champions Tim Thomas, Patrick Sharp and Martin St. Louis.  His North American style of play, as well as his size and his apparent leadership, makes him a suitable fit for the Wild, especially with Zack Phillips and Jonas Brodin each being 6’1″ tall.  With Girgensons going to the NCAA, it gives Minnesota the opportunity to see how well their youth movement will fare, especially if he decides to spend an entire four years with the Catamounts.  By the time his collegiate career is over, the Wild will have a spot ready for him, especially since older players such as Matt Cullen may already be gone.

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Another option is Filip Forsberg.  Born in Östervåla, Sweden, Forsberg could be the third Scandinavian chosen in the first round of the NHL Entry Draft in as many years.  The logic behind choosing players from that geographic region is quite rational since many people from Minnesota have Scandinavian heritage.  Forsberg has dynamic speed, something that the Wild team brass may salivate over, especially since one of their best skaters, Pierre-Marc Bouchard, has been injured several times over the last few seasons.  They still have certain speedsters, such as Mikko Koivu and Devin Setoguchi, but it may be Forsberg who can elevate that to an even more superlative degree.  Just like Girgensons, the young Swede will come with anticipation, especially since he is under contract with Leksands IF of the HockeyAllsvenskan for the 2012-13 season.  He will also have championship pedigree and experience with three future teammates if chosen by the Wild; he helped win the gold medal for Sweden at the 2012 World Juniors with Jonas Brodin, Johan Gustafsson and Johan Larsson.

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Yet another option is Radek Faksa.  A native of Opava, Czech Republic, Faksa is a solid two-way forward with equal parts of speed, skill and tenacity that make him one of the more complete players going into this year’s draft.  Faksa, who plays for the Kitchener Rangers, led all OHL rookies in scoring with 67 points in 62 games, despite missing time to play at the 2012 World Juniors as an underage player.  Faksa is lucky to play for an OHL team that has seen many of its former imports be chosen as first-round NHL draft picks, including the likes of Jakub Kindl, Mikkel Boedker and Gabriel Landeskog.  Additionally, they have had their imports picked in subsequent rounds; players such as Yannick Weber and Tobias Rieder come to mind. Faksa could very well make the jump to the NHL next season, meaning that the Minnesota Wild may not have to wait long for him to come.  That being said, however, the Wild has had minimal success with first-rounders coming directly out of the OHL in particular, with Brent Burns (2003) being the only one to make the team out of the draft.  Faksa, however, could help reverse that trend.

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On the second day of the draft, the Minnesota Wild, barring any trades, will have a pick in each of the six subsequent rounds.  They will select 46th, 68th, 98th, 128th, 158th and 188th overall; the 46th overall selection was a pick acquired in a trade with Washington via New Jersey.  (That pick resulted from the trade that sent Marek Židlický to the Devils in February 2012; it was originally sent to the Devils a year earlier when the Capitals acquired Jason Arnott.)

It should be noted that what would have been the Wild’s earlier second-round selection, the 37th overall pick, is currently held by the Tampa Bay Lightning, who acquired it from Minnesota via San Jose.  When the Sharks acquired Dominic Moore from the Lightning in February, this pick went the other way.  It was originally traded to the Sharks in the draft day trade that saw Brent Burns go to San Jose in exchange for Devin Setoguchi, Charlie Coyle and a first-round pick.

The other five picks are Minnesota’s own, albeit one pick later, due to a compensatory second-round pick (55th overall) going to the Sharks for not signing 2007 first-round selection Patrick White.


Jake Montgomery
Jake Montgomery could provide the Wild with a physical edge as well as scoring touch; the local product had 58 points and 80 penalty minutes in only 39 games last season. (mnhockeyprospects.com)

In recent years, the Wild has used the second and third rounds to select Minnesota prep school players.   This year could have more of the same and there are two prospects from Shattuck-St. Mary’s who could get strong consideration. Jake Montgomery, a left winger from Oakdale, Minnesota, has also played at Shattuck-St. Mary’s since 2009, playing for their AA, AAA and varsity teams.  He was also drafted to the USHL, albeit to the Green Bay Gamblers, but his rights were traded to Sioux City.  He has good size and speed, two things that he has in common with Filip Forsberg, and the physicality of Radek Faksa.  Montgomery scored 58 points (20 goals, 38 assists) in only 39 games; as well, he racked up 80 penalty minutes.  He has committed to play for the University of Nebraska-Omaha beginning next season.

