Being unsure of how many other avenues for Wild news the Wilderness readership has, I do not know if anyone else found this post over at Coming Down the Pipe, but I thought I would comment on it, just because I can.
It is a short post about the upcoming draft. They settle on Jordan Schoeder at 12. I am not certain Fletcher will take him, despite the fact that Nathan and the entire wilderness will riot if they don't. Remember, Fletcher wants tough, physical guys. Schoeder is 5' 8", 172 pounds. He is Bouchard, part two. Don Lucia says Schoeder seems afraid to shoot. Remind you of anyone?
Back to the post. They have a top five list of Wild draft picks from the past three years:
Cal Clutterbuck-(RW)- 3rd Round 2006
James Sheppard-(C)-1st Round 2006
Colton Gillies-(C)- 1st Round 2007
Tyler Cuma-(D)-1st Round 2008
Cody Almond-(C)-5th Round 2007
I'll give them C-Buck. Great pick for what they get from him. Fan favorite, great hockey name, hitting machine. the rest of the list, however, is either flat out wrong, or it is way too early to call them "best picks."
Sheppard had a face of win percentage of 41%, and has just 43 points in 160 games. Give him time, I know, I know. I've heard it. I don't think he is getting better. I have said before that maybe he gets better in a new system, but who knows. After all, he has "been playing hockey since he was three."
the rest of the list is a crap shoot at best. Cuma was injured this past season in juniors, but also looked to be struggling up there. Gillies played in only a handful of games with the Wild. He showed some ability, but mostly looked like he was out of place. I am not saying the jury is back on him, but that he likely should have stayed back in Canada for another year.
As for Almond. How is he a top pick? He just signed a deal with the Aeros. OK, great. Well done. As I commented over on the post itself, the only thing Almond being a top five pick on the list shows is how awful the wild have been at the draft.
Now, I know exactly what the first question you would ask will be. OK, smart guy, what's your top five?
1. Clutterbuck - See above
2. Benoit Pouliot - the guy is a whiner, but he still has some talent. I think put in an offensive role he might shine. Maybe.
3. Ondrej Fiala - I think if there was no KHL, and a concrete deal with the IIHL, Fiala would be wearing a Wild sweater right now. Not the Wild's fault the NHL can;t get a deal done.
4. Carson McMillan - Just signed with the Aeros as well. However, he was a 7th round pick, and made headlines in Calgary where is team, the Hitmen, made a long playoff run. He has been given a ton of credit for that run. This is something Gilles, Cuma, and Sheppard never did. Prove themselves at the junior level first.
5. Sheppard - Despite the fact that he is an awful center, he has size, and I think the talent is there for a big power forward. They need to get out of the pressure pot that is center and give him a chance to succeed. Also need to get rid of the Mikko Koivu comparisons and get him off of the checking line. Put him on a line with a solid center looking to score, and maybe Shep becomes a star.
There you have it. Not only can I criticize others, but I can put out my ideas for criticism.Let me have it!
*author's note* I would like to take a second to thank the readership for the spirited conversation the last few weeks. I figured with the off-season, everyone would have migrated over to talking Twins, but the Wilderness proved me wrong. Keep up the great work everyone. Without you, it's just a handful of guys who think they know everything posting for each other.