Everyone still with me? No one has jumped off the cliff or driven backwards on 35W since we began to relive the horrible, horrible past? Hopefully you are all still out there, all safe and ready for another walk down memory lane.
Make the jump. Class of 2003 awaits!
Round One: Brent Burns - Ah, Burnsy. The enigma wrapped in a conundrum blanketed in mystery with a strong dose of anticipation. Inglewood Jack. Zookeeper. Media avoider. What shall we make of Brent Burns? Shall we remember the Burns that pummeled Dion Phaneuf to a pulp? Or shall we remember the Brent Burns that just cannot seem to find his game in the new system? Under Jacques Lemaire, Burns was one of the best in the business, right up until they moved him to forward. Under Todd Richards, I honestly keep waiting to see news Burns has been traded away.
Now partnered with newcomer Cam Barker, Burns has been given a chance to shine. If he can find his game, he can be one of the best in the business. If he can't, he'll be a monumental bust.
Ryan Kesler and Mike Richards were taken very shortly after Burns.
Result: Neutral - The forward experiment and the concussion issues have delayed any judgment right now. If you had asked me a year ago, I would have said bust, so he is improving, but only slowly. Remember, neutral is not a good thing when it comes to a first round pick.
Round Two: Patrick O'Sullivan - After a long life of nothing but family drama, Sully was given a big break being taken this high up. Many thought he would go much lower. After making his way to the Aeros, O'Sullivan was traded to the Kings as part of the trade for Pavel Demitra. At that time, I was not a happy hockey fan. I still am not happy about it. Demitra was brought in to appease the Great Gaby, and the Wild paid dearly to do so.
While O'Sullivan is not the greatest player to ever lace up the skates, he would have made an excellent second liner, and that would have been a win for this franchise. The trade that sent Sully away made it clear that He Who Shall No Longer be Named was willing to sacrifice the future to add mediocre players to the roster.
Result: On O'Sullivan? Win for the Wild? Bust.
Round Three: The Dark ages continued to dazzle in the third round, as the Wild had a much higher pick than they should have due to trades. This time they used the higher pick to grab:
Danny Irmen (RW) - A journeyman AHLer these days, Irmen finally got his break this season with the Wild. He was around for two games, but did not register a point. In 54 games with the Aeros this season, Irmen has 25 points. Irmen is a shining example of players that were drafted and given absolutely no chance to prove they have game. Here we are , seven years later, and he has been given 2 games to see what he can do. He has always done well in training camps, but it seems the Wild just have too many forwards to give him a chance. Who would you rather see up right now? A hungry Danny Irmen, or a bored and washed out James Sheppard?
Result: Bust - In another example along the lines of Barry Brust, Irmen was rafted and never given a chance. Not sure why players are drafted if they are never intended to be given a shot.
Round Four: No Pick - He Who Shall No Longer be Named strikes again.
Round Five: Marcin Kolusz - Played one season in the WHL before heading home to Europe. No reported stats past 2008-09.
Brad Richardson was taken six picks later.
Round Six: Miroslav Kopriva (G) - Another goalie drafted, another goalie wasted. Kopriva bounced between the Aeros and the CHL, then the Aeros and the ECHL, and then finally jumped ship and went to Europe. His last reported games were in the 2007-08 campaign.
Round Seven: The Wild gained another shot to waste a pick by trading Sylvain Blouin to the Canadiens. As you'll see, multiple picks did not help the inability to draft well in late rounds.
Georgi Misharin (D) - Drafted out of the OHL, the next year he returned to Russia and never looked back. He is currently with CSKA Moscow of the KHL.
Adam Courchaine (C) - A player that was too good for the ECHL, and not good enough for the AHL, Courchaine played just ten games with the Aeros before being sent to the ECHL. He then scored 49 points in 42 games before missing an entire season and then making his way to play in Germany. He currently has 43 points in 48 games in Germany.
Round Eight: Mathieu Melnson (RW) - Played out his time in the QMJHL, then made the move to Austria before relaizing he wanted to apparently still be in North America. He had 26 points in 17 games in the ECHL in 2006-07, and followed that up with 58 points in 56 games for the Everblades the next season. The run with the Everblades earned him eight games with the Manitoba Moose. He ended up back in the ECHL to finish out that season, and put up impressive numbers again in 2008-09 in the ECHL before disappearing from hockey.
Round Nine: Jean-Michel Bolduc - This is good. You'll like this. According to Hockeydb.com, this guy was drafted by the Wild, played three more seasons in the Q, then played no organized hockey from 2006 to 2008 before playing for, and I swear to you, a team called the Saguenay 98.3FM. The 98.3 FM? Really? I mean, really? And he really rocked it with 16 points and 117 PIMs in 39 games.
Well done Mr. GM. This one, this one is a classic.
Summary: This was a bad draft. In the first round, a defenseman who has yet to prove he was worth that high of a pick. This is a first round that brought Ryan Getzlaf, MA Fleury, Eric Staal, Phaneuf, Thomas Vanek, Zach Parise, Jeff Carter, and several other big time NHLers. While the Wild had to pick very late due to an amazing playoff run (ah, now THAT was fun), it is no excuse.
Looking at the results, we get one NHLer who has last his game, one guy they never gave a chance to, one they traded away only to have him become a solid player, and six guys who simply disappeared.
To put a grade on this is the first time we flirt with absolute failure. However, we need to save the F's for later. This one pulls a most solid D-.