Teodors Bļugers, a left winger/centre from Shattuck-St. Mary's, can give the Minnesota Wild a solid one-two Latvian punch if he and Girgensons are drafted together. (futureconsiderations.com)

Teodors Bļugers, a centre and left winger, has played at Shattuck-St. Mary’s since 2009, making his way from their under-16 team to their midget prep team this past season.  He scored 88 points (24 goals, 64 assists) in 51 games this year as a senior.  Bļugers could also benefit if the Wild draft Zemgus Girgensons, who he has played with in international competition, including the 2012 World Juniors, for Latvia.  As well, Bļugers may be playing this season with the Sioux City Musketeers, who chose him 67th overall in the 2011 USHL Entry Draft, before joining Minnesota State University-Mankato (the alma mater of St. Louis Blues captain David Backes) in 2013.


Ty Bilcke's 221 penalty minutes as an OHL rookie makes him one of the more truculent players available in the 2012 NHL Draft. If he is picked by Minnesota, he can surely help take a load off of Matt Kassian and Clayton Stoner in the truculence department. (Aaron Bell/OHL Images)

In either the fourth or fifth round, the Minnesota Wild can benefit from drafting an enforcer.  After the late Derek Boogaard signed with the New York Rangers, and John Scott left for the Chicago Blackhawks, the majority of the truculence has fallen into the lap of 25-year-old Matt Kassian and 27-year-old Clayton Stoner.

6'7" Troy Donnay can also give the Wild height on the blueline, especially since two of their top defence prospects are under six feet tall. (123people.at)

Ty Bilcke could surely take the load off of them.  As a rookie with the Windsor Spitfires this past season, Bilcke led the OHL with 221 penalty minutes, including 41 fighting majors.  He was even suspended for two games because he got into three fights in the same game on January 16, 2012, against the Plymouth Whalers.  In addition to his truculence, Bilcke also has considerable size, standing 6’2″ and weighing in at 220 pounds.

Minnesota, however, could also wish to get their physical edge from a defenceman, especially since most players mentioned up to now have been forwards.  The OHL could provide that for them, too, in the form of Erie Otters blueliner Troy Donnay.  Donnay, who was acquired in a trade with the London Knights, is a tall, strong rearguard, standing 6’7″, but needs to bulk up his 185-pound frame.  He may not have accumulated nearly as many penalty minutes as Bilcke but his size certainly would make him desirable, especially due to the surplus of smaller-stature blueliners currently on the Wild roster, such as 5’11” Steven Kampfer and 5’9″ Jared Spurgeon.  Additionally, Minnesota has smaller defencemen in their American Hockey League affiliate with the Houston Aeros, including 5’8″ Chay Genoway and 5’10” Jeff Penner.

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Joonas Korpisalo
Finnish netminder Joonas Korpisalo could become the fourth goalie in as many years to be a sixth-round pick of the Minnesota Wild.

That brings us to the last two rounds of the draft.  In the last three years, the Minnesota Wild have chosen goaltenders with their sixth round picks.  In 2009, they chose Darcy Kuemper 161st overall; in 2010, they chose Johan Gustafsson 159th overall; and in 2011, they chose Stephen Michalek 161st overall.  In 2012, they can keep that trend going.  One goalie who can fit quite nicely would be Joonas Korpisalo.  The Wild have benefited immensely from the services of a Finnish goaltender since 2006; despite never being drafted to the NHL, Niklas Bäckström has been an all-star for Minnesota, cementing himself as one of the league’s top netminders.  Korpisalo, meanwhile, showed in 2011-12 why he is worthy of being selected, leading the Jr. A SM-liiga (an under-20 league) in both goals-against average and save percentage as a 17-year-old en route to being named the league’s top netminder.  It could be minutely preposterous to think that Korpisalo, who is ranked third among European goalies for the 2012 NHL Entry Draft, may slip to the sixth round of the draft; it should not disappoint him, though, as former teammate Frans Tuohimaa was also a late-round NHL draft pick, going in the seventh round (182nd overall) in 2011.

