The selection of hometown defenseman Nick Leddy was quickly estinguished when he was traded away for Cam Barker. That token Minnesota picked didn't last very long.
But two years later, in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft, Chuck Fletcher traded up their 71 and 101 pick and snagged the kid they wanted: Mario Lucia.
Who is he?
Not like none of you know him. But let's just take a look anyways.
Update: Video added at 12:36PM.
#22 / Left Wing / Wayzata
Aug 25 1993
|GP||G||A||P||+/-||PIM||Midterm Rank ||Final Rank||HW Rank|
|2010 - Wayzata
It has become a cliche for Minnesota taking Minnesota kids. However, it has never really worked out for the Wild. A.J Thelen, Nick Leddy, Danny Irmen etc. None of them have become regular Wild players.
But with Mario Lucia, he certainly warrants a second round pick, more than just where he grew up.
Being the son of Gophers head coach Don Lucia, Mario grew up with hockey. Having a head coach as a father has helped him become the player is today.
He is a big lanky offensive forward who has skill and size to become a dangerous player. He has good speed and extremely good hockey smarts. His shot is also good shot that he can get off quickly and at high speeds. He has good hands and is just a good, character kid. He has all the offensive tools to become a very good player for the Wild. Adding a prospect like him will help fill out the lack of high skilled forwards in the prospect pool.
One of the major concerns, like many high school prospects, is that his competition may not have been tested enough as opposed to players in the Canadian Junior Leagues or those playing in professional European leagues. In addition, Lucia has tons of room to fill out his 6-2 frame. He is still relatively unproven, not appearing in U-18 tournaments, something you would love to see in your second round pick.
Next for his future is his college decision. Where does he want to go? Does he want to go to the Gophers and play for his father, or will that be too much and decide to go somewhere else like Notre Dame?
He will need to go somewhere where he can concentrate on his own life, and on building up his hockey skills. As much as Minnesota fans want to see a Minnesota hometown boy play for the University of Minnesota, I think playing away from your home and from your parents will help him mature and focus on the important things. He is around 3 years away from helping the Wild, so he will have to spend some quality time adding some strength and gaining some playing experience.