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  • Grading the Draft


    Bare Cabinets...

    The Picks

    Eriksson Ek could turn out to be one of the best centers in the game- there's not really any question that he has that potential. The problem is that the same is true of any center taken in the draft (particularly in the first round). I don't believe so much the narrative that the Wild need a high-scoring center- the Wild's problems this last year weren't scoring goals, it was stopping them, and even if that were the case, their first round pick this year isn't going to help them in the near future regardless. Eriksson Ek projects to be a Mikko-Koivu type player, possibly with more offense than Koivu produces. This is anything but bad; Koivu was one of the best centers in the game for a long time. If the Wild just drafted his successor, I'd be fine with that.

    After JEE

    In the second round the Wild took Jordan Greenway, a 6'5" monster who will be attending Boston University next year. The left winger seems to produce offense at a solid rate, and brings some size that the Wild have been fetishizing lately. Frankly, the addition of another promising forward at all would make me happy in the hard-to-predict second round. As long as Greenway can actually play hockey and not just hit people (which seems to be the case), I'll be happy to wait and see.

    The Wild added another winger, a Russian, which a lot of people will make a big deal about. Given recent events, and an influx of younger Russians, I think this will become more and more commonplace, as the KHL ceases to be any rival at all for the NHL. The smaller forward projects to be a top-6 scorer, which will help the Wild in 2-3 years when he has a shot at the NHL roster.

    With their final three picks, that Wild added defenseman which, though not necessarily needed, is intelligent. Their current older defensive prospects either have some big question marks or are knocking on the NHL door (Mike Reilly, Christian Folin). Adding younger defenseman is necessary, and any round past the first two is basically a crap shoot.

    Overall Thoughts:

    I can't say I love the Wild's drafting this year, but nor do I hate it. I would have made a different pick with the first round, but I don't dislike their pick either. I think their drafting, from a positional standpoint, makes a lot of sense and seems to be setting the team up for a shot at a bright future; now it depends on how these players develop.

    Particularly given Alex Tuch, Louie Belpedio, and now Joel Eriksson Ek's promise, the next few years should tell us a lot about the coaching level at the Iowa Wild. If the players who are developing there turn into good NHL players, they are probably doing fine. If the team continues to struggle and the players aren't developing, that will tell us that the personnel is not likely the problem.

    I am not huge on the "grade the draft" ideas, but if I had to I would give the Wild a C: average. They didn't wow me, but I wasn't particularly disappointed. As for the players, now it's up to them and their coaches to make them the players they hope to be.

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