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Wilderness Walk: Draft Day 2 Edition

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The Minnesota Wild looks to build some depth in the later rounds today.

With the 18th pick, the Wild select Alex Tuch.
With the 18th pick, the Wild select Alex Tuch.
Bruce Bennett

One round is in the books, six more to go.  The Wild surprised a few when they used their 18th overall pick to select Alex Tuch (pronounced "Tuck") last night.  The big power forward is certainly talented, but it will be a few years before this pick pans out or not.  All we know is that Chuck Fletcher and Brent Flahr really liked the kid and had to refuse offers to trade down when they saw Tuch was still available at 18.

The rest of the first round was pretty tame by modern draft standards.  The Philly crowd had fun booing just about everything, Florida used its number 1 pick to select defensemen Aaron Ekblad, and Garth Snow took a chance on the talented Josh Ho-Sang.

The day also had two big trades:

  • Vancouver sent Ryan Kesler and a 2015 third round pick to Anaheim in exchange for Nick Bonino, Luca Sbisa, and a first and third round pick.
  • Pittsburgh sent James Neal to Nashville in exchange for Patric Hornqvist and Nick Spaling.

Certainly both are big moves, but this is just the start of a crazy week.  Expect many more trades today and beyond as we move into one of the most exciting times of the year.  Lots of news to get to, so on to the Walk...

Wild News

Wild takes Tuch at No. 18 | Star TribuneTuch seems like a good, strong kid.  In Fletcher We Trust.

Coveting Tuch, Wild resisted trading back | Russo's Rants | StarTribune.comFletcher turned down multiple offers to trade down.

NHL draft: Lack of trades surprises Wild's Fletcher - TwinCities.comMore trades to come.

Trades galore, but the Wild stand pat and select Alex Tuch in the 1st round of the 2014 NHL Entry Draft | State of Hockey News- Derek Felska breaks down Tuch and the overall selection.

The Team of 18,001: A New Face In The State Of Hockey: Alex Tuch- More in depth look with some highlights.

Wild meets with Niskanen, is expected to be active in free agency | Star Tribune- More updates on Niskanen and Vanek.  Russo expects the Wild to offer Vanek a 1 to 3 year deal.

Minnesota Wild say goodbye to Dany Heatley, a class act - TwinCities.com- The end of the Heatley era.  All the jokes aside, Heatley was a great leader for the young kids and played with a great attitude.

NHL Draft 2014: Minnesota Wild draft grade

Draft News

2014 NHL Draft Tracker: First Round | SI.com- Complete analysis of every pick.

2014 NHL Draft: Top 10 Prospect Goalies- No goalies were taken in the first round.  The Wild intend to take one today if possible.

The 12 most entertaining moments from the 2014 NHL Entry Draft | theScore- Brian Burke's hair may top them all.

5 best available NHL Draft prospects following Round 1 | theScore- Still plenty of good players out there.

The Sheer Joy of Draft-Watching Gary Bettman- Love him or hate him.  Or mostly hate him.

The NHL Draft is a giant lottery ticket - SBNation.com- Why a lot of scouting and drafting is pretty much just luck.

Off The Trail

Jim Rutherford on why the Penguins traded James Neal (Video) | Puck Daddy- I don't know how Pittsburgh comes ahead in this trade.  Hornqvist is a good player but Neal is coming off a 61 point season.

NHL sets salary cap for next season at $69 million | Puck Daddy- 69 million puts some teams in a bind as they try to be cap compliant.

Sharks to use compliance buyout on Havlat | ProHockeyTalk- The Heatley/Havlat trade comes to a close.

NHL Grab Bag: Wrapping Up 2014