Prospect Tuesdays: Mid-Season Ranking Awards

BUFFALO NY - DECEMBER 30: Charlie Coyle #3 of the United States celebrates scoring in the first period against Germany during the 2011 IIHF World U20 Championship game between United States and Germany at the HSBC Arena on December 30 2010 in Buffalo New York. (Photo by Rick Stewart/Getty Images)

Finally, the mid-season rankings are done and to conclude, I wanted to give out our mid-season awards to the Wild prospects.

Many times, these awards go to players who's rankings doesn't reflect their season's play. However, with the way this season is going, everything seems to be going exactly as planned, with the Wild's top prospects winning their respective areas.

And don't forget to catch Johan Larsson, Jonas Brodin and Johan Gustafsson play for gold against Russia! It'll be one hell of a trick, with several draft eligible players on both rosters.

Rank Name Team League Change
Mikael Granlund HIFK SM-Liiga Really?
Johan Larsson Brynas SEL +7
Jonas Brodin Farjestad SEL +2
Jason Zucker Denver WCHA -1
Matt Hackett Houston Aeros AHL +2
Zack Phillips Saint John Sea Dogs QMJHL 0
Charlie Coyle Saint John Sea Dogs QMJHL -5
Brett Bulmer Kelowna Rockets WHL +7
Casey Wellman Minnesota Wild NHL +1
Johan Gustafsson
Darcy Kuemper
Houston Aeros
Justin Falk
Houston Aeros AHL
Sean Lorenz Notre Dame CCHA New
Mario Lucia Penticton BCHL
Cody Almond Minnesota Wild NHL
Erik Haula U. of Minnesota WCHA
Nate Prosser Houston Aeros
Kristopher Foucault Houston Aeros
David McIntyre Houston Aeros
Chay Genoway Houston Aeros AHL

Most Valuable Prospect

Mikael Granlund

Like always, Mikael Granlund is seen as the Wild's savior after seeing such long years without a prospect with such offensive abilities. He is currently playing for Finland as its captain in this years World Junior Championships and leads the tournament with 11 points in just 5 games. While he hasn't exactly been dominant as much as the hype made him out to be, he still displays offensive ability way above many of his peers. He'll be in a Wild sweater soon.

Runner Ups: Johan Larsson, Jonas Brodin

Top Goaltender

Matt Hackett

In the Wild organization that is deep with talented goaltending prospects, Matt Hackett finds himself on top. He's got good size, athletically strong, and is the only one with NHL experience; he won the NHL's second star of the week for his two starts for the Wild with two wins, a .974 save percentage and a 1.01 GAA.

Runner Ups: Johan Gustafsson, Darcy Kuemper

Top Defenseman

Jonas Brodin

Some were skeptical of drafting a defenseman that didn't have many points and that didn't compensate that with size or physicality. However, after watching him in the World Junior Championships, it is evident why he was the 10th overall pick in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft. He has silky smooth skating, nifty stickhandling, and is defensively very smart. In addition, while he doesn't have many points in the SEL, he showed that he liked to shoot with his wrist shot as he played as the key defender for Sweden; those points will come soon enough.

Runner Ups: Justin Falk, Sean Lorenz

Top Forward

Mikael Granlund

A very close battle between Mikael Granlund, Johan Larsson and Jason Zucker, but like always, Granlund is here to save the day. Or he will be next season.

Runner Up - Johan Larsson, Jason Zucker

Most Improved

Brett Bulmer

No one would have guessed to see Brett Bulmer on the Wild's opening roster. Not only did he do that, he played as a very solid bottom six forward who added an element of physicality to the Wild team and drew penalties with his agitating style of play. A large knock on his game is that he tries to do too much, but with the Wild, he kept his game simple and played his physical game, something you love to see. Once sent back down to Kelowna, he continues that game but racks up some offensive points as well.

Runner Up: Johan Larsson, Erik Haula

Most Outstanding Rookie ('11 Draft Class)

Jonas Brodin

Besides perhaps Zack Phillips, Jonas Brodin runs away with the award. He plays as a key defenseman for a professional men's team and plays as a key defenseman for the Swedish team that is going for gold. When drafted, he was noted to be extremely skinny but looking at him today, he must have put on an extra 20lbs, which is great.

Runner Up: Zack Phillips, Mario Lucia

Best Defensive Forward

Johan Larsson

He plays physical, he wins faceoffs, and he can score points as well. While scoring points really isn't the job of a defensive forward, it definitely is a nice touch to Johan Larsson's overall game. Larsson brings the whole package and will try to lead Sweden to the gold medal this year. He captains the team and is considered to be the most valuable player of the team.

Runner Up: Jason Zucker, Charlie Coyle

Best Physical Player

Brett Bulmer

While the Wild do have a 6'5 defenseman in Justin Falk, Brett Bulmer's style of play just makes him the most agitating player in the Wild prospect pool. He is not slouch physically, with a 6-3 185lbs frame, but everywhere he goes, he seems to wreck havok. Sounds similar to a Cal Clutterbuck, who the Wild wouldn't mind having a second of.

Runner Up: Jason Zucker, Justin Falk

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