After a few years of building up depth in forward prospects, the Wild have suddenly run into a wall on defense. More after the jump.
While I think a lot of us would like to see Fletcher draft another top-end forward to compliment Mikael Granlund, I think it's time the forward prospects go on the backburner for the 1st round of the draft. At least for the time being, the main urgency has suddenly become defense.
We’ve got great defensive defensemen in Nate Prosser, Clayton Stoner and Jonas Brodin, but we need a good responsible offensive defenseman with some good size and a cannon from the point. Here’s what the Wild has for young offensive defensemen: Marco Scandella (nice shot, good size and great potential but not quite there yet), Justin Falk (love this kid, great size but can leave the goalie out to dry when he turns the puck over on the rush), Jared Spurgeon (very talented kid, great defense, can snipe a quick wrister, sees the play extremely well but is just too small) and Steven Kampfer (very talented, smooth skater, great shot, not afraid to take the body whatsoever but a little undersized). After reading this, you're probably missing Nick Leddy right now, aren't you? Yep, I am, too.
What we really need for the future is a guy like Jacob Trouba or Seth Jones (draft eligible 2013, BIG kid, supurb skater with a great shot and reads the play extremely well, unfortunately he’ll probably go 1st overall) to pair with Brodin. Brodin will likely spend at least the beginning of next year in Houston getting used to the North American style of game. So, while we're looking to draft a top pairing offensive defenseman to pair with Jonas, the goal of the Wild should be signing a guy like Ryan Suter, Jason Garrison or Dennis Wideman to pair with Prosser or Spurgeon on the top pairing.
Better yet, we can hope Ottawa's goaltending situation goes to crap and trade Backstrom and a prospect and a 3rd rounder for Erik Karlsson and a 1st rounder at the draft. I've got a feeling Fletcher's going to try and fanagle another 1st rounder like he did last year. In such a case, the top priority should be a top-end franchise offensive defenseman and then a top-end forward talent. What say you, Wilderness? What do you go after first?