Struggling to find a reason to draw readers during the Olympics got me to thinking. Who in the organization has struggles the most? The answer came to me like a flash, like a vision, Arlo Guthrie style.
The answer? He Who Shall No Longer be Named. The man struggled with draft picks, he struggled with trades, and he struggled with free agents. While it would be fun to go over every single contract offer he ever made, I don't have access to that information. What I do have, though, is a list of draft picks he made, and the ability to find out where they are now.
Make the jump.
The Wild's first draft was in 2000. The first pick ever made? Marian Gaborik, a no brainer. We all know where Gaby is, setting personal bests for points, goals, assits, +/-, etc with the NY Rangers. So, we will start with the second round of the 2000 draft:
1st Round: Gaborik. Result: Win, and then major, major bust.
2nd Round: Nick Schultz - Not a bad pick. Certainly some recognizable names taken after him (Bryzgalov, Martin), but Schultz has been a fixture on the Wild blue line. Likely the team's top defensive d-man, he has now stepped in to a new system without missing a beat.
Rating: Big Win
3rd Round: In what would become a calling card, this pick was traded to the Dallas Stars for Manny Fernandez.
Result: Neutral - while I detest the trading away of the pick, Fernandez did a superb job while here, rotating with Dwayne Roloson. Fernandez was later traded for Petr Kalus & a fourth round pick.
4th Round: Marc Cavosie (D)- Looks to have become a journeyman AHLer. Only a handful of games with the Aeros before laving the organization completely. Currently in the ECHL with the Reading Royals.Lubomir Visnovski taken 9 picks later, Dustin Byfuglien taken four after that.
5th Round: Maxim Shushinski (F)- Played 30 games for the Wild before leaving the team to play in Russia. Currently playing in the KHL. Interesting things with this pick. In this same round, Petteri Nummelin, Greg Zannon, Nolan Schaefer (who spent time with the Aeros), and Craig Weller were all taken by other teams. Notable names also taken after Shushinski are John-Michael Liles and Travis Moen.
6th Round: Eric Reitz (D) - Played six seasons with the Aeros, and 31 games with the Wild before being traded to the Rangers in 08-09 for Dan Fritsche. Reitz never looked like he fit in the NHL, and the Rangers needed a 7th d-man and quite simply needed to unload Fritsche. Fritsche played well for the Wild, and many were surprised he was not re-signed.
A note, because he is so endeared to Wild fans. Darcy Hordichuk was taken in this round by the Thrashers.
Rating: Win - while Reitz did not work out, get 31 games and a fairly good trade out of a 6th round pick is OK.
7th Round: Brian Passmore (C) - A long shot pick, Passmore never made it out of the ECHL level. He was last seen in the hockey world with the Oklahoma City Blazers of the CHL.
Rating: Neutral - Can't expect much from a seventh round pick. For every Henrik Zetterberg, there are 25 flops.
All in all, not a bad first draft, but not all that good either. Gaborik is the all time point scorer for the franchise, Schultz is going to be around for a long, long time, and a couple guys made it to the show, but just couldn't hack it. As we will see when we look at later drafts, this one was pretty good for He Who Shall No Longer be Named.
Join us tomorrow when we look at the 2001 draft.