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  • Judd Brackett Talks Up Wild Prospect Charlie Stramel

    Image courtesy of © Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports
    Thomas Williams

    The Minnesota Wild made a controversial pick with their first-round selection of the 2023 NHL Draft. Instead of high-scoring winger Gabe Perrault, or gutsy forward Quentin Musty, or translatable center Calum Ritchie -- you get where we're going with this -- they drafted the very large center, Charlie Stramel.

    Stramel was coming off a season with just 12 points in 33 games for the University of Wisconsin for his draft year, so it was a shocking pick. In his season after he was drafted, he actually scored fewer points, with just eight in 34 games for Wisconsin. This caused him to enter the transfer portal and is now heading to Michigan State.

    Hopefully we get to see more from the 6-foot-3 center in a new environment, but regardless, Wild director of amateur scouting Judd Brackett sat down with The Athletic and gave a quick rundown of their impression of Stramel and what they hope for him in the upcoming season.



    On where 2023 draft pick Charlie Stramel is one year later
    I’m really excited for Charlie’s upcoming year. I’m not a huge fan of the portal in college. But I think Charlie’s situation is exactly what it’s for. Someone who was committed to a different coaching staff. The opportunity, the situation, changed. And he’s had the ability to make a decision, which is great for him. He’ll play for his former coach, so immediately there’s trust and confidence, and with that comes opportunity. I’m really excited.

    He has to go do it. This isn’t all about what he didn’t get. He has to go out and do it. I’m excited for him. I think he’s got a bit of a chip on his shoulder and is excited for what this year looks like. He’s faced some challenges early; some guys face it later. Development isn’t linear. He’s had some emotional challenges, he’s had some physical challenges this year. Now, how do we overcome all those and still become the guy we envisioned? We believe. He’s got our full support, and we’re really excited for this year.

    On where Brackett sees Stramel on an NHL roster eventually
    The first thing that comes to mind is the physical nature of him. It’s not just the size and the strength but his mobility. He’s got to be abrasive, he’s got to be playing hard downhill on the forecheck. Charlie’s game has never been about stats — he’s a point-per-game player. But he’s abrasive. He’s hard to play against. He’s an effective penalty killer. Those are hard to find, especially in a 6-foot-3, 225-pound package that moves the way he does. You go back to last year, he did really well at the combine. He’s not just a big body. He’s an athletic body. It’s size, it’s strength, it’s compete. It’s been abrasive. It really fits the identity that Guerin has built here in Minnesota.


    That's Wild

    • You can read the full discussion with Judd Brackett, as he goes over a whole lot of topics just weeks before the 2024 NHL Draft, here: [The Athletic]
    • Some tough choices lay ahead for the Wild this summer. [Daily Faceoff]

    Off the trail...

    • The Florida Panthers are just one win away from winning the Stanley Cup after beating the Oilers on their own home turf for Game 3. Imagine if they sweep them... [ESPN]
    • Utah has unveiled its NHL jerseys, logo, and everything else visual for the inaugural season. [Sportsnet]

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    “Abrasive, downhill forechecker” with size  

     this is a type of player the Wild have lacked, maybe forever.  Think Foligno with some hockey sense and hands.  The fact he couldn’t make his college roster as a sophomore tempers offensive expectations, but if he’s a middle six energy banger I’m good with that

    i would rather Judd had picked him in 2nd round (or later) but this team has always needed (size+sandpaper) so this is now my current ceiling for Stram-Diesel

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    Not surprised that Brackett is still supportive of Stramel. He does comment on how important this year is for the kid. Hopefully the switch to MSU lights him up and he takes off from there.

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    I continue to believe Brackett picked for need, because they didn't know Rossi would explode.  They backfilled with Stramel, Kumpulainen, and Heidt all at once. Rossi ascending fairly quickly makes the "need" less...well...needy.  Injuries have played a part in Stramel's struggles.  The main thing is what 2, 3, 4 years says down the line.  If he's all AHL depth, and doesn't even see NHL duty...then yeah.  It's a waste. 

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    Brackett said he was going to play for his former coach, which made me research that. At first, I had wondered if it was his 1st year coach at Wisconsin and immediately started thinking that couldn't be right.

    The coach he mentioned must have been Adam Nightingale - "On August 27, 2020, he was named the head coach for the USA Hockey National Team Development Program under-17 team."

    Stramel played for the U.S. National Development Team in 20-21 and 21-22. He definitely had his best season in 21-22, when he collected 15 points in 16 games. It'll be interesting to see how Stramel does at Michigan State.

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    I'm excited for what Stramel can bring. I'm convinced that his struggles have less to do about talent and more to do with mourning. I believe this is the thing where a change of scenery might be real beneficial. 

    Another thing to look at, though, is Stramel is not a guy who's going to put up big statistical numbers. To rate him, it's going to have to be the eye test to make sure he is playing hard and using that big frame. I did not see this in his 5 shifts of the NCAA tournament, he was kind of on autopilot. 

    I suspect that if he's engaged, we'll have a real good player on our hands, but a player who will likely need some time in the A. 

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    I was pretty vocal about being disappointed in Stramel's performance last season, especially when the he was moved to 4th line wing.

    I'll be interested in seeing what he does at MSU, but to paraphrase Russo/Pants on the Worst Seats Podcast - he had two different coaches at Wisconsin (Granato and Hastings) and both coaches he 'underperformed' for, you can only go through so many coaches/systems that 'dont fit the player' before it starts to be an issue with the player.  Also, as a player, if you're good enough then it doesn't matter what coach you have because the talent and skill are going to come through...sometimes a damn good player can force a hand of a coach.

    I wish the kid luck in MSU and hope the change of scenery works out for him.  He's a 19 year old kid, so I'm going to hold out some hope that it clicks for him somewhere.

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    I'm higher on him than most, but wouldn't mind seeing the Wild grab C-Michael Hage in round 1, then follow that up with Adam Kleber or Harrison Brunicke.

    Those guys might be ready to help the Wild in 3-4 years. Both of those defenders are listed at 6'3" or larger, and right-handed. The ratings get all over the board for guys projected in the 2nd round, but if one of them is available at #45, seems like a good idea for the Wild to grab them.

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