6'4", 183-pound Norwegian forward Jørgen Karterud would make a solid seventh-round pick for the Wild. He has soft hands and incredible speed and poise. Additionally, he has played in a tournament at the Xcel Energy Center before. Karterud scored his first Get Ligaen goal in 2011 for Vålerenga at 17 years old. (Thomas Granerød/HockeyNorge.no)

As for their seventh-round pick, the Minnesota Wild can branch out into any direction they feel. In 2010, they selected Dylen McKinlay, who was with the then-active Chilliwack Bruins of the WHL.  In 2011, they selected Tyler Graovac of the OHL’s Ottawa 67’s.  The seventh round, however, is usually one of surprises and 2012 should be no different.  That is why, if I were Chuck Fletcher, I would select 18-year-old Norwegian forward Jørgen Karterud with my last-round draft pick.  A native of Oslo, Karterud has been one of the best scorers in recent years on the junior teams of Vålerenga IF, both under-17 and under-19.  He split last season between their under-19 team, their second-highest professional team (which plays in the 1. Divisjon) and nine games with their top squad.  In fact, he even scored his first career Get Ligaen goal in December of 2011 as a 17-year-old against Rosenborg.  Karterud has great size, standing 6’4″ and weighing in at 183 pounds.  He skates very well for his size and he is very hard to knock off the puck.  Additionally, he has already been to Minnesota, participating in a Bauer-sponsored tournament at the Xcel Energy Center with several other young players from Norway, in which he played against prep school teams from across the United States.  Karterud has won two under-19 league gold medals and one under-19 silver medal; as well, he won a silver medal at the 2012 World Under-18 Division I-A Hockey Championships.  He could likely join Norway for the 2013 World Junior Hockey Championships.  This season, he will be playing full-time for Vålerenga’s Get Ligaen team, who will likely be the youngest team in the entire league. Vålerenga, whose general manager is former NHL player Espen “Shampoo” Knutsen, will employ the services of Washington Capitals goaltending prospect Steffen Søberg, former USHL import David Bräck (his third season), and reunited Canadian twins Justin and Tyler Donati.

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The Minnesota Wild are a team hoping to build a nucleus like they had in previous seasons, one that had them with many of their own draft picks on the roster.  With trades and free agency in recent years, that has seemed to all but disappear.  It has seen the team lose considerable cogs of their franchise, such as Marián Gáborík and Nick Schultz, moves that may ripple for years to come; the responsibility now falls on the shoulders of Dany Heatley and Tom Gilbert, as well as younger players coming up from the Houston Aeros.

For a team with as passionate fans as Minnesota has, it is the responsibility of Chuck Fletcher and his scouting staff to put together a group of solid prospects who will make the Wild a threat in the future.  They have taken steps in the right direction by giving good chances to readied prospects, such as Matthew Hackett, Cody Almond, Carson McMillan, Marco Scandella and Justin Falk.  Additionally, they have been very progressive with the signing many of their draft picks from recent years; in addition, they still have some in the college ranks, such as Erik Haula and Mario Lucia, who will not be expected to sign contracts for at least three more years.

Hopefully soon, Minnesota will once again have a team to drive the fans “wild” with anticipation.


If you want to read more stories like this, please feel free to follow me on Twitter: @MargannLaurissa.

