Players to keep an eye on for the 2011 draft

A lot of change is going to come to the Wild this off-season.  Todd Richards is gone, and a new coaching search will begin shortly.  The Wild has 6 NHL-level UFA's, Andrew Brunette, Antti Miettinen, Chuck Kobasew, John Madden, Jose Theodore, and Josh Harding, with no guarantee that any of these men will be re-signed. One thing that shouldn't change however, is Chuck Fletcher's continued work to re-stock our prospect pool with high quality players.  Fletcher continues to add to that with College Free Agents like North Dakota Defensemen Chay Genoway, but let's take a look at some players who could be available for the Wild in this year's upcoming draft, where the Wild are slated to pick 10th, pending tonight's Lottery.  

The Wild have been steadfast in adding to their prospect pool over the last few seasons.  Players like Jared Spurgeon, Clayton Stoner, Marco Scandella, and Maxim Noreau round out some nice depth for our defensive corps, while Matt Hackett, Dennis Endras, and Darcy Kuemper have solidified our goaltender situation behind Nik Backstrom.  Wild GM Chuck Fletcher has spent a lot of his efforts to add high-powered forward prospects as well like Casey Wellman, Patrick O'Sullivan, Mikael Granlund, Mikko Lehtonen, and Jason Zucker, but this is clearly still where the Wild need to focus their efforts when the Draft comes to Saint Paul in June.  

The Central Scouting Service has just released their final rankings of North American and International prospects and there are several forwards who the Wild have to keep their eyes on.  Here are some names to keep in mind when we have all of the post-season to think about this.

North American Skaters:

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Gabriel Landeskog, Johnathan Huberdeau, Sean Couturier, Sven Baertschi, Ryan Strome, Vladislav Namestnikov, Mark McNeil, Zack Phillips, Mark Scheifele, Ty Rattie and Brandon Saad

International Skaters:

Mika Zibanejad, Joel Armia, Dimitri Jaskin, Marcus Granlund, and Viktor Rask


Of these players, I am really high on Nugent-Hopkins, Landeskog, Huberdeau, Couturier, Strome, Saad, Armia, and Rask. 

I know it's still early to be thinking about the draft, but I have to do something to keep me motivated about this team.  What say you Wilderness?

The opinions posted here are not those of Hockey Wilderness

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