I am going to leave the determination of good pick or bad pick up to the readers, but we need to take a look at this pick, so here goes.
Chuck Fletcher went into the night with the 12th overall pick, and two plans. Make a move to help the team right now, or make a move to help the team tomorrow. When the Islanders traded up to sixteen, and then wanted to move up to twelve to make the only pick more confusing than the Wild's, Fletcher had his dance partner. He traded the number 12 to the Isles for the number 16, 77, and 182. So the Wild get a third round pick back to compensate for the stupid move last season by "he who shall no longer be monetioned."
As all of this was going down, it was noted several times that hoetown boy Jordan Schoeder was still on the board. When the pick was traded, the scenarios were played out, and it still looked like the Wild could land Schoeder, who finished as the fifth rated North American skater in the NHL's central scoting ranks.
When the Ducks picked at 15, and did not take Schoeder, it again looked like the obvious fan choice was ready to put on that road white Wild jersey (what's up with that, by the way?). As Fletcher started to walk up, it appeared that Columbus was ready to talk trade for the 26 pick, which would have garnered even more picks later in the draft. Fletcher wanted to pick and walked to the podium to announce:
Nick Leddy, defenseman, Eden Prarie High School.
Local boy, 5' 11", 178 pounds at the combine. Last year's Mr. Hockey, next year's Golden Gopher. Ranked 24th by Central Scouting. A player many believed to be a second round pick. A player that I, for one, never saw coming for the Wild.
As stated earlier, he played for Eden Prairie last season, winning a state title. He also played on the U-17 and U-18 elite teams. He passed on a chance to play US Development team so he could stay at home and play with his classmates.
Not trying to sell this pick as the greatest of all time, but thinking that given a few weeks, some of those that hate it will come around a bit. He is well spoken of, and is one of the best "puck moving" defensemen available. That is a linchpin in Fletcher's system, so we will see how it all shakes out. Personally, I am more upset Fletcher did not try to move down again, as Leddy would have been available lower.
It is what it is, as Brian Rolston would say. Not what I expected to happen, not what the old GM would have done, and not what the fans wanted. So, it's a little of the same mixed with a little of the new. Let's hope for our own sakes that Fletcher knows what he is doing.
Quotes about Leddy:
"He's such an explosive skater. It's pretty obvious he's a target of every opposing team because he's the engine that drives the train. Really, though, he's a world-class skater. "
- Jack Barzee, NHL Central Scouting
"Dynamic skater with outstanding stick skills and puckhandling ability can be a devastating offensive force. Extremely smooth and skilled with superb instincts for the game. Finesse, offensive defenseman small in stature, but has plenty of giddy-up in the tank. ... Smallish defender can be overpowered around corners and in front of the net, but competes well and uses body positioning to seal off opposing forwards."
- Red Line Report 2009 Draft Guide
"Leddy’s ability to change the game along with his tremendous hockey sense and puck skills will make him a highly sought after commodity come draft day. His quick vision and passing in his own end makes things happen every time he handles the puck. Offensively he creates opportunities for himself with his smart puck sense."
- International Scouting Services
"We've been trying to get him to shoot more because he's got such a great shot, but he's so unselfish with the puck and makes such good decisions -- he can really set up his teammates. He's grown into his body and he feeds off teams trying to take him out by matching that physicality. He's gotten good at initiating contact, so he hasn't allowed people to check him. He's getting to them first. . . . His game is made for the new kind of NHL, with the focus on skills, skating and ability to maneuver with the puck. I think the smaller defensemen in the NHL make it because of their skating, and that's Nick's best asset."
-Eden Prarie Head Coach, Lee Smith
A couple of links:
So Wild Fans, what say you? Worst pick of the draft thus far? Not as bad as it looks? Let us know how you feel.