27 thoughts on “2012 NHL Entry Draft: Options for the Minnesota Wild”

  1. To continue on the rant: This seems just a tad too poorly informed of an article to be taken with any credibility. You mention that we lost Gaborik (ancient history) and Nick Schultz (got another veteran D-man back, we just needed fresh air back there tbh.) and fail to mention the “loss” of Burns who actually left a big hole for years to come unless we can sign Suter.  Cuma is just one more supbar AHL season or injury away from being labeled as a bust HE DOES no way fill our defensive prospect depth enough to justify overlooking that hole and drafting a defenseman because of that.

  2. Oh wow. 3 forwards as our 1st round options when they will 70% likely
    draft a defenseman, Flahr stated just yesterday that Wild drafts skill
    in the 1st round, that means Rielly, Dumba, Murray and Trouba, probably
    excludes Reinhart and Määttä. Teuvo Teräväinen is alot more likely to be
    drafted than any of those three forwards, well Faksa is just there,
    only way those F’s get drafted is if we trade for Washington’s two 1st
    rounders. Basing picks on assumptions like that Wild prefer to draft
    scandis or minnesotans because they’ve done so before is just silly,
    they draft who they think is BPA. The reason why they might prefer
    scandis and minnesotans are because both have good talent pools but
    nearly not as well scouted as the canadian junior leagues, so you might
    find that gem that some other teams overlooked. (Granlund, Brodin,
    Larsson, Gustafson and Lucia are great examples).

    • All three of the forwards I have chosen do have skill.  If Minnesota does draft a defenceman, they are going to have to wait for him because, in my opinion, this year’s crop of eligible first-round blueliners are nowhere near close to making the leap to the NHL next year.  You would have to wait a year or more for all of them.  Furthermore, if the Wild do draft Trouba, then it will actually prove my point rather than do the opposite since he is from Minnesota.
      On your second point, there are many teams in the NHL who stick with modi operandi at the draft.  Look at the Carolina Hurricanes and all the players they have chosen from the Plymouth Whalers, especially because of the Compuware affiliation.  Doug Wilson has drafted many Ottawa 67’s players onto the San Jose Sharks.   The Wild have been doing that, too, following a specific pattern.  Did you not think that maybe I was picking the best player available as well?

      • Ms. Margann,

        Jacob Trouba is from Rochester, MI… not Rochester, MN.

        Aside from that, there are only 2-3 players in this year’s draft that could play in the NHL next season. Those players, in my opinion, are Yakupov and Galchenyuk. A player or two may surprise if there is an injury on the team they’re drafted to, but there are very few players that begin their NHL career in their draft year.

        With 7 prospects turning pro next season for the Wild, I don’t think a player who can make the jump to the NHL is high on the Wild’s list. Brent Flahr drafts prospects with skill and a high compete level. While all those players you mentioned as being options in the first round could end up as nice players in the NHL, only Forsberg would be an option at number 7. If the Wild were to draft Faksa or Girgensons, I strongly believe it would be after a trade down.

        • Hi Kari,

          Thanks for the clarification about Jacob.  I appreciate it.  For some reason, I thought he was a Minnesota boy… my mistake.

          I agree with you entirely about what you’re saying about players not being ready.  I do recognize that.   There are definitely not many players this year who are ready to make that jump, which makes this draft class a lot different than in previous years.  Personally, I do not know if Galchenyuk is ready yet because his second season of junior hockey was cut short by an injury, one that could have hindered him from showing his extraordinary potential.  I have seen several players go back to junior or college after being drafted, even ones especially high.  Bobby Ryan is a perfect example.

          I also agree that a player ready to make the jump to the NHL is high on the Wild’s list.  That is why I chose the three young men I did for the first round.  I don’t think any of them would be ready to make the leap, especially with Girgensons committed to the University of Vermont and Forsberg under contract with Leksand.  One reason why I have Girgensons and Faksa so high is because there have been many players who I feel have been taken earlier in the first round that I would have prognosticated (Mark Scheifele last year being one of them… I never would have thought him to be a top 10 draft pick).

          I never said I was an expert at drafting.  Some people who have commented seem to think that I am but I’m just a 25-year-old girl who has opinions.

