Houston Aeros 1994-2013: Thank you for all the great memories and two decades of great hockey and entertainment.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Draft roundup & free agency primer

The NHL draft took place Friday and Saturday and the Wild did their best to rack up a few more youngsters to contribute to the future of the franchise. Since we'll probably see most of these guys more than the Wild fans will, it's worth the time to take a look at who they picked up and when they might fall into the loving arms of the Houston Aeros.

BUT FIRST: Check this link out. The WBS Penguins beat writer, Jonathan Bombulie, assembled this monster list of every AHL free agent and ranked the first 250 of them. Whether you agree with his rankings or not, this is a truly ambitious and tedious undertaking, yet incredibly thorough. To get all the names together, much less a little comment on each. Holy moly. My hat's off to the guy. Hell, I'll even toss a bra at him. It's that impressive.

Of course, I disagree with Taffe's quite high ranking, and I think goalies Joe Fallon and Mike McKenna are underrated, but those are the only ones I felt particularly strong about just scanning the list.

Free agency aka Hockey Christmas begins on July 1, so it won't be long before the big fish in the AHL pond will be spoken for and one or two need to be spoken for by the Aeros to help guide and bolster this group of very young prospects coming up.

Anyway, on to the new baby Wildses. I'm gonna start with the lowest pick first and work up to the first round pick.

7th Round: LW Louie Nanne
Nanne just turned 18 earlier this month, will play junior in the BCHL this year, and then has committed to the University of Minnesota, so he could be as much as 5 years from turning pro. He is the grandson of Lou Nanne, a long-time Minnesota North Star, and the son of Marty Nanne, a scout for the Wild.

6th Round: C Christoph Bertschy
This Swiss prospect sounds like a skilled, handsy guy, average sized if he stays the 5'10" he is currently, having just turned 18 in April. He's got 2 more years on his contract in the Swiss League, at which point, if the team still wants to sign him, we could see him in Houston.

5th Round: D Daniel Gunnarsson
I like the symmetry of how 5 of the 7 picks this year have names that start with the same letter as their position. Seriously. Check it out. Anyway, 20 year old Gunnarsson is Swedish (shocking, I know) and played in the Swedish Elite League last season, and will again next season. He's a 6'4" stay-at-home defenseman, so he'll have that nice long reach like a Justin Falk.

4th Round: C Adam Gilmour
Gilmour is already 6'2" and pushing 200 lbs as an 18 year old. He's got a year of USHL junior hockey to play and then will play for Boston College. He's a long way away from becoming an Aero unless he turns into a huge stud and leaves college early to turn pro. But he was a rock star for his Mass. high school team with nearly 2 points per game.

Mr. Serious
3rd Round: D John Draeger
Good sized kid from the pro hockey factory of Shattuck-St. Mary’s, Draeger is headed to Michigan State for his college career. Again, we won't see him for a few years.

Here's another good look at the 3-7 round picks and a little more about them from Dan Chan at Hockey Wilderness.

2nd Round: LW Raphael Bussieres
Bussieres will be 19 in November, which means he'd be eligible to play in the AHL after one more season in the Quebec Major Junior league. It sounds like he's a sturdy, gritty power forward type with some offensive touch and is a bit of a pest. So, he's a taller Cal Clutterbuck? Wouldn't mind that at all.

More from HW on Bussieres...

1st Round: D Matthew Dumba 
That's pronounced DUM-buh, FYI. A former teammate of Darcy Kuemper's with the Red Deer Rebels, Dumba's 17 years old and won't be eligible for the AHL until the 2014-15 season, which means he either makes the Wild full-time before that, or we'll see him in a couple of years. He's an offensive defensman who likes to crush bodies, which is kind of an interesting combination. Brent Burnsian, maybe. Should be a fun kid to watch whenever he gets up to the pros.

And again, the details on Dumba from HW...


Forecheck said...

I think the Wild made a big mistake with their #1 pick. They should have taken Filip Forsberg as he was the best hockey player available.

I think that's exactly what you do with your #1 pick regardless of your needs. It maximizes the value of your talent pool. Number one picks are easy to trade.

For rounds 3-7, where there usually isn't enough showing in these kids at 17 or 18 to distinguish them between a future hall of famer and an AHL wash-out (like Matt Foy), it's a little different.

I would, though, like them to lose this obligation they seem to feel to draft several players from Minnysohta each year. That's just PR nonsense.

Biggest dumb move of the draft was Nieuwendyk's trading Ribs for a draft choice and a nobody. Ribs was one of the few guys who new what was going on up there the second half of the season. As much as I liked Nieuwendyk as a Stars player, he's been a disaster as a GM.

Joe said...

Yeah, I have to agree with you Ms. Conduct. That's a rather high positioning for Taffe. Pretty damn good on offense, but virtually no defense.

I like what he had to say about Clackson. Scrappy. I would like to see him back next season with a more solid role.

Forecheck said...

So, the question is will the Wld throw away their future by trading a bunch of their young forwards for Rick Nash?

That plus signing Parise and Suter means "Win Now". That also means the Wild make the playoffs next season for the first time in five years, meaning the Wild fands don't riot in the streets this spring, meaning Fletcher saves his behind.