29 June 2009

Wild Draft Review...

Well I'll say I'm pretty happy about the Wild's draft. Of course, unlike in the NHL or NBA, the effects of the NHL draft usually aren't seen for a couple season's outside of the first few spots.

1) Trade down
The Wild picked up a the 16th pick overall, along with a 3rd and 7th Rounders for trading down 4 slots with the New York Islanders (a pick originally held by the Blue Jackets). This was huge when the Wild didn't have a 2nd or 3rd rounder going into the draft.

2) The Picks
The Wild also made a pretty good selection with D Nick Leddy in the first round. Most of the hockey media are disparging this as Fletcher caved to pressure to pick a local kid. I think Leddy could potentially be the next Brent Burns, and potentially a faster skater. He probably won't make the big club for a season or two, but the Wild are going to need good defensemen about then. Especially bbeacause Johnsson and Zidlicky are going into their final contract seasons.

Picking up that third rounder from the Isles enabled the Wild to select highly rated G Matt Hackett. One can't help but be uncertain about the current goaltending situation in Houston, which is key to the Wild deciding if they can trade Josh Harding at the next deadline (along with the health of Backstrom of course). With Backstrom locked up until 2012-3, I don't imagine it's possible to sign Harding long-term, especially without overpaying for a backup.

Rest of the picks here.

3) Trade for C Kyle Brodziak
The Wild trade a 4th and 5th round pick to Edmonton in exchange for Brodziak and a 6th rounder. This was a very good trade. The Wild were incredibly weak at center last year. The Fritche deal helped address some faceoff woes. Furthermore Brodziak had a 27 point season as Edmonton's 4th line center, the Wild have enjoyed no such production from anyone below the 2nd line in years. This helps with some center depth, if the Wild can pick up one more center in Free Agency (Mike Comrie OTW, Saku Koivu MTL, John Madden NJ, to name a few of my favorites available this summer) the center position would look much deeper than Koivu-Fritche-Belanger-?????.

4) Next for Fletch, Free Agency
So I think Fletcher handled the draft well. His next test will be when he wakes up Wednesday morning, to find Gaborik has left, and now finds himself with $7.5M in cap space. If all his UFA's walk he'll have almost $12M, but a lot of slots for Defensmen.

Wild Team Summary fron NHLNumbers.com.

Fletch has some room to play on Wednesday, it should be interesting...

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