If there is one clear lack of something within the Wild prospect pool, it would an offensive defenseman that can run the powerplay and really get the offense started.
Players like Marco Scandella, Jonas Brodin and Sean Lorenz are all great prospects, but their main strengths lie in their ability to stop goals, not create them. Brodin may have the ability to do so, as evident when he played for Sweden, but that just isn't his main area of expertise.
Looking into the 2012 NHL Entry Draft, one name sticks out as the premium offensive defenseman, like in 2011 there was Ryan Murphy and in 2010 there was Cam Fowler.
This year, there is Jordan Schmatlz from Green Bay Gamblers.
Let's take a look
Defense / Green Bay Gamblers
Oct 08, 1993
|2011 - Green Bay Gamblers/Sioux City Musketeers
Ranked 25th by Future Consideration's January rankings, 6th in the USHL by Central Scouting, and not mentioned at all by ISS, Jordan Schmatlz is everywhere.
One thing that sticks out from many other offensive defenseman is Schmatlz's size. He isn't that small 5-9 dynamo that you see so often. He stands at 6-2 170lbs, which is a very good frame to work with. In comparison, Jonas Brodin, when he was drafted, was only 6-0 169lbs.
Here are what some people are saying about Schmaltz:
Schmaltz, 18, an elite skater with a stride many call pretty to watch, had his breakout last season when led USHL defencemen in scoring in his first year out of midget. The physical part of the game is the bigger work-in-progress since he carries only 189 pounds on a slender 6-foot-2 frame, although many observers praise his defensive awareness.
He has a laser beam shot that he appears to be able to place at will and he has an uncanny ability, "innate ability" I've heard another observer use, to get the puck through traffic to the net..
He plays the breakout like no other in the USHL. He can pass and follow, carry, stretch...he is just tops at reading seams and lanes and getting the puck out of his own end.
He is physically weak in front of his net but he is also smart enough to out position forwards.
He outright disappears in physical games.
He really does remind me a lot of Brian Leetch. On a good offensive team, he'll play an integral role and his +/- is going to be sky high. On a mediocre to bad team, his offensive skills will make only a marginal difference and his +/- is going to be subterranean.
WeissFC: Schmaltz, I believe, is the best power play quarterback in this year's draft class and that's saying a lot, obviously.
Danccchan: hows his speed and mobility...?
WeissFC Schmaltz's? Certainly not a liability, but not a strength. He has good vision which makes his mobility appear better
There seems to be conflicting comments about his skating and mobility but overall, should not be too much of a concern. Offensively, he is probably top of this year's class of defenseman, with a good selection of shots, vision, and ability to make quick decisions.
Like with any other offensive defenseman, his defensive play comes into question. His defensive play seems to be decent but his ability to use his size is mainly the thing in question. He is 6-2 but quite skinny at only 170lbs, he will need to put on alot more muscle in order to become effective at the NHL level, even at the college level.
Schmaltz is committed to University of North Dakota, where NHL teams will most likely give him 3-4 years to develop into his frame and get comfortable physically, as that seems to be the main area where he is lacking.
But when it comes to a team like the Minnesota Wild, who's only offensive threat from the blueline comes in a player like Marek Zidlicky, who gives us constant heart attacks, Schmaltz could be a good long-term investment for the future.
Spurgeon, I love you too, but at 5-9, who are we kidding...