          • ” With 7 prospects turning pro next season for the Wild, I don’t think a
            player who can make the jump to the NHL is high on the Wild’s list.” -KT

            “I also agree that a player ready to make the jump to the NHL is high on the Wild’s list.” -The Author

            Sorry, but you can’t agree with somebody when they don’t agree with you…

            • I mistyped — I meant to write the word “not” in there — and I realize that now.  Thanks for pointing that out. (I have been typing a lot lately.)

  3. I’m not sure how you can discuss the MN Wild 1st round pick without mentioning they almost completely lack any defensive prospects -and certainly any with demonstrated offensive skill.  My pick for them is Dumba (probably gone by #7), Ceci or Rielly. 

    • None of them are ready to make the jump to the NHL and, if the Wild were to draft a defenceman, they may want one who will be able to make the leap right away.  As well, I don’t think Cody Ceci will be a top-10 pick.  I have seen him play many times in the OHL and he’s a middle-first-rounder to late-first-rounder at best.  The last time the Wild drafted a defenceman out of the Ottawa 67’s in the first round… ha!  We all know how good that turned out.  They need to address issues of size in Minnesota, something that they don’t have much of right now.

      • This is like the 3rd or 4th time you commented about the Wild only taking a d-man if they could jump to the NHL right away… that makes no sense at all.  If you are lacking quality defensive PROSPECTS, you don’t ignore the position just because they can’t join the team in the NHL.

        The Wild can use quality defensive prospects whether they get to the NHL this year or 3 years from now.  They drafted Brodin in the first round last year even though they knew he was at least a year away… so why would that change now?

        • That is not what I’m saying.  I said that they MAY want that.  I never said they definitely did.  I mentioned that it would be nice because they had such depletion on their blueline this season, especially with injuries to Mike Lundin and Steven Kampfer.  That is what allowed for Marco Scandella, Clayton Stoner and Jared Spurgeon to come in and do well instead of playing down in Houston.  

          In fact, Spurgeon and Scandella emerged being 1-2 among the Wild’s defence corps in scoring last season; the way this debate is going, that doesn’t seem to be good enough to consider them “quality defensive prospects.”

          The Wild do have some solid defensive prospects, especially now that Brodin is under contract.  They have the three I mentioned earlier, him, Justin Falk, Nate Prosser, Tyler Cuma and some in Houston who could show their potential at the next level.  As well, they have Josh Caron, Colton Jobke and Sean Lorenz with the Aeros; furthermore, they can have Bjorn Krupp and Sam Lofquist come back to North America.There are many questions that can be asked.  What if the Wild make a big trade for a high-end defenceman before or at the draft?  Or what if they sign someone to a lucrative free-agent contract (i.e., Ryan Suter) before the draft?  That would surely change things.  Why is no one thinking of that possibility?

          •  First of all, you can’t sign anyone as a free agent until AFTER the draft on July 1st. Also, it’s well known that the Wild intend to go hard after Suter… whether or not they succeed is another story.

            The has no affect on the draft though, as they will draft before then.

            Also… how did injuries to Kamfer give a shot to Scandella and Spurgeon?  Kampfer didn’t even join the Wild until they traded Greg Zanon (a veteran D-man) to Boston in late February.

            Scandella and Spurgeon had both been seriously out playing an underperforming Zanon by that point, and both made the team out of camp, not because of injuries but because they earned it.  Never mind the fact that Spurgeon had already earned his roster spot on the Wild the previous season when he played 53 games for them that year.

            Scandella and Spurgeon were never going to be in Houston last season.

            As for quality defensive prospects… of course there is Brodin, he may even make the Wild this year, but Cuma is a long shot due to all of his many injuries.  Falk and Prosser are both bottom pairing d-men at best, the rest are likely AHL lifer’s.  Thus the defensive prospect pool for the Wild is VERY thing behind Brodin.

