So we took a look at center and saw that behind Mikael Granlund, there was little depth. Cody Almond and Casey Wellman are solid prospects but are still not considered sure-fire NHLers, both still need to improve their games.
But like I said, the draft is upcoming here and when the Wild goes up to the podium and announces their pick, it is interesting to figure out WHY they picked who they picked
The Wild has always been starving for an offensive right- winger, something the team has not had since...well, never. The closest thing we've ever had is Martin Havlat (who is good) and Antti Miettinen (ugh...). Does the Wild now have someone in the pipeline to fill that need?
Now we’ll take a look at the right wings:
#45 / Right Wing / Houston Aeros
Sep 10 1988
|2010 - Houston Aeros
good penalty killer ... not afraid to be physical ... very good skater ... solid defensively ... skilled on the forecheck ... not strong offensively...
The Wild prospect with arguably the biggest improvement, McMillan has developed from a kid playing like a rookie in the AHL to a serviceable callup to the NHL.
In his four games with the Wild, he only played an average of 9:20 minutes per game but made the most out of it with one goal and one assist. He displayed decent speed and alongside Colton Gillies, gave Wild fans hope for the future in their bottom six core.
For a 7th round pick and near the last pick to be chosen in the 2007 NHL Entry Draft, the Wild may have found great value for their pick.
#79 / Right Wing / Houston Aeros
Feb 10 1986
|2010 - Houston Aeros
great puck control ... has a good shot ... talented passer ... skilled along the boards ... understands the game very well ... very good on the penalty kill ... likes to control the play ... very mature ... great leader ... first team All-CCHA selection (2010) ... could improve accelereation.
The Wild have started to try to find some steals in the college free-agent market, Jarod Palmer being GM Fletcher’s first.
Already at age 25, Palmer has much less time to prove himself as opposed to his fellow linemates in Houston. He signed with the Wild to a one-year contract and has done decently with his time with the Aeros. While not offensively gifted as some others, the Miami Redhawk Graduate and ex-captain is considered to provide character and solid two-way play.
He is second in Houston Aero forwards with a plus 12 rating.
However, with the emergence of a few, such as Colton Gillies and Cody Almond, Palmer’s 28 points in 65 games may not be enough to earn him a call-up to the Wild anytime soon.
#37 / Right Wing / U. of Minnesota-Duluth
Nov 6 1987
|2010 - U. of Minnesota Duluth
Great hands ... finishing ability ... skilled at play around the net ... doesn't shy away from playing into traffic ... good hockey sense ... named All-WCHA second team (2009, 2010) ... named U.of Minnesota Duluth Hockey's Rookie of the Year (2008)
Representing the first of this year’s Wild college free-agent signings is UMD Bulldogs star Justin Fontaine.
After being invited by the Wild during developmental camp, the Wild obviously liked what they saw and keep a close eye on the soon-to-become free agent.
Second in points with 58 in 42 games, Fontaine comes to Minnesota on a similar path to Jarod Palmer’s. He will show his stuff during training camp, and most likely report to Houston and develop there.
#19 / Right Wing / Chilliwack Bruins
Apr 20 199
|2010 - Chilliwack Bruins
energetic goal scorer ... works hard in corners ... does not shy from physical play ... good two-way game ... can play in all situations ... started on checking line for Chilliwack Bruins, now a top six forward ... average skating ... quite skinny.
It has been a tough season for Dylen McKinlay after suffering a knee injury and struggling to regain his form.
At times, he would look better but McKinlay will look for next season to prove to the Wild that he has improved.
It is painfully obvious: the Wild have nothing on the right side...
Sure, they have solid prospects like Carson McMillan but on right wing, the Wild have two seventh round picks and two college free agents. It will lucky enough for us to find them develop into bottom six forwards.
Center Mikael Granlund has the potential to play on the left wing, but that still leaves a gaping hole on the right. There is no sign of top end talent, little sign for bottom end talent and absolutely no depth. One day, it would be great to see fans get excited about a potential call-up but at the moment, all the Wild have for right wing insurance are veterans Robbie Earl and Jed Ortymeyer.
Of course, The Wild DID have Kalus but he was traded for future considerations (what does that even mean?!?)
Armed with the 10th overall pick in this years draft, the Wild will likely have the choices between Joel Armia and Mika Zibanejad, both who can play wing and both who are right-handed shots.
So. What do you think?