With a 5-3 loss to the Carolina Hurricanes, coupled with a an Isles vs Canadiens game that went to overtime resulting in an Isles win, the Wild are now sitting in possession of the third overall pick. The Dive for Top Five is nearly complete. The only thing that derail the effort (lack of effort?) is a return to winning ways. Something to keep in mind is the draft lottery would still need to happen in order to set the true draft order, so don't get overly excited.
With the loss, there is nearly nothing going in terms of news. Hopefully you can all understand that. The national media has a playoff race to cover. The lottery is a side story for another day and time. With this lack of news, we provide the few links we have, and we fill you in on a couple questions we have received recently.
Enjoy the day, folks.
Wild loses fifth straight at home | StarTribune.com - Yes. Yes, they did.
Koivu, Backstrom out, Cullen in vs. Carolina | StarTribune.com - He was in the building, though. Staring down at us like we were in trouble.
Russo's Sunday Insider - Great read. Must have info in here.
Your Questions Answered
Q: Can Jason Zucker drop out of school and pull a Blake Wheeler on the Wild, waiting to sign until his time is up and signing wherever he wishes?
A: No. The loophole is pretty specific. The player must have played at least one year of juniors before going to college (which Zucker did), and four years must have passed from the player's draft. That has not occurred.
Q: Can the Wild sign Jason Zucker and play him this season once his NCAA season is done?
A; Can they? Yes. Will they? The best guesses we have read is that Zucker will turn pro after this season. Those odds only go up if the Pioneers win the NCAA tournament, and leave nothing for Zucker to have left to do at DU. However, as Russo has mentioned on Twitter, the likelihood is that he would sign an Amateur Try Out (ATO) with the Aeros, and then sign in the off season.
Q: Can the Wild sign Mikael Granlund and have him play this season?
A: To the best of my knowledge, no. This is due to transfer agreements and rules within European leagues.
Q. Will the Wild get Mikael Granlund signed before June 1st?
A: I would put the percentage at about 99%. Granlund has nothing to gain by going back into the draft and ending up in Columbus.
Q. How long is Tom Gilbert signed for?
A. He is signed through the end of next season.
Q. If you were going to draft for the Wild, assuming the third overall pick, who would you take?
A. Ryan Murray. I know... a defenseman. From what we have seen, the Wild defensive prospects do not contain a top NHL d-man. That could change, but it also may not. Nearly all of the prospects are up, so the next generation of d-men need to start filling in behind them.
Q. When will Hockey Wilderness shift gears and look at the draft?
A. Our typical offseason routine puts draft talk in late May (when have absolutely nothing else to talk about), but we may move that up. Plenty of time to talk about this.
Q. Do you think Pierre-Marc Bouchard will play again?
A. Yes, I do. I have no inside information, but he is still with the team (was at the game last night), and still hoping to return. Will it be this year? Not a chance. But he has all summer to recover and come back. Now... if he gets another concussion that has him out for a long stretch, I would hope for his health and well being that he would call it a career. Not that I want him to, but I hope he would.
Q. Do you think Guillaume Latendresse will re-sign in Minnesota?
A. I have some strong doubts with this. All of the injured Wild players are at the games. Watching their team play, being around the guys. Latendresse, best I can tell, is not. He is a pending Restricted Free Agent, so Wild have the first right of refusal, but no way a team signs a guy who has missed almost two entire seasons for what his qualifying offer would be. Once he turns UFA, there are too many choices. I think he gets signed, but not here.
Q. Will Mike Yeo be fired?
A. I am at 99% that the answer is no. Russo reported he has "sources" that tell him the answer is no. I do not know who those sources are, but if Russo trusts their word enough to print it, it is likely someone who knows what they are talking about. Things can change, but I think if he was going to be fired, he would have been by now. Now... if he can't show he is going to work well with the prospects, I think he will be gone.
Q. Will Chuck Fletcher be fired?
A. In my mind, the answer is 100% no. Some fans are bent out of shape about the four years missing the playoffs. Some say this is Chuck Fletcher's baby, and he hasn't fixed it. I think those people are cracked. This is still on the previous regime. Until Fletcher has his draft picks on the Wild, and his draft picks available to fill in for injuries, this is impossible to pin on him. Wild fans are rightfully upset, but a rebuild without being able to call it a rebuild is difficult, and takes time. No way I get rid of him before he has a chance to prove he can do his job, and his job take a huge amount of time to do well.
Have any other questions, Wilderness? We will do our best to get them answered for you.