    • None of them are ready to make the jump to the NHL and, if the Wild were to draft a defenceman, they may want one who will be able to make the leap right away.  As well, I don’t think Cody Ceci will be a top-10 pick.  I have seen him play many times in the OHL and he’s a middle-first-rounder to late-first-rounder at best.  The last time the Wild drafted a defenceman out of the Ottawa 67’s in the first round… ha!  We all know how good that turned out.  They need to address issues of size in Minnesota, something that they don’t have much of right now.

  4. I think the Wild’s biggest need is for an offensively-minded defenseman. and will take Reilly or Dumba if they are available, and Olli Maatta if they aren’t

    • I would have thought the same thing, Quinn, but then I realized that they are just now confident in Tyler Cuma’s readiness to make the NHL.  As well, they have Marco Scandella and Jared Spurgeon coming into their own quite nicely.  Jonas Brodin is also an offensive-minded defenceman.  The problem with this year’s crop of defencemen is that none of them are quite ready to make the jump to the NHL; even if the Wild picks a blueliner, he will also have to bide his time in the minors like Cuma had to.  Thanks for your insight, though.

      •  They’ve said nor done anything to imply their confidence in Cuma.  And, I just saw that you described Brodin as an “offensive-minded defenseman”.  Nobody has characterized him as that and given he’s scored a grand total of two goals in two seasons (108 games) in the Swedish Elite League seems to confirm my perspective.

        • Brian, when I said that they have finally just found confidence in Cuma, I meant that they finally saw that he does not have to stew in Houston like he had been.  They have never really been good to him and, if you ask me, I really think that they should have traded him by now because he’s not appearing to be any part of their immediate future.

          As for Brodin, you have to remember that he is a younger blueliner playing in a men’s league — meaning scarce ice time — so statistics like that can be misleading.  Look at what he did at the World Juniors: 11 points in 13 games.  Does that not sound like an offensive-minded defenceman to you?

          • With all do respect, Tyler Cuma’s knees are what have never really been good to him. Cuma almost made the Wild out of camp in his first year after being drafted. After that, injuries have hampered his development and actually kept him off the Canadian team for the WJCs a few years back.

            After turning pro, Cuma suffered a pretty horrific knee injury in a game against the Peoria Rivermen, and last season finally played a full season, showing again that he can be a steady presence on the blue line. He was rewarded for his hard work with two call ups last year, although he missed his flight for the first call up and missed his opportunity. He’ll have to continue to develop or he’ll be nothing more than a 5-6-7 d-man at the NHL level.

            As for Brodin, he may show some offense in the future and definitely showed it playing in the WJC, so I agree with you on that point. To be fair though, he averaged over 18 mins per game this year in the SEL, so a lack of ice time was not the reason he didn’t produce points.

            • Hi again,

              Once more I find us in agreement.  When Tyler Cuma played in the OHL with the Ottawa 67’s, his career there was also decimated with injuries.  He even missed the first part of his rookie season with a fractured jaw.  I do not know why but, for some reason, he can’t shake the injury bug.  (The same thing has happened to Tyler Graovac, another Wild prospect from the 67’s organization.)   I have never said I don’t have faith in Cuma.  I always have.  He is a very solid player.  I just have the question of “What if?” on my mind.  What if he had remained healthy?  Would Marco Scandella and Jared Spurgeon be doing as well as they are up in Minnesota if Cuma had remained healthy?  We will never know.

              I have to wonder if Brodin’s style changed while playing in the Elitserien and will resort back when he plays in the AHL this season.  There is a possibility that the coaching staff wanted him to be a more stay-at-home blueliner, thereby elevating his defensive play, in order to make him an all-around better player.  He has the skills to be solid both offensively and defensively.

              It should also be noted that the most goals Erik Karlsson ever scored in the Elitserien during one season was five.  And what did he do this year again? ;)

              Kari, I thank you very much for your opinions.  As a former goaltender, you have seen many players during your career — in the NHL, the Elitserien and the SM-liiga — to know more than anyone what it takes to make it to the highest levels imaginable.  And it is an absolute honour to know that you have read my work and have commented on it.  :)  Kiitos!!

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