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Don't look now, but the Minnesota Wild are about to get bigger

Future Wild teams are going to be defined by their size, particularly on the wing.

The Bash Brothers
The Bash Brothers
Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

In their 15 years of existence, the Wild have never had a physically imposing team.

Now, that's not to say they didn't have any physical presences. They did. But those players- the Derek Boogaards, John Scotts, Todd Fedoruks, Chris Simons, Mike Rupps- were players who filled out the bottoms of the roster, not the cornerstones of the franchise.

Instead, when you think of the players that have made bone crunching hits and used their body to make a difference, guys like Cal Clutterbuck, Stephane Veillieux and the infamous Matt Cooke come to mind.  Not your typical big-bodied bruiser, but average sized guys playing a big game by using their body in the tough areas.  Clutterbuck set a league record for hits in the 2008-09 season and has generally been the embodiment of what the Wild have deployed to cast their physical presence.

But in the immortal words of #OneOfUs Bob Dylan, "Times they are a changing."  Chuck Fletcher has made one thing very clear in the way that he has gone about acquiring players over the last handful of seasons, he wants the Wild to get bigger.  The revolution really began with the acquisition of Charlie Coyle in 2011 as a part of the Brent Burns trade.  The acquisition of the 6'3" 220lb forward was the first time we saw the general manager target a true power forward with a combination of skill and size that would forecast as a member of the top-6.  But it would set a standard for which the construction of the team would trend towards in the following season.  The next big acquisition along these lines came in 2013 with the 6'2" 205lb Nino Niederreiter coming over from the Islanders in exchange for Clutterbuck.  These two bodies have made their presence felt on both sides of the puck with the ability to apply a crushing forecheck, mucking it up in the crease, and being strong on the puck in the tough areas.

Fletcher's plan will continue to manifest itself over the next several seasons as more of the Wild's draft picks are set to start their professional career and making their way to the Wild roster.  The latest addition to the power forward club is recently-signed 2011 second round draft pick Mario Lucia, who at 6'3" and 206lbs fits the profile.  Lucia shocked the world by forgoing the opportunity to play for his father's Golden Gophers at the University of Minnesota by opting to instead play for Notre Dame and seek hockey glory on his own terms.  Lucia went on to lead Notre Dame with 21 goals in his junior season while earning Hockey East Player of the Month recognition.  Lucia has also spent time with the US Junior National team.  Like Coyle, Lucia is known for being a skilled player with strength and speed to match who will develop quickly when meeting the higher level of opponents and challenge in professional hockey.

Next up is Boston College sophomore Alex Tuch, the Wild's first round (18th overall) pick in 2014, who is currently considering turning pro this offseason.  Tuch's hulking frame reaches 6'4" and 220lbs and he plays like a player that knows exactly how big he is.  Tuch has made a name for himself harassing opposing defenders and goalies by applying his physical force in the tough areas and having no fear while crashing the net or going into the boards.  Hockey's future list Tuch's stick handling, shot and temperament as his top skills and suggest that he will fill the role of the prototypical power forwards found across the NHL a la Corey Perry, Ryan Getzlaf or David Backes because he has the attitude to match his skills.  He could become a transformational player for a Wild team that is constantly looking for players to crash the net and consistently finds success when they do.

The biggest of the bunch comes with 2015 second round selection (50th overall), Jordan Greenway.  The hulking giant reaches 6'5" and 226 lbs. and is coming off his freshman year at Boston University where he scored 26 points in 39 games.  While he is obviously known for his size, he is also known for his puck distribution skills and is a force on the forecheck.  He is an alumnus of Shattuck St. Mary's and has spent time with the US National Development Team, and has posted points at every level of hockey he has played.  Greenway is also rumored to be considering a move to professional hockey, but could return to BU for more seasoning.

With the Wild fielding a current roster of players like Jordan Schroeder (5'8", 175lbs), Jared Spurgeon (5'9", 185lbs) and Justin Fontaine (5'10", 177lbs) the incoming class of forwards are set to change the complexion of the Wild in the coming years. The incoming draft picks were added to drive scoring in the top-6 or top-9 and complement the skilled players who are already in place.  We've seen how well balanced lines can produce with a big body being added to a skilled line (see Parise-Koivu-Coyle and Niederreiter-Haula-Pominville) and this is a trend the Wild should continue to be able to develop with the incoming players joining those who are already signed long term.  This also matches the trend of many bruising teams in the Western Conference such as St. Louis and Anaheim and should make the Wild look stronger as they look to score more in the tough areas, be strong on the puck and develop a better ability to deliver and absorb big hits.